January 3, 2023

Metaverse Highlights: Week of January 03, 2023

With the new year comes a need for reflection. This week, alongside more immediate news, we highlight analytic reviews of 2022 and its place in the long-term trajectory of web3 and the metaverse. 

For crypto, the year has been an unambiguous disaster. After two quarters of inflated valuations and hype, the sector experienced a sudden collapse – and Sam Bankman-Fried, one of its most famous representatives, was charged with wire fraud and money laundering. However, the year has shown promise in key industries for the metaverse sector. The art world has embraced digital marketplaces and NFTs; gaming firms are leading the virtual reality charge; training providers offer more hybrid, virtual-physical programs for the US army and private corporations. Peggy Johnson, chief executive officer of the AR gear company Magic Leap, recently said that immersive AR reality for consumers could be no more than five years away. 

As investors hope for a return to stability, entrepreneurs continue to make a case for the first-principles value of tomorrow’s internet.


  • It has been a monstrous year for crypto. The sector climbed to stunning heights, with check sizes swelling beyond comprehension. But now, a string of blowups—and crypto’s once-wunderkind Sam Bankman-Fried charged with wire fraud and money laundering—have plunged markets into a cold and bitter crypto winter. 

  • The story of 2022 can be told in several chapters. As for what comes next? Investors may be wary of sinking even more cash into the space while they’re still just trying to get money back from bankrupt exchanges and lending companies. Many are trying to figure out if the damage has been done or if there's another ticking time bomb, which suggests crypto markets are set to languish well into the year near.

  • “The core of the entertainment sector today is clearly gaming. It's where most people spend most of their leisure time,” explained Kevin Baxpehler, Co-Founder and Managing Partner at Remagine Ventures. “We make investments very early in and around the gaming sector, the adjacent entertainment sector, and also the Metaverse.”

  • Remagine Ventures is an early-stage Seed and pre-Seed venture capital fund based out of Israel. According to Baxpehler, the firm recognized in 2018 that it had become the number 1 form of entertainment for anyone under 35-40.

  • “That is pretty much around the world,” he continued. “Today, people game instead of watching movies, watching Netflix, and so forth. We have noticed is that how gaming has become cross-cultural and how gaming and these virtual worlds have become social, multiplayer, interactive, and fairly commercial.”

  • For many artists, the metaverse and NFTs have the potential to overcome the common barriers and traditional elitism that afflict the art world. Just as NFTs may help artists “to create and share their art in a way that hadn’t previously been afforded to them,” the metaverse offers a platform for creators to connect with collectors and curators outside the bounds of the traditional art market. 
  • The metaverse also can democratize the historically exclusive pastime of art collecting by transcending issues related to “storage, location, display, transparency, authenticity, and accessibility.”

  • The metaverse has also emerged as the location for new marketplaces. Perhaps most prominently, long-established art broker Sotheby’s announced the launch of their own metaverse, described as “a proprietary, custom NFT marketplace that will serve as a destination for NFT sales.”

  • Anybody looking at synthetic training programs would recognize elements from game consoles, arcade games, or flight simulators; the crucial difference is that participants are learning skills that would otherwise be too expensive or risky to acquire.
  • “Project Tripoli will provide the Marine Corps with a virtual environment that embeds with live training in order for Marines to gain experience with emerging systems and capabilities across all domains,” said Capt. Phillip Parker is a spokesperson for Training and Education Command, U.S. Marine Corps.

  • As the Marines work on integrating weapons systems and teaching how to coordinate actions, the sector has dozens of companies competing to capture an expected 4.67% yearly growth rate to 2026, according to Technavio, a market research company.

  • German car manufacturer BMW plans to integrate blockchain technology into its daily operations and create a blockchain loyalty program for its customers in Thailand. The popular carmaker has onboarded blockchain infrastructure firm Coinweb as its decentralized architecture provider and BNB Chain for settling transactions.
  • The integration of blockchain technology into BMW’s workflow will take place in two phases. First, the decentralized tech will be integrated into BMW’s daily operations to automate time-consuming manual processes and streamline the company’s automobile financing services. The project's second phase would see Coinweb develop a customized Web3 application for BMW’s customer loyalty program. The program will use a blockchain-based rewards scheme to incentivize BMW Group customers.

  • Despite everything tech has weathered this year, in 2023, the metaverse and web3 will get their own dedicated space—this time in the Las Vegas Convention Center’s (LVCC) Central Hall.

  • Coindesk’s Web3 Studio, located in the LVCC Central Hall, will be a focal point of web3, the metaverse, and blockchain. CoinDesk will host industry leaders and visionaries as they discuss the most impactful developments across industries, technologies, and capabilities.

  • While the current situation to many may seem to be a “metaverse winter,” it is, for the organizers, springtime.

  • Today, Salesforce introduced its Web3 Advisory Board, a select group of technology leaders and innovators from across industries and disciplines who provide guidance on how Salesforce can help its customers enter the world of web3 in a trusted, responsible, and sustainable way.

  • Why it’s important: web3 has tremendous potential to elevate and deepen customer relationships across the physical and digital worlds. However, according to Salesforce's recent State of Marketing report, 46% of marketers don’t currently have a web3 strategy. Salesforce is working with trusted industry experts as it identifies web3 opportunities and builds product and marketing roadmaps for its customers.

  • Brands contend with fragmentation. Today, a typical media mix for a major advertiser includes influencer campaigns, paid social, short-form video, TV ads, email, performance marketing, and more. Once you find your community across this fractured ecosystem, your relationship with it is mediated. You’re reliant on third-party platforms and limited by third-party data.

  • Web3 offers an alternative. What non-fungible token-based experiences empower, above all else, is connection. You can encode rights in a way that remunerates creators. You can give communities a stake in what they love. You can make pieces that point to what’s possible with art and technology – pieces that live, breathe and react to the moment. Most of all, you can create something that fans see themselves in, whether it’s a generative collection that renders comic canon uniquely personal or an editioned series that makes you confront your own value system.

  • A viable market for consumer use of augmented reality, where simulated images are overlaid on one's view of the world, as by goggles, is probably five years away, according to Peggy Johnson, chief executive officer of Magic Leap, the pioneering maker of AR gear. 
  • Johnson, who came aboard in August of 2020 after many years at Microsoft, and before that, chip giant Qualcomm, has redirected Magic Leap from what was mostly a consumer sensation in that first headset to a very different focus on sales to business users -- "the most immersive augmented reality headset for enterprise," as the company terms it.

  • With the many possibilities opened by ChatGPT, executives within the web3 space predicted how the artificial intelligence (AI) tool developed by OpenAI would make its impact on the industry. From using the bot for smart contract auditing to enhancing user interactions with AI, various executives gave their thoughts on how the new AI tool will impact the web3 industry. 
  • Dmitry Mishunin, the CEO of the smart contract auditing firm HashEx, believes that ChatGPT will influence the security of smart contracts. XinFin senior advisor Doug Brooks also believes that ChatGPT has the potential to be used in the development and testing of smart contracts. Monica Oravcova, the co-founder of the cybersecurity firm Naoris Protocol, said there could be a potential spike in breaches as the AI will expose vulnerabilities that need to be addressed.

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