August 29, 2022

Metaverse Highlights: Week of August 29, 2022

This week, we highlight the rise of NFTs across industries. From Nike and clothing brands to Shopify and e-commerce platforms to street art to entertainment, the technology is reshaping the way in which creators and brands engage with their audience. But NFTs are not the only part of the Metaverse that is growing. From virtual dating platforms to new infrastructure for cities like Shanghai, new use-cases continue to emerge week after week. As a recent study indicates, hundreds of millions of people are already using the Metaverse in some capacity.

How many people use the Metaverse in 2022? While no statistics showing its exact user count in 2022 yet, analysts predict that one in every four people will use the metaverse for at least an hour a day by 2026. Here are some important metaverse user facts you should check out:

  • Web 3.0 (also known as the decentralized World Wide Web) – 50,000 users
  • Non-fungible tokens (NFT) – 412,578 users
  • Blockchain Gaming – 2.3 million users
  • Global Cryptocurrency – 220 million users
  • Electronic Gaming or eSports – 250 million users

Nike becomes the world's highest-earning brand from NFT sales.

  • Nike, America’s most iconic sports brand, has been revealed to be the world’s biggest-earning brand from sales of non-fungible tokens (NFTs).
  • The brand topped the list of highest-earning brands from NFTs sales, with sales of $185 million, according to data from Dune Analytics.
  • In addition to total revenue being seven times higher than the next on the list, Nike also topped total transactions at over 67,000.
  • Meanwhile, other athletics and fashion companies dominated the top five on the list. In succeeding places were Dolce & Gabbana, Tiffany, and Gucci, with total revenue of $25 million, $12 million, and $11 million respectively.

Shopify adds an NFT-gated option for online retailers.

  • Shopify is leaning into NFTs as the future of e-commerce. The online shopping giant, which allows small businesses to create custom e-commerce shops, is launching NFT-gated storefronts as a new feature for brands looking to make their stores more exclusive, Shopify announced Wednesday.
  • "Invite your community into a world that recognizes and rewards loyalty," a narrator says in Shopify’s announcement video, which features a skateboarding woman who goes through a pastel portal and turns into a Doodles NFT.
  • Why does this matter? For one, it means that the future of Web3 shopping is about exclusivity. And while NFTs often are oversimplified as digital art, or "jpgs," these unique blockchain tokens that signify ownership over an asset are increasingly being used as membership passes, tickets to events, and “keys” that unlock perks.

People are going on dates in the Metaverse.

  • Virtual reality-powered metaverse dating is here and it's growing, as Madeleine Aggeler writes for The New York Times.
  • "We intend to change the dating market," Cam Mullen, CEO of a recently-launched VR dating service called Nevermet, told the NYT, "where physical attraction will become one of several factors rather than the primary way people connect."
  • Nevermet is one of several up-and-coming VR dating services, which, like Tinder or Hinge, works to match users in digital spaces. But Nevermet takes digital dating a few steps further. Unlike Hinge's motto — "designed to be deleted" — suggests of the classic phone apps, Nevermet has faith in a future where entire relationships will be lived in headsets.
  • "One day virtual reality will be so immersive," Mullen's comments continued, "that more and more relationships will flourish online."

Marketing in the Metaverse: a fundamental shift.

  • The two primary forms of advertising in virtual and augmented worlds will likely be Virtual Product Placements (VPPs) and Virtual Spokespeople (VSPs).
  • Virtual Product Placement (VPP) is a simulated product, service, or activity injected into an immersive world (virtual or augmented) on behalf of a paying sponsor such that it appears to the user as an integrated element of the ambient environment.
  • Virtual Spokesperson (VSP) is a simulated human or other animated character injected into an immersive world (virtual or augmented) that verbally conveys promotional content on behalf of a paying sponsor, often engaging the target user in interactive promotional conversation.
  • Regulators should consider requiring that VPPs and VSPs be visually distinct from authentic products, services, and people within immersive worlds, thereby protecting consumers from confusing promotional encounters from authentic experiences.

Street Art: The new link between virtual and real-life NFT experiences.

  • Live arts entertainment brand Secret Walls has launched a free, limited-edition digital art series and rewards program in partnership with Palm NFT Studio — a leading technology company that onboards brands into Web3 and NFTs. The initiative, which combines utility-based NFTs with the Secret Walls Support Your Local Artist (SYLA) Tour, will offer fans exclusive access to special rewards.
  • From creating to releasing the new multi-faceted collection, Palm NFT Studio’s Head of Brand Partnership Marketing Dimple Malkani Mathradas said she and her team were all-in on the project from the jump.
  • "Street art and artists exude culture and creativity, which are at the core of NFTs and therefore are key brand values of Palm NFT Studio," Mathradas told nft now. "Many Blue Chip and early NFT artists originated from the street art scene, which has piqued the curiosity of street artists and fans/communities worldwide while becoming the next phase of their industry."

Over 400 Australian retailers now accept Bitcoin as payment.

  • Australian consumers can now use their bitcoin for everyday purchases at more than 440 retail outlets owned by Peregrine Corp., including over 175 OTR fuel and convenience stores.
  • The feature is being implemented through a partnership with cryptocurrency exchange, according to a press release.
  • To use the service, consumers looking to use bitcoin or another cryptocurrency select as their payment method, which then generates a QR code. Then, the consumer just picks which currency they would like to use, scans the code, and the payment will instantly be settled in Australian dollars for the merchant.
  • DataMesh Group, a payments infrastructure provider, serves as the backbone connecting the retail locations to the cryptocurrency exchange.

Gordon Ramsay enters the Metaverse.

  • Hell’s Kitchen, a reality competition cooking show hosted by the famous British chef Gordon Ramsay, is making a foray into the virtual world by partnering with the metaverse platform The Sandbox.
  • Ramsay will personally provide his input for the design of Hell’s Kitchen virtual experiences, which will be hosted by ITV Studios in The Sandbox, which was recently deployed on Polygon to make the ecosystem cheaper and greener.
  • In the announcement, Sandbox said the partnership will add "Hell’s Kitchen-themed assets, including limited edition Gordon Ramsay avatars" later on to allow players and metaverse enthusiasts to contribute their own experiences.

Shanghai’s Metaverse strategy.

  • The Shanghai city government released a policy paper on July 8th, 2022, outlining its strategy to build its Metaverse industry to 350 billion yuan, or $52 billion, by the end of 2025.
  • The strategy focuses on developing the technical infrastructure needed for the Metaverse, including VR headsets, chips, 5G, and cloud computing, while also fostering the creation of new companies in the space.
  • Like Dubai and other entities in the public sector, the Shanghai city government wants the jobs and economic value expected to come from the growth of the Metaverse.
  • Collectively, six of China’s tech giants were placed in the top ten firms worldwide that filed the most XR patent applications in the past two years.

Are NFTs entertainment's new fan engagement tool?

  • With all the different mediums that can be used to secure fan engagement, why are NFTs in higher demand these days? Firstly, they are very popular among the youth. While practically every age demographic can be fans of a project or entertainer, young people have historically been the most passionate fanbases.
  • Managing, controlling, and creating ownership of digital identity and personal data along with open standards is the future of interoperability.
  • For example, DC Comics created collectable NFTs of all the iconic Batman cowls to tie in with the release of The Batman earlier this year. These collectables not only rewarded fans for being loyal to the franchise but helped to build more buzz around the newest film.

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