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Why The Metaverse Is A Work In Progress

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The Metaverse, however it is defined, will require the talents and vision of countless   developers.(Photo by Jakub Porzycki/NurPhoto via Getty Images)
I spent most of my week at the AWE (Augmented World Expo) conference in Santa Clara, CA trying to get more updated information on the subject of VR, XR, and AR. AWE has emerged as one of the premier shows on XR and after it was only a virtual event last year, over 3000 people came to Santa Clara from many parts of the world to talk about the topic and learn what was new in terms of the current and future state of XR.
Besides being a significant industry event on VR, XR and AR, it was also the largest in-person event held in Silicon Valley since the Covid lockdown began in March of 2020. The leadership of AWE did a great job of handling the Covid related health requirements and protocols. Before an attendee could even enter the Santa Clara Convention Center, one would have to go to a health check-in desk and present proof of vaccination card before they could enter into the registration area. They were then given a blue wrist band that signified their vax card was checked and were now free to roam the event. Also, everyone had to wear a mask since this rule is still enforced in this part of California. Surprisingly, I heard no complaints about the vaccine demand and saw no resistance to wearing masks. This is important for other in-person event coordinators who want to have in-person events in the Covid era.
The success of how the AWE show organizers kept people safe is a real model that others should follow. For me, it proved I could attend a trade show safely if they had these health protocols in place. While I had been resisting going to CES at first due to health concerns, I am now planning to attend the show in January since they are using the same health security measures for all attendees.
Since AWE took place two weeks after Mark Zuckerberg’s Metaverse reveal, this was a major topic at the show.
I have been going to AWE for about 10 years and from the beginning, this show has had more of an AR perspective on the future of immersive technology. Many of the opening keynotes who had panelists asked how each one might describe their view of the Metaverse. Their answers were revealing since all had different takes on the subject. There was not a lot of consistency in their various definitions except in one major area.
Almost all said that they had trouble buying into Mark Zuckerberg’s VR vision in which one is enclosed in a VR headset and VR world. They agree with him that creating a 3D immersive Metaverse is on the right path but they tend to lean towards a Metaverse that uses mixed reality or XR headsets instead of the way most VR headsets today block out the real world from the virtual world.
Indeed, since this conference has a great focus on AR given its name and history, a lot of the conference content and exhibits were more AR-related and less focused on VR. The show also had a strong emphasis on providing sessions and special content for developers. I went to a couple of developer sessions and it became clear to me that from a platform standpoint, the trend going forward is to create around platforms that are open instead of closed. I asked some developers if they plan to support Meta’s VR platform and most pointed out that given that Facebook/Meta will spend $10 billion to create their version of the Metaverse, most were willing to take money from Facebook to support it.
On the other hand, most developers want to work on platforms that are open and work across devices.
The one big announcement the got their attention came from 8th Wall, which used their main stage session to launch its Reality Engine, which enables web-based augmented reality (WebAR) experiences to immediately work across most devices, including iOS and Android smartphones, tablets, computers and AR and VR headsets.
This new development platform is important for another reason; It acknowledges that XR and AR can be used beyond headsets. AR apps today run on smartphones and tablets and WebXR, will bring XR and AR apps to personal computers, too. Bringing AR apps to all types of devices will drive AR into the mainstream faster. However, they and others in leadership in the field of XR and AR agree that the most immersive experiences will be best when used on some form of XR or AR goggles or glasses in the future. This concept of write-once-deploy everywhere was a huge hit with developers and their booth was mobbed by people wanting to learn more about this new software development platform.
While the show had a lot of focus on the Metaverse, it became pretty clear to me that this idea and concept is a work in progress. It will take a collective effort of many companies and thousands of engineers over time, to craft the kinds of virtual worlds that will drive what may be many different metaverses in the future.
As I spoke with many speakers and attendees at the show to get their definition of the metaverse, there was one answer that I got from a person I had lunch with one day. He said that he believes that the, “…metaverse will be the place where you store your digital self.” I agree and that may be one of the definitions to describe the metaverse that has staying power.

I have been recognized as one of the leading industry consultants, analysts and futurists, covering the field of personal computers and consumer technology. I have been

I have been recognized as one of the leading industry consultants, analysts and futurists, covering the field of personal computers and consumer technology. I have been with Creative Strategies since 1981 and have served as a consultant to most of the leading hardware and software vendors in the industry including IBM, Apple, Xerox, Hewlett Packard/Compaq, Dell, AT&T, Microsoft, Sony, Panasonic, Intel, Qualcomm, AMD, nVidia, Polaroid, Lotus, Epson, Toshiba and numerous others. My articles and/or analysis have appeared in USA Today, Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, Time and Newsweek magazines, BusinessWeek and most of the leading business and trade publications. I have appeared as a business analyst commenting on the tech industry on all of the major television networks and was a frequent guest on PBS’ The Computer Chronicles. I have been a columnist for US computer industry publications such as PC Week and Computer Reseller News and wrote for ABCNEWS.COM for two years and Mobile Computing for 10 years. I was also a tech columnist for Time Magazine’s Tech section for 5 years. My columns currently appear in Fast Company, Recode, PC Magazine, Forbes and the online publication: www.techpinions.com. My columns and analyses are syndicated in over 55 countries. Further History I am known as a concise, futuristic analyst, credited with predicting the desktop publishing revolution three years before it hit the market, and identifying multimedia as a major trend in written reports as early as 1986. My writing and analysis have been at the forefront of the digital revolution and I am considered one of the leading experts in the field of technology adoption cycles. I have also spoken at many business school programs about marketing to consumers. I have authored major industry studies on PC, portable computing, pen-based computing, desktop publishing, multimedia computing and the digital home. Currently, I serve on multiple conference advisory boards and am a frequent featured speaker at computer conferences worldwide. I also serve on technology advisory councils for IBM/Lenovo, Dell, and on specialty councils for three large semiconductor companies.

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Metaverse Crypto Index Fund Launched by Matthew Ball, Multicoin, and Bitwise – Decrypt

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There's a wide array of crypto builders working to bring the metaverse to life, whether it's via platforms, tools, assets, or infrastructure. Now one of the leading voices around the metaverse has launched an index fund focused on crypto assets tied to the next-generation internet.
Today, writer and venture capitalist Matthew Ball announced a partnership with Multicoin Capital and Bitwise Asset Management to launch the Ball Multicoin Bitwise Metaverse Index. Bitwise has also made an associated fund available to qualified purchasers.
"We developed the Ball Multicoin Bitwise Metaverse Index Fund because, prior to today, there was no easy, expert, and methodologically diversified way for investors to have broad-based exposure to bona fide metaverse-focused crypto assets," Ball told Decrypt.
"To this end, the Index doesn't exist to time Event A or Market Conditions B. It exists so that investors can participate in what we believe is a multi-trillion dollar transformation, which will unfold over the coming decade," he continued. "If blockchain is relevant to the future of the metaverse, and our approach is sound, we believe the opportunity is significant—today, tomorrow, next month, and so forth."
The index will feature up to 40 crypto assets chosen by the partners, but a list of included assets was not provided to Decrypt by the time of publication. Bitwise's associated fund is available to qualified purchasers with a $100,000 minimum investment.
Ball described the Ball Multicoin Bitwise Metaverse Index as a "rules-driven index that combines the best of institutional indexing approaches with special adaptations to the crypto and metaverse spaces. That includes various risk screens, such as analyzing liquidity, developer activity, tech and regulatory risk, and "relevancy to the metaverse," said Ball.
"The ultimate goal is to curate the crypto assets that will be outsized contributors to the creation and success of an open metaverse," he added.
The metaverse refers to a future version of the internet that many believe will be built on blockchain technology. It's expected to be a more immersive and interactive experience that people navigate via 3D avatars and use for work, play, shopping, and socializing. It may also use NFT assets for user-owned items like avatars, apparel, and virtual land.
Ethereum-based games like Decentraland and The Sandbox are seen as early examples of the metaverse.
Facebook also showcased its own vision for the space and even rebranded its parent company to Meta last fall. However, it's not entirely clear whether Facebook's plan is for an open platform that is interoperable with others.
Ball is a leading writer on the metaverse whose work has been published in The New York Times, The Economist, and Bloomberg. His book, "The Metaverse: And How It Will Revolutionize Everything," is due out from W.W. Norton in July.
He's also a managing partner at EpyllionCo, which has invested in crypto startups such as Dapper Labs and Mirror, as well as a venture partner at Makers Fund. Ball is also behind the Roundhill Ball Metaverse ETF, which focuses on metaverse-centric stocks and trades on the New York Stock Exchange.
"Our objective was the creation of a diversified, balanced, and expertly-designed crypto Metaverse Index," explained Multicoin Capital co-founder and managing partner, Kyle Samani.
"This required a similarly capable team," he continued. "Matthew Ball is the definitive thought-leader in metaverse strategy and investing. We specialize in crypto assets and are one of the preeminent crypto investment firms. And Bitwise Asset Management is the proven leader in crypto indexes and index funds."

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Meta's losses show the metaverse's costly risk – Insider Intelligence

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Facebook parent Meta launches startup accelerator with India’s IT ministry in metaverse push – TechCrunch

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Meta Platforms is looking at India’s burgeoning startup ecosystem as it bolsters its bet on the metaverse. The social juggernaut has partnered with the Indian IT Ministry’s startup hub to launch an accelerator in the country to broaden innovation in emerging technologies, including augmented reality and virtual reality, officials said Tuesday.
MeitY Startup Hub and Meta’s effort, called XR Startup Program, will work with 40 early-stage startups and help them in research and development and developing workable products and services. Each startup will also receive a grant of over $25,000, the American giant said.
The program, supported by Meta’s $50 million XR Programs and Research Fund, will initially hand pick 80 startups to attend a bootcamp. It will also help startups with finding customers, inking relationships and raising funds, Meta said.
Rajeev Chandrasekhar, Minister of State for Electronics & Information Technology and Skill Development and Entrepreneurship, said the program is especially aimed at helping encourage technology innovation in smaller cities and towns.
The XR Startup Program is the latest of Meta’s growing participation in the South Asian market’s upskilling efforts. The firm, whose Facebook and WhatsApp services identify India as their largest market by users, partnered with Central Board of Secondary Education, a government body that oversees education in private and public schools in the country, to launch a certified curriculum on digital safety and online well-being, and augmented reality for students and educators in the country.
The program — to be implemented by four Indian institutions, including IIT Delhi — will also host a “grand challenge” for innovation in categories including education, healthcare, entertainment, agritech, climate action, sustainability and tourism, the American giant said.
“India will play a pivotal role in defining future technologies. Decisions and investments made here in India now shape global discussions on how technology can deliver more economic opportunity and better outcomes for people. It is critical that we help to create an ecosystem that will enable India’s tech startups and innovators to build the foundations of the metaverse,” said Joel Kaplan, VP of Global Policy at Meta, in a statement.
Meta’s interest with working with startups in India is also not newly found. The company has backed three startups in the country, including social commerce platform Meesho and online education group Unacademy.
3 views: Is the metaverse for work or play?

“India’s rapid tech adoption combined with a vast pool of tech talent puts the country in a vantage position for shaping the future of the internet,” said Ajit Mohan, VP and MD of Facebook India, in a statement.
“For this future to be equitable, it will require active participation from all stakeholders, including developers, businesses, creators, policymakers, and entrepreneurs. We are excited to collaborate with MeitY Startup Hub and hope that the XR Startup Program will act as a catalyst to unlock the use of immersive technology across sectors like education, healthcare, agritech and tourism, not only in India but across the globe.”

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