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Gemini Raises $400 Million To Build A Metaverse Outside Facebook's Walled Garden – Forbes

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Behold the Winklevii: Cameron and Tyler Winklevoss of Gemini Space Station in March 2021.
After seven years of funding their Gemini cryptocurrency empire out of pocket, Tyler and Cameron Winklevoss are in the process of signing the last documents on their first round of capital, a $400 million investment that values the New York parent company, Gemini Space Station, LLC, at $7.1 billion. If the epic competition between the twins and Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg is a tortoise vs. hare scenario, now is starting to look like the moment momentum shifts.
Led by capital management giant Morgan Creek Digital, with participation from decentralized finance venture firm ParaFi Capital, and others, the investment sets the stage for a possible final showdown between more than just the twins and their archrival, Zuckerberg, but between the very idea of so-called Walled Gardens, where companies like Facebook own and profit from user data, and a free, open-source future.
Setting the stage for the clash, last month dozens of blockchain startups raised a total of more than $4 billion to chip away at the exterior defenses of these Walled Gardens by building a virtual, holographic, augmented reality version of the internet, called the metaverse, that anyone can build on (and monetize) while Facebook, Epic Games and other Big Tech giants prepare a counterattack to ensure that the billions of people already creating value for their firms’ shareholders continue to do so.
“There’s these two parallel paths, in terms of technology right now,” says Cameron Winklevoss, 40, speaking from his home in California. “There’s a centralized path, like Facebook or Fortnite, that is one step away from being a metaverse, and that’s totally fine. But there is another path, which is the decentralized metaverse and that’s the metaverse where we believe there’s greater choice, independence and opportunity, and there is technology that protects the rights and dignity of individuals.”
As part of the capital raise that roughly equates to a Series D, New York-based Morgan Creek contributed $75 million and general partner Sachin Jaitly became the third member of Gemini’s board of directors. The other board members are Tyler and Cameron. Other investors expected to participate in what would be the fourth-largest capital raise in crypto history include rapper and tycoon Jay-Z’s Marcy Venture Partners, former Disney chairman Jeffrey Katzenberg’s WnderCo, the Commonwealth Bank of Australia, private equity firm 10T, family office advisory Newflow Partners, as well as United Talent Agency, Jane Street, K5 Global, Pantera, VanEck and BoostVC, among others. 
The brothers are expected to retain 75% ownership in the company after the investment, and their combined net wealth will nearly double from $6 billion in April to $10 billion today. 
This is not the first time the brothers have dueled with Zuckerberg. Raised in Greenwich, Connecticut, the 2008 Olympic rowers skyrocketed to fame in 2010, when Columbia Pictures released The Social Network, a film by David Fincher, telling the story of how they hired classmate Mark Zuckerberg to build a social network for university students. After a protracted legal battle that largely focused on the question of who founded Facebook, the brothers settled in 2011 for what at the time seemed like a paltry $65 million in Facebook stock and cash. In 2013, they spent about $11 million to buy what at the time was estimated to be 1% of all bitcoin in existence. Parlaying their newfound passion into a licensed exchange in what has become known as the Wild West of cryptocurrency, they distinguished themselves by luring accredited and institutional investors looking to follow the letter of the law. 
Seven years later, New York-based Gemini’s annual revenue has increased 600% since last year and a company spokesperson says it is on track to be profitable by the end of this year. While they are not sharing the actual revenue numbers, they say the largest segment comes from the Gemini cryptocurrency exchange, which charges active traders 0.6% for transactions less than $500,000, and less for larger amounts; 0.4% on $30 billion in assets under custody, and an average of about a 1% fee to borrow 40 different cryptocurrencies, among other sources. Cameron says the 600-person firm with offices in London and Singapore will have 1,000 employees by next year. 
This is where history starts to repeat itself. In a seeming slight to the brothers’ astrologically named firm, their former employee at Harvard, Zuckerberg, launched Libra, his own attempt to capitalize on bitcoin’s underlying blockchain technology in 2019. A consortium of potential cryptocurrency users, including MasterCard, PayPal, Stripe and Visa, briefly committed to building technology that would peg the libra cryptocurrency to a basket of national currencies, including the U.S. dollar and the British pound. Shortly after the announcement, however, the group largely disbanded, following U.S. lawmakers’ apprehension over the initiative led by a firm that so controversially sold influence over its users’ behavior. 
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Months after Zuckerberg launched Libra, Tyler and Cameron again blazed a trail destined to be followed by the Walled Garden kingpin. In Act 3 of the story, on which the curtain rose in November 2019, the brothers bought non-fungible token (NFT) exchange Nifty Gateway, a marketplace for the then nearly unknown assets that now form the building blocks of the metaverse by helping value accumulate to otherwise easily copied digital objects. Since the acquisition, when the industry was conducting fewer than $2 million in volume over a 30-day period, according to data site, NonFungible.com, it has exploded to a high of $3.7 billion over 30 days in September and $1.8 billion today.
Ironically, for founders who claim to be building a world beyond Walled Gardens, Nifty follows a similar path to Gemini’s, which sought to build crypto investing services for compliant investors, by deeply vetting the NFT creators allowed on-site. “Decentralization is a spectrum,” says Cameron. “We want to continue to move down the spectrum toward empowerment. But you have to start somewhere.” It turns out this philosophy is not without its risks. 
While the promise of trillions in institutional adoption continues to remain their North Star, less discerning exchanges, frequently with fewer licenses, are so far winning the day. Gemini is only the 11th-largest exchange in the world on data site CoinGecko, and among those exchanges, relative newcomer FTX just raised $900 million at an eclipsing $18 billion valuation. Similarly, Nifty doesn’t even appear on many lists of the largest NFT exchanges, because much of its $420 million in total volume is done off-chain, making it impossible for third parties to aggregate—more like the discretion of Sotheby’s than the openness of eBay.
In addition to personal investments in the metaverse through Winklevoss Capital, more than half the newly launched Gemini Frontier Fund’s portfolio consists of firms related to the burgeoning space and an additional $35 million is set aside from the capital raise for future investments. Already, they’ve bought stakes in NFT firms Alethea AI, based in Singapore, and Recur, in Florida; Prague-based metaverse startup Somnium Space; and, in an early version of the metaverse, The Sandbox (SAND), being built by $2.2 billion Hong Kong-based Animoca Brands. Between October 27 and November 18 the price of SAND increased 413% to $3.94.
As part of The Sandbox deal the brothers also bought a plot of virtual land where they hope to build the first of many virtual locations, similar to a website but in three dimensions. “Instead of building brick-and-mortar bank branches in meatspace,” says Tyler, using the slang for the real world where we actually live, “we’re gonna build a Gemini experience in different metaverses, where you can go into Gemini and trade, but it would be immersive instead of on your phone.”  
Instead of the ad-driven model that has proved so lucrative to social media companies (and fertile for misinformation and political influence), most metaverses will require tiny amounts of cryptocurrency, similar to “gas” used to run other decentralized applications. While revenue models will certainly proliferate, the more demand there is for these tokens, the higher the price, increasing the value of the very same currency the users now own and letting the wealth accumulate to users instead of shareholders.
Because the currency of these networks increases at a fixed rate and assets, like a new pair of digital shoes, a flaming sword, or one’s avatar, can be tracked and issued as non-fungible tokens on public, transparent blockchains, users have both increased certainty that the market for their digital possessions won’t be flooded and the freedom to take their NFTs elsewhere. Early blockchain competitors include Decentraland and The Sandbox, which run on Ethereum; Upland, which runs on the EOS blockchain; and Victoria VR, expected to launch soon on Ethereum and pivot to a blockchain of their own design.
If this all sounds a bit too much like science fiction, it’s well to remember that in addition to the billions of dollars raised in recent months, proven leaders in the existing massively multiplayer online gaming (MMOG) industry are also moving to the metaverse. Perhaps most notably, North Carolina-based Epic Games has already proved out a similar business model selling its centrally issued v-bucks digital currency to buy in-game accessories and weapons. In April Epic CEO Tim Sweeney revealed a $1 billion funding round to expand into the metaverse. The MMOG industry is expected to reach $55.7 billion by 2027, according to industry analysis site StrategyR and Sweeney called the metaverse a “multi-trillion”-dollar opportunity in a recent report.
Not to be outdone, Zuckerberg again followed his old college employers. In October 2021 he rebranded Facebook as Meta. While details are scarce, Zuckerberg appears to be once again following a similar path as Libra, which while releasing open code that anyone could build on, is restricted to only a few companies who are allowed to directly monetize the economy. In an open letter Zuckerberg declared that “the metaverse will not be created by one company. It will be built by creators and developers making new experiences and digital items that are interoperable and unlock a massively larger creative economy.” Microsoft, worth $2.5 trillion, and $731 billion Nvidia, quickly followed suit with their own metaverse visions. 
The difference between these and other efforts being led by truly open-source startups is that while Big Tech is trying to avoid obsolescence, the Winklevii are investing in startups that assume those companies are already redundant, according to Gemini’s newest board member, Sachin Jaitly. Jaitly previously invested in Mike Cagney’s crypto mortgage firm Figure and blockchain infrastructure provider Blockdaemon, and says that many are “missing the boat” of letting users own their own identities and move digital objects anywhere online. “There is something true and pure about having the authenticity and the originality of something. And whether it’s physical or virtual is irrelevant,” says Jaitly. “They’re just missing what I think is going to be an enormous amount of value creation.”
While Zuckerberg continues to follow the Winklevii into industry after industry, the brothers earlier this year came full circle by making their first investment directly into a social network, and it seems that’s only the beginning. In September Winklevoss Capital participated in a $200 million investment in the DeSo (short for “decentralized social”) Blockchain.” Founder of social media giant Reddit, Alexis Ohanian, venture firm Andreessen Horowitz and about 44,000 other potential users also bought the token.
In an industry where reach is so directly correlated to value, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Reddit and most other mainstream social networks have what seems to be an insurmountable lead. For now, they are the epitome of Walled Gardens. DeSo hopes to solve this problem by building a shared infrastructure on which anyone can create a social network of their own. There’s already 150 projects being built on the blockchain, including 8 social networks, and—you guessed it—a metaverse. “It’s very easy to identify the problems with the existing networks and social spaces. But there haven’t been many solutions,” says Tyler. “We believe crypto offers that, so we’ll continue to look at investing through Gemini Frontier, or maybe even building.”

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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

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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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