CoinMarketCap and Nansen look at the latest events in the metaverse — from the UAE facing backlash on outlawing cyber murders, to Tripp raising $11.2 million for the mindful metaverse.
Here’s a rundown of some top stories that happened in the metaverse space over the past week.
Premier League Football Stars Purchase Land in Sports Metaverse
Former professional football players Shaun Wright Phillips and Jordan Stewart have purchased virtual land in the Sport Metaverse.
Touted as the world’s first virtual metaverse specifically focused on sports, the project brings together several prominent sporting stars, clubs, and brands through fan engagement, sports betting, metaverse personal training, and virtual land sales.
“I’m really excited to be involved in the Sports Metaverse. This is the new frontier when it comes to sports. The metaverse and owning a piece of it is about interaction and co creation – watching live sports with friends all around the world, hanging out with friends, and buying and selling NFTs are some of the things I’m really looking forward to doing here,” said Shaun, who plans to use his land to host events and display his NFTs.
In addition to the duo, Sports Metaverse also announced that four companies had also purchased land in its virtual work. They include, ThriveFantasy, Phat Fantasy, Own the Moment, and Beyond The Game Network. Meanwhile, agreements are on the way to on board more leading athletes from soccer, MMA, tennis, basketball, and baseball.
“Both Shaun and Jordan have played at the top of their profession, so it’s an honor to have these athletes join the Sports Metaverse. I still remember the goal that Shaun scored against Manchester United in 2004, and Jordan has had a great career here in the UK and in the USA. What strikes me the most about these two is their passion for web3, communities, and the interaction with athletes that the Sports Metaverse will give to consumers,” said SportsIcon COO and Co-Founder Alexi Yovanoff.
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South Korean Government Earmarks $177 Million for Metaverse Investments
Over the past week, Lim Hyesook, the minister of Science and Information and Communication Technologies, revealed that more than $177 million will be set aside to fund national employment and business initiatives linked to the metaverse.
Meta to Become Broadcom’s Next Billion-dollar Customer as Metaverse Push Intensifies
According to JP Morgan, Facebook’s parent company Meta Platforms Inc. is primed to become Broadcom Inc’s next billion-dollar customer amid its dream to become a key player in the metaverse. Meta is expected to tap on Broadcom’s custom chips to build its metaverse hardware, analysts at JPM said last Tuesday.
"We believe these wins are primarily at 5 nanometres and 3 nanometres and will be used to power Meta's metaverse hardware architecture that it will deploy over the next few years […] Near-term ASIC program pipeline is strong as we believe Broadcom will be ramping Meta/Facebook and Microsoft ASICs this year," analyst Harlan Sur said.
Sur is confident that Meta will become Broadcom’s next $1 billion-a-year ASIC customer over the next three to four years. Notably, Meta is working on a wide range of hardware products for the metaverse, including virtual reality headsets, smart glasses, as well as a physical store where customers can try out these devices and gadgets.
Broadcom also teamed up with Google to co-develop the latter’s custom chip used for machine learning since 2016, with brokerage estimates of over $1.3 billion in 2022.
Activists Lampoon UAE Minister’s Comments on Outlawing Cyber Murders
"If I send you a text on WhatsApp, it’s text, right? It might terrorize you but to a certain degree it will not create the memories that you will have PTSD from it […] But if I come into the metaverse and it’s a realistic world that we’re talking about in the future and I actually murder you, and you see it. It actually takes you to a certain extreme where you need to enforce aggressively across the world because everyone agrees that certain things are unacceptable."
The minister’s comments did not go down well with many activists, with many opining that the region’s true goal is to push legislation to curb dissidents in the virtual world.
"The irony in that is that they [the UAE] use vague cyber-crime laws to sanction human rights defenders, and they want to use real laws to sanction Metaverse crimes," said Lina al-Hathloul, the communications head of the Saudi human rights group ALQST. She added:
"They should first think about how they treat people in the real world and make sure that the cyber-crime laws are not used to prosecute human rights defenders. Human rights should be first applied in the real world."
Similarly, Khalid Ibrahim, the co-founder and executive director of the Gulf Centre for Human Rights, said the minister’s comments were hypocritical since the UAE was interested in murder in the metaverse while activists are jailed and kept in harsh prison conditions.
"Legislations, such as the cyber-crime law, and other laws, are used to imprison activists […] In prison, they're really treated so badly, just because they called for a bit of respect, as well as civic and human rights of citizens," he told MEE.
Since the 2011 Arab Spring uprisings, the government has employed a number of cyber-security tools to keep rights activists in check. In 2021, Abu Dhabi enacted the cyber-crimes laws, which according to Human Rights Watch (HRW), closed down the last remaining realm of freedom of expression in the country.
Hamad Alshamsi, executive director of the Emirates Detainees Advocacy Center, believes that the attempt to police the metaverse is simply an extension of these laws.
"The outlawing of the 'virtual murder' in the Metaverse will give the UAE the right to monitor the Metaverse world […] The purpose of this statement is not to combat crime, but [is] an introduction to the censorship of Metaverses. They use spyware under the pretext of combating terrorism. They are obsessed with controlling and watching everything."
Tripp Raises $11.2 Million to Develop Mindful Metaverse
Tripp, an award-winning leader in XR wellness, has raised $11.2 million in funding to continue the development of its meditation apps that power the “mindful metaverse.”
The funding round saw participation from Amazon Alexa Fund, Bitkraft Ventures, HTC, Qualcomm, Niantic, and Mayfield. And according to the company, the new capital will be used to boost global demand for mental wellbeing through Tripp’s XR wellness program.
“Tripp’s innovative platform highlights the unique magic of VR to support people’s mindfulness worldwide, and represents an important step towards normalizing the broader discussion around technology’s role in mental health,” said Pearly Chen, vice president at HTC Vive.
Tripp has also acquired BeardedEye’s world-building platform Eden. This will allow users to interact with other people, as well as customize their experience on the platform.
“We’re grateful that more and more investors are recognizing the need for innovative wellness tools that expand beyond traditional meditation apps,” said Nanea Reeves, founder and CEO of Tripp, in a statement. “Through our acquisition of Eden, we’re one step closer to truly building a mindful metaverse and establishing a safe space for transformative experiences in digital realities, while also empowering creators to join us in our mission.”
Gucci Launches ‘Gucci Town’ Metaverse World on Roblox
Gucci describes its metaverse project as a “dynamic destination” where users can explore the vision of creative director Alessandro Michele, connect with like-minded people, and express their individuality. Visitors can walk from the central piazza to MiniGame Heights or Creative Corner, where they can either participate in Gucci-inspired competitions or create art combos with colors, shapes, and patterns.
A virtual Vault Plaza is also part of the side attractions. The plaza is home to an exhibition space inspired by the company’s experimental concept store, Vault. Vault Plaza will showcase some of the brand’s latest products and collaborations.
As expected, Gucci has also thrown in the spice of digital collectibles. Limited-edition collectibles will be available to outfit Roblox avatars.
Christina Wootton, Roblox VP of global partnerships, said that the vision of Gucci Town is to “build and create a community that [users] can engage all year long.”
Users will be rewarded with GG Gems for participating in the activities in the virtual space. The in-experience currency can then be used to purchase power-ups and virtual Gucci products.