Weekly Wrap: What's Happening in the Metaverse This Week? [Mar. 21, 2022]
Metaverse

Weekly Wrap: What's Happening in the Metaverse This Week? [Mar. 21, 2022]

Created 4mo ago, last updated 4mo ago

CoinMarketCap takes a look at the latest happenings in the metaverse — from former Disney CEO Bob Iger joining metaverse startup Genies, to Yuga Labs' metaverse push and collab with Animoca.

Weekly Wrap: What's Happening in the Metaverse This Week? [Mar. 21, 2022]

Table of Contents

While Heineken has launched a virtual beer to troll the metaverse space, Accenture is creating a new business group to explore developments in the space. Meanwhile, a South Korean financial institution has sent its employees to train on the metaverse.

Here’s a rundown of some of the hottest metaverse news over the past week.

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Former Disney CEO Bob Iger Joins Metaverse Startup Board

The metaverse has been touted as the “next big thing.” While this claim is subject to debate, there have been a number of high-profile plays within the metaverse space. For instance, in January, Microsoft acquired Activision Blizzard in a big metaverse push.

After 16 years in Disney, former CEO and chairman Bob Iger is making a foray into the metaverse. Last Monday, metaverse startup Genies announced that Iger was joining its board and will help it “navigate its mission to empower humans to create their own avatar ecosystems.”

The Los Angeles-based company is popular among many A-listers like Jennifer Lopez, Rihanna and Lil Nas X. The company reportedly controls about 99% of the share of the celebrity avatar market and has Warner Music Group and Universal Music Group as its clients.

Commenting on his move into the metaverse, Iger said:

“I’ve always been drawn to the intersection between technology and art, and Genies provides unique and compelling opportunities to harness the power of that combination to enable new forms of creativity, expression and communication.”

This is the first public metaverse play from the former Disney CEO, who served as the chief executive from 2005 to 2020. Iger stepped down as chairman last year.

Meanwhile, Genies co-founder and CEO Akash Nigam said:

“We believe that avatar ecosystems are going to be the mobile apps of web3. An ambitious vision calls for rare mindshare and I can’t think of a better creative and product thinker than Bob to collaborate with in bringing this all to reality.”
Disney itself has been making moves into the non-fungible token (NFT) space, launching digital golden statues of iconic Disney characters with digital collectibles brand VeVe.

Heineken Pokes Fun at the Metaverse Mania With the “World’s First Virtual Beer”

In an apparent jab at all the action going on in the metaverse, Dutch brewing giant Heineken has debuted what it claimed to be “the world’s first virtual beer” on Decentraland. The move is nothing more than a joke.
Heineken announced the launch in a press release on Thursday. Dubbed “Heineken Silver,” the beer will only be available at the company’s metaverse brewery in Decentraland. Taking its joke further, Heineken invited several real journalists to witness the launch of its fake beer, later adding that guests received a treat of "pixilated lobster and caviar" at the launch event.

According to the brewing giant, the whole idea behind the virtual beer is to poke fun "at us and many other brands” that have jumped on the metaverse bandwagon.

Describing the ingredients in Heineken Silver, the company said it is made out of "the freshest pixels: no malt, no hops, no yeast, no water, and also, no beer." While having a virtual beer may come in handy in a gaming environment, Heineken believes that certain things are best enjoyed in real life, and brews are definitely one of them.

Although Heineken has slammed its product with the title of the world’s first metaverse beer, this is not the first time a beer manufacturer has entered the space. Miller Lite holds the honor of creating the first beer on the metaverse, having opened its “Meta Lite Bar” last month.

Heineken’s metaverse play can be viewed as a marketing ploy. The company promoted the virtual beer launch with the hashtag #awesomeheinekenmarketingstunt.

Accenture Creates New Metaverse Business Group

While Heineken may view the metaverse craze as nothing more than a passing fad, Accenture has created a new group to explore developments in the sector. Referencing a LinkedIn post by Paul Daugherty, Group Chief Executive/Technology and Chief Technology Officer at Accenture, the company tweeted on Friday:
“The metaverse is generating hype, excitement, confusion and skepticism—and many organizations are taking a "wait and see" approach. But, says our Paul Daugherty, you procrastinate at your own peril.”

The new unit, called the Accenture Metaverse Continuum business group, will be led by Paul Daugherty alongside David Droga, CEO and creative chairman of Accenture Interactive.

The new unit was unveiled along with the “Tech Vision 2022” report based on a survey of over 4,600 businesses and tech leaders spread across 23 industries in 35 countries. According to the report, over 70% of executives are confident that the metaverse will have a positive impact on their organization, with 42% agreeing that it will be transformational. Daugherty said:

“The next generation of the internet is unfolding and will drive a new wave of digital transformation far greater than what we’ve seen to date, transforming the way we all live and work. Our vision of the metaverse as a continuum challenges prevailing, narrower views and highlights why organizations must act today, or find themselves operating in worlds designed by, and for, someone else.”
Accenture already has its own metaverse called the Nth floor where employees participate in immersive learning, socialization and new hire orientation. The company expects that 150,000 or more new hires will work in the metaverse on their first day. Daugherty added:
“As the line between people’s physical and digital lives further blurs, organizations have the opportunity and obligation now to build a responsible metaverse — addressing issues like trust, sustainability, personal safety, privacy, responsible access and use, diversity and more. The actions and choices they make today will set the stage for the future.”

American Express Explores Metaverse Business, Files for Virtual Concierge Services

American Express has filed a number of trademark applications with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, hinting at a possible entry into the metaverse.

According to the applications submitted on Wednesday, the company is looking to provide “virtual concierge services” linked to credit card transactions “in the metaverse and other virtual worlds.” The major credit card company wants to trademark the use of some of its logos and branding, as well as to conduct banking services in the metaverse.

Since Facebook changed its name to “Meta” in October, a handful of companies have embraced the burgeoning metaverse space. In the financial scene, US banking giant JPMorgan recently launched a virtual lounge in Decentraland.

Shinhan Card To Send Employees to Metaverse Training Camp

A South Korean financial institution wants all its employees to be at the top of their games when it comes to the metaverse.

On Friday, Shinhan Financial Group’s credit card subsidiary disclosed that all its employees will be going to the Gather.town metaverse to learn about data usage in business operations.

As part of the learning process, employees are required to complete missions in the metaverse to better understand the company’s new target at being “more friendly, more secure, more creative.”

Last week, the Shinhan Bank released a beta version of its own metaverse, making it the first major financial institution in South Korea to launch a metaverse platform.

Meanwhile, South Korea has been quite receptive to the metaverse, with the government looking to become the fifth-largest country in the global metaverse market by 2026. South Korea's next President, Yoon, has also been touted as being crypto-friendly.

By 2026, South Korea wants to have 40,000 professionals and 220 companies that specialize in metaverse technology.

HSBC Seals Deal With The Sandbox, To Buy Virtual Plot on the Metaverse Platform

HSBC may be shutting down some of its physical branches, but that is not enough to stop it from capitalizing on the metaverse frenzy.

Last week, the banking giant revealed its intention to shut down 69 branches. On the flip side, the Hong Kong-based bank has bought land on The Sandbox for an undisclosed sum. The Sandbox tweeted:
HSBC is one of the largest European banks, with total assets of $2.4 trillion. The financial behemoth will reportedly promote financial literacy on The Sandbox through gamified experiences. HSBC will work with its sports partners, brand ambassadors, and Animoca Brands to co-create experiences that are “educational, inclusive and accessible.”

Suresh Balaji, Chief Marketing Officer, Asia-Pacific, HSBC, said:

“The metaverse is how people will experience Web3, the next generation of the Internet — using immersive technologies like augmented reality, virtual reality and extended reality. At HSBC, we see great potential to create new experiences through emerging platforms, opening up a world of opportunity for our current and future customers and for the communities we serve.”

Meanwhile, speaking on his vision for metaverse banking, the US CEO of The Sandbox, Mathieu Nouzareth told reporters that:

"Financial literacy is a major obstacle to building healthier, more equitable financial futures. The gaming component of The Sandbox is ideally suited for engaging customers and curious onlookers about important financial concepts in an interesting and novel way."
Taking a look at Nansen’s NFT analytics dashboards, shows that there’s a steady increase in the number of diamond hand holders for Sandbox land NFTs. Diamond hand holders are holders that have not sold a single NFT from the respective collection. The top diamond hand holder, gif.eth, owns 1,697 Sandbox land NFTs.

Bored Ape Creators To Sell Virtual Land

Bored Ape Yacht Club (BAYC) NFT collection is pushing its success in the digital collectibles market into the metaverse. According to a pitch deck obtained by The Block, the brand behind the popular NFT collection, Yuga Labs, is planning to sell virtual land as the first phase of its metaverse expansion.

“We want to build something that expands the universe of the BAYC, but also invites the larger NFT community (and those priced out of BAYC membership) to join.”

The metaverse plots will possess unique traits such as artifacts, natural resources, and in some cases, rare items.

As per the offer letter presented to investors, Yuga Labs will issue 200,000 plots to buyers, spread across two sales in March and August this year. The company is targeting around $178 million from each round (secondary market sales inclusive).

Yuga Labs will keep a portion of the virtual land for itself. Animoca Brands, the parent company of The Sandbox, is also reportedly developing a racing game with Yuga.

On March 11, BAYC teased a partnership with Animoca. Although no details were revealed, those involved were required to go through identity checks to learn more later.

Corroborating the rumors, Yuga Labs teased a new BAYC metaverse by tweeting a short trailer, along with the caption “see you on the other side in April. Powered by @apecoin.”

Last Thursday, the company launched ApeCoin, a digital token that can be claimed by holders of Bored and Mutant Ape Yacht Club. The token, which was launched by ApeCoin DAO, clearly has ties with the BAYC franchise.

Meanwhile, Animoca also tweeted that it was entering the BAYC universe - “Animoca Brands is excited to announce that we'll be adopting ApeCoin for the secret project we've been developing with BoredApeYC.”

Connecting the dots, clicking the link in the Animoca tweet takes users to a landing page and some of the elements on the website are similar to those on the BAYC teaser trailer.
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