Connect with us

Metaverse

The New Masters: How auction houses are chasing crypto millions – Reuters

Published

on

A visitor takes a photo in front of digital work “Untitled (Self-Portrait)” by Andy Warhol and digital artist Mike Winkelmann, known as Beeple, at the Digital Art Fair, in Hong Kong, China September 30, 2021. REUTERS/Tyrone Siu
LONDON, Nov 8 (Reuters) – Little could James Christie have known some 240 years ago, as he sold masterpieces by Rembrandt and Rubens to Catherine the Great, that his auction house would one day offer virtual apes to a crypto company for over $1 million.
Nor would Sotheby’s founder Samuel Baker, auctioning hundreds of rare books for about $1,000 in 1744, have envisioned selling a copy of the original source code for the web, as a non-fungible token (NFT), for north of $5 million.
Times change.
“Everybody wants to sell an NFT,” said Cassandra Hatton, Sotheby’s global head of science and popular culture. “My inbox is just absolutely clogged.”
Sotheby’s has sold $65 million of NFTs in 2021, while arch-rival Christie’s has sold more than $100 million of the new type of crypto asset, which uses blockchain to record who owns digital items such as images and videos, even though they can be freely viewed, copied and shared like any other online file.
Those sales figures for the world’s leading auction houses account for about 5.5% of their contemporary art sales, according to Art Market Research data. It’s a leap, given NFTs have only taken off in the last year.
Many buyers are from a new category of wealthy clientele: people who made their fortunes through cryptocurrencies, art specialists involved in NFT sales at major auction houses told Reuters. In a Sotheby’s online NFT sale in June which brought in $17.1 million, nearly 70% of the buyers were newcomers.
Indeed the three NFTs of crude cartoon apes which were snapped up for 982,500 pounds ($1.3 million) at Christie’s in London last month were bought by Kosta Kantchev, who runs a cryptocurrency lending platform called Nexo.
The cartoons, from a set called Bored Ape Yacht Club, were Christie’s first NFT sale in Europe and were offered up at its biggest in-person auction since the start of the pandemic.
In a sign of the changing times, Kantchev was rubbing shoulders with art collectors bidding on works by David Hockney, Jean-Michel Basquiat and Bridget Riley.
“On one hand, there were the people in suits in the front, and on the sides, there were people on the phone getting semi-anonymous bids,” said Antoni Trenchev, who runs Nexo with Kantchev. “Then in the back, there were entrepreneurs and people from the crypto industry bidding – they don’t come in suits.”
Trenchev said their purchase of the apes was a bet that the market for NFTs would continue to grow, fuelled by the rise of the “metaverse” of online worlds where virtually anything can be bought or sold, from avatars and clothes to land and buildings.
Indeed digital art is just one part of the explosive sales growth for NFTs, which topped $10 billion in the third quarter of this year alone, up eightfold from the previous three months.
“We’re working on exciting new financial tools for NFTs that will stimulate adoption of the asset class,” Trenchev said, referring to the possibility of Nexo selling financial products based on NFTs as the underlying asset.
They’re not the only ones betting on the metaverse. Facebook – a company worth almost $1 trillion that has rebranded as Meta on the calculation that increasingly-immersive virtual environments and experiences are the future.
TRADITION UPENDED
Whether Mark Zuckerberg is prescient or not remains to be seen. The NFTs boom is nonetheless dragging auction houses hundreds of years older than Silicon Valley into a new world.
To hunt their new breed of buyers, big auction houses are taking to social media.
Noah Davis, head of digital art sales at Christie’s, said his potential NFT buyers were happy for him to ditch the formalities normally involved in attracting art collectors, adding that he recently negotiated a contract over the messaging platform Discord and registered buyers for an auction via Twitter.
“That’s where it happens, that’s where client services are done,” he told Reuters, adding that it was remarkable how much quicker this process compared with traditional methods.
In another big digital shift, auction houses are often sourcing NFTs directly from the crypto artists – in many cases, little-known, pseudonymous figures.
In the physical art market, by contrast, artists’ primary sales are normally run by galleries, while auction houses traditionally focus on secondary market sales.
“For me the biggest surprise is that the artists want to work with the auction houses directly. We’ve always been in the secondary market,” said Rebekah Bowling, senior specialist of 20th century and contemporary art at Phillips, another global auction house.
“The traditional structure has been upended,” said Bowling, who uses Twitter and Clubhouse to reach artists.
WHY CRYPTO’S RISKY
Yet these newcomers to an untamed metaverse also confront a new sphere of risk, particularly around cryptocurrencies, which crypto-rich buyers often prefer to use to pay for NFTs.
Auction houses can face legal risks in terms of know your customer (KYC) and anti-money-laundering (AML) requirements, said Max Dilendorf, a cryptocurrency lawyer and partner at Dilendorf Law Firm in New York.
“These products could be securities and when a gallery is picking up an artist or product they better do their own due diligence,” he said, adding that money laundering via cryptocurrencies was a “known fact.”
Sotheby’s did not comment on its KYC or AML procedures. Christie’s said its KYC and AML standards in NFT sales were the same as those for physical artworks, though declined to go into detail. Phillips said it checked that buyers had sufficient funds in their crypto wallet.
Another issue is that while NFTs are marketed as a way of indisputably recording ownership of a digital asset, problems can still arise.
A Sotheby’s NFT sale in June – in which a buyer spent $1.5 million on what was marketed as the first-ever NFT, a simple geometric animation called “Quantum” by Kevin McCoy – was complicated by a claimant emerging saying they owned an earlier, original version of the same NFT, the buyer and claimant told Reuters. They said the dispute over which could truly could be called the first NFT meant the transaction was delayed, and blockchain records show the purchase was not transferred until several weeks after the sale.
Separately, after a Sotheby’s auction of an NFT representing the World Wide Web source code, which fetched $5.4 million, observers noticed errors in the included video version of the code.
Sotheby’s did not respond to a request for comment on either sale.
Pablo Rodriguez-Fraile, a Miami-based collector who buys both NFT and physical art, said the steps that auction houses had taken into the digital sphere had been very positive.
“I think they’re normalising the ecosystem, and I think that very soon they’ll find the right path,” he said.
“But the curation challenge and the technology challenge are major ones,” he added, referring to auction houses acting as galleries by handling primary sales.
On Tuesday, Christie’s will sell a new NFT by Beeple, the artist whose NFT fetched $69 million at Christie’s in March. That was the first time a major auction house had sold a piece of art that does not physically exist.
However this time round his work will be sold in physical, as well as NFT, form. At Christie’s at least, the real world still holds some appeal.
($1 = 0.7414 pounds)

© 2021 Reuters. All rights reserved

source

Metaverse

Money Laundering via Metaverse, DeFi, NFTs Targeted by EU Lawmakers’ Latest Draft – CoinDesk

Published

on

source

Continue Reading

Metaverse

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

Published

on

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

source

Continue Reading

Metaverse

Facebook Founder, Zuckerberg Drops Out Of 10 Richest Men After Losing Half Of Fortunes – SaharaReporters.com

Published

on

According to Forbes, the Facebook founder has lost more than half his fortune—a staggering $76.8 billion—since September 2021, dropping him from No. 3 on The Forbes 400 list of the U.S.’ wealthiest people to No. 11. Worth $57.7 billion on this year’s list.
 
Meta chief executive officer, Mark Zuckerberg has lost his spot in the list as one of the 10 richest people in America.
According to Forbes, the Facebook founder has lost more than half his fortune—a staggering $76.8 billion—since September 2021, dropping him from No. 3 on The Forbes 400 list of the U.S.’ wealthiest people to No. 11. Worth $57.7 billion on this year’s list.
Zuck trails Walmart heir Jim Walton, former New York City mayor Michael Bloomberg and other tech moguls such as ex-Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer and Google founders Sergey Brin and Larry Page. No one in America has lost as much money over the past year as Zuckerberg.
He has the cratering stock price of Meta (formerly Facebook) to thank for his exit from the top 10. Shares have plunged 57% since last year’s Forbes 400, which used stock prices from September 3, 2021. Tech stocks are generally in a slump with the market downturn, but Meta’s fall outpaces both the Nasdaq (-9.8%) and the S&P 500 (-13.5%), as well as Microsoft’s 14% decline, Google-parent Alphabet‘s 25% drop and Amazon’s 27% dive.
Investors are spooked by a privacy policy update from Apple last year that made it harder for tech companies to track users across apps, impacting Meta’s ad sales. Meta reported its first-ever quarterly revenue decline in July–a 1% drop, to $28.8 billion.
“Facebook makes most of its money from advertising, and now it just doesn’t have that data anymore,” says Mark Zgutowicz, an analyst at research and investment banking firm Benchmark.
“All those data signals went away, which basically means that advertisers are having trouble telling whether a campaign was successful or not.”
Compounding the problem for Meta, TikTok is luring away advertisers, along with lucrative Gen Z and millennial users. In February, Meta announced its first-ever quarterly loss of daily active users. A recent internal report showed that Meta’s TikTok clone, Instagram Reels, is struggling to compete, according to Wall Street Journal report.
Under normal circumstances, a slight dip in revenue might be manageable, but Meta is also investing heavily in virtual reality and the metaverse, which is dragging down operating profit. In 2021, the company’s metaverse division, Meta Reality Labs, lost $10 billion. While the metaverse is all Zuckerberg wants to talk about, investors are less enthusiastic so far. “It’s a long tail investment and, for now, it’s kind of a cash suck,” Zgutowicz says.
Zuckerberg first became a billionaire in 2008, just four years after founding Facebook. At 23, he was the youngest self-made billionaire at the time, debuting at No. 321 on The Forbes 400, worth $1.5 billion. By 2011, Zuckerberg’s net worth had increased nearly 12 fold to $17.5 billion.
This year isn’t the first time Zuckerberg’s net worth has taken a dive. After Facebook’s famously disappointing IPO in 2012, Zuckerberg fell from No. 14 to No. 36 on The Forbes 400. But it didn’t last long. The following year, Zuckerberg bounced back and, up until now, his fortune has continued to climb. Despite the litany of controversies and scandals plaguing the company, Facebook’s ad machine had reliably churned out enough money to impress investors, sending Zuckerberg’s net worth soaring to $134.5 billion last year, his highest net worth ever.
View the discussion thread.
SaharaReporters.com is an outstanding, groundbreaking news website that encourages citizen journalists to report ongoing corruption and government malfeasance in Africa. Using photos, text, and video dynamically, the site informs and prompts concerned African citizens and activists globally to act, denouncing officially-sanctioned corruption, the material impoverishment of its citizenry, defilement of the environment, and the callous disregard of the democratic principles enshrined in the constitution.
Copyright © 2006–2022 Sahara Reporters, Inc. All rights reserved. — Privacy Policy

source

Continue Reading

Trending

Copyright © Diaily Meta News