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Someone Paid 149 ETH for a Virtual Boat in Ethereum-Powered Metaverse ‘The Sandbox’

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In a recent online auction, a single non-fungible token (NFT) asset created for the Ethereum-powered metaverse “The Sandbox” sold for 149 ETH (over $650K).
Here is how Binance Research described The Sandbox back in August 2020:
The Sandbox is a virtual world built on the Ethereum blockchain, where players can build, own, and monetize their gaming experiences… The SAND token is an ERC-20 utility token that is used for value transfers as well as staking and governance… Players can create digital assets in the form of Non-Fungible Tokens (NFTs), upload them to the marketplace, and integrate into games with Game Maker.
And here is how Wikipedia describes it:
The game is entitled “The Sandbox” because it provides users with tools to create their own nonlinear gameplay, commonly known as a “sandbox mode“. The player takes the role of “Deity apprentice” and sets about crafting their own universe through the exploration of resources such as water, soil, lightning, lava, sand, glass, and many more complex elements such as humans, wildlife, and mechanical contraptions. Players encounter tasks like using water and dirt to make mud, and challenges like making a battery or building an electrical circuit. Players can save worlds they have created and also upload them to a public gallery.
The list of celebrities and brands that The Sandbox has partnered with includes Snoop Dogg, South China Morning Post, Hell’s Kitchen, and Atari.
The “Metaflower Super Mega Yacht” NFT was created for The Sandbox metaverse by Republic Realm, and it is part of their Fantasy Collection.
Republic Realm is “one of the most active investors in and developers of the metaverse real estate ecosystem.” The company invests in, manages, and develops “assets including NFTs, virtual real estate, metaverse platforms, gaming, and infrastructure.” Currently, it is “one of the largest landowners in Axie Infinity, Decentraland, The Sandbox and Treeverse.”
Congrats to the new owner of The Metaflower NFT Super Mega Yacht on making metaverse NFT history. This auction marks the highest price paid for a @TheSandboxGame NFT asset at 149 ETH ($650,000), and an exciting time for every member of the Fantasy Community. pic.twitter.com/Nl0278JbOT
Here is the description of “The Metaflower Super Mega Yacht” from the NFT marketplace OpenSea:
The Metaflower is a one of one ultra luxury megayacht. With a DJ booth, helicopter landing pad, and hot tub, among other amenities, this Fantasy Collection NFT provides access to The Fantasy Marina and is designed to be the crown jewel of The Sandbox.
This NFT was minted 18 days ago and the first sale (for 149 ETH) took place 10 days ago:
Here are a few other NFTs from this collection that you can currently buy on OpenSea:
According to a report by Insider published yesterday (December 2), data by DappRadar shows that “a total of $106 million was spent on virtual property in the last week, with purchases of digital land, luxury yachts and other assets.” The report says that for the week November 22 to 28, the The Sandbox platform “attracted $86.56 million in unique non-fungible token land sales that are tied to the blockchain.” Apparently, “in second place was Decentraland, another virtual platform that brought in $15.53 million in sales of digital plots of land.”
In a research report released last month, Grayscale Investments (“Grayscale”), a subsidiary of Digital Currency Group, said that “the market opportunity for bringing the Metaverse to life may be worth over $1 trillion in annual revenue and may compete with Web 2.0 companies worth ~$15 trillion in market value today.”
The 19-page research report (titled “The Metaverse: Web 3.0 Virtual Cloud Economies”) was written by Head of Research David Grider, Head of Research and Research Analyst Matt Maximo.
Grider and Maximo started by explaining what they mean by the term metaverse:
Crypto cloud economies are the next emerging market investment frontier and the Metaverse is at the forefront of this Web 3.0 internet evolution. The Metaverse is a set of interconnected, experiential, 3D virtual worlds where people located anywhere can socialize in real-time to form a persistent, user-owned, internet economy spanning the digital and physical worlds…
Projects like Decentraland are creating an open-world metaverse where users can log in to play games, earn MANA (the native token of Decentraland, with which users can purchase NFTs, including LAND or collectibles, and vote on economy governance), or create NFTs, giving them real world interoperability for the value of their time spent in-game.
They then explained the difference between a “Web 2.0 Closed Corporate Metaverse” and a “Web 3.0 Open Crypto Metaverse”:
Many gamers today spend their money and hours of their time building digital wealth within Web 2.0 closed corporate metaverse worlds. The problem is, most game developers don’t let players monetize their investment and efforts. Developers prohibit players from trading items with other players and keep these worlds closed so players cannot transfer their in-game wealth to the real economy.
Web 3.0 open crypto metaverse networks solve this problem by eliminating the capital controls imposed on these virtual worlds by Web 2.0 platforms. This new paradigm allows users to own their digital assets as Non-Fungible Tokens (NFTs), trade them with others in the game, and carry them to other digital experiences, creating an entirely new free-market internet-native economy that can be monetized in the physical world. This evolution of the ‘creator economy’ is known as ‘Play to Earn’.
Next, they pointed out that “gaming is just one of the most immediately addressable segments where value is already starting to naturally shift to Web 3.0”, and that in fact “the Metaverse opportunity extends far beyond gaming”. Grayscale estimates the metaverse to be “a trillion-dollar revenue opportunity across advertising, social commerce, digital events, hardware, and developer/creator monetization”.
They then looked at the various segments of the blockchain-based virtual economy.
The authors concluded by saying that the immense potential of the metaverse, which has made Facebook “pivot towards the Metaverse” and change its name to Meta, could “serve as a catalyst for other Web 2.0 tech giants and investors to follow.”

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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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