August 15, 2022

Metaverse Highlights: Week of August 15, 2022

This week, we highlight industries experiencing both volatility and momentum in the Metaverse. Digital land prices are losing favor and plummeting; cities are exploring virtual technologies to boost business interest, deliver public services, and better engage with residents; the notion that algorithms (and digital ubiquity) will control our lives is proving to be real; NFTs are going on pre-sale; companies are working to monetize industrial applications, starting with 5G; medicine and health care are capitalizing on virtual technologies for everything from surgical training to a bolstering of clinical trial participation; and financial and consulting firms are aggressively moving into the Metaverse space to deliver better access to clients.

As Metaverse land prices plummet, Mark Cuban says buying digital land is ‘the dumbest idea ever.’

  • Mark Cuban, the billionaire Dallas Mavericks owner and avid crypto enthusiast, is not sold on the Metaverse. “The worst part is that people are buying real estate in these places. That’s just the dumbest shit ever,” he told the crypto-themed YouTube channel Altcoin Daily this past weekend.
  • Cuban also isn’t buying the central claim of Metaverse land speculators that scarcity will make these digital plots valuable. “It’s not even as good as a URL or an ENS [Ethereum naming service], because there’s unlimited volumes that you can create,” he said during the YouTube interview.
  • Despite being an investor in Yuga Labs, the owner of popular NFT collections Bored Ape Yacht Club and CryptoPunks, Cuban said he was not a fan of the company’s land sale, which raised about $317 million for its Metaverse platform Otherside in April. “I still thought it was dumb to do the real estate. That was great money for them, you know, but that wasn’t based off a utility,” he said. 

Metaverse housing bubble bursting? Virtual land prices crash 85% amid waning interest.

  • The metaverse sector is witnessing its very-own housing crisis moment, thanks to massive declines in the prices of its virtual lands in 2022, led by waning users' interest and a crypto bear market.
  • In particular, Metaverse projects built on the Ethereum blockchain, including the Sandbox and Decentraland, have witnessed substantial declines in their valuations and other key metrics, data from WeMeta shows.
  • For instance, the average price of lands sold across Decentraland peaked at $37,238 in February 2022. But as of Aug. 1, their costs had dropped to an average of $5,163. Similarly, the Sandbox's average sale price dropped from circa $35,500 in January to around $2,800 in August.Overall, the average price per parcel of virtual lands across the six major Ethereum metaverse projects dropped from approximately $17,000 in January to around $2,500 in August, or a 85% decline.  

Why cities are exploring Metaverse technology.

  • From Dubai, United Arab Emirates, to Seoul, South Korea, to Santa Monica, California, a growing number of cities worldwide are exploring how they can deploy Metaverse technology to more effectively administer public services, engage residents, and boost activity with businesses or downtown areas.
  • Last year, “nobody was talking about the Metaverse. Now, I can’t go a day without a conversation about it,” said Steve Zoegall, industry lead for global cities, transport and critical infrastructure with Accenture, and a fellow with the World Economic Forum. 
  • Cities with less ambitious plans can also utilize the technology in different ways. The pandemic demonstrated the importance of having easy ways to share information with citizens, whether informing about a public health crisis, or the date of the next farmer’s market, says Lena Geraghty, director of sustainability and innovation with the National League of Cities.  

Excavating the Internet: Is digitally connected life an age-old idea?

  • Evgeny Morozov, perhaps the last decade’s most prominent tech critic, argues that “internet” ultimately obscures more than it reveals, lumping together everything from social networks to system architecture—and thereby saying nothing. 
  • This is not to say that the impact of the internet has been overstated, but that for a long time, a starry-eyed imprecision let certain realities slip. Then, in the middle of the last decade, uncertainty reemerged in the popular consciousness. 
  • By 2018, in the fallout of the Cambridge Analytica scandal, best remembered for Mark Zuckerberg’s glassy-eyed appearance in front of Congress to explain the data breach, the old idea of the internet as a place of liberation had been permanently tarnished. There have always been naysayers to the techno-utopians, but their ranks had swelled into visibility—although their pronouncements often contained the same grandiose tones used by those they opposed. 
  • According to the technologist Jaron Lanier, we’re at risk of becoming a gadget: “A new generation has come of age with a reduced expectation of what a person can be, and of who each person might become.” In the words of the artist and writer James Bridle, we are entering a New Dark Age, an era in which we will only have faith in the algorithms that control our lives.

Lords of the Lands Metaverse is launching its first NFT presale soon.

  • Lords of The Lands (LOL) is a utility-driven Metaverse ecosystem allowing its NFT holders to monetize their virtual lands and earn monthly rentals. The project is now set to launch its pre-sale event with a collection of 300 Land NFTs & 255 Lord NFTs.
  • The “Landlord” is the highest title in the LOL Metaverse; becoming a landlord requires at least 1 Land NFT & 1 Lord NFT in the same wallet. The main perk of becoming a Landlord is that the title will generate monthly rentals in Ethereum.
  • 25% of LOL creator royalty will be shared with the LOL landlords. The rent will be calculated by the rarity of the Land NFT and the number of days NFT holders will be holding both the Land NFT and the Lord NFT in their same wallet. 
  • LOL will also be organizing e-gaming tournaments on its e-gaming partner apps/website for its Landlords where they can play their favorite games and win exclusive NFTs, as well as prizes up to $10,000. These e-gaming tournaments will happen twice a month.

Industrial applications are sparking interest in how best to monetize the Metaverse.

  • The industrial Metaverse sits at the crossroads of the industrial Internet of Things (IOT), AR, MR, and VR for industrial use, the creation of digital twins, and the rich, blending of real-world elements with contextualized and meaningful data to help decision makers stay better informed and to keep business processes operating at peak efficiency.
  • More businesses are finding the industrial Metaverse useful as a digital twin and AI proving concept, such as IBM and Nvidia, with Siemens AG having the biggest footprint of any stakeholder in the still nascent industrial metaverse market.
  • Hyundai, though, is aggressively pushing ahead by partnering with other Asia-based companies, such as Singtel, to on 5G based mobile robot management using cloud technology and viewing the end game as the ability to build a viable industrial Metaverse platform.

The practice of medicine and the health care industry may have the most to gain from the technologies emerging from the Metaverse.

  • The University of Connecticut is using avatars and VR to train doctors on surgical techniques in virtual operating rooms. These Metaverse-inspired training modules give students feedback on how well they performed the procedure, ongoing feedback on their progress, and practice on rare surgeries that might not come up often in real-life patients.
  • Doctors from the University of Miami predict electronic health records in the Metaverse will likely become living documents that are updated from sensors in clothing or from wearable devices, with doctors able to set parameters for abnormalities. When a patient with high blood pressure sends data that indicates a higher-than-normal blood pressure reading, his or her doctor will be notified enabling more proactive and preventative care.
  • Virtual and digital tools are also helping emergency responders and patients going through clinical trials by teaching a newbie responder how to use a stethoscope by showing an image of a pumping heart so they don’t have to imagine a heart but instead can see the image and heat the sounds. Also, the burden on patients going through clinical trials (which often causes drop-outs) can be lessened by virtual assistants who can issue reminders on medication, as well as complete questions required as part of the trial. “I don’t think that’s very far away,” notes Dr. Nimita Limaye, PhD, research vice president of Life Sciences R&D Strategy at International Data Corp., headquartered in Needham, MA, noting that voice commands are much more convenient than downloading and using apps, especially for older people who may have poor eyesight.

Coinbase was selected by BlackRock to provide Aladdin clients with access to crypto trading and custody.

  • Over the past few years, Coinbase has played a central role in developing and strengthening crypto markets as the safest, most trusted bridge to the crypto-economy. This week marks a new step as Coinbase announces a partnership with BlackRock, the world’s largest asset manager, to provide institutional clients of Aladdin, BlackRock’s end-to-end investment management platform, with direct access to crypto.
  • Coinbase Prime will provide crypto trading, custody, prime brokerage, and reporting capabilities to Aladdin’s Institutional client base who are also clients of Coinbase.
  • “Our institutional clients are increasingly interested in gaining exposure to digital asset markets and are focused on how to efficiently manage the operational lifecycle of these assets,” said Joseph Chalom, Global Head of Strategic Ecosystem Partnerships at BlackRock.

Three-quarters of institutions will use crypto in three years, according to the latest Ripple report.

  • A whopping 76% of surveyed financial institutions plan on using crypto within the next three years, according to the report. Ripple’s new report highlights trends in the adoption and utilization of emerging technologies like crypto and blockchain in enterprise and financial institutions. 
  • Both financial institutions and enterprises are understanding the benefits of internal crypto usage. The most common reason is that crypto gives more people access to more financial services, says 42% of financial institutions and 41% of enterprises.
  • According to the survey, portfolio management and payments come forward as the most valuable additions to the enterprise world. Portfolio management is detailed as hedging against inflation, hedging against other asset types and asset appreciation. Participants said data security and quality are two major benefits of blockchain and crypto usage for payments.

Capgemini and Unity partner to help organizations build metaverse experiences.

  • Capgemini has become the latest professional services firm to join the clamor for the Metaverse. The consultancy has collaborated with software developer Unity, to found a new Metaverse lab, to help businesses around the world seize on the much-hyped technology.
  • “Metaverse and immersive experiences open a whole universe of possibilities for our clients across industries,” said Pascal Brier, Chief Innovation Officer at Capgemini and member of the Group Executive Committee. “We are thrilled to partner with Unity, one of the major engines of the metaverse, to enable our clients to realize its real business value.”
  • Perhaps best known for its video game software development work, Unity is fast becoming a core operator in the Metaverse market, as a provider of real-time 3D and immersive experiences. Its collaboration will enhance Capgemini’s capabilities from customer and employee experience strategy and design to front-end development and integration. Meanwhile, Capgemini’s ability to deliver on large-scale digital transformation projects will help Unity to accelerate the growth of its own technology platform.

Related Articles