January 24, 2023

Metaverse Highlights: Week of January 24, 2023

This week’s news highlight three trends:

  • First, art and fashion remain the two most active industries to embrace the metaverse, generating new user experiences by the day. For instance, American brand Calvin Klein recently celebrated Lunar New Year with a fashion-themed web3 game dubbed “Unleash Your Inner Explorer.” More broadly, despite the crypto crash, the fashion NFT sector has accumulated over $245 million collectively – making it a lucrative playing ground for digital innovators. 
  • Second, feelings about the metaverse continue to be mixed among engineers andconsumers. According to a recent report, 45% of game developers believe that “the metaverse concept will never deliver on its promise.” 

  • Third, amidst growing skepticism about crypto, Polygon (a layer-2 ecosystem on Ethereum) continues to offer real value and has become the by-default partner for large companies seeking to experiment in the space. Meta‘s Instagram has enabled NFTs on Polygon, Stripe is using Polygon for payments, and Starbucks is using it for a new NFT loyalty program. With serious firms playing the long game like Polygon, crypto might come back from the dead – ready to build for good.


  • The metaverse continues to be a central talking point among leaders and decision-makers in global industries. For many, the vision of the future of the metaverse is broader than a gamified version of reality.

  • At the World Economic Forum (WEF) 2023 in Davos, Switzerland, a panel of experts came together to discuss a global idea of an industrialized metaverse. With echoes of the industrial revolution, the industrialized metaverse will bring Web3 technologies into industries that are at play in everyday life.

  • The “Deployment in the Industrialized Metaverse” discussion started with Abdullah Alswaha, the minister of communications and information technology in Saudi Arabia, expressing that digital engagement’s current reality doesn’t match its potential.

  • American brand Calvin Klein celebrates Lunar New Year with a fashion-themed web3 game dubbed “Unleash Your Inner Explorer.” The brand partnered with the metaverse platform for cross-game avatars, Ready Player Me, to develop the experience.

  • The campaign is aimed at customers based in Hong Kong, Japan, Taiwan, Korea, Singapore, and Malaysia. However, international users can also play the game by scanning the QR code on a dedicated page

  • Calvin Klein gives its Asian-based customers a chance to win various prizes by playing three Ready Per Me-powered games. For instance, one of the games includes catching the Chinese New Year rabbits. To participate, users need to dress their RPM avatars with fresh pieces from the rabbit capsule collection. In addition, fashion lovers can claim new Calvin Klein outfits for their avatars and share their outfits’ pictures with the community. 

  • Over the last year, the collision of art and NFTs has been discussed largely in terms of sales and markets, especially given the ongoing decline in cryptocurrency values. Still more interesting conversations have been about the impact each had on the other. 
  • With the fall in cryptocurrency values, an exodus in trading cartoony collectibles left many wondering if NFTs are finished. But the steady stream of projects and self-generated criticism reveals new levels of attention within the NFT art scene. 

  • Meanwhile, museums have shown scholarly interest in the possibility of NFTs, with MoMA presenting salons and the newly rebranded Buffalo AKG (formerly Albright-Knox Gallery) accessioning work from its benefit auction Peer to Peer.

  • The Seoul Metropolitan Government on Monday launched a metaverse platform for users to travel to the capital and handle administrative tasks remotely. Metaverse Seoul, available on Google Play and the Apple Store, allows users to play games, chat, hold meetings, get advice on starting and running a business, visit famous tourist attractions in Seoul, ask questions of the city’s 120 Dasan Call Center and download administrative documents such as resident registration certificates. For foreigners, conversations are translated into English via Google Translate. 

  • In a briefing on Monday at City Hall, Seoul Mayor Oh Se-hoon said he hoped the platform would facilitate communication between the city and its residents while making it easier for people to complete administrative tasks.  

  • Asked about a possible digital divide - that older residents might not be comfortable using the platform - Oh admitted that it was the biggest problem the city was trying to solve. “Older people will need more time to get used to it, and that’s why we’re thinking about running something called an ‘easy mode’ in the second phase [of development], which will allow older people to use the services more easily.”

  • The metaverse has been much hyped over the last year. But finding the same enthusiasm among game creators — the people often tasked with building it — is tougher. According to the Game Developer Conference’s (GDC) State of the Game Industry 2023 report, which surveyed over 2,300 game developers, game makers don’t believe in the promise of the metaverse. They don’t put much stock in blockchain technology, either.
  • The likeliest candidate for metaverse ambitions is Epic Games’ “Fortnite,” according to 14% of respondents. Meta and “Minecraft” got 7% of the votes each. “Roblox” got fewer votes at 5%. But despite these mild votes of confidence, 45% of respondents — a plurality — believe that “the metaverse concept will never deliver on its promise.”

  • The survey did not indicate if the 45% who were skeptical about the metaverse were also employees who had to work on metaverse-related products, the survey organizers told The Washington Post.

  • The metaverse looks set to change the way we work and play. Unfortunately, despite hopes that the metaverse might be a platform that has more parity, research by McKinsey shows discernible gender inequality, especially when it comes to women in leadership roles.

  • In the past five years, metaverse companies led by men received a higher share of total entrepreneurial funding than metaverse companies led by women––90% to 10%. Men received $107 billion in funding; women got $5 billion. The findings are based on the data of 4,186 founders.

  • Ironically, the research also found that when women are active in the metaverse they’re more likely to be power users (35% compared to 29%), and they are also spearheading and implementing more metaverse initiatives.

  • NFTs — whether you love them or hate them, recent findings have shown that the market continues to hold potential despite the crypto winter. In its latest report, blockchain analytics platform Dune unveiled that the fashion NFT sector has accumulated over $245 million collectively, thanks to leading players in the virtual space such as Tiffany & Co. and Adidas. 

  • Though NFTs remain divisive, the stats aren’t surprising. Dolce & Gabbana’s token sales alone have generated $23.68 million, while RTFKT and Nike continue to break records with sell-out drops. Dunes’ study outlines how the sportswear giant has earned $91.2 million in royalties and brought in another $93.1 million in revenue, with sales totaling over $184.31 million.

  • The rise of Web3 rocked the status quo of the industry. But change is inevitable. Despite divisive opinions, major brands are still going ahead with pushing their NFT roadmaps.

  • The cryptocurrency lender Genesis Global Holdco filed for bankruptcy late on Thursday, the latest crypto company to do so after the collapse of FTX, the exchange founded by Sam Bankman-Fried.

  • A year ago, Genesis and a group of other large lending firms drew millions of customers with the promise that they could deposit their crypto holdings and earn sky-high returns. But Genesis’ bankruptcy filing makes it the fourth major crypto lender to fail since last spring, when a downturn in the digital asset market sent prices plunging. Other major lenders that have gone out of business include Celsius Network and Voyager Digital, whose customers lost billions of dollars in deposits.

  • Genesis survived for longer but suffered in the fallout from FTX’s implosion. In November, Genesis said it was freezing withdrawals, citing “market turmoil” caused by the bankruptcy of Bankman-Fried’s business.

  • During a panel at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, Chris Cox, chief product officer at Meta, said the metaverse will one day become as essential as smartphones.

  • Before the metaverse can be what Meta envisions it to be, it needs to work like a smartphone, Cox said. "I think the Internet is a very good way of thinking about the metaverse, because some parts of the internet are very coherent with each other," Cox said at the panel, noting that it is not yet as seamless as switching from one app to another on a smartphone.

  • As we begin a new year, there's one cryptocurrency that has the momentum of a different type that could make it the Ethereum of 2023. That's Polygon, the blockchain that's become the go-to for corporate America. 
  • Polygon is a Layer 2 blockchain built on top of Ethereum. It combines transactions together and then puts one transaction on the main Ethereum blockchain. The idea is to lower the cost of each transaction and make the blockchain more scalable while still being able to use Ethereum's infrastructure. 

  • Corporate partners have flooded to Polygon, in part because of its scalability and development resources and in part because Polygon is paying millions of dollars to attract them. Meta‘s Instagram has enabled NFTs on its platform, Stripe is using Polygon for payments, and Starbucks is using it for a new NFT loyalty program.

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