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In companies’ virtual worlds, the metaverse is getting real – BetaBoston

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Last Wednesday morning, I was scheduled to meet Alex Howland in the metaverse at 8:45 a.m.
I’d updated the software on my laptop, and my digital avatar was ready. But then a nor’easter knocked out the power at Howland’s home in Dartmouth.
What exactly is the metaverse, the concept that Facebook (err, Meta) has decided to rename its entire company after? The term was coined by the sci-fi novelist Neal Stephenson in his 1992 book “Snow Crash.” It’s a virtual world that you can enter, build things in, buy and sell goods and services in, and collaborate with others as a digital being. If you’ve seen the Steven Spielberg movie “Ready Player One,” much of the action takes place in a metaverse. If you’ve played the video games Minecraft or Animal Crossing — or you’ve been in Second Life — those are versions of the metaverse, too. It’s an always-there “place” you can visit, as opposed to a Zoom or Microsoft Teams meeting that exists only for a scheduled stretch of time.
The company that Howland has built, Virbela, is a pretty neat nascent example of the metaverse. You can download the software for free (the Web-based version isn’t as good) and create an avatar. Once in, you can roam around a “campus” that includes a conference center, offices, and outdoor spaces where you can kick a soccer ball, hike to a lighthouse on a bluff, or play a team-based strategy game. Two nice things about Virbela: you don’t need to own a pair of virtual reality goggles to enter it, and you also don’t need to have your camera on to communicate with others; all conversation happens via audio or text chat.
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Virbela was hatched in 2012 at the University of California San Diego. At the outset, it was a virtual space built for education. One early project involved business school students setting up their own car dealership in Virbela, competing to see who could sell the most cars. Pretty soon, though, companies began using the software as a place where employees could connect. One of those was a real estate firm, eXp Realty, that wanted to avoid spending money on brick-and-mortar offices for its agents as it expanded around the world. In 2018, it acquired Virbela, paying $11 million, according to a Securities and Exchange Commission filing.
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Up until the pandemic, Howland says, when he’d show the Virbela metaverse to someone “there were a lot of doubters — people who’d say this is not going to work. Then, they’ll jump in and play a game like Fortnite.” The popular game is in itself kind of a metaverse where players can not only fight one another, or dance at live concerts, but build structures in the Fortnite world.
Unfortunately, eXp Realty doesn’t break out Virbela’s revenues, but in March Howland wrote a blog post noting that it had added more than 300 new customers (including MIT, auditing firm PwC, and the NBA), increased its monthly subscription revenues 15 times over, and grown the Virbela employee base from 20 to more than 170. The company is technically headquartered in San Diego, but during the pandemic Howland has been spending a lot of time in Massachusetts. “When the pandemic hit, we started recruiting from all over,” he says. “We will never go back to that in office thing.” (The company does still maintain an office for some virtual reality contracting work it does with the Office of Naval Research, he says.)
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But we’re at a strange juncture, where people aren’t eager to commute to a “real” office, but they’re also not yet accustomed to hanging out in virtual offices, waiting to chat with colleagues or prospective customers who drop by in avatar form. Many of the business customers that Virbela serves, including the medical device maker Boston Scientific, are still “dipping their toes in,” Howland says, holding the occasional meeting or conference in the metaverse. Virbela’s owner, eXp Realty, has between 1,500 and 3,000 people on its virtual “campus” on a typical workday, he says. That’s out of 67,000 agents.
Because of last week’s storm, Howland and I wound up speaking by phone, rather than meeting in Virbela. But while we were talking, I dropped into Virbela’s own virtual office, and found no one there. (Yes, it was strange to be roaming the halls of someone else’s empty office, hearing only my footsteps. Howland explained that it gets busier later in the day, since many employees work on Pacific time.) I went to an empty conference center — in the past, I’ve been to virtual events held there — and then to an expo hall, where eventually a Virbela marketing staffer, Molly Evola, tracked me down to see if I needed anything. Howland had told her that I was roaming around.
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“We’re at the very beginning of this journey,” says J.P. Gownder, a principal analyst on the Future of Work team at Cambridge’s Forrester Research. Even though many organizations have been scrambling to find ways to get things done over the past 20 months, he says, we have “not necessarily reached the endpoint for how collaboration should happen in the future.” Zoom fatigue is real, Gownder adds, and “people are more burned out than ever.”
Gownder says that Virbela has competitors that include other startups such as Spatial, Teamflow, and Sophya, as well as bigger players like Facebook and Microsoft, which has a metaverse offering called Mesh. He sees these digital environments being used in the business world for conferences and special events, as well as employee training, but says that the incentives to be in a virtual office on a daily basis are still somewhat vague: “How does it integrate into all the other tools we communicate?” he asks. “These are not mature offerings at this point, but it is a great time for people to start experimenting.”
One open question for Virbela is how effectively it will be able to compete as a division of a larger company, Washington state-based eXp, that is focused on being a real estate brokerage, not a purveyor of digital tools. Howland says there have been discussions in the past about spinning Virbela out as an independent company — “we explored it with a bunch of bankers last year” — but for now, eXp has decided to keep Virbela in-house.
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Another startup with local ties, Sophya, recently raised $15 million to pitch its own “office in the metaverse” offering to companies. Sophya chief executive Vishal Punwani says that the deal came together in two weeks in August, with offers from seven investors. He calls that “a testament” to how much interest there in the metaverse. The company has 28 employees, and aims to double that number over the next two months.
If these companies can figure out how to market their offerings successfully, it’s a distinct possibility that for some workers, their future desk might not be downtown — but in the metaverse.
Scott Kirsner can be reached at kirsner@pobox.com. Follow him on Twitter @ScottKirsner.
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The 3 Types of Crypto Metaverse Coins – The VR Soldier

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Metaverse coins are all the hype right now, and for those new to the cryptocurrency space, it might be confusing as to what crypto Metaverse coins exactly are. Each type of Metaverse coin offers unique aspects to the virtual ecosystem. This article lists three kinds of Metaverse cryptocurrencies that you will find on the market.
The first and most abundant type of Metaverse coins you will find in crypto are play-to-earn blockchain-based games that feature relatively basic virtual platforms.
There are various platforms that these play-to-earn games use. Some of the most popular ones include Binance Smart Chain, WAX, Polygon, Solana, and more.
The most popular play-to-earn crypto Metaverse game is Alien Worlds, surpassing over 1.4 million users over the past month. Players can purchase NFTs and use them to mine Trillium, which has real-world value.
These projects are considered Metaverse coins because they offer a virtual blockchain-based environment that allows for some basic interaction. At the same time, these games don’t compare to full-fledged 3D games like Fortnite, Call of Duty, etc. They offer a simple browser-based application that’s still considered a Metaverse experience.
The second type of Metaverse coins are actual 3D experiences that allow players to explore a virtual universe similar to Minecraft, Roblox, and even Fortnite.
Due to the increased complexity of such an application, there aren’t many such projects on the market. The two main 3D virtual metaverses right now are Decentraland and The Sandbox, both of which have multi-billion dollar valuations.
The main difference between Decentraland and The Sandbox is that Decentraland is a browser-based application. In contrast, The Sandbox is a downloadable game that needs to be installed on your PC.
In addition, both Decentraland and The Sandbox act as platforms for play-to-earn games that will be built in those universes. Think of it like Bitcoin, which is only a cryptocurrency, but Ethereum is also a platform for other cryptocurrencies (ERC-20 tokens). Similarly, play-to-earn Metaverse games are just that, basic idle & click games, while 3D Metaverses offer a virtual universe where users can deploy these play-to-earn games.
Last but not least, we have various Metaverse platforms. Those include the blockchains that the 3D Metaverses are built on. The most popular one would be Ethereum, but other Metaverse platforms have been making waves in the market. These include WAX, Solana, IoTeX, BSC, and more.
Ethereum is the most known and reliable platform since it’s been on the market the longest. WAX is great because it was built from the ground up with Metaverse gaming in mind; transaction fees are replaced with CPU & RAM power which can be acquired by staking WAX token.
Solana is another great platform that’s looking to compete with Ethereum. Their ecosystem is incredibly well designed, with some amazing applications on the platform. Solana has an extremely popular NFT marketplace called Solsea, an excellent alternative to OpenSea for those who don’t like paying Ethereum’s high gas fees.
Another platform worth mentioning is IoTeX, which includes a fully functional Web3 mobile app called IoPay, which users can currently use and explore their ecosystem.
2022 will be an excellent year for further Metaverse application development. Currently, Decentraland and The Sandbox are the only “true” Metaverses, and even they don’t support VR tech at this time.
We still have a long way to go in creating immersive Metaverse applications, but we can expect some revolutionary experiences launched next year at the speed crypto is moving.
Disclosure: This is not trading or investment advice. Always do your research before buying any cryptocurrency.
Also Read:
Top 5 Metaverse Coins Gaining Over 20% Today

Follow us on Twitter @thevrsoldier to stay up to date with the latest cryptocurrency news, and subscribe to our daily newsletter to never miss another story!
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Top 3 Metaverse Crypto Coins Below $0.01 to Watch in June 2022 – The VR Soldier

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Cryptocurrency markets continue to trade sideways this week, with Bitcoin and Ethereum managing a spectacular recovery after bottoming out on June 18th. There are several popular niches for crypto tokens, including NFTs, AI & Big Data, DeFi, and Metaverse. Metaverse crypto coins are showing green across the board, making it an excellent opportunity to cover several undervalued projects with a unit price below 1 cent to watch in June 2022.
Note: The list below is ordered by the unit price of each project, lowest to highest.
Launched in April 2019, Verasity (VRA) is a blockchain company and Metaverse crypto coin looking to build an entirely new experience in AdTech, Esports, and digital rights management.
Verasity features its unique Proof-of-View protocol, which can identify fraudulent online traffic and discard it from analytics platforms, thereby increasing ad revenue for publishers and conversions for advertisers. The PoV protocol also featured NFT authentication features, which help identify fraudulent and copycat collections looking to capitalize on a primary project and its community.
verasity proof-of-view
Due to its unique nature, Verasity’s Proof-of-View technology passed a patent examination by the Chinese Patent Office in January 2022, signaling the tremendous potential for the protocol and the project.
For its product layer, Verasity includes VeraEsports – an Esports platform partnering with some of the most prominent players in the game, such as PUBG Mobile, Valorant, CS:GO, etc. Verasity also features its online crypto wallet – VeraWallet, with guaranteed security and growth for your portfolio. VeraWallet is an ultra-secure, all-in-one digital currency wallet for people who love esports and NFTs.
Moreover, VRA is one of the top Metaverse crypto coins with some of the highest staking yields, offering up to 18.25% on VRA tokens until April 2023. Users can stake their VRA tokens in Verasity’s VeraWallet.
verasity veraviews
Last but not least, Verasity features an earning platform – VeraViews, which enables users to earn VRA tokens for watching content online.
Verasity currently features a market cap of $57 million with a 24-hour trading volume of $6.8 million. Its low unit price of $0.0055 make it a highly undervalued project worth keeping an eye on in June 2022.
VRA is the primary ERC-20 Ethereum-based digital asset for the platform. VRA can be used to earn rewards, payment for various services, etc.
You can purchase VRA on Gate.io, Poloniex, KuCoin, Hotcoin Global, OKX, Bittrex, etc.
Launched in September 2021, Star Atlas (ATLAS) is one of the market’s most anticipated Metaverse crypto games. It features some of the best designs out of all the Metaverse crypto coins and includes a robust NFT marketplace where users can purchase in-game assets to be used in the game when it’s released.
star atlas
Star Atlas, by far, has one of the best design teams behind the project, and we recommend checking out the platform if you haven’t yet. The game is currently in development, but users can check out the website, a few teaser trailers, and its NFT marketplace.
Star Atlas is built on the Solana blockchain, so to interact with its NFT dApp, we recommend connecting with a Solana-supported Web3 wallet like Phantom.
The game itself involves strategy and exploration. Users can explore Star Atlas’ planets in its Metaverse, complete missions, collect resources, and earn rewards via the game’s play-to-earn model.
One unique feature about Star Atlas is its recent partnership with The Sandbox, one of the highest-valued Metaverse crypto projects on the market. The partnership will revolutionize interoperability between the Ethereum and Solana blockchains in a first-of-its-kind collaboration.
Star Atlas includes a dual-token economy consisting of two Solana-based tokens: ATLAS and POLIS. While ATLAS is the primary utility asset for Star Atlas, which enables users to buy NFTs on the marketplace and interact with its Metaverse, POLIS is the governance token providing voting power to holders looking to participate in the Star Atlas DAO.
star atlas
With a current market capitalization of $15 million and a unit price of $0.007, Star Atlas is highly undervalued. Star Atlas has tremendous long-term potential, and we recommend keeping a close eye on the project in June 2022.
You can buy ATLAS on FTX, Gate.io, Kraken, Raydium, LBank, MEXC, Ascend EX (BitMax), OKcoin, Paribu, BitMart, CoinEx, Bitrue, XT.COM, CoinTiger, etc.
Launched in July 2021, Metahero (HERO) is building an ultra-realistic Metaverse enabling users to scan themselves and other real-world objects into Metahero’s digital realm with extreme precision.
metahero and wolf digital world partnership
Metahero partnered with Wolf Digital World, the leaders in 3D photogrammetric scanning technology already utilized by AAA game developers like CD Project, the team behind Cyberpunk 2077 and The Witcher Series, to create realistic animations and 3D models.
Metahero features its Metaverse called Everdome, which completed a presale raising over $9 million in its seed funding round, signaling the tremendous community support for the project.
While Metahero’s primary utility asset is HERO, Everdome’s token is DOME. Both tokens are BEP-20 BNB Chain crypto assets as Metahero and Everdome are built on the BNB chain. Metahero is one of the most underrated Metaverse crypto coins on BNB, and we recommend keeping a close eye on it in June 2022.
Metahero is undervalued now, as the bear market pushed its valuation to $50 million. With a unit price of $0.0099, it’s a tremendous low-priced coin to watch in June 2022.
In recent news, Metahero announced that it appointed Mariusz Król, the founder of WOLF Group, as the CEO of Metahero. According to the announcement:
“Both teams will continue to deliver at the highest level, each with a unilateral focus, in order to increase and optimize output for both projects.”
You can purchase the HERO token on KuCoin, Gate.io, Bybit, LBank, PancakeSwap (V2), Crypto.com, AAX, CoinEx, Biswap, XT.COM, etc.
Disclosure: This is not trading or investment advice. Always do your research before buying any Metaverse crypto coins.
Follow us on Twitter @thevrsoldier to stay updated with the latest Crypto, NFT, AI, and Metaverse news!
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Facebook's Metaverse is Expanding the Attack Surface – Trend Micro

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Use the CRI to assess your organization’s preparedness against attacks, and get a snapshot of cyber risk across organizations globally.
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Privacy & Risks
Understand the cybersecurity risks in the Metaverse
By: William Malik August 08, 2022 Read time:  ( words)
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Thirty years ago, Paramount trademarked the name “Holodeck.” An artifact of Star Trek: The Next Generation, the holodeck was a magical, computer-generated world where characters lived in another realm – either a historical place or an entirely fictious domain, based on old movies, books, or a character’s imagination. As in much science fiction, the holodeck’s inner workings were never explained, except when dealing with a malfunction: the safety protocols stopped working, an alien took over the controls, a fictional character escaped, all of which put one or more character’s lives at risk.
Also, thirty years ago, Gartner published a research report “Client Server and Cooperative Processing.” It described the underlying model behind client/server computing and described the forms simple two-tiered architectures might take. As a side effect, the report described why client/server computing makes sense (as opposed to doing everything on one machine). Different types of computers have a different ration of computational power to available data. Historically, mainframes tend to be data-rich (tuned to run at 100% processor utilization) and MIPS-poor, while PCs tend to be MIPS-rich (rarely exceeding significant processor utilization) and data-poor – by a factor of about 3,000. If the computational problem involves lots of data but relatively little processing power, a mainframe-style computer fits the bill. If the problem involves lots of processing but not much data, a PC makes sense. And if the problem requires lots of data and lots of processing, then split the problem into two parts – and put the data-heavy part on one, and the compute-intensive part on the other.
Enter the Metaverse
The holodeck is the limiting case of a computational problem requiring lots of data and lots of processing. We can be sure that it is implemented using a multi-tiered architecture. Which brings us to the metaverse, our real-world version of the holodeck. The metaverse will provide a rich, immersive experience when the user wears AR glasses and gloves with haptic feedback (local client computing for compute-intensive tasks) fronting a richly connected network of servers holding vast amounts of data about the background, landscape, avatars, and the physics of the virtual environment.
From a security perspective the metaverse presents every possible attack surface. The primary IT components connect using IP but the many devices needed to flesh out the illusion will run a multitude of industrial control system protocols. Cost pressures will drive vendors building the infrastructure to source low-cost IIoT components, which still lack basic security and privacy controls. Even in the holodeck, advanced authentication was easily forged. Man-in-the-middle attacks will proliferate. Privacy will be non-existent, because people react to sensory input faster than they know, and the local client hardware will pick up and remember those reactions. While people are exploring their virtual world, the virtual world is constantly monitoring and evaluating the individual’s likes, wants, and preferences. The mountain of profile data will make marketing vastly more persuasive, not just for consumer products but also for political advertisement targeting. Vance Packard would be in awe of the metaverse’s power.
Security conventionally guarantees that data shall not be lost, altered, or inadvertently disclosed. Adding the industrial control system mandate for safety brings us to a new model for cybersecurity fitting the threats the metaverse will unleash. Since effective cybersecurity combines technology with policy and user education, we are a long way from securing the metaverse. The architecture is just now coming to light. The proper procedures are far from a first draft, and regulations a decade behind that. For now, the strongest link remains the people using it. Be careful, and thoughtful, about what you want to share and how you would keep a secret in this new virtual world. “Arch!” doesn’t work quite yet.
ReferencesHOLODECK Trademark 74327473, filed Oct 31, 1992.
“Client/Server and Cooperative Processing – a Guide for the Perplexed,” William Malik, Tony Percy, W. Roy Schulte, Gartner, Stamford, CT. October 1992
The Hidden Persuaders, Vance Packard, David McKay Co., New York, 1957.

What do you think? Let me know @WilliamMalikTM
William Malik
VP, Infrastructure Strategies

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