June 8, 2023

Metaverse Highlights: Week of June 08, 2023

This week’s highlights fall under three  distinct themes with continuing news at the industry level:

  • Apple News:. First, Apple unveiled its long-awaited entry into virtual reality, or what the tech giant calls “spatial computing,” in the form of the Apple Vision Pro, a $3,500 device that looks like futuristic ski goggles. The initial reviews were mixed, but Apple’s doubters have been wrong before–and if successful, the company could reshape the space and single-handedly make the metaverse mainstream. Second, as Apple unveils its new device, experts reflect on the transformative effects of the metaverse. 

  • Calibrating Expectations for the Metaverse - We feature three pieces that examine the industry’s trajectory and explain the fundamental economics of it all. 

  • Current  Regulatory Interventions - In more blows to the cryptocurrency sector, two of its biggest players were sued this week by the Securities and Exchange Commission: On Monday, the agency filed charges against Binance, the world’s biggest exchange, and the next day it accused Coinbase, the only publicly listed exchange in the United States, of violating securities laws. The move signals the beginning of a regulatory crackdown on crypto, which could provide much-needed stability for the space or make it unviable. 

  • Continuing Disrupting Events in  Industries - The metaverse and web3 technologies still continue to impact how various industries do business now and in the future. This week, we highlight how these burgeoning technologies are being used in the fashion world, education, and event ticketing.

The alignment of the developments in these areas , and how they come together will determine the future of the metaverse.


Apple News

The bottom line: It’s here: Apple unveiled its long-awaited entry into virtual reality, or what the tech giant calls “spatial computing,” in the form of the Apple Vision Pro, a $3,500 device that looks like exquisitely designed futuristic ski goggles. The initial reviews were mixed and skeptics questioned whether even Apple could make virtual reality anything more than a niche technology. But boosters say that if any company can make it mainstream, it’s Apple with its ecosystem of two billion iPhone, iPad and Mac users.

The bottom line: The aspects of Vision Pro that may be bad for Apple’s bottom line are good for humanity. The goggles, in their clunkiness and their creepiness, capture the type of existence an always-on portal to the internet would invite — one in which it seems as though users are connecting with one another when really they’re more cut off than ever. While the most worrying result for Apple might be that this product never takes off (though its skeptics have been wrong before), the most worrying result for the rest of us may be that, eventually, it will.

Callibrating Expectations for the Metaverse

The bottom line: Many of the technologies that we vaguely group together today and call “the metaverse” will play a vital part in the next iteration of our digital lives–whatever we call it. And clearing up some common misconceptions could help us to visualize what it will look like and help to prepare for the day it arrives. So, here are five of the most common misconceptions about the metaverse.

The bottom line: In recent years, we have seen steady progress in the development of the metaverse. Advances in generative AI are opening the door to further possibilities in the creation of virtual worlds. Against this backdrop, Borkkings is featuring a three-part series on the economics of the metaverse. This is the first part, focusing on the fundamental sources of value creation in the metaverse, from which much of the promise of the metaverse derives. It explores how the metaverse lifts some of the constraints and scarcity imposed by the physical world we inhabit.

The bottom line: The Metaverse is all about digital agency. It gives people control over their own digital information, allowing them to own their data and decide who has access to it. This is an important step towards decentralization, which is the idea that power and control should be spread out rather than concentrated in the hands of a few. With the Metaverse, people can own their data and control how it is used, which is a fundamental shift from the current state of affairs where data is largely controlled by a handful of tech giants.

Current Regulatory Interventions

The bottom line: The Securities and Exchange Commission on Monday accused Binance, the world’s largest cryptocurrency exchange, of mishandling customer funds and lying to American regulators and investors about its operations, in a sweeping case that has the potential to remake the landscape of power and wealth within crypto. In the 136-page complaint, the S.E.C. said Binance had mixed billions of dollars in customer funds and secretly sent them to a separate company, Merit Peak Limited, which is controlled by Binance’s founder, Changpeng Zhao.

The bottom line: The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) sued U.S crypto exchange Coinbase (COIN) on allegations of violating federal securities law, a day after filing a similar suit against Binance. According to the SEC, Coinbase has operated as an unregistered broker, exchange and clearing agency simultaneously, arguing that it solicited customers, handled orders, allowed for bids and acted as an intermediary all at once. "The Coinbase Platform merges three functions that are typically separated in traditional securities markets," the SEC said.

The bottom line: The S.E.C.’s chair, Gary Gensler, has long insisted that most crypto tokens are securities, and therefore fall under the agency’s jurisdiction. Many digital asset enthusiasts — including some regulators and lawmakers — say Mr. Gensler is overreaching. There are notable similarities between this week’s cases. The S.E.C. accuses both Binance and Coinbase of operating securities exchanges and selling digital assets that it says should have been registered.

Continuing Disrupting Industries

The bottom line: A lot of popular brands have forayed into metaverse and acknowledged that entering the web3 space and metaverse is the most viable move for the industry both financially and non-financially. Among other lux brands, Gucci, Jimmy Choo, Dolce & Gabbana, Louis, Prada, Tommy Hilfiger, and Ralph Lauren have also entered the space. Sportswear giants like Nike have also joined the metaverse bandwagon in the last couple of years. Experts call it a “natural progression” into the digital transformation going on in the fashion industry.

The bottom line: The metaverse in the education market is expected to grow from USD 3.9 billion in 2023 to USD 19.3 billion by 2028 at a Compound Annual Growth Rate (CAGR) of 37.7%.When the current educational system is criticized for being disconnected from the real world, the metaverse can help create virtual worlds that enable teachers to communicate with students regardless of geographic restrictions. Metaverse also helps provide immersive learning environments where students, instructors, and staff can explore and interact with concepts and scenarios.

The bottom line: Fan experience-related blockchain efforts centered on universal identity and blockchain ticketing projects are still of interest to the sports world despite the tech’s sudden fade into the background and AI’s equally sudden seizure of the zeitgeist. The Professional Fighters League, Formula One and SI Tickets have all recently launched NFT ticketing programs on blockchains.

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