Weekly Wrap: What's Happening in the Metaverse This Week? [May 23, 2022]
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Weekly Wrap: What's Happening in the Metaverse This Week? [May 23, 2022]

CoinMarketCap and Nansen look at the latest happenings in the metaverse — from the first metaverse wedding in UAE held on Decentraland, to Sony outlining ambitious plans for the metaverse.

Weekly Wrap: What's Happening in the Metaverse This Week? [May 23, 2022]

Table of Contents

More couples are turning to the metaverse to bypass the social gathering limits and travel restrictions caused by COVID-19. Will you be willing to host your big day on the metaverse?

And if metaverse weddings are not your thing, will you be interested in banking in the virtual world?

Here’s a rundown of some of the top metaverse stories over the past week.

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First CoinMarketCap “The Capital” Conference To be Held on the Metaverse

CoinMarketCap is bringing its flagship “The Capital” conference to the metaverse for the first time! The two-day conference, held across May 26 and 27, will focus on the theme “time to ship” — Web3 products that are delivering real solutions to a group of users right now.

Held on the Gather metaverse, the event will gather leading industry experts and companies across a diverse range of topics: including decentralized finance (DeFi), metaverse, play-to-earn, NFTs and various Layer 1 ecosystems.

Attendees can expect an exciting lineup of speakers, including: CZ, founder and CEO of Binance; Michael Saylor, CEO of MicroStrategy; Samson Mow, CEO of Jan3; and others.
Two conference tracks will run simultaneously, alongside workshops held by the likes of Lido Finance, Magic Eden and more. Sign up here now!

Metaverse-20 Is the Best Performing NFT Index on Nansen Year-to-Date

Despite being down 33% in USD terms, Nansen’s Metaverse-20 index is up 24% in ETH terms and is the best performing category in the NFT space. Over the past week, we see a slight uptick in the index, largely driven by Sandbox Land and RTFKT related collections.
Nansen has tons of NFT related dashboards available for free with a Nansen Lite subscription. If such data interests you, sign up now and start exploring!

Metaverse Summit 2022 Scheduled for July in Paris

Metaverse Summit, an international gathering celebrating progress in the metaverse, is scheduled to take place in Paris on July 16 and 17. The two-day event will see participation from metaverse entrepreneurs, experts, investors and other players within the industry.

“We are honored to host an international Metaverse convention and festival in Paris, featuring key speakers, media attendees and partners,” said Yingzi Yuan, Founder of Metaverse Summit.

The Paris event will host appearances from more than 200 key speakers including Sébastien Borget (COO and Co-Founder of Sandbox), Julien Bouteloup (Founder of Blackpool Finance, Stake DAO & Stake Capital), and others from Microsoft, Ledger, Square, Enix, Epic Games and others.

Meanwhile, Metaverse Summit will launch NFT ticketing for the event.

“Through NFT ticketing, we aim to consolidate the community of high-profile and highly engaged builders, investors, and experts, leveraging the utility NFT to allow community members to participate in our future exclusive events, masterclass, workshops, and even early-stage investment opportunity in the metaverse sector.”

UAE Hosts its First Metaverse Wedding

In February, Arizona couple Ryan and Candice Hurley made the headlines after hosting the first-ever U.S. metaverse wedding on Decentraland. In the same month, more than 3,000 guests turned up for India’s first wedding reception in the metaverse, hosted by newlyweds who wanted to circumvent coronavirus restrictions on their big day. Three months later and more couples are embracing the idea of virtual weddings.

Florian Ughetto and Liz Nunez are making history as the first couple in the UAE to get married in the metaverse. The love birds tied the knot on May 19 in Decentraland, with close family and friends of the couple in attendance.

The couple got legally married in Georgia in 2019. However, there has been a lot of legal friction in trying to register the marriage due to their different nationalities. “I am from France and my wife is Paraguayan,” said Florian Ughetto. “We dreamt of flying in our family and friends from France and Paraguay to Dubai to attend our wedding. However, Covid and legal hurdles played spoilsport. That is when we decided to take things to the metaverse.

Commenting on his concerns about the big day, Florian said:

“But I am really nervous. The biggest challenge we face is connectivity. If anyone’s computer glitches or has a connectivity problem, we will have an issue. That is why we have recorded backups of everything, including our vows. But we are keeping our fingers crossed that everything runs smoothly.”

As for the whole experience, an in-person ceremony was held in the garden of a friend’s house, with guests joining the celebrations over Zoom. The metaverse party followed shortly after.

The virtual ceremony proceeded as planned with a few minor glitches that made everyone chuckle. First, the bride was unable to enter the room because there were too many guests.

“Guys, could one of you please disconnect as we have reached the maximum number of guests in the room and the bride is unable to enter.”

Secondly, a shorts-wearing, eyepatch-clad wedding gatecrasher was able to gain access to the ceremony, much to the comic relief of attendees.

In general, the metaverse wedding ended on a high note as guests headed off to Amnesia Ibiza (-118, 125) for the after-party.

Metaverse To Boost Sub-Saharan Africa’s Economy by $40 Billion in 10 Years

The metaverse is undoubtedly the hottest kid on the block and some reports have suggested that the market could grow to $13 trillion by 2030. The metaverse is already finding multiple use cases across the globe and a new study by Analysis Group (AG) titled, “The potential global economic impact of the Metaverse,” estimates that the sector will contribute no less than $40 billion to the Gross Domestic Products (GDP) of Sub-Saharan Africa in the next ten years.

The study, which was commissioned by Meta (Facebook), includes one major caveat and that is the need for metaverse adoption has to be similar to that of mobile technology.

“Our empirical analysis provides an aggregate measure of the metaverse’s total potential contribution to GDP over a medium-term time horizon—suggesting that if the metaverse were to be adopted and grow in a similar way as mobile technology, then we would expect it to be associated with a 2.8% contribution to global GDP after 10 years.”

Amid the promising figures, Africa will have to overcome a number of hurdles to catch up with the rest of the world. Some of these bottlenecks include low smartphone penetration, high cost of mobile data relative to the rest of the world, as well as high cost and limited availability of VR headsets. The researchers, however, note that the impacts of the metaverse will likely be felt at different times in different regions, and by different sectors of the economy.

“Over time, if the metaverse is successful, it will likely displace some existing technologies and industries, as prior technologies have done before. A direction for future research is to quantify these heterogeneous impacts and measure the potential displacement of industries and restructuring of local economies that may accompany the growth of the metaverse.”

It is worth adding that the metaverse is not some futuristic dream in Africa. Some African companies are already exploring the industry. For instance, MTN Group, the region’s largest mobile operator, purchased plots of virtual land in Ubuntuland in February. Back then, the telco stated that its 12x12 village will be used to ramp up customer attractiveness through a series of experiences.

Quontic Bank Launches Outpost in the Metaverse

As more financial institutions line up to take a bite at the metaverse pie, US-based digital bank Quontic has opened an outpost in Decentraland.

Given the number of traditional banks that have hopped on the metaverse bandwagon, it comes as no surprise that the adaptive digital bank is finally joining the party to provide the first banking experience in the metaverse.

"Quontic was the first bank to offer Bitcoin rewards on checking accounts, the first to offer a wearable payment solution, and now, the first to open an outpost in the Metaverse," said Steve Schnall, CEO of Quontic Bank.

He added:

"Banking once required consumers to visit a location and rely on printed documents to manage their money with personal support from a teller, today we carry all of that power in our pockets on an app, but the experience is cold. In the not so distant future our customers will have the best of both worlds and this outpost is the first step towards that level of service."

Quontic began its journey as a community bank over ten years ago. It has now evolved into a digital national bank offering some groundbreaking experiences and products.

The metaverse branch will allow the bank to interact with customers, offer financial education and other banking services. A launch party for the outpost happened on May 19 in Decentraland.

Sony Eyes the Metaverse, Outlines Ambitious Plans

While some companies have dabbled into the metaverse to push the frontiers of social interaction, others view it as an avenue for monetization. Japanese multinational conglomerate Sony is set to join the train with big plans to embrace the tech.
In a recent corporate strategy meeting, Sony CEO Kenichiro Yoshida gave some insights into the company’s plans for the metaverse. The PS5 maker is gearing up to roll out new products that span gaming, music, sports, and even film and TV shows.

"The Metaverse is at the same time a social space and a live network space where games, music, movies, and anime intersect and expand," Yoshida said.

For instance, Sony will tap on its broad online network to deploy immersive gaming experiences through live games. It also plans to host live music events similar to Fortnite’s concerts, as well as create virtual spaces for live sports broadcasts.

"The stadium is an important space for the sports community. By reproducing the stadium itself and the athletes in a network space, we are creating an experience where users can enjoy playing without restrictions on location […] In addition to these efforts, we are working to create new live experiences by connecting artists and users such as the virtual concert by Madison Beer and the virtual space project that leverages our volumetric capture technology.”

Given the recent comments made by the CEO, it appears the company has some lofty plans to capture a share of the metaverse market. Needless to say, Sony’s involvement with the industry is not new.

Last month, Sony invested $1 billion in Epic Games’ metaverse dreams. Back then Yoshida said:
“We are also confident that Epic’s expertise, including their powerful game engine, combined with Sony’s technologies, will accelerate our various efforts such as the development of new digital fan experiences in sports and our virtual production initiatives.”

$3B Flowed Into Metaverse and Web3 Gaming Over the Past Month, as a16z Launches $600M Fund

Metaverse projects have continued to attract investment from institutional players. Over the past week, venture capital firm Andreessen Horowitz (a16z) launched a $600 million fund dedicated to investing in Web3-based gaming startups.

Dubbed GAMES FUND ONE, the inaugural fund will focus on three key areas — game studios, consumer applications and gaming infrastructure providers. The a16z team is confident that “games infrastructure and technologies will be key building blocks of the metaverse,” adding that “the coming Metaverse will be built by games companies, using games technologies.”

The fund will be led by general partners Andrew Chen, Jon Lai, and James Gwertzman, with backing from a number of notable players in the gaming world, including co-founders at such companies as Roblox, Discord, King, Twitch, Zynga, Blizzard and Riot Games.

“With [Games Fund One], we will continue to add more functions and develop deeper networks that are tailored to the games ecosystem so we can help our portfolio companies with everything from building digital communities, to managing their virtual economies, to IP licensing best practices, to helping build their development teams.”

Since mid-April, nearly $3 billion has moved into Web3 gaming or metaverse projects from venture funds. Back in April, venture firm White Star Capital raised $120 million for its DeFi and gaming-focused fund. Similarly, Framework Ventures allocated $200 million to blockchain gaming projects.

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