Weekly Wrap: What's Happening in the Metaverse This Week? [Mar. 14, 2022]
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Weekly Wrap: What's Happening in the Metaverse This Week? [Mar. 14, 2022]

CoinMarketCap takes a look at some of the latest happenings in the metaverse — from fashion metaverse Space Runners raising $10M, to research showing the sector could rise to $678B by 2030.

Weekly Wrap: What's Happening in the Metaverse This Week? [Mar. 14, 2022]

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From fashion-based metaverses to virtual showrooms for cars, the metaverse is undoubtedly the latest kid on the block. While Europe is gearing up for its first metaverse ETF product, research data suggests that the budding sector could rise to $678 billion by 2030.

These are some of the top events that happened in the metaverse space over the past week.

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Nansen Metaverse-20 Index Down 30% in the Past Month

First, a look at the overall metaverse market with Nansen's Metaverse-20 Index. About 2 weeks ago, we covered Nansen’s release of their NFT indexes. Today, we take a look at the performance of their Metaverse index over the past one month. The Nansen Metaverse-20 Index is an index that tracks the top 20 primarily Metaverse focused NFT collections, ranked by market capitalization.

The index is down 20% in ETH terms and 32% in USD terms over the past month. The index peaked at ~1.7K index points on 3 March but has dropped to roughly 1.1K. Index points can be seen as what $1,000 invested on 1 Jan 2022 would be worth today.

The decline is largely attributed to a drop in prices of collections under the “Land & Real-estate” category. Examples of such collections include: Sandbox Land and NFT worlds. Interestingly, the overall market capitalization of the “Avatar” category has seen an upward trend in recent days. This is due to the spike in floor prices of Meebits the past 7 days due to the Yuga Labs acquisition of CryptoPunks and Meebits collection from Larva Labs.
If you’re interested in finding out more about the NFT index dashboards check out this article here! The dashboards are publicly available if you’re keen on taking a look.

Space Runners Raised $10M to Debut First Fashion-centric Metaverse

Space Runners, a project that touts itself as the first NFT metaverse fashion brand, has raised $10 million to push its metaverse dreams.

Announcing the capital injection on Twitter, the company said:

Founded in March 2021, Space Runners has collaborated with a number of brands and artists to produce fashion NFTs that can be used across various metaverses and blockchain games. The company launched its first collection in collaboration with NBA stars Kyle Kuzma and Nick Young back in December. The collection of 10,000 NBA sneaker NFTs sold out in less than 10 minutes, generating $8 million in revenue.

The latest funding round, which brings Space Runner’s total funding to date to $30 million, was led by Pantera Capital and Polychain Capital. Other participants include Animoca Brands chairman Yat Siu, Twitch co-founder Justin Kan, Accel, and Jump Crypto.

In addition to pushing its vision of becoming “the largest supplier of interoperable fashion items for different metaverses and games,” Space Runners says that the new capital will be used to build out its SPACEverse, “a fashion metaverse, incorporating a wear2earn economy.”

Users will be able to “showcase fashionable NFTs, join events, interact, and play games with other users” in the SPACEverse.

Meanwhile, the company will also be targeting more collaborations with players in the music, fashion, sports, art, and web3 space, while “enriching the Space Runner community.” Commenting on the round, Paul Veradittakit from Pantera Capital said:
“Pantera is proud to support Space Runner’s vision to pave a new way to interact with fashion on the blockchain. Digital identity and self-expression will be a key component in the metaverse. Fashion will be just as if, if not more, important in the Metaverse than the real world.”

Multi-Grammy Award-winning Artist Harry Connick Jr. Launches Metaverse Community

In addition to having workplace meetings and attending virtual fashion, you will soon be able to take piano lessons in the metaverse, thanks to Harry Connick Jr.’s latest project, The Neutral Ground.

The Grammy and Emmy Award-winning musician, singer, composer, legendary live performer and multi-platinum best-selling artist is set to debut a plethora of metaverse experiences beginning on March 29.

Harry, through his metaverse world, is looking to create a space where fans can connect and interact around some of his passions, such as music, family and food.

Dubbed “The Neutral Ground,” the metaverse project references the grassy medians where Harry hung out as a kid. These medians are known as “neutral grounds” in New Orleans.

While announcing the new project, Harry revealed that one of the first experiences to launch on The Neutral Ground will be “Piano Party.” Describing his project, the musician said:
"The Neutral Ground is a place for all of us to hang out and have a good time. Music, food, shows, hangouts... it's gonna be a lot of fun […] I can't wait to go on this adventure with everyone. There's still a lot to figure out in this new world, and I'm excited about all of the possibilities. It's been a roller coaster the last couple of years. I'm ready to go to a place where the music never stops, and the party's just getting started. The new Piano Party course is the first of a lot more to come. Can't wait to see y'all on The Neutral Ground."

The first season of the inaugural Piano Party course will launch on March 29, giving participants access to nine on-demand lessons, as well as two live interactive sessions with Harry and other guests. Users will also have access to an exclusive private learning community where they can keep track of their progress and interact directly with harry.

Although registration is essentially free, access to the premium Piano Party experience has been pegged at $70.

Europe Welcomes First Metaverse ETF

Europe is gearing up to welcome its first metaverse-based ETF following an upcoming listing on the London Stock Exchange.

Launched by HanEtf and ETC Group, the metaverse product will offer exposure to companies that are active in the Web3 space, including those involved in virtual and augmented reality, online gaming, and 3D graphics.

The ETF, which tracks the Solactive ETC Group Global Metaverse Index, is set to launch in London later this month.

Bradley Duke, founder and co-CEO of ETC Group admitted that the metaverse frenzy had become “hard for investors to avoid.” According to him, it has gone from “an obscure, theoretical idea to being variously described as everything from the evolution of virtual reality to the next iteration of the internet.” Adding to this, the chief markets officer at Solactive Timo Pfeiffer said:

“Progressing technology and rising computation power are reshaping our daily lives. We are starting to see unimaginable worlds in virtual spaces, and the Metaverse is the next stage of this landscape.”

Metaverse Sector Could Grow to $678B by 2030, Research Suggests

With the likes of Microsoft already betting big on the metaverse, the burgeoning sector is attracting a lot of heavy hitters. However, the rally is only just beginning.
According to research data released by Grand View Research, the metaverse market could grow to $678.8 billion within the next eight years. Comparatively, the market was estimated to be $38.85 billion in 2021, having an expected compounded annual growth rate of 39.4% over the decade.

An excerpt from the report reads:

“Major factors expected to drive the revenue growth include a growing focus on integrating digital and physical worlds using the Internet, increasing momentum and popularity of Mixed Reality (MR), Augmented Reality (AR) and Virtual Reality (VR).”
Grand View Research points to some notable players in the metaverse space, including Fortnite, Minecraft, Roblox, as well as more in-house, crypto-native projects like The Sandbox and Decentraland.

The ride to a metaverse-powered future is not expected to be without challenges. The firm notes that cyberattacks could become a major concern as the world transitions to a virtual world.

“Concerns about data security and privacy in metaverse environments, issues about user identity, and challenges of persuading users to use payment services in these settings are some key factors that are expected to stifle global metaverse market revenue growth to some extent during the forecast period.”
Recall that a woman was allegedly sexually harassed on Meta’s Horizon World platform.

Chevron Mulls Over Metaverse Plans

U.S. energy giant Chevron could be entering the metaverse in the near future, having filed metaverse-related trademark applications with the U.S. Patent & Trademark Office.

Based on the trademark application, the multinational corporation intends to offer a wide range of virtual goods, such as gas, fuel, and renewable energy products in the metaverse. In addition, Chevron plans to provide “retail and online retail store services featuring convenience store products, gas, fuel, lubricants and renewable energy products.”

A separate patent filing suggests that the company will provide entertainment services related to the metaverse. Particularly, there are plans to provide a platform where buyers and sellers can exchange “downloadable multimedia files that include artwork, text, audio and video relating to retail consumer goods.”

This comes on the heels of several other trademark applications by large firms, with the likes of Tencent, Monster Energy, L'Oreal, Victoria's Secret and more filing applications.

Thailand’s Siam Commercial Bank Sets up Shop in The Sandbox

Thailand’s largest bank, Siam Commercial Bank (SCB), has officially jumped on the metaverse train.

The financial institution announced last week that it would be launching its first metaverse headquarters in The Sandbox.

The initiative is being spearheaded by SCN 10X, the bank’s venture investment and building arm. Chief Investment Officer at SCB 10X, Mukaya Panich said:

“Financial technologies of the future, such as blockchain, digital assets, DeFi and the metaverse are core areas of interest for us to explore.”
SCB is the second major financial institution after JP Morgan to enter the metaverse, and coincidentally, both firms have chosen to build on The Sandbox.

As part of its debut, the Thai bank hosted its “Open House in the Metaverse” to showcase its metaverse headquarters. The virtual space is designed to showcase the past, present, and future of Thailand’s culture.

Users will be able to interact with other participants from across the globe in the SCB metaverse. They can also join product demonstrations, share a working space, as well as explore three different designed environments.

SCB is hopeful that the move will help accelerate Thailand’s presence in the metaverse.

Given the fact that the SCB is currently the largest and oldest bank in Thailand, the decision to build in the metaverse will likely spur other financial institutions into the digital world.

Car Maker Acura Opens Showroom in the Metaverse

With the metaverse race currently heating up, Acura is making history as the first carmaker to open a showroom in the metaverse.

Dubbed “Acura of Decentraland,” the metaverse showroom will open on March 22. Once in the virtual space, fans can enjoy an alluring experience revolving around the next-generation Integra and the Acura brand.

In addition to being able to take a virtual tour of the showroom, participants can explore the features of the new 2023 Integra; browse through the new Integra wearable collection or enjoy an exclusive racing game.

Acura has also launched Integra NFTs, each piece a unique artistic representation of the next-gen Integra. However, visitors do not need to own an NFT to explore the Acura of Decentraland digital showroom.

Niantic Acquires 8th to Develop Metaverse Experiences

In a bid to expand its metaverse ecosystem, the developers of the extremely popular augmented reality (AR) mobile game Pokemon Go, Niantic, have purchased 8th Wall, a veteran developer of webAR experiences.

8th Wall’s AR engine allows businesses to quickly deploy immersive experiences for mobile devices without additional applications. According to Erik Murphy-Chutorian, Chief Executive and Founder of 8th Wall, the company has been on a mission to bring AR to everyone.

“We have been doing this by equipping developers, brands, and agencies with a complete set of tools to create web-based AR experiences for mobile devices – no app required […] In joining Niantic, we will be furthering this mission by offering developers more tools to build engaging and interactive AR experiences which harness the power and freedom of the web.”

Prior to the acquisition, 8th Wall had already powered about 50,000 immersive campaigns for notable brands, such as Lego, Nike and Universal.

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