What’s more stable than Bitcoin or UST? AriZona Iced Tea – TechCrunch


ICYMI, stablecoins are in deep shit right now, and the chaos that unfolded this week threw the entire crypto ecosystem into turmoil with over $400 billion in losses from a single coin. In these times of uncertainty, all we can count on is that we can buy a can of AriZona iced tea for 99 cents, the same price as the refreshing drink sold in 1996. Mossy, a collective of three artists techies, think an (unofficially) AriZona-backed stablecoin can save the crypto economy.

A stablecoin, as the name suggests, is meant to be stable because it tracks the value of another asset – similar to how gold bars once backed the US dollar back in the days of the gold standard. .

In the case of TerraUSD (UST), formerly one of the largest stablecoins that fell out of favor this week, each UST coin was meant to remain consistently equivalent in value to one US dollar. But there were no physical reserves – instead, the group behind UST used algorithms and reserves from other cryptocurrencies to manage its price. This system went haywire, leading some UST holders to withdraw their money, and before investors knew what had hit them, the panic and fear escalated and the UST was trading as low as nine. cents on the dollar. The sudden collapse of the UST has led to losses of more than $400 billion for investors over the past week, leaving people to question, well, stability of stablecoins as a whole.

Mossy’s solution for the calamitous sector, a stablecoin called USDTea, is backed by what they claim is America’s most stable asset: cans of AriZona iced tea. For more than 30 years, AriZona founder Don Vultaggio has worked tirelessly against inflation to keep the cost of every can to exactly 99 cents, playing hardball with suppliers to keep input costs low and sacrificing his own profit for the sake of consistency.

As for Mossy, you may have seen their work before. The group started the “Non-fungible Olive Gardens” project which got them in hot water over copyright laws as well as “Blockedchain” NFTs that only Twitter users who have been blocked by the famous (and pugnacious) venture capitalist Marc Andreessen can strike. .

Mossy quietly announced the USDTea stablecoin project on Twitter an hour and a half before selling the initially provided 1,000 tokens. We sat down with Brian Moore, one of three members of the artist collective – another member is Mike Lacher, who recently went viral for his AI that harshly judges your musical tastes, while the third member chooses to stay anonymous. Moore regaled us with his (mostly) blunt and very earnest explanation of Mossy’s ambitions to bring stability to an unstable world – one can of iced tea at a time.

Picture credits: USDTea (Opens in a new window)

TC: So who are you? Who is this collective trying to save crypto via AriZona Iced Tea?

BM: We’re a small group called Mossy, and the last three things we’ve done are all web3 projects. We made non-fungible Olive Gardens, and then we made Blockedchain, which was an NFT series that you can only make if you’re blocked by specific people on Twitter, like Marc Andreesen. And now the latest is USDTea, which is a stablecoin tied to the most stable asset we know of on planet Earth, which is AriZona Iced Tea.

Can you literally connect your wallet to this and get a token?

Well, first of all, I just found out that we’re completely out of the 1,000 we started with. [after about an hour and a half post-launch]. It is the strangeness of this world. It was the same with non-fungible olive gardens; we released him quietly, then he disappeared in 10 hours, I think.

AriZona iced tea may cost $0.99, but what about gas costs?

The way the stream works is that the fees are not very high. It’s an ERC 20 token. I bought some and I think it was, you know, negligible, like $4 or something like gas costs. And then, like all other currency-pegged stablecoins, you can always roll back. In that case, you can burn your USDTea and we’ll send you cans of AriZona Iced Tea, because it wouldn’t be supported by it if we didn’t actually do that. So we have our strategic reserves of AriZona Iced Tea to use if people want to repurpose it at any time.

Do you actually have 1,000 boxes of tea?

We start with 1,000 cans. This could expand in the future. And if we do that, I think we’d probably be open to an external audit depending on the situation, but right now we basically have 1,000 cans, and we’ll distribute them if needed. At present, we have reservations spread across different locations in the United States

Do you make these satirical web3 projects your full-time job?

The more we do that, the more it becomes a full-time thing, but I would say that we are mostly artists.

How many people are you ?

We are three people. So we’re pretty…I guess the word would be nimble. This allows us to do things very quickly. In the case of the destabilization of pegged cryptocurrencies, you know, when did the whole mess come crashing down? We try to strengthen the crypto economy as quickly as possible, and we can only do this with a small team.

Picture credits: USDTea (Opens in a new window)

Did you have this idea last week when Terra was collapsing?

Exactly. There’s something to be said for the stability of stablecoins, isn’t there? That’s half the word, stable. And then you think, what’s the most stable thing you can imagine? AriZona Iced Tea, you really can’t beat it.

How do you make money with this, or isn’t making money the point?

That’s not necessarily the goal, really, but I think we want to support each other at some point. We are in the interest of doing interesting work on the Internet, and that is the ultimate goal. If it makes us money, so much the better, and if not, so much the better. At the end of the day, we only do interesting things – to make people think, to make them laugh or, you know, to stabilize their assets in canned iced teas.

How would like to do you make money?

They are fungible assets, so they are more of a currency replacement than, say, an individual work of art. One USDTea is equal to one USDTea. There is none that is better than the other or rarer than the other. They are all equal to a box of AriZona iced tea.

But to redeem your tea can, you have to pay a fixed processing fee of $20. What is this tax?

It’s literally the logistics of shipping. This is not a money-making scheme to profit from the transaction; this is to get you your custom tea assets which you can store in your own slot.

On your website you have the question “what happens when ETH crashes?”, and you say you are updating ETH/USDTea to match ETH/USD from from time to time. What does this imply?

It just means that since Ethereum can change in price, we want to match that so that the rate ends up being around 99 cents.

How often will you do this? I imagine you don’t have an algorithm.

No, there is no algorithm yet. This could happen in the future – it all depends on the extent of our extension. We are taking it one step at a time. That’s about 90 minutes of launch time, so once we’ve stabilized our own situation, we’ll figure out what to do next.

Obviously, Terra was the inspiration for this project. Do you have any views or opinions on what happened and how Terra is handling this?

I think our business speaks through the work itself. We’re here to try to stabilize an unstable world, so I think backing our assets into a new, innovative and more importantly stable asset… I think that kind of says all we need to say about this situation.

An anteater is depicted

An anteater. Picture credits: MICHAL CIZEK/AFP via Getty Images

Would you say you are bullish or bearish on crypto?

Are we optimistic? Are we bearish? I do not know. I think we are exploring it. We love it as a way to create interesting works of art. I don’t think we necessarily have an answer or an animal to attribute to it. You can just say anteater or something like that.

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