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The Metaverse and Crypto – The Motley Fool

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Founded in 1993 by brothers Tom and David Gardner, The Motley Fool helps millions of people attain financial freedom through our website, podcasts, books, newspaper column, radio show, and premium investing services.
Founded in 1993 by brothers Tom and David Gardner, The Motley Fool helps millions of people attain financial freedom through our website, podcasts, books, newspaper column, radio show, and premium investing services.
The metaverse, cryptocurrency, Web3. Besides all three of these things being hot technology buzzwords, what do they have in common? For many tech developers and investors, the metaverse and crypto are intertwined and will become part of Web3 — a decentralized internet controlled by individual users rather than by big companies.
Although the metaverse (basically three-dimensional immersive virtual worlds) and cryptocurrency (Bitcoin (CRYPTO:BTC) being the first of thousands of cryptos) are two very different things, they could come to heavily rely on each other as they develop.
Let's start with a fundamental piece of technology that lies at the heart of both cryptocurrency and the metaverse: blockchain. Originally designed by Bitcoin creator Satoshi Nakamoto and now used by other big cryptos such as Ethereum (CRYPTO:ETH), blockchain is a public digital ledger that records transaction data. Transactions utilizing a blockchain network can be peer-to-peer and remove intermediaries (such as a bank or tech company) from user interactions. This can reduce cost and speed up the time for transactions to take place, among other things.
Commerce on the internet is still taking place using a digital version of traditional fiat currencies. Blockchain and currencies based on it were developed as a digital-native means of transacting business in a digital world. Metaverses with their 3D virtual worlds and immersive services are also seen by some as utilizing blockchain technology as a way to create permission-less interactions between internet users.
There are lots of 3D immersive worlds in existence today, such as video games where players can interact with each other in real time. By some definitions, though, these 3D worlds don't truly become part of the metaverse until they have a fully fledged digital economy.
Many of these games and services allow users to purchase digital items. For avid video gamers, this is a common practice. Outfits and accessories can be purchased to customize your in-game look or improve player performance. Cloud computing-based services utilize a similar concept, enabling a free-to-use or cheap starter package but locking premium or add-on features behind a paywall.
Sound a little pointless and far-fetched? This concept of metaverse shopping could have real-world applications, too. Shoppers could try on a virtual version of clothes in the metaverse before making a purchase. Nvidia (NASDAQ:NVDA) CEO Jensen Huang talks a lot about "digital twins" of physical world locations, which has tremendous potential for businesses when designing and constructing property or planning for manufacturing projects. The same could be said for individuals who could preview a home remodel or sample a product, such as furniture, in a digital recreation of their home. 
With the potential for e-commerce and social interaction, this is where cryptocurrencies and applications built on a blockchain enter. Direct peer-to-peer interactions on the web hold the promise of instantaneous settlement of funds and near-zero fees. Item ownership can be guaranteed using an NFT (non-fungible token), which could take the form of a piece of art, a digital collectible item, or a digital version of a real-world purchase, such as a pair of Nike (NYSE:NKE) sneakers you could also wear in the metaverse.
For now, though, the metaverse is largely the realm of the video game industry and other imaginative start-ups. It's worth noting that turmoil in the crypto space during the first half of 2022 has also cast a shadow on the metaverse and its viability as a fully fledged digital economy. Nevertheless, here are four early-stage projects to watch that are bridging the gap between cryptocurrencies and the metaverse.
The Sandbox (CRYPTO:SAND) is a user-created digital world in which users can create and sell digital content within the game. SAND is the in-game token that acts as a currency and is built atop the Ethereum blockchain network. These tokens can be bought and sold on a number of cryptocurrency exchanges. SAND can be used to purchase virtual land, buildings, accessories, and other items as NFTs.
Decentraland (CRYPTO:MANA) is another Ethereum network-based metaverse experience. Participants can use the native token MANA to purchase virtual land and develop it for games and other experiences, as well as for avatars and digital accessories. Decentraland is controlled by the Decentraland DAO (decentralized autonomous organization). Owners of MANA or virtual property in Decentraland can participate in the DAO and vote on initiatives and new development.
Think of Axie Infinity (CRYPTO:AXS) as an Ethereum blockchain-based version of Nintendo's (OTC:NTDOY) Pokémon franchise. Players train fantasy monsters called Axies and compete against other teams. Axie Infinity is a "play-to-earn" game, meaning participating can earn the player AXS tokens. The tokens can be spent on new Axies (which trade as NFTs), training existing Axies to improve their traits, and the upcoming launch of virtual land within the Axie Infinity universe. The most expensive Axie ever was bought for the equivalent of $820,000 of Ethereum (at the then-market price).
Crypto Baristas is an NFT project that aims to bridge the gap between the physical and virtual worlds. Owners of a Crypto Barista NFT character get access to a metaverse where other coffee enthusiasts can meet. But this is more than just a place to grab a virtual coffee. The project is also being used to fund an actual café in New York City called Coffee Bros., which will partner with coffee farmers around the world (the first being an established farmer in Honduras). At this point, this is a very new project that has only just recently released a white paper on how its tokens will work, but it's an example of how metaverses can also have real-world applications.  
This digital, 3D world can present real opportunity for investors.
Digital real estate is the technical term used to describe virtual property.
You can't live on virtual land, you can't farm it, and you can't mine it — but you might make a profit from it.
Read our expert Q&A about what you should know before investing in crypto.
Prices of some native tokens used in a metaverse have skyrocketed in recent years, attracting plenty of investor attention. However, bear in mind that investing in cryptocurrencies and tokens built on a blockchain network is highly speculative — and not just because they're new technologies.
Crypto coins and tokens used in the metaverse aren't businesses that generate revenue and profits. Instead, they're a type of digital currency that can be used to make purchases or participate in a metaverse. Therefore, their values are highly subjective and prone to wild swings in price. Individual stocks of businesses are very volatile, too, but investors can make assessments on their value with revenue and profit metrics — metrics that crypto investors do not have. This problem has led to some of the extreme volatility in the wider crypto universe in 2022. 
Nevertheless, early versions of the metaverse hold a lot of promise, especially for those interested in participating in them. Ownership of some cryptos grants the holder a voice in a DAO or other virtual project, and artists and other digital creators can have a new outlet for their business.
Tread lightly when it comes to investing in this space as it's moving fast and still under development. But the intersection between cryptocurrencies and the metaverse is worth keeping an eye on in the years ahead.
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Utherverse CEO Brian Shuster Granted Seven New Patents for … – Business Wire

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Internet pioneer now boasts more than 100 tech and internet-enabling patents
NEW YORK–(BUSINESS WIRE)–Brian Shuster, founder and CEO of Utherverse, one of the largest metaverse platforms in the world, has been granted seven new patents for technologies designed to enhance the metaverse experience. The new technologies will begin to be deployed in the metaverse’s next generation platform, due to launch by mid-2023.

The new patents add to Utherverse’s already formidable mountain of intellectual property, addressing a variety of problems and vulnerabilities within metaverse platforms, ranging from the physics of movement and immersive displays to physical interaction between users and animation control.
“For more than two decades we have been working to enhance users’ experiences on the internet,” said Shuster. “These new patents span the three key metaverse pillars of software, hardware and remote touch; solve some inherent and significant problems with the operation of metaverse platforms; and greatly improve the ability of users to exist and thrive in hyper-realistic virtual worlds. They will provide developers with the capability to continually innovate.”
Shuster is now an inventor of more than 100 patents for internet enabling technologies. The abstracts of the seven new patents read in part:
Utherverse is a metaverse platform that enables developers to build interconnected virtual worlds, provides hyper-realistic immersive experiences for consumers and opportunities for companies to market and monetize their products and services. Utherverse generates revenue from custom metaverse building services, sales of NFTs and a variety of business verticals including advertising/marketing, shopping/retail, conferences/conventions, education, dating, lifestyle, entertainment events/performances, VIP experiences and virtual offices. The Utherverse platform was launched in 2005 by internet visionary Brian Shuster. A beta version of the next generation Utherverse platform is expected to launch by mid-2023. To date, the platform has served 50 million+ users with 32 billion+ virtual commerce transactions. Utherverse has developed the technology and received more than 40 patents critical toward operating large-scale metaverses. The company is based in British Columbia, Canada. More information can be found online at Utherverse.io; Twitter/Instagram: @Utherverse; Facebook: /UtherverseDigital; LinkedIn: /utherverse-digital-inc/; Telegram: /UtherverseAnnouncements; Discord: /Utherverse.io.
Steve Honig
The Honig Company, LLC
818-986-4300
press@honigllc.com
Steve Honig
The Honig Company, LLC
818-986-4300
press@honigllc.com

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Meta is desperately trying to make the metaverse happen – MIT Technology Review

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Will web access and avatar legs be enough?
The star of Tuesday’s Meta Connect, the so-called “state of the union” for the company formerly known as Facebook, was Meta Quest Pro. Meta’s newest virtual-reality headset clocks in at a whopping $1,499.99. That’s a significant price jump from its previous iteration, Meta Quest 2, which could be yours for $399.99—not exactly cheap, but still in triple-digit territory.
That price hike, coupled with Meta’s insistence throughout the virtual event that the company envisioned the metaverse as a “next-generation social platform” accessible to everyone, sort of feels like a blatant contradiction. Even if you are among the lucky few who can shell out a grand and a half for a virtual-reality headset, would you really want to?
That’s the question Meta seems to be grappling with. While the headset price jumped, nearly all the company’s other big moves are aimed at a common and simple baseline: making the metaverse something people actually want to use. 
Meta’s metaverse hasn’t exactly had a smooth year. Less than a year ago, founder Mark Zuckerberg rebranded what was then Facebook in an effort to show that the company was pivoting to what he believed was the future of our digital lives. Since then, Meta has been saddled with hiccups and gaffes, including a much-ballyhooed avatar of Zuckerberg that got memed to oblivion, a report suggesting that the company’s employees were less than enthused about the metaverse, and allegations of virtual sexual assault.
A woman was sexually harassed on Meta’s VR social media platform. She’s not the first—and won’t be the last.
So its current strategy seems to be to release a string of updates to see what might get people interested—a “throw spaghetti at the wall and see what sticks” approach, if you will. 
Besides the Meta Quest Pro, the company also announced at the event that it was going to open up Horizon Worlds, the social media platform within Meta’s metaverse, to mobile and desktop users, so people without a headset will be able to access the virtual world.
That’s a notable step: it’s a tacit admission that VR headsets aren’t taking off as quickly as the company would like. Without a critical mass of people who understand what the metaverse feels like or even is, Meta can’t hope to have its products adopted. Opening its virtual worlds to the formats consumers are comfortable with (their text messages, their browsers, the company’s beleaguered Instagram platform) gives people who aren’t open to shelling out $399.99—much less $1,499.99—a way to experience the new world.
What’s also made the metaverse a hard sell is the disorienting experience of being a floating, legless torso, and Meta announced that it won’t be that way anymore. Previously, Andrew Bosworth, Meta’s CTO, said in an Instagram AMA that full-body avatars were difficult to implement, particularly because VR tracking usually comes from someone’s real-life eyes and hands. “Tracking your own legs accurately is super hard and basically not workable just from a physics standpoint with existing headsets,” he said in February.
But Zuckerberg (or, rather, his leggy avatar) announced at the event that the company was going to use artificial intelligence to map out legs in the metaverse, allowing avatars the ability not only to walk and run but also to wear digital clothing for their legs (a marketplace that Zuckerberg has said he is eager to participate in; Roblox, a gaming platform I’ve written about before, currently has a comfortable share of the market). This would be a huge step to improving how users think about movement in the metaverse and how they decide to represent themselves there.
But even with legs, and even with the ability to roam the metaverse without a headset strapped to your face, the key question remains: Is Meta’s metaverse something people will actually buy into? It’s worth noting that even employees at Meta are skeptical about the company’s vision, with one going so far as to say the amount spent on these projects to date made him “sick to [his] stomach.”
A free, shareable version of the metaverse accessible via weblink will open the previously closed world up to people who may not have hundreds of dollars to burn, and it’s a huge move toward democratizing the space. It might lead people to buy Meta’s claim that talking to a cartoon version of your boss is totally cool—and, more broadly, that the metaverse really is the next digital plane on which we’ll conduct our lives. 
But it might also do the opposite: people might hop on the link and find that even in its now full-bodied state, the metaverse, er, doesn’t have legs.
An avatar of the singer, who died in 1997, performed with live rappers on Meta’s Horizon Worlds.
In his own words, the Chinese painter shares how he became a one-person newsroom during a week of intense protests against China's zero-covid policy.
Reflecting on my desire for Chinese-style e-commerce platforms.
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OREO Launches Its Own VR Metaverse Experience – VRScout

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The OREOVERSE is available now via Horzion Worlds.
This week OREO unveiled a new limited-edition flavor, the Most OREO OREO, which features real OREO grind mixed in the creme. In celebration of the new product, the company has created its own metaverse experience accessible on Meta Quest 2 and Meta Quest Pro headsets.
According to the company, the OREOVERSE features a variety of “cookie-themed” games that have you building delicious treats in VR for a chance at $50,000. As part of the campaign, TV personality Martha Stewart and her gardener Ryan McCallister will stream themselves exploring the OREOVERSE next week on the OREO brand’s social channels.
“We’re so excited to enter the metaverse! OREO is the cookie that begs to be played with and we love to create new opportunities for our fans to connect with each other and share that playful spirit,” said Julia Rosenbloom, Senior Brand Manager, OREO, in an official release. “The Most OREO OREO cookie gives fans a whole new way to playfully engage with us. By scanning the pack, they will ‘dunk into’ the new OREOVERSE world.”
“I am excited to make my metaverse debut in partnership with one of my favorite cookie brands, OREO, and having Ryan there with me will make it all the more fun,” added Martha Stewart. “The two of us have had our fair share of adventures over the last 10 years and have been able to navigate just about anything together, especially in the garden!”
The OREOVERSE is accessible now on Meta Quest 2 and Meta Quest Pro headsets via Horizon Worlds, Meta’s own social VR metaverse. Marth Stewart’s OREOVERSE excursion will begin on Monday, January 30th at 10:00 am ET on Facebook and Instagram. For more information visit here.
Image Credit: OREO
Kyle is a writer for VRScout also working in new media production. He’s also a part-time bounty hunter.
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