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Meta, Microsoft and Other Tech Giants Say They Want an Open Metaverse—Should We Believe Them? – Decrypt

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On Tuesday, 35 technology companies—among them Meta (formerly known as Facebook), Microsoft, Alibaba, and Sony—announced their founding membership in an organization calling itself the Metaverse Standards Forum. 
The Forum’s stated goal: to foster coordination and cooperation among the hundreds of companies currently jockeying to create (or depending who you ask, dominate) the still-nascent metaverse: an immersive collection of digital spaces and worlds navigated via 3D avatars that many see as the future of the internet.
These tech giants claim they have banded together to set standards toward creating an “open and inclusive metaverse.” But their counterparts in the world of Web3—the individuals who believe the metaverse will be built on open, permissionless blockchain networks—say there’s reason to be skeptical.
“I think we should always stay skeptical,” Danny Greene, general manager of the Meebits DAO, told Decrypt. “At the end of the day, we’re fighting for a decentralized future and these are corporations that are representing shareholders.”
Key to the Forum’s stated aim to create an open metaverse, unable to be controlled by one company, is a particular word: interoperability. Many envision the metaverse as a constellation of many digital “neighborhoods,” each built by a different company. For these digital neighborhoods to be easily traversable, it would require digital assets of all kinds to pass freely, interoperably, from one neighborhood to the next. 
Achieving interoperability would be a technical feat (think about getting a digital dress, for example, to instantly morph from a 2D world into 3D), but just as much so, an economic and political one. 
Critics of big tech fear that larger corporations wading into the metaverse have a different vision for it: one in which a company like Meta keeps its digital marketplaces, and crucially, data and analytics, firmly under its control, in a more siloed digital environment instead of borderless neighborhoods. After Meta dove headfirst into the metaverse and changed its name from Facebook last fall, metaverse builders such as Sky Mavis co-founder and Growth Lead Jeff “Jiho” Zirlin labeled the event the first shot in a “battle for the future of the internet.”

While skeptical, Greene also expressed some cautious optimism about the Metaverse Standards Forum should Meta and these other publicly traded companies be sincere in their pledge to industry-wide cooperation on interoperability standards.
“To the extent that major corporations—that have the money, the talent, and the reach to really advance the ideas of the metaverse—are really signing on to the pledge of interoperability, I’m incredibly excited about the news,” said Greene.
Others were, however, more explicit in their cynicism. Yat Siu, founder and executive chairman of Animoca Brands, the $5 billion dollar software and venture capital firm behind numerous leading metaverse projects, has previously labeled Meta’s metaverse ambitions as “digital colonialism.” 
In an email to Decrypt, he dismissed the Metaverse Standards Forum as a “paper tiger” and likened it to the League of Nations, the international body created after the First World War to promote multilateralism and prevent another global catastrophe, which quickly gave way to the rise of fascism and World War II.  
Chief among Siu’s critiques of the pact is the unlikelihood that any of its participating corporations would ever actually adopt a permissionless structure, in which asset ownership is not “gatekept” by a company, and all data lives publicly, on a blockchain. “This is a very difficult thing for these companies to do,” said Siu. “ Web2 companies rely on their exclusive access to data.”

Siu believes that the business model of companies like Meta is fundamentally incompatible with the notion of a decentralized, open metaverse, in which users, their data, and their digital belongings exist independently of any company, just like the clothes you wear are not owned or controlled by a given neighborhood you walk through. “An open metaverse allows for permissionless access, and the vast majority of these companies won't permit this at the start I think,” said Siu.
The word “permissionless,” popular among Web3-native advocates of an open metaverse, appears nowhere in the Forum’s materials. Meta did not respond to Decrypt’s request for comment on this story.
One of Animoca’s principal projects is The Sandbox, a prominent metaverse platform that has sold almost $500 million worth of digital land to date, according to data aggregated on Dune Analytics. The platform’s COO and co-founder, Sebastien Borget, told Decrypt that the Metaverse Standards Forum never reached out to or consulted him prior to Tuesday’s announcement. Siu and Greene were likewise never contacted by the Forum; Siu noted that among the Forum’s 35 founding members, “there is a notable absence of Web3 and blockchain-native businesses.”
The Forum’s founding statement notes that any organization is welcome to join its ranks. Whether Web3-native companies devoted to building an open metaverse will find its mission to be worth their time, or genuinely consistent with their goals, is another question. 

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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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WHAT IS QUILVIUS (QVUI)? LET'S EXPLORE THIS UPCOMING METAVERSE CRYPTO PROJECT – Asianet Newsable

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WHAT IS QUILVIUS (QVUI)? LET’S EXPLORE THIS UPCOMING METAVERSE CRYPTO PROJECT  Asianet Newsable
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