July 18, 2022

Metaverse Highlights: Week of July 18, 2022

This week, crypto is coming back from the dead. Bitcoin has gained more than 15% in the past week, and other currencies–as well as public companies in the space–are regaining value. Meanwhile, the Metaverse continues its ever-accelerating expansion. Cartoonists are selling NFTs in the largest auction of its kind; PUMA joins other brands by announcing a series of Metaverse-focused initiatives; a premium architecture firm launches a collection of 5,000 skyscraper NFTs; and a famous skateboarder skates in the ‘largest virtual skatepark ever made.’ For creators and companies, the Metaverse remains a non-negotiable part of the future. On the thought-leader front, Matthew Ball – venture capitalist and author of the upcoming book The Metaverse: And How it Will Revolutionize Everything – releases a series of essays and interviews on the importance (and risks) of the Metaverse. Given the pace of adoption, Ball’s contributions seem more relevant than ever.

Crypto is Making a Big comeback. Will it last?

  • Bitcoin has lost more than half its value in 2022, and the year has been just as terrible for the owners of other crypto-related assets such as Coinbase.
  • But there are hopes that the worst for crypto might be over. Bitcoin has gained more than 15% in the past week, and two other top cryptos have surged even more. Solana is up more than 35% in the past seven days while ethereum, or ether for short, has climbed nearly 45%. Ether, the second-most valuable crypto, is widely used to finance purchases of non-fungible tokens, or NFTs, the digital assets that have taken the collectibles world by storm.
  • Coinbase has rallied as well, and was up 9% on Monday. Software company MicroStrategy, which had nearly 130,000 bitcoins on its balance sheet as of June 30, has soared more than 35% in the past five days.The crypto comeback could be validation for the sector's biggest supporters. At the same time, it should also serve as a reminder that the nascent market is likely to remain volatile for the foreseeable future.

In Time, Matthew Ball Provides a Comprehensive Vision of the Metaverse’s Future – and of the Risks Associated With it.

  • Much has been written of Facebook’s name change to “Meta” and the more than $10 billion it now loses each year on its metaverse initiatives. But another six of the largest public companies in the world—Amazon, Apple, Google, Microsoft, Nvidia, Tencent—have also been busy preparing for the metaverse.
  • Nearly all of the aforementioned work has, thus far, remained invisible to the average person. Rather like the metaverse itself.
  • The metaverse, a 30-year-old term but nearly century-old idea, is forming around us. Every few decades, a platform shift occurs—such as that from mainframes to PCs and the internet, or the subsequent evolution to mobile and cloud computing. Once a new era has taken shape, it’s incredibly difficult to alter who leads it and how. But between eras, those very things usually do change. If we hope to build a better future, then we must be as aggressive about shaping it as are those who are investing to build it.

The Future of NFTs in Sports Isn’t Digital-only, Says Candy Digital’s Scott Lawin.

  • If you’ve been paying attention to the markets in recent weeks, you might be a little gun-shy talking about NFTs in front of an audience of savvy sports business people and executives. But Candy Digital’s Scott Lawin didn’t seem daunted by the crypto crash, instead educating the crowd at the Horizon Summit at Levi’s Stadium in Santa Clara, Calif., about what he and his company see as the future of digital collectibles … one that isn’t just digital.
  • "We really see a continuum between digital-only, digital/physical, and digital/experiential," Lawin said today. "Some will want a physical item, like a signed baseball. If they’re lucky enough, they might get a first pitch with the Phillies or a meet-and-greet between players and fans."
  • Lawin then continued to dig into how NFTs need to do more than just paint a pretty picture of a moment. Digital collectibles could go deeper, such as calling up Lou Gehrig’s “Luckiest Man in the World” speech in an NFT. Digital tickets could be more than just collectibles, Lawin maintained: They could be platforms that delivered more than memorable moments from a game. They could be used for sponsorship platforms, jumping off points for ecommerce (like gear or more tickets), or even an engagement platform for fans to discuss the game.

Ethereum’s “Merge” is Planned for September.

  • Tim Beiko of the Ethereum Foundation projected this week that the Merge – Ethereum’s long-anticipated transition to a new design – might take place the week of Sept. 19.
  • The Merge will see Ethereum switch from the energy-intensive proof-of-work (PoW) consensus mechanism brought to the fore by Bitcoin to a more efficient proof-of-stake (PoS) system. In addition to slicing the network’s energy use by 99.95%, some proof-of-stake proponents believe that switching mechanisms will introduce security and scaling benefits.
  • Today’s PoW mechanism, whereby miners compete to secure the network by solving complex computational puzzles, is the consensus algorithm that secures the Bitcoin blockchain, but it has been criticized for its high energy costs.

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