Značka: Metaverse

Microsoft's massive Metaverse move: Buying Activision for $69B

Microsoft Crop. is acquiring gaming giant Activision Blizzard Inc. for $69 billion as part of a move to ramp up its gaming and Metaverse plans. Activision Blizzard is home to a long list of iconic gaming franchises such as Call of Duty, Overwatch, Candy Crush, World of Warcraft and Tony Hawk’s Pro-Skater. Following the deal, its games are set to be added to Microsoft Xbox’s Game Pass service that has 25 million subscribers. According to a Jan. 18 announcement from Microsoft, the firm will acquire Activision Blizzard for $95.00 per share at a valuation of $68.7 billion. The deal is set to close in the 2023 fiscal year, and it will see Microsoft become the third largest gaming company in terms of revenue behind Riot Games owner Tencent and Playstation developer Sony. Together with @ATVI_AB, we will usher in a new era of gaming that puts players and creators first and makes gaming safe, inclusive, and accessible to all. https://t.co/fF2Ig3gSfx— Satya Nadella (@satyanadella) January 18, 2022Microsoft outlined that the acquisition will support the growth of its services across mobile, PC, console and cloud gaming, and also notably stated that it will “provide building blocks for the Metaverse.” Microsoft CEO and chairman Satya Nadella said: “Gaming is the most dynamic and exciting category in entertainment across all platforms today and will play a key role in the development of metaverse platforms.” As part of the acquisition, Microsoft stated that Activision Blizzard CEO Bobby Kotick will remain at the helm until the deal closes, with the reins then being handed over to Microsoft Gaming CEO Phil Spencer. Spencer welcomed the deal via an Xbox blog post and emphasized the company is working to make cloud gaming accessible on as many devices as possible. He didn’t mention the Metaverse or NFTs however, sectors that have seen a backlash from some sections of the gaming community. “The fantastic franchises across Activision Blizzard will also accelerate our plans for Cloud Gaming, allowing more people in more places around the world to participate in the Xbox community using phones, tablets, laptops and other devices you already own,” Spencer wrote. Some sentiments I’ve heard from Activision Blizzard employees today:- Optimism about management changes and the positive culture at several Xbox-owned studios- Fury toward Microsoft for giving Bobby Kotick a big payday and soft exit- Determination to keep organizing— Jason Schreier (@jasonschreier) January 18, 2022

In November, Nadella first unveiled Microsoft’s Metaverse plans via an upgrade to its “Teams” service and a product called “Dynamics 365 Connected Spaces.” The “Mesh” upgrade for Teams is set to introduce personalized digital avatars and immersive spaces to meet in the Metaverse later this year. Nadella also stated at the time that people can “absolutely expect” to see Microsoft integrate Metaverse features with the Xbox gaming consoles, but didn’t divulge any concrete plans or specific details. Related: NFT-focused Animoca Brands valued at $5B following $358M raiseIt is unclear if Microsoft’s Metaverse play for Xbox will include the introduction of NFTs, with Spencer  stating in November that he felt the experimentation happening in NFTs was more “exploitative than about entertainment.”Spencer noted that if the Xbox Store were to support NFTs, the company would actively weed out any nefarious behavior or content. Microsoft acquires another massive gaming company, the monopoly continues to grow as Sony scrambles to make their next power play, the console war is at an all time climaxMeanwhile, at Nintendo: pic.twitter.com/adJlrMQZLY— Colin (@IntroSpecktive) January 18, 2022

The Wall Street Journal reported last week that 100 employees from Microsoft’s augmented reality team have left the company over the past year to join metaverse competitor Meta (Facebook).

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Cardano goes ‘full send’ with a 50% ADA rally ahead of SundaeSwap launch

Cardano (ADA) traded within striking distance of its three-week high  at the start of this week, leading some investors to suggest that a trend reversal was in order. In reality, the bullish momentum is primarily connected to an anticipation of the upcoming decentralized exchange (DEX) called SundaeSwap.ADA price rose by nearly 12% on Jan.17 to reach an intraday high of $1.60, a day after SundaeSwap announced the launch of its “fully-functional beta decentralized exchange (DEX).” Nonetheless, the upside swing also came as a part of a wider rebound trend wherein ADA jumped by almost 50% in just seven days.ADA/USD daily price chart. Source: TradingViewIn detail, ADA’s rebound began almost in sync with similar retracement moves across the cryptocurrency market. That included Bitcoin (BTC), which sharply reversed its trend on Jan. 10 after its price dipped to as low as $39,650. At press time, BTC price trades at $41,500.ADA initially tailed the crypto market’s reversal, but later continued its upside momentum on its own after taking cues from the euphoria surrounding the SundaeSwap DEX launch on Jan. 20. As a result, ADA emerged as one of the best performers among the top-ten cryptocurrencies based on a 24-hour adjusted timeframe.Top 10 cryptocurrencies in the past 48 hours. Source: MessariWhat makes SundaeSwap bullish for ADA?SundaeSwap’s official DEX launch announcement included evidence of greater demand for ADA tokens in the future and this is typically a bullish signal for investors.The moment we’ve all been waiting for has finally come!We’re excited and proud to share that SundaeSwap and the ISO will be launching on the evening of Thursday, January 20th (EST)! Check out the article below! https://t.co/8oDYU6i3k9 pic.twitter.com/upgNZx2xH2— SundaeSwap Labs (@SundaeSwap) January 15, 2022The DEX platform also introduced its native SUNDAE token and discussed three ways to distribute it among users: via an initial stake offering (ISO) round, yield farming and direct exchange-based conversion. Discussing the ISO round, SundaeSwap explained that it would distribute 5% of the total SUNDAE supply via five epochs. Each epoch represents a five-day reward cycle wherein users delegate their ADA tokens into a stake pool.”If you want to make sure you qualify for all five ISO reward rounds, you must have ADA staked with eligible SPOs [Stake Pool Operators] before 21:45 UTC on January 25,” the DEX’s announcement read, adding:”Your reward will be calculated based on the snapshot taken at that time, and at the same time at each subsequent epoch boundary.”Meanwhile, the yield farming program saw SundaeSwap adding four ADA-based liquidity pools: SUNDAE/ADA, LQ/ADA, WMT/ADA and CARDS/ADA. The DEX also allocated 500,000 SUNDAE per day from January through June.ADA to $2?The SundaeSwap-led bounce pushed ADA toward its 100-day exponential moving average (100-day EMA; the blue wave) near $1.57.ADA/USD daily price chart featuring 100-day EMA resistance. Source: TradingViewAdditional bullish cues have also been coming from the anticipated launch of Pavio, Cardano’s first metaverse undertaking.Pavio is a Decentraland-like virtual land startup with some 100,000 land parcels, each being minted as a unique nonfungible token (NFT) with coordinates. The advent of the Metaverse in the crypto sector in the past months and Cardano’s involvement in it may boost demand for ADA further.Related: Meta poaches staff from Microsoft and Apple for metaverse plansThis raises the possibility for Cardano to close above its 100-day EMA resistance wave, thus shifting the next upside target toward the 200-day EMA near $2.Conversely, risks of an overall crypto market crash led by the U.S. Federal Reserve’s tapering programs this year could spoil ADA’s bullish setup to an extent. “While ADA is far from its peak, the prospect of obtaining more scalability as part of its 2022 roadmap explains why investors appear to be betting big on Cardano. This point was also noted by Liam Bussel, the chief marketing officer of Cardano-native DEX WingRiders in a statement to Cointelegraph.Bussel said,”In a world characterized by high performance and novel use cases, Cardano will be able to keep up and lead the pack. As a result, a weekly closing above $1.80 is likely, barring any last-minute profiteering by sellers.”The views and opinions expressed here are solely those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of Cointelegraph.com. Every investment and trading move involves risk, you should conduct your own research when making a decision.

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NFT marketplace Metaplex raises $46M to expand gaming and metaverse applications

Nonfungible token (NFT) marketplace Metaplex has concluded a $46 million investment round to support its strategic pivot into metaverse applications — offering further evidence that existing blockchain networks were looking to capitalize on advances in Web3 technology. The investment round was co-led by venture firms Multicoin Capital and Jump Crypto, with additional participation from Solana Ventures, Alameda Research and Animoca Brands. Over 90 individual investors also participated in the raise, including NBA legends Michael Jordan and Allen Iverson. The funding round will allow the Metaplex Foundation, which oversees the development of the Metaplex protocol, to expand its support for metaverse and gaming applications beginning this year. As an NFT-first protocol, Metaplex has already been used to create over 5.7 million digital collectibles for 85,000 projects, according to the company. Metaplex launched its NFT marketplace on Solana in June 2021 with support from cryptocurrency exchange FTX. The platform was designed to provide infrastructure support to the nascent, but thriving, NFT community. Despite its recent slump, the NFT market is poised to continue growing this year after a record-breaking 2021 that saw creators generate over $17 billion in sales. Debates about the #Metaverse have begun. Crypto leaders are divided over whether Mark Zuckerberg should lead Facebook into the Metaverse. Should he resign, or is he all the company needs to move forward? https://t.co/6VDiUZEHl0— Cointelegraph (@Cointelegraph) November 5, 2021The concept of the metaverse, which refers to a broad digital world that integrates technology and real life, was popularized in 2021 after Facebook rebranded to Meta in its attempt to capitalize on the emerging market. At the time, Vishal Shah, Facebook’s head of metaverse products, said creators will have free rein to create many kinds of digital objects on the metaverse. Related: An Indonesian 22-year-old makes $1M by selling NFT selfies on OpenSeaAccording to Cointelegraph Consulting, metaverses and NFTs have a natural connection in that nonfungible tokens can add a certificate of ownership or authenticity to assets belonging to the digital world. Proof of ownership will become more integral to metaverse applications as they continue to attract more users and concepts such as digital land become more commonplace. 

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NFT-focused Animoca Brands valued at $5B following $358M raise

Hong Kong-based software and venture firm Animoca Brands has secured $358.8 million in capital investments to fuel new acquisitions in the nonfungible token (NFT), gaming and metaverse sectors, further cementing crypto’s biggest trends in 2022. The funding round was led by Liberty City Ventures and had participation from some of blockchain’s biggest venture funds, including 10T Holdings, Gemini Frontier Fund, ParaFi Capital, Provident, Sequoia China, and Winklevoss Capital, among several others. Animoca said the capital injection will go towards financing strategic acquisitions and investments, product development, and license acquisition for intellectual properties. The company said its vision is to create a metaverse that enhances users’ digital property rights through NFTs. Opportunities within GameFi — a broad concept that refers to the financialization of gaming through NFTs and DeFi — are also envisioned as being part of this environment. “Play for fun” or play to earn? The president of Japanese game developer and publisher Square Enix has published a letter to fans, detailing their plans for the metaverse, blockchain and NFTs. https://t.co/MFYFVv2BM2— Cointelegraph (@Cointelegraph) January 3, 2022Regarding GameFi, Animoca referenced industry research showing that the global video game market is expected to reach $829 billion in 2028, up from $180.3 billion in 2021. The industry’s sizable growth is expected to feed into play-to-earn games and other forms of in-game monetization. Animoca raised over $216 million during the course of 2021, while its subsidiary, The Sandbox, concluded a $93 million funding round in early November. With the latest funding, Animoca further cemented itself as one of crypto’s fastest-growing unicorns with a pre-money valuation of $5 billion. That’s more than double the $2.2 billion valuation it received in October 2021. Startups become “unicorns” when they achieve a valuation of at least $1 billion. Several crypto-focused companies have crossed that threshold over the past 12 months, including Amber Group, Bitso, Blockstream, CoinList, ConsenSys, Figure Technologies, OpenSea, and 2TM, among others.[embedded content]Related: OpenSea raises $300M for encrypted digital marketplaceVenture capital funds are betting big on blockchain technology and its role in reshaping the internet and digital economy. As Cointelegraph reported, venture funds poured over $17 billion into blockchain startups through the first 10 months of 2021. That’s more than three times the amount for all of 2020.

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Is Walmart gearing up to enter the Metaverse?

It appears that retail giant Walmart Inc. is getting ready to enter the Metaverse with patent filings indicating that it plans to create its own cryptocurrency and NFT collection. The multinational retailer filed several new trademarks with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office on Dec. 30, however, they remained unnoticed until a Jan. 16 report by CNBC shed more light on Walmart’s ambitions. Walmart filed a total of seven patent applications at the time, including three under its existing advertising division “Walmart Connect”. The applications included plans to create and sell “virtual goods,” including the likes of electronics, toys, appliances, apparel, and home decor. There’s also mention of a “digital currency” and “digital token”, and opportunities to buy and sell NFTs.Meanwhile, a separate application suggests plans to trademark the Walmart brand name and logo in virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR), with the possibility of introducing “physical fitness training services” in VR and AR. This is how Walmart envisions Shopping in the #Metaverse.Thoughts? pic.twitter.com/5l7KhoBse7— Homo Digitalis (@DigitalisHomo) January 3, 2022This comes as the latest in a string of recent events indicating Walmart’s interest in the Metaverse. In August, the retail giant listed a job vacancy for a “digital currency and crypto product lead” to drive digital currency strategy. The job listing has since been removed but it is unclear whether the role was filled. A Linkedin search for a person working at Walmart with the role turns over no results. Back in October, Walmart also partnered with crypto ATM company Coinstar and crypto-cash exchange Coinme to install 200 Bitcoin ATMs in its stores across the United States. In addition, Walmart has used blockchain technology for supply chain management, customer marketplaces, and smart appliances since 2018. Related: Fake news: Litecoin price surges 35% following Walmart adoption hoaxAccording to analysts from Morgan Stanley, the Metaverse could present an $8 trillion opportunity for retailers. During the third quarter of 2021, Walmart saw sales reach $11.1 billion according to Digital Commerce 360. Walmart is the largest private employer in the U.S. with a market capitalization of over $406 billion. It operates a chain of hypermarkets, discount department stores, and grocery stores.

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The Australian Open swings into the Metaverse on Decentraland

Tennis Australia has partnered with Decentraland to host the Australian Open (AO), which will be the first official tennis grand slam in the Metaverse.A virtual recreation of key areas in Melbourne Park, including the Rod Laver Arena and Grand Slam Park, will be open for the duration of the Australian Open tournament, which will run for a fortnight beginning on Jan. 17. The event will include exclusive content for virtual visitors, including behind-the-scenes footage from over 300 cameras around Melbourne Park, including the exclusive player arrivals area and the practice village. As well as broadcasting live footage and AO radio, it will also feature archival footage from tennis matches dating back to the 70s and virtual meet-ups with tennis players including Mark Philippoussis, with other players yet to be confirmed.Tennis Australia NFT & Metaverse Project Manager Ridley Plummer said in a virtual welcome address on Decentraland that he hopes for the AO to become the “world’s most accessible and inclusive sports and entertainment event.”“With the unique challenges fans have faced getting to Melbourne, we’ve fast-tracked our launch into the Metaverse,” he said.“Taking the AO into the Metaverse is an important step to provide truly global access to our great event.”This is especially pertinent given travel restrictions due to the COVID-19 pandemic, making it very difficult for many fans to reach Melbourne to view the event in real life. The 2021 AO faced a range of challenges, including a historically low number of on-site spectators and lockdown restrictions. Despite the timely introduction of the partnership given the pandemic, Plummer says that the AO plans to continue to collaborate with Decentraland in the future. “We’re in it for the long term,” he said.“The Metaverse is not going anywhere, and as a company, we’re invested in continuing to grow our online presence and push the boundaries of innovation.”He also added that Tennis Australia is exploring the possibility of a year-round property in the Metaverse. “We definitely think of ourselves more as an entertainment event rather than just a tennis event. Whether we’re providing entertainment via the metaverse twelve months of the year or only a few months of the year, that’s definitely a decision to be made in our roadmap going forward.”Australian Open lands a sweet NFT partnership Meanwhile, on Jan. 17, the AO also announced it would be teaming up with NFT platform Sweet to release six NFT collections commemorating the last five decades of the AO. The collections will be released intermittently between Jan. 17 and 27 to coincide with the tournament. Tom Mizzone, CEO of Sweet said that the NFT release demonstrates a “truly new level of access” for fans to get a glimpse into the world of their idols. “We love this idea of turning IP into digital memorabilia and tying that memorabilia back to an experience,” he added.“The idea that the AO designed an umpire chair that had never been seen before and now tennis fans can own and display that umpire chair as an NFT is just amazing.”Separately, the AO launched a collection of 6,776 algorithmically created “Art Ball” NFTs on Opensea on Jan 12. According to Plummer, the collection sold out in three minutes following the public drop with a price floor of 0.26 ETH (around $875) and a trading volume of 223 ETH ($751,287). Each Art Ball is allocated a unique plot on the court. And we’ll be using electronic in line calling tech to update winning points to their corresponding AO Art Ball NFTs. So your ball could decide the match. No challenges. pic.twitter.com/KRj2FiGlAd— AOmetaverse (@AOmetaverse) January 11, 2022Related: Australia’s largest crypto exchange will sponsor tennis star Ajla TomljanovicThis isn’t the Open’s first rodeo in the Metaverse. In 2020, the AO hosted the Fortnite Summer Smash, an esports event with a $100,000 prize pool. Tennis Australia has leased the virtual land from Vegas City, a company that owns large areas of the metaverse.The AO has already had its share of drama, with an Australian court dismissing Serbian tennis star Novak Djokovic’s appeal against a deportation order. Djokovic has released a statement following the court decision pic.twitter.com/V0IYHJ04Yc— Andrew Brown (@AndrewBrownAU) January 16, 2022

Djokovic is a vocal critic of the COVID-19 vaccination and claims he was given an exemption from the Australian government to enter the country despite being unvaccinated.

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Going meta: Disney, Second Life and K-pop

Following the announcement that Facebook’s parent company would be rebranding in a shift towards the Metaverse, many projects have started similar initiatives entering the virtual space, from buying property to testing the limits of what this universe has to offer. Visit Disneyland… in the Metaverse?The entertainment company behind some of the most popular theme parks in the world recently had a patent approved for a “virtual-world simulator in a real-world venue.” Though the Los Angeles Times reported that Disney had “no current plans” to use the simulator in the near future, the application does suggest Disneyland and Disney World guests may eventually see Metaverse attractions at one or more of the parks in the United States, Hong Kong, China, France, and Japan. Disney World in Orlando, Florida. Source: PexelsThe tech would work by tracking visitors using their mobile phones and generating and projecting personalized 3D effects onto nearby physical spaces, such as walls and other objects in the park. According to the patent application, Disney’s possible foray into the Metaverse could “provide users with realistic and highly immersive individualized 3D virtual experiences without requiring those users to wear an augmented reality AR viewing device.”K-pop in the Metaverse?On Monday, Metaverse concert organizer Animal Concerts announced it had inked a deal with South Korean unicorn Kakao’s Klaytn network as part of a plan to increase its exposure to the country’s entertainment industry. Animal Concerts CEO Colin Fitzpatrick said that “Klaytn’s major goals are NFTs and Metaverse.”“Technical limitations prohibit how many people can actually attend a concert in the Metaverse,” said Fitzpatrick, referencing scalability issues. He aims to build a network of virtual venues across existing and new Metaverse platforms to host concerts with a variety of talent, seemingly including K-pop artists.Second Life creator returns as project goes metaLinden Lab, the company behind the virtual online world Second Life, announced on Thursday founder Philip Rosedale would be rejoining the project as a strategic adviser along with Metaverse team members of San Francisco-based VR company High Fidelity. According to the firm, the addition of the new and old talent would facilitate Second Life’s entry into the Metaverse.“Virtual worlds don’t need to be dystopias,” said Rosedale. “Big Tech giving away VR headsets and building a metaverse on their ad-driven, behavior-modification platforms isn’t going to create a magical, single digital utopia for everyone.”Launched in 2003, Second Life was one of the earliest virtual world experiences before the connectivity of modern social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. Rosedale departed as the CEO of Linden Labs in 2008 before going on to found High Fidelity in 2013. His return could mark a significant milestone for incorporating new Metaverse-themed ideas into established platforms:Philip Rosedale returning to Linden Labs (breaking news today) definitely reminds me of Steve Jobs in the 90s returning to Apple #secondlife #metaverse— Andrew Oleksiuk (they/them) (@Andrew_Oleksiuk) January 13, 2022

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Nifty News: Mike Tyson loves Solana, Aoki stops show to flaunt NFT, Apple and the 'AR Verse'

Mike Tyson is living the $DREAMBoxing icon Mike Tyson has stepped into the ring this week, after he shared his enthusiasm for Solana and unveiled a partnership with mental health-focused crypto project TheDreamChain ($DREAM). In the first round, Tyson — who previously launched an NFT project on Ethereum via OpenSea last year — tweeted on Jan. 13 that he was a born-again Solana (SOL) proponent while sharing a screenshot of a new NFT he’d snapped up from the Catalina Whale Mixer project. The Solana-based Catalina Whale Mixer NFTs currently have a floor price of 15 SOL ($2,200), and Tyson’s NFT depicts a whale version of himself wearing a world championship belt along with his famous face tattoo. All in on Solana… Just copped a Catalina Whale… pow pow! pic.twitter.com/97voS15B8y— Mike Tyson (@MikeTyson) January 12, 2022In round two later that day, the 55-year-old tweeted about either what appears to be a partnership or paid celebrity promotion with TheDreamChain. The token’s unusual selling point is that it’s just as difficult and limited to trade as a stock.“It’s the first of its kind that can only be traded during US stock market hours. Could revolutionize the space and help the mental health of the crypto community.”According to TheDreamChain’s website, its token $DREAM is only available for trade between the standard stock exchange hours of 9:30am to 4:pm, with the idea being that 24/7 trading is causing a mental health crisis amongst crypto traders. The project states that it will divert 0.5% of all transaction fees to its own foundation, which will donate funds to mental health charities or use the capital to sign partnerships with non-profit organizations. Apple looking at AR, not the MetaverseAmid a landrush from tech giants toward the Metaverse, Apple won’t be rushing in with its latest gadget according to Bloomberg’s Apple tech reporter Mark Gurman. Gurman shared snippets from the latest Q&A section of his paid consumer tech newsletter via Twitter on Jan. 10 regarding Apple’s upcoming virtual reality headset. He noted that: “Here’s one word I’d be shocked to hear on stage when Apple announced its headset: Metaverse.”“I’ve been told pretty directly that the idea of a completely virtual world where users can escape to — like the can in Meta Platfroms/Facebook’s vision of the future — is off-limits from Apple,” he added. According to Gurman’s understanding, current and former Apple execs such as Jony Ive have always envisioned the firm’s VR headset to be a device used in short “bursts” for gaming, content consumption and communication and not as part of a full-blown Metaverse experience. Instead, Apple is said to be eyeing the augmented reality space (AR) in which the user’s physical experience is enhanced with digital or virtual features via devices such as eye lenses, as they can be worn all day and don’t distract from the immediate environment. Lots of interest in my take on “Apple Reality” and the Metaverse https://t.co/ZmacFcOC9k pic.twitter.com/C4SNbFbULp— Mark Gurman (@markgurman) January 9, 2022

Artemis launches mobile-focused NFT social media platformHong Kong-based blockchain firm Artemis Market launched a new social media and NFT trading platform yesterday. According to a Jan. 13 announcement, the Solana-based platform has initially launched a desktop and mobile web version with limited functionality, and will be rolling out a mobile app and full social features in the near future. Artemis is hoping to attract new users with 0% transaction fees on trading until the end of February. We know all of you have been waiting for this day…And we are finally LAUNCHING NOWhttps://t.co/OBLamZSR18What’s more? ✨0% TRANSACTION FEE✨until end of Feb!Join us and start trading on Artemis NOW!#Solana #NFT #NFTlaunch #NFTmarketplace #SocialFi #ListAndEarn #0TxnFee— Artemis Market (@Artemis_Market) January 13, 2022

The firm stated that it was focused on building a one stop shop mobile platform to provide a user-friendly platform that can be accessed on the go, as it highlighted that the NFT sector currently lacks a “compelling user experience” despite its booming popularity. “We want our users to be able to conduct their whole NFT experience all in one app. From discovering and hanging out with creators, to collecting NFTs, to interacting, sharing and commenting with friends.”Related: China aims to separate NFTs from crypto via new blockchain infrastructureSteve Aoki stops live show to flaunt NFT acquisitionMillionaire DJ Steve Aoki abruptly stopped one of his live music events this week to flaunt a freshly acquired NFT that many of his fans could only dream to afford. Aoki tweeted a video on Jan. 12 sharing his glee at snapping an NFT from the Doodles collection accompanied by a caption that read: “Had to stop my show to celebrate my excitement on my doodle! Nfts make me feel like a kid again.”The Doodles project consists of 10,000 NFT avatars featuring art by popular Canadian artist Burnt Toast. The NFTs currently have a floor price of 11.75 Ether (ETH) worth roughly $38,300 at the time of writing.Aoki is a major NFT proponent with his fingers in multiple honey pots, and his latest behavior suggests early signs of a crippling NFT addiction.Other Nifty NewsA group of editors on Wikipedia voted against classifying NFTs as a form of art on Jan. 12, opting to exclude NFT art sales from the list of top art sales of living artists. They have agreed to re-open discussions at a later date however. U.S.-based music streaming platform LÜM is slated to relaunch as an NFT platform later this quarter. It is shifting its focus to musician-focused fan NFTs that enable users to support the artist of their choosing.

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Second Life creator returns to lay claim to the Metaverse

The founder of Linden Lab’s virtual online world Second Life Philip Rosedale will be rejoining the project as a strategic advisor to guide its entry to the Metaverse.While he is negative on content interoperability in the Metaverse describing it as “a total fail” he believes an NFT based future is the way forward long term.Second Life is an online social game universe that launched in 2003, when the word “Metaverse” was only being used by Neal Stephenson fans.Since leaving his position as CEO of Linden Labs in 2008, Rosedale has made a name for himself in the virtual reality (VR) ecosystem. In 2013, he created the social VR company, High Fidelity. Philip Rosedale returning to Linden Labs (breaking news today) definitely reminds me of Steve Jobs in the 90s returning to Apple #secondlife #metaverse— Andrew Oleksiuk (they/them) (@Andrew_Oleksiuk) January 13, 2022In a Jan. 13 announcement, High Fidelity said it is investing in Linden Labs with both cash and what is described as “distributed computing patents,” including two regarding community moderation in decentralized environments. “Virtual worlds don’t need to be dystopias,” Rosedale said. “Big Tech giving away VR headsets and building a metaverse on their ad-driven, behavior-modification platforms isn’t going to create a magical, single digital utopia for everyone.”What will the future look like? In an interview with Cnet Technology, Rosedale said that beyond exploring the possibility of adding VR tech to Second Life, advanced avatar animations using facial tracking cameras could also be a future possibility. “Using the webcam to animate an avatar, that’s a really interesting in-between,” he said. “Not enough people are looking at that space, that’s one that I’ve spent a lot of time thinking about.”As for the possibility of incorporating new ideas like interoperable non-fungible items into Second Life, Rosedale will need some convincing. In the Metaverse, interoperable content are items which can be bought on one platform and carried over to another. He referenced the way branded content can negatively break the fourth wall in Metaverse platforms, saying that in the short term, “content interoperability is one of these things that only a brand could love.”“As a way of further connecting games to each other, it’s a total fail. The near-term idea is dumb.”However, he didn’t shun the use of non-fungible tokens (NFTs), saying that the “long-term idea is totally correct.” Second Life already has its own economy and currency, “Linden Dollars.” Related: Meta poaches staff from Microsoft and Apple for metaverse plansAccording to Rosedale, there are 375 million items sold on the Second Life marketplace each year, for around $2 each. In his opinion, these items are essentially already NFTs.“Those are all NFTs — basically, the core idea of allowing digital assets to be marked and allowing them to be tradable and shareable,” he said, adding that this concept is only “going to get bigger and bigger and bigger. Of course, these items inside Second Life aren’t recorded on the blockchain, and therefore cannot exist outside the game – which are essential properties of NFTs. Now in its 19th year of operation, Second Life claims an annual GDP of $650 million, with over 8 million unique items sold on its Marketplace.

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Meta poaches staff from Microsoft and Apple for Metaverse plans

Employees from Microsoft and Apple are jumping ship to join Meta Platforms as the company sets its sights on creating the Metaverse. According to former employees of Microsoft quoted by the Wall Street Journal, around 100 people have ditched the tech giant’s augmented reality team over the past year to join Meta Platforms. They claim that Meta has been particularly focused on snapping up people who have worked on Microsoft’s HoloLens augmented reality (AR) headsets. According to the WSJ, Linkedin profiles show that more than 70 people who were part of Microsoft’s HoloLens team have left the project over the past year, with more than 40 of them taking on new positions at Meta. Microsoft’s first mover advantage in the AR space makes its employees valuable assets to Meta. Microsoft announced its HoloLens project more than five years ago in 2016, with the technology developing into one of the world’s most advanced headsets. Apple is attempting to counteract an employee exodus to Meta by offering lucrative stock options and bonuses worth between $50,000 and $180,000, according to a report by Bloomberg. In late Dec 2021, the company offered the bonuses to a group of engineers in silicon design, hardware and some software operations workers. Facebook’s push to become MetaMeta Platforms was formerly known as Facebook until a major rebranding exercise in Oct 2021, signalling the company’s growing ambitions beyond social media. Its virtual reality hardware business “Reality Labs” has been hard at work in the months since, successfully creating a prototype of its virtual reality “haptic gloves” in mid-Nov 2021. Announcing @Meta — the Facebook company’s new name. Meta is helping to build the metaverse, a place where we’ll play and connect in 3D. Welcome to the next chapter of social connection. pic.twitter.com/ywSJPLsCoD— Meta (@Meta) October 28, 2021Despite these early successes, the centralized Meta’s attempts to dominate the Metaverse has led to no shortage of criticism in the wider community, which includes leaders in the crypto, NFT, blockchain and GameFi spaces. Some crypto leaders such as Hodl Asset’s Jenny Ta have suggested that Mark Zuckerberg shouldn’t be the one to lead Facebook into the Metaverse at all, given his history regarding data mining, privacy and content policies. “In order for him to have a clean slate for Meta, he must step down and he must have a new CEO to run it,” she said in a November interview with Cointelegraph.Both Microsoft and Apple have had their sights set on the Metaverse for quite some time. In early Nov. 2021, Microsoft announced a slew of Teams updates and upgrades to its Xbox gaming console, along with a new product called “Dynamics 365 Connected Spaces.”The metaverse is here, and it’s not only transforming how we see the world but how we participate in it – from the factory floor to the meeting room. Take a look. pic.twitter.com/h5tsdYMXRD— Satya Nadella (@satyanadella) November 2, 2021

“The Metaverse enables us to embed computing into the real world and to embed the real world into computing,” Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella said at the time. “What’s most important is that we are able to bring our humanity with us, and choose how we want to experience this world.”

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eToro rolls out smart portfolios for new metaverse investors

Brokerage firm eToro introduced MetaverseLife, a new smart portfolio covering stocks and crypto-assets from within the growing metaverse industry, on Tuesday. The company stated that its goal is to offer a diverse range of investments made for long-term exposure. Currently included in the portfolio are Meta Platforms, the new parent company behind Facebook, Roblox and other blockchain-based metaverse developments like Decentraland, The Sandbox and Enjin. There are also a few companies listed in this portfolio that aren’t exclusively blockchain-based but have still contributed to metaverse adoption and development. These include tech firms like Microsoft, Amazon and Nvidia.Dani Brinker, head of investment portfolios at eToro, stated “when evaluating the investment opportunity of emerging industries, diversification is key as not everyone involved will be a winner.” As the metaverse industry continues to grow, he suggested that there was value in creating a central portfolio to lower the barrier to entry for investors. Brinker explained:“By packaging up a selection of assets in a portfolio, we’re doing the heavy lifting and enabling our customers to gain exposure to the metaverse and spread the risk across a variety of assets.”According to Bloomberg’s analytics, the metaverse could become an $800 billion market by 2024. The company said that it is putting a majority of its resources into developing assets that will be used to support investors’ interests in these projects. So far, these resources have gone towards listing The Sandbox (SAND) as an asset on the platform as well as plans for future land purchases. Tomer Niv, the director of Global Crypto Solutions at eToro, said:“eToro is a crypto pioneer with an established track record of embracing new technologies for the benefit of retail investors. We are excited by the opportunities offered by the metaverse.”

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Disney patents technology for a theme park Metaverse

Disney has been approved for a patent that would create personalized interactive attractions for theme park visitors. The technology would facilitate headset-free augmented reality (AR) attractions at Disney theme parks.The tech would work by tracking visitors using their mobile phones, and generating and projecting personalized 3D effects onto nearby physical spaces, walls, and objects in the park. The entertainment giant was approved for a “virtual-world simulator in a real-world venue,” patent on Dec. 28, 2021. It was originally filed to the United States Patent and Trademark Office in July 2020. The “Metaverse” has largely been imagined as existing on the internet, accessed using virtual reality (VR) or AR headsets. However, the technology proposed by Disney would bring the Metaverse to the physical world. This is not the first time Disney has indicated its interest in the Metaverse. During the company’s fourth-quarter earnings call during November 2021, CEO Bob Chapek said the firm is preparing to blend physical and digital assets in the metaverse. “We’ll be able to connect the physical and digital worlds even more closely, allowing for storytelling, without boundaries in our own Disney Metaverse.”In Nov. 2020, Disney Resorts Chief Strategy Officer Tilak Mandadi shared in a Linkedin article that he had his sights set on blending the digital and physical world. “As we look to the future, connected park experiences that transcend the physical and digital barrier and unlock new layers of storytelling are a very exciting focus of ours,” he wrote at the time. “These experiences are perennial, and the guest engagement is inside and outside the parks. They are unique to you, but are also social and connected. They are constantly changing, so there is always something new to discover.”Related: Samsung launches metaverse store in DecentralandAlthough Disney told the LA Times that it has “no current plans” to use the simulator in the near future, the recently-approved patent echoes Mandadi’s vision for a “Theme Park Metaverse.” There are 12 official Disney theme parks worldwide, in the U.S., Paris, Hong Kong, Japan, and China. In 2021, Disney generated a total revenue of nearly $17 billion with its parks, experiences and products segment despite global lockdowns due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

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