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Advertisers Look to Capitalize on the Metaverse Hype – Business Insider

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As hype builds around the topic of the “metaverse,” ad agencies are racing to position themselves as experts on the concept, where consumers are expected to interact with each other — and presumably brands — in virtual spaces using digital avatars.
While the history of the metaverse can be traced back to science fiction novels written decades ago and versions of it have long been key features of popular games like “Roblox” and “Fortnite,” the concept was given a major boost this summer by Facebook. The company has said it will spend $10 billion this year on its Facebook Reality Labs division and that it plans to hire around 10,000 workers in the coming years to work on its metaverse project. Facebook is even expected to unveil a metaverse-related rebrand at its annual conference later on Thursday. 
“Our goal is to help the metaverse reach a billion people and hundreds of billions of dollars of digital commerce this decade,” Facebook Chief Executive Mark Zuckerberg said earlier this week.
Advertising agencies have been quick to leap on the opportunity, adding “metaverse” slides to their client presentations and staffing up their ranks with metaverse experts — though some marketers are wary about jumping in with both feet right away.
S4 Capital’s digital creative and production agency Media.Monks is heavily leaning into the metaverse concept. The agency has worked with the NBA to bring basketball games to VR, produced a virtual concert with Post Malone to mark Pokémon’s 25th anniversary, and is working for Facebook on its metaverse marketing material.
“Everyone from Sir Martin on down is working in Workrooms,” said Media.Monks Director of Creative Solutions Lewis Smithingham, referring to S4 Capital Founder and Executive Chairman Sir Martin Sorrell and Facebook’s Horizon Workrooms mixed-reality collaboration software.
“If you don’t have a metaverse strategy right now, it’s 1999 and you don’t have a web strategy,” Smithingham said.
He added that Media.Monks is in talks with “three of the top 10” biggest companies in the S&P 500 about becoming their “metaverse partner of record.”
Vayner Media’s new VaynerNFT division — “NFT” referring to nonfungible tokens, popularized through digital collectibles — is currently hiring for more than a dozen new roles with “metaverse” in the job description. The division has worked with brands including Budweiser and the US Open on NFT projects.
Vayner saw an opportunity to “help intellectual prosperity owners — brands, celebrities, artists — tell their stories in the new world of the metaverse,” said VaynerNFT President Avery Akkineni. “NFTs are the first step in that direction in building for a ‘Web3’ world.”
 
Elsewhere, large holding companies are increasingly creating gaming and entertainment divisions. Jason Velliquette, EVP of digital at agency consulting firm R3, describes such units as “the gateway teams that will eventually lead to dedicated metaverse teams.” 
Indeed, earlier this month, Dan Holland, SVP of Dentsu’s newly launched dedicated gaming division, and Alex May, Dentsu managing partner of strategy, recently gave a presentation aimed at marketers, entitled: “Gaming: Highway to the metaverse.”
“Gaming is a good testbed for the metaverse,” said Holland. “With any client talking to us it’s about: how can you show up as a brand? What would a digital store or a digital product look like?”
The adtech sector is also entering the metaverse. This week, gaming-focused adtech firm Admix raised a $25 million Series B round that the company said it plans to use to invest in metaverse-focused ad products.
“The metaverse is the next step beyond games to the evolution of the internet as a whole, powered by Web3, and that ultimate way to consume content,” said Admix CEO Samuel Huber. “The big question is: How is a brand going to engage with consumers in this new medium? It’s not about reach and frequency and clicks; what can we define that makes sense of this world?”  
Advertising experts said that while some marketers have shown an interest in exploring what the metaverse might mean to their businesses, most people in the marketing community think it will take years for the metaverse to evolve from a buzzword to a fully fledged, widely adopted way of using the web. Some are skeptical about whether their brands should play there at all.
“I don’t think most people are thinking through, in a structured way, how do we make this a safe space?” said Jessica Spence, president of brands Beam Suntory, who said the spirits giant would steer clear for now until appropriate metaverse guardrails are set in place.
Even marketers who are keen to begin developing an early metaverse strategy could have a hard time securing internal investment for it.
 
“It’s poorly understood, intangible, limited in measurement and maturity, and, on a more practical level, brands may struggle to apportion budget to something which does not neatly fit in a media or content box,” said Ryan Kangisser, managing partner of strategy at media advisory firm MediaSense. 
There’s also the question of which department inside a business should be responsible for metaverse projects at this early stage in the concept’s development.
“Can marketing be trusted to create the market in an unproven space, arguably using capex, and in so doing own the investment ahead of time in the full knowledge there will be no payout in the calendar year of investment?,” said Richard Robinson, managing director of marketing consulting firm Oystercatchers.
Still, with the metaverse set to grab more headlines in the coming months — as Facebook’s Connect event will no-doubt attest on Thursday — marketers can expect to field questions from their c-suite colleagues about how the concept could apply to their businesses. And with Bloomberg Intelligence forecasting 3D social worlds in the metaverse could generate $800 billion in revenue by 2024, agencies will be keen to step up to help them fill in the blanks.
“When a nation state like Facebook stakes a claim, you’re obliged to pay attention for all sorts of reasons, from cultural to economic, regardless of whether they are successful in this pivot — and there’s reasons to believe they will be based on” Facebook’s successful pivot to mobile, said Andrew Essex, CEO of advertising consultancy firm GoingConcern.
“When Facebook sneezes, the world buys tissues.”
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BlackRock digs further into crypto with metaverse ETF – FinanceFeeds

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Lamina1 Presents Inaugural “Open Metaverse Conference” Connecting the Worlds of Blockchain and the Metaverse for a Next-Gen Internet – Business Wire

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Featuring a keynote from co-founder and futurist Neal Stephenson, the first-of-its-kind event aims to empower creators and coders to build the Open Metaverse together
LOS ANGELES–(BUSINESS WIRE)–Lamina1, a Layer 1 blockchain optimized for the Open Metaverse, today announced its role as founding sponsor of the Open Metaverse Conference, a first-of-its-kind industry event bringing together the worlds of the Metaverse and Web3 to build a more open and immersive Internet. The two-day conference will take place from February 8-9, 2023 in Los Angeles, California, and will gather experts and builders spanning Metaverse experiences, Web3, and entertainment.

Co-founded by Neal Stephenson, renowned futurist and science fiction author who originally coined the term “Metaverse,” and cryptocurrency pioneer Peter Vessenes, founder of the first VC-backed Bitcoin company, Lamina1 will provide the infrastructure to empower rapid expansion of the Open Metaverse. As the founding sponsor of the Open Metaverse Conference, Lamina1 will provide a forum for critical conversations around identity, privacy and interoperability, while exploring how audience engagement, creative storytelling, and the technicalities of blockchain can work hand-in-hand to make the vision of the Open Metaverse a reality.
The Open Metaverse Conference will feature keynotes from renowned technologists and storytellers who are pioneering visions for the next era of the Internet. Attendees will hear from Lamina1 co-founders Neal Stephenson and Peter Vessenes, as well as Philip Rosedale, founder of virtual world Second Life (Linden Lab) and co-founder of virtual platform High Fidelity, John Gaeta, Oscar-winning VFX pioneer (The Matrix) and CCO of character persona company Inworld AI, Cathy Hackl, Metaverse and Web3 strategist and founder of design consultancy Journey, and other industry crossover leaders to be announced. Keynote sessions will be complemented by diverse speakers and side events spanning games, art, entertainment, and commerce. To connect these key areas of culture with the technology that enables them, the Open Metaverse Conference will also facilitate technological deep dives for attendees from leaders in Web3, immersive computing, and technology standards groups. Presenting partners include the Metaverse Standards Forum, the Open Metaverse Interoperability Group, and the Open Metaverse Alliance for Web3 (OMA3), all organizations fostering interoperability.
“We are at a moment in time when developers, creatives, and producers can finally design the seamless and persistent experiences we’ve dreamed about,” said Jamil Moledina, Vice President of Games Partnerships and Media at Lamina1. “The Open Metaverse Conference will serve as the big tent for everyone who’s thinking about creating never-before-possible experiences that allow creators and consumers to enter unique virtual worlds on a level playing field.”
“OMA3 is pleased to collaborate with Lamina1 and the Open Metaverse Conference in promoting interoperability,” said Robby Yung, CEO of Animoca Brands. “OMA3 looks forward to developing talk tracks to encourage the creation of a more open and immersive internet.”
The conference will encourage interdisciplinary dialogue through debates, pitch sessions, roundtable discussions, and networking opportunities to help drive new ideas and connections.
“We felt a real sense of urgency to facilitate discussion with our colleagues and creators across the spectrum,” said Rebecca Barkin, President of Lamina1. “We know that the Open Metaverse will be built collaboratively and with a set of shared values, and we’re happy to provide this forum to address the needs of the community and to solve big problems together.”
For more information on the Open Metaverse Conference, visit www.openmetaverseconf.com.
About Open Metaverse Conference 
The Open Metaverse Conference (OMC) is an industry-first event presented by Lamina1 focused on bringing together the Metaverse and blockchain technology. The conference gathers key stakeholders spanning developers, creatives, producers, product owners, and executives to ask and address big questions around the development of a truly Open Metaverse that leverages open-source, collaborative principles and blockchain decentralization.
About Lamina1 
Lamina1 is a Layer1 blockchain optimized for the Open Metaverse. The brainchild of legendary futurist Neal Stephenson (who first conceptualized the term “Metaverse” in his 1992 best-selling novel Snow Crash) and Peter Vessenes, a foundational leader in the crypto space from the early days of Bitcoin – Lamina1 is on a mission to deliver the blockchain technology, interoperating tools, and decentralized services that will establish it as the preferred destination for creators building a more immersive Internet. It is the first provably carbon-negative blockchain in the world.
K.C. Maas
Wachsman
kc.maas@wachsman.com
K.C. Maas
Wachsman
kc.maas@wachsman.com

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