CoinMarketCap takes a look at some of the latest happenings in the metaverse — from the first wedding on Decentraland, to 25% of the world on the metaverse by 2026 — according to Gartner.
Here’s a rundown of some top metaverse stories over the past week.
Decentraland Hosts First-ever U.S. Metaverse Wedding
“Ryan and Candice’s digital identities are getting married in the Metaverse! All are invited to the FIRST-ever, never done before wedding on Decentraland. Not only will this be a first for Decentraland, but this will be the first marriage to take place on any blockchain based metaverse.”
The couple, Ryan and Candice Hurley employed the services of Rose Law Group to formalize the marriage. The law firm hosted the event in its own Decentraland estate and went on to plug the marriage into the blockchain as an NFT. The virtual crowd of around 2,000 guests also received rare NFT party souvenirs, making the historic event.
Speaking to crypto news site Cointelegraph, the founder and president of the law firm, Jordan Rose, claimed that the wedding was the first-ever to be hosted on any blockchain-based metaverse. While this assertion is open to debate, she goes on to say that “because the metaverse is still in its infancy, we have developed the legal paradigm for a legally recognized marriage […] There currently is no legal framework for marriage in the metaverse, so whether or not it will be legally binding is more a question of contract.”
As for the technical hiccups with the ceremony, Decentraland struggled to handle the number of attendees. Depending on the server attendees joined, Candice’s avatar was either wearing a dress, a hoodie, or altogether absent. And barely 20 minutes into the event, all the NFT gifts for the guests had been claimed.
Turkish Religious Authority Rules Against Metaverse Hajj
While the legality of metaverse weddings is growing to be a subject of debate, you can be sure that visiting Mecca in the metaverse is not going to be considered a real Hajj.
Following a month-long deliberation between Islamic scholars, a decision has been reached that virtual visits to the Muslim holy city do not fulfill a faithful’s obligation to make the pilgrimage. Turkey's Directorate of Religious Affairs Diyanet has declared that metaverse pilgrimages, although not prohibited, will not be seen as “real Hajj.”
Earlier this month, the director of Diyanet’s Department of Hajj and Umrah Services, Remzi Bircan, said:
"This [Hajj on the metaverse] cannot happen. Believers can pay a visit to Kaaba on the metaverse, but it will never be considered a real worship," he said, adding that "people's feet should touch the ground."
The debate over virtual visits to Mecca came up in December after Saudi Arabia launched its "Virtual Black Stone Initiative.” The initiative would allow Muslims from around the world to see the ancient Hajr Aswad stone set into the Kaaba at the center of the Grand Mosque of Mecca.
Philipp Plein Acquires $1.4 Million Metaverse Estate
Dubbed the Plein Plaza, the metaverse estate will be developed into a number of hotel and luxury residences, an art museum and stores. The plot is claimed to be located in a prime spot directly overlooking one of the Genesis Plazas and takes up 65 Decentraland parcels, equivalent to about 176,528 square feet in the real world.
The transaction was facilitated by the fashion brand under the alias Bug$ Bunny. Jason Rosenstein, founder and chief executive officer of the NFT auction house and marketplace Portion, offered some assistance and was involved in the development of the estate.
Meanwhile, digital visual artist Antoni Tudisco is expected to contribute to the creation of the Plein Plaza project.
Commenting on his foray into the space, Plein said he was proud “to have seized this opportunity to own a portion of the Metaverse so early on in the development and establishment of this new universe.” He added:
“We are there to stay and to develop and share the creativity of all our brands — Philipp Plein, Plein Sport and Billionaire — also in this new dimension of human interaction in which I personally believe a lot.”
To set the records straight, Plein was one of the first designers to openly embrace digital assets and their potential. Last year, his company opened its arms to cryptocurrency payments, supporting payments from more than 20 digital assets on its e-commerce platform and brick-and-mortar stores.
Meta Responds to Sexual Harassment Incidents, Establishes a Four-foot “Personal Boundary” to Stop Groping
“Personal Boundary builds upon our existing harassment measures that were already in place - for example, where an avatar’s hands would disappear if they encroached upon someone’s personal space. When we launched Horizon Worlds as an invite-only beta in 2020 we knew this was just the beginning and over time we would be iterating and improving based on community feedback. We’re constantly shipping new features based on people’s feedback, including this one.”
25% of the World Would Have Tried Out the Metaverse by 2026
Are you a fan of the ongoing metaverse frenzy? Does the idea of holding office meetings from the comfort of your home appeal to you? Well, you won’t be the only one thinking about a metaverse future. However, metaverse adoption may be disappointingly slow.
According to new research by technology research and consulting company Gartner, about 25% of people will spend at least one hour daily on the metaverse for work, learning, entertainment, or shopping. Gartner notes that in anticipation of this migration towards the metaverse, brands are already building the framework to power virtual experiences.
“Vendors are already building ways for users to replicate their lives in digital worlds […] From attending virtual classrooms to buying digital land and constructing virtual homes, these activities are currently being conducted in separate environments. Eventually, they will take place in a single environment – the metaverse – with multiple destinations across technologies and experiences.”
Since the metaverse is not controlled by a single entity, Garnet expects brands to collaborate in order to unify the space. There will be a virtual economy powered by digital currencies and NFTs.
Bandai Namco Hints at IP-based Metaverse Plans
While the metaverse may mean different things to different companies, Bandai Namco sees it as a key element in its “new framework for connecting with fans.” To this end, the video game publisher is looking to “develop a metaverse for each IP.”
“In this IP Metaverse, we are anticipating virtual spaces that will enable customers to enjoy a wide range of entertainment on an IP axis, as well as frameworks that leverage Bandai Namco’s distinctive strengths to fuse physical products and venues with digital elements.”
Although the report did not give any specifics on the areas that Bandai Namco will begin its metaverse experiments on, it stated that the company will be allocating 15 billion Yen or about $130 million to lay the groundwork for data foundation and the development of content over the next three years. Bandai Namco will also be committing 25 billion Yen (about $217 million) to “New IP creation, Groupwide IP projects, and open innovation, amongst others.”
Although the mention of the term “metaverse” was widespread in the report, Bandai Namco did not reference other related aspects like cryptocurrencies, blockchain games, or NFTs. However, the company is already dabbling into the space, having partnered with an avatar creation company called Genies to create wearable Pac-Man NFTs.
The report did not also single out any specific IP for the metaverse trial. Nonetheless, Bandai Namco has a large catalog of IP, including Soul Calibur, Tekken, Dark Souls, the Dark Pictures Anthology, Mobile Suit Gundam and the upcoming Elden Ring. Other potential candidates include the Tales series, Pac-Man, Taiko No Tatsujin and other arcade classics.