Weekly Wrap: What's Happening in the Metaverse This Week? [Dec. 30, 2021]
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Weekly Wrap: What's Happening in the Metaverse This Week? [Dec. 30, 2021]

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CoinMarketCap takes a look at some of the latest happenings in the metaverse — from a virtual fashion week on the metaverse in March 2022 to PwC Hong Kong buying land on The Sandbox.

Weekly Wrap: What's Happening in the Metaverse This Week? [Dec. 30, 2021]

Índice

From a virtual fashion week on the metaverse in March 2022 to PwC Hong Kong buying a piece of land on The Sandbox, the metaverse is rapidly gaining ground. But while the Chinese tech giant Baidu feels its metaverse app is at least six years away from a full rollout, Tesla’s CEO Elon Musk does not appear to be a huge fan of the tech, calling it more of a buzzword.

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

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Baidu’s Metaverse App Could be Six Years Away, VP Says

According to Baidu’s vice president Ma Jie, a full rollout of the company’s metaverse app could be six years away.

The Chinese internet giant recently began internal testing of its XiRang metaverse app. But despite the app’s debut to a wider audience on Monday, it will not support cryptocurrencies or non-fungible tokens (NFTs).
The senior executive disclosed that the development of the app began in December 2020, and is still “negative six” years away from a full launch. Ma goes further to state that Baidu was looking to create an open-source platform that targets metaverse developers and provides the infrastructure for a virtual world.
The tech giant officially joined the metaverse space in October 2021 when it applied for the trademark “metaapp.” Subsequently, it launched its first metaverse app XiRang, translated as the “Land of Hope.”

Reacting to Baidu’s rather conservative timeline, Brian Tycangco, an analyst at Stansberry Research told CNBC that:

“The metaverse, while a buzzword in the global tech and investment community, is still very much in its infancy. A lot of people don’t even fully understand what the word means today or will mean in the next 3 to 5 years […] Baidu is clearly trying to move ahead to ‘own’ the metaverse in its home market while adhering to Beijing’s new policies aimed at preventing monopolistic situations, hence the open platform.”

PwC Hong Kong Buys Land in The Sandbox

Despite China’s anti-crypto stance, PwC Hong Kong, a subsidiary of the global PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) company, joined the growing list of top brands that are jumping on the metaverse train. The firm announced on Thursday that it had acquired land on The Sandbox.

The cost of the purchase remained undisclosed. However, PwC Hong Kong noted that it plans to construct a Web3 advisory hub on the leading metaverse platform. The hub will facilitate a new generation of professional services such as accounting and taxation.

William Gee, a partner at PwC Hong Kong, revealed that the organization will leverage its expertise to advise clients on the metaverse, a fast-rising technology that he described as a “digital phenomenon.”

“The metaverse offers new possibilities for organizations to create value through innovative business models, as well as introducing new ways to engage with their customers and communities. We will leverage our expertise to advise clients who wish to embrace the Metaverse on the full range of challenges presented by this emerging global digital phenomenon.”

Similarly, the chief operating officer of The Sandbox Sebastien Borget expressed his excitement over the decision of PwC Hong Kong.

"The metaverse is open for business. We welcome PwC Hong Kong to experience how The Sandbox fosters new immersive experiences and ways for brands to connect with customers.”

Elon Musk Makes Case for Neuralink, Thinks it is Better Than the Metaverse

Although many proponents of the metaverse predict that the tech could be the next big thing, Tesla and SpaceX CEO Elon Musk does not appear to see a metaverse-powered future. Musk has dismissed the ongoing metaverse and Web3 frenzy as mere buzzwords and marketing tactics.
When quizzed about his thoughts on the metaverse during an interview with The Babylon Bee, Musk said:
“I don’t see someone strapping a friggin’ screen to their face all day. I don’t know if I necessarily buy into this metaverse stuff, although people talk to me a lot about it [...] I’m currently unable to see a compelling metaverse situation or Web 3 sounds like more marketing than reality. I don’t get it, and maybe I will, but I don’t get it yet.”

According to the Tesla CEO, he does not see a future where people would choose to live in a virtual world instead of the physical one. He supported his assertion with a personal experience, stating that VR headsets typically trigger motion sickness while playing video games.

“In the long term, a sophisticated Neuralink could put you fully into virtual reality. I think we’re far from disappearing into the metaverse, this sounds just kind of buzzwordy.”

Speaking of Neuralink, Musk is the founder of the neurotechnology company that aims to use brain implants to enhance physical capabilities. Back in April, Musk tweeted that the “first Neuralink product will enable someone with paralysis to use a smartphone with their mind faster than someone using thumbs.”

SPACE Metaverse Raises $7 million From Animoca Brands, Dapper Labs and Other Investors

SPACE, a metaverse project revolving around arts and commerce, has raised $7 million in a funding round.

The round saw investment from Animoca Brands, CoinFund, Dapper Labs, Digital Currency Group, HOF Capital and other investors. According to the company, the funds will be used to “build the economic backbone of the metaverse.”

Space founder Batis Samadian said:

“As the metaverse continues to gain mass adoption and becomes a place where a lot of people meet up to socialize, a natural evolution is commerce, which is what Space is focused on.”

Interestingly, the company had already launched an early-access alpha version with over 10,000 users. Users can use a number of “spaces,” including hangars, motor shows, art rooms, amphitheaters and concert halls, to create their virtual world.

Paris Hilton Joins Growing List of Celebrities on the Metaverse

Reality TV star Paris Hilton has now joined the likes of Snoop Dogg on the metaverse. The celebrity has created a virtual island called Paris World on Roblox.

Visitors are allowed to explore a digital replica of her Beverly Hills estate and its dog mansion. They can also enjoy a stroll on a boardwalk inspired by the neon carnival wedding event she and her husband hosted earlier this year, or even explore the island on a luxury sports car or Sunray yacht.

Hilton will be monetizing the experience as users will pay for booking a virtual ride on a jet-ski or piece of virtual clothing. She reportedly said:

“For me, the metaverse is somewhere that you can do everything you can do in real life in the digital world […] Not everybody gets to experience that, so that’s what we’ve been working together on over the past year -- giving them all my inspirations of what I want in that world.”

Virtual Fashion Week Is Coming to the Metaverse in March

As the metaverse fire continues to grow, the next major fashion showcase may be happening on the metaverse. Earlier this week, metaverse platform Decentraland announced that it will host a four-day event featuring “catwalk shows and showcases, pop up shops, after parties, and immersive experiences” in March 2022.
The metaverse platform has collaborated with Polygon blockchain-hosted luxury marketplace UNXD to make the initiative a reality. UNXD recently hosted Dolce & Gabbana’s first NFT clothing collection.
Decentraland’s Fashion District recently made the headlines after a metaverse real estate company, Metaverse Group, paid a whopping $2.4 million for a plot of land on the platform. Commenting on the company’s deal back in November, Lorne Sugarman, the CEO of Metaverse Group, told Insider that "we think the Fashion District purchase is like buying on Fifth Avenue back in the 1800s … or the creation of Rodeo Drive."

ProShares Eyes Metaverse ETF Next Following a Successful Bitcoin Futures-backed ETF in U.S.

In October, the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) approved the country’s first Bitcoin futures-linked exchange-traded fund (ETF). Two months down the line, ProShares is now seeking to launch a metaverse-based ETF.

According to a recent filing with the SEC, the company wants to launch a new product called The ProShares Metaverse Theme ETF. If approved, the product will track the performance of the Solactive Metaverse Theme Index (SOMETAV), which consists of companies providing metaverse-based services, such as Apple, Meta, and Nvidia.

Dubai’s First Metaverse Restaurant Set to go Live on the 30th

While a fashion show hosted on the metaverse does not seem out of the ordinary, a metaverse restaurant may seem like the odd kid on the block. However, ColossalBit, a Dubai-based crypto consultancy, is set to debut the first metaverse restaurant on Thursday, December 30.

Be rest assured, you won’t be eating on the metaverse for now. The new lounge restaurant dubbed “MetaTerrace” is located in Dubai’s DIFC. “Predicated on the metaverse, the lounge-restaurant offers night-life enthusiasts, the blockchain community, and thrill-seekers a unique opportunity to get a glimpse of what the digital future looks like,” the company said in a statement.

MetaTerrace will have its own VR room to facilitate the virtual world experience. Ciro Arianna, Co-Founder and CEO of ColossalBit and MetaTerracem explained:

“With a spectacular view of the Burj Khalifa and Dubai skyline, combined with an option to transact and make bookings in most cryptocurrencies and blue-chip NFTs, MetaTerrace has all the makings to become the center of Dubai’s crypto scene, where enthusiasts and innovators can launch their projects, host meetups, and uphold the community spirit.”
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