February 21, 2023

Metaverse Highlights: Week of February 21, 2023

This week, we highlight important use cases for the metaverse. First, to promote a more comprehensive education of Black history among young people, Morehouse College launched its first Black history course in the metaverse this year, virtually taking students to the Civil War and World War I battlegrounds where Black soldiers fought. This experiment shows the potential of the metaverse in the education sphere and is one of the most ambitious of its kind. Second, a Colombian court has made history by holding one of the first judicial processes of the country in the metaverse. Unexpected, this development shows that the metaverse can touch all facets of life – in this case, the administration of justice. 

More broadly, with Roblox shares popping 25% as investors reacted to the company’s better-than-expected earnings, the metaverse sector is doing well – at last managing to distance itself from the struggles of Meta. Avatar artists continue to perform virtually, Starbucks’s new NFT-driven rewards program is already a success, and PlayStation just released high-performing virtual reality goggles. 

Check out these stories and others below. 


  • If there was ever any doubt that the future is digital, recent years proved naysayers wrong. In 2020, we witnessed the COVID pandemic force our lives indoors and suddenly became reliant on our virtual devices just to get by. While we lived through 'unprecedented times' in the real world, queuing for hours and fighting over toilet paper, some found solace in another: the metaverse.

  • And from the metaverse comes VNCCII - an artist who, performing as an avatar, is using technology to change the way we're experiencing music.

  • ‘It was 2018 when I created this avatar identity to represent the music I was making,’ VNCCII shares. ‘I saw people like Travis Scott and his Fortnite performance, and I had this idea to create this character who would be a creative muse for me. When I create any form of art or multimedia music, I’m personifying this fictional character. It’s really liberating.’

  • Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella told attendees at this year's World Economic Forum in Davos on Tuesday that he believes in blockchain, web3, and metaverse innovations but feels the sector needs a "ChatGPT moment."

  • "Blockchain is a technology that has a set of use cases, we at Microsoft support it today. A distributed database is a good thing, it has its uses. "All of these three things, web3, blockchain, and the metaverse, are all going to happen. But you need to have the killer apps, what is the use case that gets broad adoption, what is the ChatGPT moment for blockchain?"

  • The artificial intelligence (AI) tool ChatGPT was launched in November 2022 and has since racked up over a million users. This leap into mass adoption took social media platform Facebook 10 months and streaming platform Netflix three years to match.

  • The new application's agility in capturing mass appeal has outpaced the more slowly evolving blockchain industry that began in earnest when Satoshi Nakamoto published the bitcoin white paper in 2008.

  • Third-grader Mya Alvarado would not be born for another five decades when Martin Luther King Jr. gave his historic “I Have a Dream” speech in 1963. But instead of relying on history books and videos to learn about it, Mya, from Irvington, New Jersey, recently wore her virtual reality headset and transported herself back in time to see and hear King’s speech in the metaverse via the Time Studios' project “The March 360.”  
  • To promote a more comprehensive education of Black history among young people, creatives and educators are harnessing new methods like virtual reality. Morehouse College launched its first Black history course in the metaverse this year, virtually taking students on a slave ship and to the Civil War and World War I battlegrounds where Black soldiers fought. 

  • It’s one of the countless projects promising to bring users to a moment in time — and with more than 400 million metaverse users per month, there is a solid chance Mya’s experience in January won’t be her last.

  • Starbucks Odyssey, the coffee chain’s NFT-driven rewards program built on Ethereum scaling network Polygon, is still in closed beta—but early adopters are already flipping the NFT stamps for nearly $2,000 apiece.

  • Since the beta launch of Starbucks Odyssey in December, its stamp NFTs have seen 360 total sales on Nifty Gateway's official secondary marketplace, with over $143,000 in total volume traded. That relatively low number is to be expected, considering only a limited number of users have been allowed in from the waitlist, and the company has only released four NFT drops in total.

  • But what is surprising is the high floor price—or price of the cheapest-listed asset—of some of Starbucks’ NFTs. On Nifty Gateway, the current floor price on a “Holiday Cheer Edition 1 Stamp” Polygon NFT is just over $2,000 as of this writing. This one NFT drop alone also makes up 80% of Starbucks’ total NFT volume traded on the marketplace thus far.

  • It looks like the metaverse is doing okay. No, not the one Meta is trying to make happen in VR — apparently, the gaming platform Roblox is where the kids are still spending their money. After reporting its fourth-quarter results on Wednesday, Roblox shares popped 25% as investors reacted to the company’s better-than-expected earnings.

  • Made popular through games like MeepCity, Jailbreak, Adopt Me!, Royale High, Murder Mystery, and others, Roblox appeals to a younger demographic who go online not only to play games but to chat and socialize with other players.

  • The platform’s growth, alongside other games like Fortnite where players also attend concerts and hang out with friends, concerned Facebook so much that it rebranded itself Meta and began spending billions on its metaverse project, afraid of missing the next trend in online socializing.

  • The PlayStation VR2, priced at $550, is one of the best pieces of VR hardware you can buy. The curvy white headset plugs into the PlayStation 5 console, which is equipped with a powerful computer to run high-resolution games more smoothly; by contrast, Meta’s VR devices, including its $400 Oculus Quest 2 and $1,500 Quest Pro, work wirelessly and rely on slower computing chips built into the headsets.
  • Also, unlike Meta, Sony leans into the use of VR goggles only for gaming — a wise choice because, so far, games are the most popular VR applications, and productivity apps for taking video calls through headsets haven’t gained traction.

  • Still, more than this is needed to make VR more than a niche, even as more brands, including Apple, prepare to enter the industry. That’s because many of the problems people have had with VR headsets since the get-go — including their off-putting aesthetic and high price — remain for the PlayStation VR2 goggles. That being the case, I can recommend them to enthusiasts but not to those who play the occasional video game.

  • A Colombian court has ostensibly made history by holding one of the first judicial processes of the country in the metaverse. The hearing, held on Feb. 15 and promoted by María Victoria Quiñones Triana, magistrate of the Magdalena court, used Horizon Worlds technology, provided by Meta, to simulate a unified virtual space. The court used various avatars to represent each one of the participants in the complaint.

  • Quiñones, who stated that verifying the true identity of the assistants was one of the key processes in the metaverse, used verification numbers sent to the emails registered in the name of each of the parties involved as proof of identity. 

  • Regarding the significance of this technology for the judicial branch of the government, Quiñones stated: “The metaverse constitutes a technological tool that can facilitate access to the administration of justice. The use of information technology in the development of judicial proceedings has the essential purpose of facilitating and expediting these processes.”

  • The so-called metaverse and virtual reality are up-and-coming technologies that could offer healthcare quite a bit.
  • Medical practitioners can test out the effectiveness of new surgical methods in the metaverse before attempting on real patients. And as an extension of telehealth, medical professionals can use virtual reality to access patients and examine them virtually.

  • What exactly is the metaverse? How does virtual reality work? What can they contribute to healthcare? And where will these technologies offer innovations in the years to come?

  • To get answers to these questions, we sat down with Pari Natarajan, CEO of Zinnov, a global management and consulting firm focusing on digital transformation in healthcare.

  • Since the NFT market hit mainstream popularity in 2021, it has proven to be a revolutionary technology. While profile pictures (PFPs) and digital artwork are the most common types of NFTs, there are other use cases offering real-world utility. One of these, comes in the shape of NFT ticketing, so read on to find out everything there is to know about this highly important use of non-fungible tokens. 
  • Before the BAYC NFT collection brought hype to NFTs, use cases such as NFT Ticketing had long existed. Even though early ideas and conceptualization didn’t fully realize the potential of NFT ticketing, later developments have shown the positive effects it could have as a whole. 

  • Blockchain technology makes NFT tickets possible, offering benefits beyond other ticketing systems. What exactly are NFT Tickets? How do they work, and what can they do? Better than conventional ticketing methods? Read this article to find out. 

  • Boundaries between physical and digital sport events are becoming increasingly permeable. The upcoming UCI 2023 Cycling Esports World Championships, which will be held on the virtual cycling platform Zwift is a perfect illustration of all things good about the metaverse. 

  • Real-life humans from around the globe competing remotely and simultaneously for world champion status. Riders will wear ECG monitors and attach their bikes to indoor 'smart trainers' which transmit heart rate, power and pedaling cadence data to the Zwift (and to viewers via live webcast overlays controlled by commentators), propelling their in-game avatars forward.

  • What makes this such a compelling entertainment package is that it blends the best of the physical and digital world. Zwift simulates real-world physics. However, riders also collect 'PowerUps' which temporarily adjust in-game metrics. This adds a layer of strategy for those racing and depth for those watching.

Related Articles