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The Church has benefited from Facebook. But should we embrace Zuckerberg's Metaverse? – Church Executive Magazine

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January 3, 2022 at 10:50 am.
By Dr Pete Phillips
In the last few months, Facebook has become embroiled in a number of problems around trust, data manipulation and information extremism — for example, pushing users into even more extreme versions of their particular posts and refusing to mark content that denies climate change.
Amidst the controversy, Mark Zuckerberg has renamed Facebook as Meta. The intro video to the new concept, fronted by Zuckerberg himself, talks of the wonders of Facebook and how it was developed to connect people with one another. Of course, we all know that it started off as a dating app for an elite university, but yes, it does now also connect people… And the Church has benefited greatly from this ability to connect during lockdown. We have learnt how to use Facebook to stream church services, for evangelism and for fellowship. But many would argue that the company farms user data, manipulates user experience and promotes radicalization. So the big question is: has Facebook come to end of its natural life?
Enter Meta. The new name seeks to separate Facebook from other new developments around the concept of the metaverse. This could be seen as a good way to protect Zuckerberg’s business interests from the problems currently facing Facebook, as well new laws and taxes, proposed by US and European lawmakers, which may affect social media companies. But it’s not just about tax avoidance. This is also about Facebook switching its focus to what Zuckerberg calls “the next chapter for the internet” — immersive technology, such as augmented reality, smart glasses and virtual reality, involving new tech which Facebook is currently developing.
Don’t know what these things are? Let me explain:
The use of smart glasses (remember Google Glass?) or smartphones to see information tagged onto real life locations or objects. Augmented Reality (AR) has been around for a while now (think games like Pokemon Go) but has also been utilized by churches and Christian organizations to create prayer walks around local villages and pilgrimages among street art installations. Augmented reality environments could offer the opportunity for monetization — for example, an augmented shop where you click on “Buy Me” tags as you walk through the store and then collect all your goods as you leave.
Virtual Reality (VR) is the creation of a scenario within a computer program with which people can engage in an apparently real way through the use of a special headset (Oculus, Quest, etc.) and other peripherals. Meta also promotes the use of the headsets for concerts, sports events and educational activities.
AR and VR have appeared in science fiction for years. Think books like Tad Williams’ Otherland series or films such as Total RecallMatrixEnder Game, or, more recently, Free Guy. There have also been immersive worlds developed before, most notably Second Life, an immersive world in which users create an avatar (with no link to their actual appearance, creating safeguarding and identity concerns) and explore a virtual world that includes churches, shopping malls, sex shops, theatres, art galleries and beautiful beaches. It’s a place to wander and meet people — some people have even met and married in Second Life.
The metaverse, as proposed by Zuckerberg and his team, is being pitched as the next development in the internet, and will work along similar lines to Second Life. In the early days of the internet, you could only read or watch what was on the web. Today, we interact with social media, create our own content, exhibit our lives through Tik Tok and Instagram and rant on Twitter. Now, Zuckerberg is proposing we actually enter into the web itself — into new, immersive worlds through the use of virtual reality — a kind-of Second Life superimposed on top of the real world through augmented reality. Wearing Meta’s new smart glasses, we might see cat-like human avatars walking around our streets or schools or homes that remain unseen to those outside of the metaverse.
When Zuckerberg talks of immersion into the metaverse, it sounds much more like virtual reality — the kind of world explored in Ernest Kline’s Ready Player One. Some of the problems with this idea are explored in Kline’s second book, Ready Player Two, as well as in many other science fiction stories. For example, what would happen if we were imprisoned in a virtual world through a computer glitch?
But even beyond the philosophical questions raised by these technologies, there are also very practical dangers to consider, such as cyberbullying, predatory behavior and identity theft. A human metaverse does not stop us being flawed humans capable of bad as well as good — and it may, in fact, bring out the worst in us. How do we stop a virtual reality storming of the US Capitol from becoming a real storming of Capitol Hill? Or a virtual terrorist attack becoming a real one? Could the metaverse become a place to explore the depths of human depravity, serving only to lower natural resistance and remove taboos associated with doing such things in the real world?
The bigger question is whether Zuckerberg is heading in the right direction. One of the problems with virtual reality is the increasing dehumanization of our existence. In other words, by becoming an avatar in a VR world and experiencing things only through two of our five senses (sight and sound), do we become less human? In Ready Player One, Kline avoids this by adding in other senses, specifically touch, through the use of haptic suits — although smell and taste remain limited to life outside the digital oasis. Compare this to James Cameron’s film Avatar, in which wheelchair-bound Jake Sully is linked to a VR body which can run through a field, taste fruit, smell the forest, and be fully immersed in a tactile universe (which is total science fiction, by the way!) and, as a result, he never wants to leave.
Meta immerses us into another world and, as in Kline’s concept of the oasis, gives us a temporary escape route from the horrors of a world, including one that exists in the grip of climate catastrophe. But is the internet meant to be an escape route? Should we be seeking to build more worlds, using more data centers — which need more and more energy to cool them down — to escape from the world which God has created for us to live in? Wouldn’t it be better to look at how we might use these technologies to reduce our impact on the climate — for example, creating holographic representations of ourselves to send messages to loved ones, or to ‘teleport’ our images to the bedside of distant relatives? Wouldn’t such social presence in the created world be a better deployment of technology, rather than creating yet more ways to help us forget the increasing problems caused by our own misuse of the planet God gave us already?
Is Meta a dead cat, thrown onto the table by a troubled digital entrepreneur to rescue his own digital creation? Or is it a wonderful new opportunity to explore new worlds at the touch of a button? And how will humanity fare in this next iteration of the internet?
Dr Pete Phillips is Premier’s Head of Digital Theology and a researcher at Durham University. With a PhD in John’s Gospel and many years’ experience of teaching and researching the New Testament, Pete now explores the interface between all things digital and theological. He is the author of Engaging the Word (BRF) and The Pixelated Text (academia.edu).
 

I recently got my interest in meta and virtual reality world. And really found your article helpful for me as a beginner. Helped alot Thanks
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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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It can be quite difficult to find cryptocurrencies that are worth purchasing in the current financial market as the number…
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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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AR Service Provider Flowing Cloud Eyes to Become First Metaverse-Related Stock Listed in Hong Kong – Pandaily

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Pandaily
Everything about China's Innovation
On September 22, a document from the Hong Kong Stock Exchange (HKEx) showed that Flowing Cloud, a Chinese tech firm, passed the listing hearing and it will start trading on the main board of the exchange at the end of this month. The firm thus may become “the first Metaverse-related stock listed in Hong Kong.”
Founded in 2008, the firm switched its focus from the game business to AR/VR content and services in April 2017, completing the transformation in May 2019. Now its business mainly covers AR/VR marketing services, AR/VR content and AR/VR SaaS (software as a service).
In view of the fact that AR/VR content and services belongs to the Metaverse ecosystem, the firm has started to build its own Metaverse platform, called Flowing Cloud Metaverse, and will release it in the future. There is a virtual commercial market that allows users to move freely and become merchants, providing access to Metaverse for enterprises and individual users. The platform will connect them together.
The firm also provides AR/VR SaaS services. Recently, it announced a strategic cooperation agreement with the short video sharing app Kuaishou. The contents of the deal include providing convenient editing tools for Kuaishou content creators based on a SaaS platform, which is widely applicable to panoramic pictures and other immersive videos. Creators can make 3D models, add special effects and use other interactive functions.
Flowing Cloud currently maintains relatively considerable revenue growth and profitability. According to its prospectus, the revenues of Feitian Yundong were 251 million yuan ($35.5 million) in 2019, 339 million yuan in 2020 and 595 million yuan in 2021. During the period, the net profit was 42 million yuan, 60 million yuan and 72 million yuan respectively. In the first quarter of 2022, its revenue increased by 64.75% from 139 million yuan in the same period of 2021 to 229 million yuan; The net profit increased by 315.78% from about 9.19 million yuan in the same period of 2021 to 38.21 million yuan.
SEE ALSO: Inkeverse Launches Social Metaverse Product Targeted at Gen Z
The net proceeds from this IPO will be mainly for enhancing R&D capabilities and improving technical infrastructure. The firm will enhance its sales and marketing functions, promote potential mergers, acquisitions and strategic investments, and develop the above-mentioned Metaverse platform. Further, the funds will be added to working capital and general corporate purposes.
Investment and financing in the field of Metaverse are in full swing. According to the Investment and Financing Data Report of Metaverse released by Chinese market research firm 100EC in July this year, the financing amount of the Metaverse in China has reached 5.46 billion yuan. In China, there are 160,000 digital human business enterprises and more than 20 provincial governments involved in the building up of the Metaverse. Dora Liu, Deputy CEO and Chief Quality and Transformation Officer at Deloitte China, pointed out that in 2030, China’s Metaverse market will reach 40 trillion yuan, which will count 20% of the country’s GDP, and electronic products and wearable devices in Metaverse will be worth $100 billion.
Domestic leading enterprises are also speeding up the layout of Metaverse. In June this year, Tencent was reported to have set up an “XR-ExtendedReality” department, which is tasked with building an extended reality business including software and hardware for Tencent and will become part of the company’s Interactive Entertainment Group (IEG). In addition, in September 2021, Alibaba launched AYAYI, a digital manager, and in March 2022, it led the investment in Nreal, a Chinese mixed reality (MR) technology startup. Baidu, ByteDance and NetEase have also invested in this field.
Builtopia, a metaverse technology service provider, has recently completed a seed round financing worth tens of millions of yuan led by Shunwei Capital. The funds will be mainly used for technology upgrades and marketing.
On July 13, the HASHII encrypted digital print was jointly released by Inmyshow Digital, a new media marketing company, and Skyworth, a television manufacturer.
This week: Tencent’s NFT marketplace Huanhe to close down, Zipmex becomes latest crypto exchange to halt withdrawals, Hong Kong monetary chief said crypto and DeFi won’t disappear, and more.
The Sandbox announced a new partnership on July 27 with global gaming company Gravity, aimed at bringing Ragnarok, a massively multiplayer online role-playing game created by Gravity, into the metaverse.

A Guide to China's Tech World


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Pandaily is a tech media based in Beijing. Our mission is to deliver premium content and contextual insights on China’s technology scene to the worldwide tech community.
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