Weekly Wrap: What's Happening in the Metaverse This Week? [April 11, 2022]
Metaverse

Weekly Wrap: What's Happening in the Metaverse This Week? [April 11, 2022]

4 months ago

CoinMarketCap and Nansen look at the latest happenings in the metaverse — from LEGO setting up a kid-friendly metaverse space to LawCity launching the first legal district in Decentraland.

Weekly Wrap: What's Happening in the Metaverse This Week? [April 11, 2022]

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From financial to legal services, the metaverse might truly be the next evolution of business. While HSBC has rolled out metaverse products for wealthy clients, Mastercard has filed multiple metaverse-related trademarks. Meanwhile, LawCity has created the first legal district in the metaverse.

Here are some top metaverse stories over the past week.

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Payments Giant Mastercard Files for Metaverse-Related Trademarks

As more corporate behemoths besiege the metaverse space, Mastercard is looking to lay claim to its own share of the market. The credit card operator has filed for several trademark applications relating to NFTs and the metaverse, joining a growing list of financial majors that have jumped on the rapidly-growing trend.
According to trademark attorney, Mike Kondoudis, the payments giant submitted 15 trademark applications for IP on April 4. As per the details shared, Mastercard is looking to build marketplaces for NFT-backed media, digital goods, and e-commerce software to facilitate electronic business transactions in the metaverse.

Kondoudis also noted that Mastercard has plans to host metaverse events focused on cryptocurrency, finance, and digital collectibles. The trademark attorney added that the company expects to become a key player in the digital economy.

Mastercard has been slowly walking its way into the crypto space. Notably, the company inked a deal with Coinbase for the latter’s upcoming NFT marketplace. Consequently, the marketplace will allow customers to make purchases using their credit cards.

HSBC Debuts Metaverse Portfolio for Rich Customers in Asia

Who wouldn’t want to cash in on the metaverse frenzy? As more financial service providers tap into the emerging virtual reality market, HSBC Holdings has rolled out a fund to offer metaverse investment opportunities to its wealthy clients in Singapore and Hong Kong.

Administered by HSBC’s financial advisory unit, the Metaverse Discretionary Strategy portfolio will invest in five core segments in the metaverse ecosystem, namely, experience and discovery, computing, infrastructure, interface, and virtualization. Commenting on the new product, Lina Lim, HSBC's Asia Pacific regional director of funds and discretionary for investments and asset solutions, said:

"While still in its early stages, the metaverse ecosystem is fast expanding […] We see a lot of intriguing prospects in this market, as organizations of all sizes and backgrounds are rushing in."

In addition to accredited shareholder clients in both Hong Kong and Singapore, the discretionary portfolio targets high net worth and ultra-high net value clients of HSBC.

Global financial institutions are finally catching up to the trend and embracing digital assets. Early last year, HSBC moved to block transactions from crypto exchanges. Chief Executive Officer Noel Quinn has also stated in the past that the bank had no plans to launch a crypto trading desk or even sell digital currencies as assets to consumers. However, the financial institution has been moving forward in the crypto and blockchain environment. For instance, HBSC purchased digital real estate last month, becoming the second big bank to do so after JPMorgan bought a plot on Decentraland.

Portfolio manager at HSBC Asset Management in London, Nicholas Dowell, described the metaverse as the next stage in the development of the internet.

HBAR Foundation Launched a $250M Metaverse Fund to Boost Consumer Brand

HBAR Foundation, a not-for-profit independent organization of Hedera Hashgraph, has earmarked a whopping $250 million to metaverse initiatives geared towards consumer brand adoption of tokenized Web3 applications. This is so far the largest fund from the foundation to date, reinforcing the idea that the metaverse could be the next big thing.
“We’re excited to officially announce the launch of the metaverse Fund, a major acceleration force for gaming, virtual worlds, fashion, NFTs, consumer brands, social platforms, the creator economy, & enterprise to enter the Hedera ecosystem,” the company tweeted.

As per reports, the foundation will be focusing its efforts across four sectors – the collectibles market, blockchain gaming, institutional metaverse products, and sporting experiences.

The first recipient of the fund is Sayl, an owner relationship management (ORM) platform offering solutions that strengthen the commercial interaction between brands and consumers through the integration of Web3 mechanics.

Sayl’s current customer relationship management (CRM) offering serves over 300 companies, including industry giants like L'oreal, Proctor and Gamble, and Brussels Airport.

Speaking to reporters, Alex Russman, the director of the metaverse fund at the HBAR Foundation, explained that his company sees “the potential of Web3, so are integrating NFTs and tokens into that offering, being that hand-hold service that allows a large enterprise to understand how tokens relate and fit into their business.”

LEGO Teams up With Epic Games on Kid-friendly Metaverse Initiative

Judging by the multiple cases of sexual harassment on the metaverse, the virtual space is definitely not a place for kids. However, this is about to change following a long-term partnership between the LEGO Group and Epic Games.
Last Thursday, the duo announced a collaboration aimed at ensuring that the future of the metaverse will be safe and fun for families and kids to enjoy. CEO & Founder of Epic Games, Tim Sweeney in a news release said:
“The LEGO Group has captivated the imagination of children and adults through creative play for nearly a century, and we are excited to come together to build a space in the metaverse that’s fun, entertaining, and made for kids and families.”

Both companies have agreed to three principles to guide their developments within the metaverse:

“Protect children’s right to play by making safety and wellbeing a priority, safeguard children’s privacy by putting their best interests first, empower children and adults with tools that give them control over their digital experience.”
These principles have arguably been implemented already in the way that the companies have developed their products and games over the past years. The LEGO Group, for example, has inspired creative play with its LEGO brick for 90 years. The company also recently partnered with UNICEF to develop an industry-standard Digital Child Safety Policy. And in 2016, it launched its LEGO Life: kid-safe community social app.

CEO of The LEGO Group, Niels B Christiansen said:

“We believe there is huge potential for them to develop life-long skills such as creativity, collaboration and communication through digital experiences. But we have a responsibility to make them safe, inspiring and beneficial for all.”

LawCity.Com Unveils First Legal District in the Metaverse

We’ve seen wedding ceremonies happening in the metaverse. We’ve also seen fashion shows getting organized in the metaverse. Maybe it’s also time for legal proceedings to take place in the metaverse.

Last week, LawCity.Com announced the launch of the first legal district in the metaverse, starting with the building of its first towers in LawCity.com, Decentraland.

The company, which aims to provide boundless access to legal help in the metaverse, is the brainchild of a community of pioneers in the legal industry. Richard Grungo, Jr., a founder of LawCity.com, said:

“LawCity.Com was created to provide access to the law through another channel of communication […] We realized we could create a ‘legal town square’ in the metaverse where law firms and law-related companies could establish their metaverse presence and where prospective clients could visit to learn about their legal issues and perhaps find assistance with those issues.”

Interestingly, LawCity has already constructed and leased portions of two towers – the Unitas Tower and the Veritas Tower. Plans are on the way for a third tower, known as the Caritas Tower. It will be donated to law-related legal aid and charity services. Grungo added:

“LawCity.com is focused on helping charitable organizations enter this new world, and to capitalize on this new avenue of exposure and fundraising so they can continue making a difference in the lives of people they serve.”

It appears the initiative is targeted at law firms looking to set up shop in the metaverse. Such companies can have their virtual offices built within 24 hours of joining the platform. That being said, there are currently two options for office space – a branded office or a prime anchor space. Both options will have access to LawCity events, listings in the company’s legal metaverse director, as well as event spaces for use.

“We believe LawCity.Com will increase the rate at which law-related companies establish their metaverse offices, and the rate at which prospective legal clients seek out services in the metaverse,” said William A. Colarulo, Jr., a founding partner at LawCity.Com. He added:

“By providing companies a turnkey solution for opening their metaverse offices, and creating what is essentially the first legal search engine in the metaverse, we believe LawCity.Com and its legal district concept will provide law-related companies boundless possibilities for building their presence in the metaverse—and will provide people in need of legal assistance with another avenue for finding help.”

Ledger Buys Land in The Sandbox, Intensifies Metaverse Push to Educate Crypto Newbies

Despite being a relatively old-school player in the crypto industry, the hardware wallet provider, Ledger, has decided to jump on the metaverse bandwagon. The company announced a partnership with The Sandbox at the Non-Fungible Conference in Lisbon, last Tuesday.

The deal will see the two companies work together on educational content for new users in the metaverse. A spokesperson for Ledger said:

“The partnership will empower The Sandbox’s 2.2 million registered users with essential security, support, and best practices, as well as engage Ledger’s millions of users in over 180 countries to secure their metaverse holdings.”

According to Ledger founder and Chief Experience Officer Ian Rogers, in addition to being useful, educating new crypto users is good business.

“If you really do your homework in crypto, then you start to learn about self custody, then you learn you need a hardware wallet, and once you learn that you choose Ledger because it’s the best,” he said. “So people get more educated, and—boom!—they become a Ledger customer.”

As for its metaverse land acquisition, Ledger purchased 36 tracts of LAND in The Sandbox. It will create several play-to-earn educational games in the virtual world.

Want a Virtual Drink? Well, Coca-Cola Is Now in the Metaverse

Weeks after Heineken threw a jab at the metaverse craze with a virtual beer, the world’s most popular soft drink company has entered the metaverse.

On Monday, Coca-Cola announced the launch of a gaming-inspire version of its fizzy pop virtually. The US drinks giant said that Coca-Cola Zero Sugar Byte will “bring the flavor of pixels to life.”

Meanwhile, Coca-Cola has teamed up with gaming company PWR to create Pixel Point, a custom island deployed in Fortnite Creative.

Users who enter Pixel Point can have a taste of the new drink’s flavor virtually, as well as try out coke-themed mini-games.

“Just as pixels power digital connection, Coca-Cola Zero Sugar Byte brings people together to share moments of Real Magic.”

The new flavor will be available in US stores in May, with no word yet on when a UK launch will happen.

As for the taste of the virtual soda, Coca-Cola describes it as “transcending the digital and physical worlds.” The company’s Oana Vlad said:

“We wanted to create an innovative taste inspired by the playfulness of pixels, rooted in the experiences that gaming makes possible.”

Metaverse NFTs Trading Sideways the Past Week

Taking a look at Nansen’s Metaverse-20 index, we see that metaverse collections on a whole have been flat the last seven days. While most collections are down the last 30 days, there are a few outliers, namely Adidas’s NFT collection and CloneX related collections. What they have in common is that they have the backing of retail sportswear giants, Adidas and Nike respectively. Is this a sign of a new trend? Will other retail giants make their entry into the metaverse on the back of the successful entries done by Adidas and Nike? We’ll just have to wait and see.
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