March 21, 2023

Metaverse Highlights: Week of March 21, 2023

This week, we highlight various NFT-related developments. The NFT art market faces uncertain prospects in 2023. On the one hand, the market shows signs of recovery after last year’s challenging “crypto winter,” with NFT trade volume in January 2023 the highest since June 2022. On the other hand, investor enthusiasm for the NFT sector seems to be fading, and the convergence between finance and art means that the investment cycle is shortening. 

In addition, n the minus side, Meta is sunsetting its digital collectibles features on Instagram and Facebook. On the plus side, major art institutions are re-asserting their leading role in the NFT market, and the world’s first physical NFT store is a massive success. 

Beyond NFTs, OpenAI CEO Sam Altman is exploring new ways to prove our humanity in the age of AI, and cities across the US and the world continue to bet on the metaverse. For those interested in this final development and in the metaverse more broadly, NYU’s Metaverse Collaborative is organizing the Cities and the Metaverse summit in April.


The bottom line: Research last year by ThoughtLab found that of 200 global cities surveyed, 44 said they are making investments to ensure that their cities are metaverse-ready. Seoul is the first out of the gate with Metaverse Seoul, which it says can serve as a model for other cities. Local government leaders from Rotterdam and Tampere to Santa Monica and Dubai are also experimenting or creating Metaverse plans.

The bottom line: Meta’s head of commerce and financial technologies, Stephane Kasriel, posted on Twitter that the company will sunset its NFT and digital collectibles features on Instagram and Facebook.This short-lived product began testing with select Instagram creators last May, plus some Facebook users in June. By July, Meta expanded NFT support on Instagram for creators in 100 countries. Less than a year later, Meta is moving on from NFTs.

The bottom line: Amazon is reportedly gearing up to launch an NFT marketplace, likely dubbed “Amazon NFT Marketplace” or “Amazon Digital Marketplace,” that may be available to customers in April. While there’s been no official announcement from Amazon, The Big Whale reports that the NFT marketplace could be unveiled on April 24 and claims that it would’ve been released sooner if not for the massive collapse of crypto exchange FTX.

The bottom line: The introduction of the digital arts and the emergence of the new media art scene have allowed women artists to become early adopters both of photography and alternate digital technologies such as VR as these novel mediums also allowed for political and artistic provocation of the accepted norms. Today, there is also greater awareness of this unequal tendency, so different organizations focus on balancing out the different groups of artists they represent.

The bottom line: Major art institutions are again asserting their leading role in the NFT market. Recent acquisitions of dozens of NFTs by the Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA) and the Paris-based Centre Pompidou indicate that some respected institutions are eager to document the history of crypto art. In the case of the latter, the acquisition was supported by the French Ministry of Culture. The involvement of art institutions will help the NFT art marketplace return to its original function of supporting a new form of artistic expression in the age of Web3.

The bottom line: Located in Dubai, the business and crypto center of the Middle East and North Africa region, Fastex’s ftNFT shop became the world’s first physical NFT store, offering a seamless interaction between the real world and the digital universe. In a short time, it garnered wide acclaim for its unique concept, friendly staff and exceptional customer service. Designed as a one-of-a-kind physical NFT shop, the store transforms purchasing an NFT into a social experience in the real world for customers.

The bottom line: More than three years ago, Sam Altman, the co-founder and CEO of OpenAI conceived of a new company that could serve first and foremost as proof-of-personhood in the age of artificial intelligence. Called Worldcoin, its three-part mission — to create a global ID, a global currency and an app that enables payment, purchases and transfers using its own token, along with other digital assets and traditional currencies — is as ambitious as it is technically complicated, but the opportunity is also vast.

The bottom line: The metaverse concept has gained significant attention in recent times due to its potential to address various world challenges, including sustainable real estate development. It offers a promising solution to the real estate industry by enabling developers to create virtual reality spaces that can be designed with a focus on developing sustainable and environmentally friendly liveable structures while experimenting with designs, materials, and layouts.

The bottom line: While the hype is around AI, a lot goes on behind the scenes to create a robust data infrastructure to enable meaningful AI. Low-quality data stored and shared inefficiently would lead to poor insights from the intelligence layer. The key question is how web3 technologies can tap into artificial intelligence in areas like data storage, data transfers and data intelligence. Each of these data capabilities may benefit from decentralized technologies, and firms are focusing on delivering them.

South China Morning Post, 4 ways the art world needs blockchain

The bottom line: Blockchain and bitcoin might go hand in hand, but what do blockchain and art have to do with each other? As it turns out, quite a lot actually. From verifying the authenticity and provenance of works, to spurring new forms of digital art through non-fungible tokens (NFTs), blockchain technology is having a huge impact on the art scene. This piece explores 4 use-cases to prove this point.

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