November 7, 2022

Metaverse Highlights: Week of November 7, 2022

This week, as the media focuses on Meta’s difficulties, other players continue building tomorrow's internet. Fortnite and Polo Ralph Lauren recently joined forces to launch a virtual-physical collection of goods. Salesforce, the cloud-based software company, is set to introduce a new NFT marketplace – as is Instagram. Meanwhile, Bitcoin prices are stabilizing, indicating that we may be close to the end of the so-called “crypto winter.”

Overall, these developments are positive for the metaverse sector as a whole, bringing seriousness and expertise to the space. The question is whether this positive trend will continue in the short to medium term.

  • For the past few months, bitcoin’s price has bounced stubbornly around $20,000, a sign that market volatility has settled.
  • Bitcoin’s 20-day rolling volatility fell below that of the Nasdaq and S&P 500 indexes for the first time since 2020, according to data from crypto research firm Kaiko.
  • “Bitcoin being stuck in such a range does make it boring, but this is also when retail loses interest, and smart money starts to accumulate,” Vijay Ayyar of crypto exchange Luno told CNBC.
  • In a recent memo, Goldman Sachs suggested we may be close to the end of a “particularly bearish” period in the latest cycle of crypto movements.

  • Despite showing signs that its social media business isn’t what it once was, Meta’s Facebook and Instagram networks are still undeniably massive, with established revenue fundamentals.
  • It’s clear from their recent earnings call that analysts would rather the company and Zuckerberg spend their time and focus on making the most of what it has already achieved in contemporary social media.
  • Meta is also very experienced and arguably quite good at one thing in particular: Cloning the features of its rivals.
  • In this context, a more practical opportunity could provide much more achievable short-term success: Twitter is having an identity crisis under new owner Elon Musk.

  • While some fashion and lifestyle labels have yet to take on the metaverse or have been slow to engage consumers via the world wide web, Ralph Lauren has prided itself on being a leader within the virtual space.
  • Epic Games’ wildly popular title, Fortnite, boats more than 400 million users across its solo gaming and squad gaming services.
  • Conceived as a digital-first initiative, the Polo Ralph Lauren x Fortnite collaboration involves a capsule collection of items that will be made available for the Fortnite game.
  • Both digital and physical items have been created for the capsule, while this also marks the first time in the brand’s history that its iconic “Polo Pony” logo has been redesigned (specifically for this launch).

  • Salesforce, the cloud-based software company specializing in customer relationship management (CRM), is set to introduce new features to its offering, including NFT Cloud and the social media platform TikTok.
  • Salesforce NFT Cloud, a new non-fungible token marketplace, will allow users to mint, manage, and sell NFTs while being a no-code platform.
  • "We're making it much easier for merchants to engage in channels on all social channels like Facebook, Instagram, and Snapchat [and create] relevant offers for their customers through automated feeds and curation," said Scot Gillespie, executive vice president and general manager of Salesforce Commerce Cloud.

  • The UPS Store, the world's largest franchisor of retail shipping, postal, print, and business service centers and a subsidiary of UPS, and Mansueto Ventures, the parent company of Fast Company magazine, have collaborated to create a first-of-its-kind metaverse marketplace.
  • "The Helping You Be Unstoppable Store" is a three-story immersive experience for small-business owners (SBOs). The Helping You Be Unstoppable Store will regularly add content, so SBOs can return for new insights to help them be unstoppable as they explore this vibrant and fast-growing metaverse world.

  • Hong Kong-based Animoca began as an indie game studio in 2014, growing into a blockchain gaming powerhouse. 
  • As crypto markets have cooled, it has held faith in the blockchain play-and-earn model and continued to transform into a venture capital-style firm, now invested in over 380 Web3-related businesses.
  • In this interview, co-founder and executive chairman of Animoca Brands argues that crypto, “which enables property rights for virtual goods, presents us with an opportunity to shape a more equitable form of capitalism.”

  • Meta has started to roll out features that let creators sell NFTs on Instagram, according to information shared with NFT Now.
  • To kick-start this process, Instagram has made new features available to a select group of creators on its platform. More creators will be onboarded in the coming weeks.
  • Meta spokesperson Christine Pai told NFT Now that when digital collectibles are purchased on Instagram, neither the creator nor the collector will need to pay any gas fees. However, she stated that this would be true “at launch,” indicating that this may eventually change.

  • Binance chief Changpeng ‘CZ’ Zhao aims to ensure crypto and Web3 are part of Twitter’s future after backing Elon Musk’s takeover of the social media platform, he said in an interview.
  • “We want to make sure crypto has a seat at the table when it comes to free speech,” Zhao told CNBC, adding that “there are more tactical things like we want to bring Twitter into Web3 when they’re ready.”
  • Binance has invested $500 million in Musk’s takeover and is already creating an internal team that will use blockchain to assist the billionaire in his battle on bot accounts.

  • Alice Delahunt, who led digital strategies at fashion brands including Burberry and Ralph Lauren, is going all-in on digital fashion with the launch of her own company.
  • Syky (pronounced “psyche”) is a blockchain-enabled platform that aims to bridge the gap between emerging digital fashion talent, the mainstream fashion industry, and consumers.
  • While anchored in the new technologies enabling digital fashion, it will span digital, physical, and augmented reality. The company aims to be both business-to-business in terms of connecting the dots between fashion and tech, and consumer-facing.  

  • Meta faces two major strategic challenges. The first is its issues with younger users; teens have proved much less interested in joining Facebook and Instagram than their older siblings were. This is especially a problem for Meta because successful social media services also rely on network effects.
  • The second problem Meta faces is that people increasingly access it through mobile apps — and Apple has made it harder for apps to track users. That makes Facebook much less valuable to advertisers, who can no longer target their ads precisely.
  • Profitable companies in such precarious positions basically have two options: They can try to milk their cash cow for all it’s worth and return that money to the shareholders while understanding that the operation might eventually have to wind down. Or they can take some of that cash and bet it on a Hail Mary.

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