What is a metaverse?
Did you watch Ready Player One? A 2018 American science fiction movie based on the eponymous novel by Ernest Cline tells the story of a virtual world filled with entertaining activities where most people escape to from their dull lives. It is a story of a metaverse – a much-discussed concept that is only beginning to take shape now.
Metaverse is an alternate digital reality where people can work, play and socialize, and as distant as it may sound for some, it should be taken seriously already. One of the reasons is to make sure we don’t end up having a metaverse managed by a central authority with almost unlimited powers. Like Facebook, for example, that announced this week a $50M investment fund tasked with conceptualizing a metaverse, defined by Mr Zukerberg as “instead of viewing content, you are in it”.
Luckily, this idea has been also tempting crypto community for a long time, and there are already some developments of decentralized metaverses: Decentraland, The Sandbox, Crypto Voxels... These are virtual worlds built on Ethereum where users can buy plots of land in the form of tokens, customize them and organize online events like an NFT art exhibit, a quest, or a party – like the one thrown recently by Snoop Dogg in The Sandbox (1000 NFT tickets sold out in 20 min).
Crypto fashion on the rise
Metaverse users are represented by digital avatars that can be personalized and accessorized, which quite naturally brings into the game digital fashion industry. Companies like The Fabricant engage with young designers to create digital clothes and accessories in the form of NFTs. Moreover, NFT fashion starts to attract some big names of fashion: this week Dolce & Gabbana auctioned off a 9-piece digital collection for the equivalent of $5.7M in ETH.
In the traditional fahsion industry professional buyers are important opinion leaders, and a recently created Red DAO (that bought 4 of Dolce&Gabbana pieces) is aiming at becoming one for digital fashion.
Just wait for it
These decentralized worlds are still quite far behind the existing virtual reality possibilities: the graphics is basic (especially comparing with the Facebook-owned Oculus, which produces a decent VR quality already) and they don’t integrate wearables. Nonetheless, they have this main quality that motivates further development – they are owned by users and not by a central authority, and digital property rights are protected by the blockchain.
As the crypto metaverse is becoming increasingly populated, it will be more interesting and life-like, and we can imagine further integration of crypto games (notably the most popular play-to-earn type), social activities, work and studies, travels, immersive movie experiences or 3D simulations of the recent news.
The tech is developing fast, and it’s easy to see how many incredible things can happen in a crypto metaverse. This is one of the reasons why the prices for plots of land in virtual worlds are steadily rising: a record $913k was paid in June for a large plot in Decentraland bought by the digital real estate investment firm Republic Realm.
The metaverse is taking shape, and we can all end up there in a decade or less… Just wait for it 😉
Art and NFTs
NFTs only animate the metaverse, but real-life sports as well.
After the amazing success of NBA Top Shots its parent company Dapper Labs are launching a partnership with NFL to develop a collectibles marketplace. The NFL itself and the NFL Players Association (NFLPA) will acquire an equity stake in Dapper as part of the deal, highlighting the rising important of NFTs in sports.
Bitcoin price (currently just below $48k) gained 12% this week, after the Fed’s Chairman Jerome Powell’s reassurance that China-style crypto ban is not being considered in the US.
In the meantime, El Salvador started mining Bitcoin off a geothermal facility built on a volcano, and the number of government-sponsored Chivo wallet users reached 3M people, which is 46% of the total country’s population. In less than a month Bitcoin could financially include more people than the whole banking system in El Salvador ever could.
Ethereum price chart followed Bitcoin’s pattern, making higher lows in the beginning of the week before racing 22% and ending at $3’340 level.
Quote of the week
“Every day that Bitcoin becomes more and more mainstream, I think is a good day for the city to hold it as an asset, particularly given some of the levels of inflation that we’re seeing in the C.P.I (consumer price index) over the last few months”,
Francis Suarez, Mayor of Miami, FL