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Apple Doesn't Want Anything to Do with Facebook's Metaverse. Why That's Very Bad News for Mark Zuckerberg – Inc.

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Even though the metaverse isn’t something that will have any tangible effect on anyone’s life for a half-decade or so (if ever), it seems as though every tech company is worried about missing out on Mark Zuckerberg’s virtual reality fantasy world. You might recall his video keynote explaining how great it will be when we all strap an Oculus Quest 2 to our faces and live our lives in a digital reality instead of in the real world.
As for the tech companies, no one wants to get left behind. Or, at a minimum, no one wants to miss a chance to capitalize on the hottest buzzword of the moment.
I was at the Consumer Electronics Show last week, and the one thing that was hard to miss–aside from the number of companies that bailed on attending in-person–was how much the companies that did show up wanted to talk about the metaverse. The metaverse was everywhere, which, I guess, is appropriate for what is supposed to be a more immersive version of the internet.
There’s a notable exception, however. Apple, according to Bloomberg’s Mark Gurman, has no interest in being a part of an immersive virtual world where people spend all of their time doing everything from work, attending school, watching a movie with friends, or playing games, virtually.
Gurman says Facebook’s vision is “off-limits” at Apple. In fact, Apple’s vision is for the opposite–augmented reality glasses that don’t “take anyone out of their real environment.”  
That’s important because Apple has been widely reported to be working on a headset. Analysts, including Gurman, have suggested an initial model could ship this year. 
Despite the fact that Apple is technically playing catchup to the handful of companies already making headsets, there’s really no question that whatever it introduces will be a major player. That’s a problem for Zuckerberg and his dream, because Apple is going to be a major player in augmented reality glasses. 
That doesn’t mean its product is guaranteed to be a hit, but it’s one of few companies that have the expertise, engineering chops, and resources to build something that consumers might actually want to use. And Apple, not surprisingly, wants nothing to do with Facebook’s metaverse
The two companies have battled over user privacy for years, with the issue coming to a head with Apple’s release of iOS 14.5, which required developers to request permission before tracking users. Facebook’s business, which is built on its ability to track users and then show them personalized ads based on the information it collects, has taken a measurable hit.
The entire reason Zuckerberg is so invested in making the metaverse a real thing is because he’s so frustrated about having to play by Apple’s rules. Apple controls the most important platform in the world–the iPhone. Sure, there are other smartphones, most of them running Google’s Android software, but it’s the iPhone that commands the most attention. 
That means that Zuckerberg is at the mercy of Apple (and Google) and their rules about what Facebook can do, and what information it’s able to collect. By building the metaverse, Facebook and Zuckerberg hope to have their own platform, one that isn’t constrained by outside forces. 
It’s also worth mentioning that Facebook’s pivot to the metaverse–it even changed its name to Meta–was mostly meant to distract people from the onslaught of controversy and criticism it faced in the midst of a series of scathing revelations from whistleblower Frances Haugen. On some level, it appears to have worked. Everyone wants a piece of the metaverse, or Web 3.0, or whatever you want to call the vision of an internet where we spend all of our time in Zoom meetings on steroids. 
But, in Apple’s version, AR glasses are something you might wear for specific purposes. You might wear them when you drive to get directions, or while you’re working. You won’t wear them all day, and you won’t use them to do all the things you currently do on your phone. If Apple is able to pull off its version, that’s very bad news for Facebook. Then again, that might be the best news for the rest of us.

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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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