Weekly Wrap: What's Happening in the Metaverse This Week? [April 4, 2022]
Metaverse

Weekly Wrap: What's Happening in the Metaverse This Week? [April 4, 2022]

4 months ago

CoinMarketCap and Nansen look at the latest happenings in the metaverse — from Dogecoin creator calling the new Shiba Inu metaverse a cash grab, to Wendy's virtual restaurant on Meta.

Weekly Wrap: What's Happening in the Metaverse This Week? [April 4, 2022]

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Popular meme coin Shiba Inu (SHIB) has entered the metaverse, but Dogecoin’s founder does not appear to be happy with the move. He slammed SHIB’s metaverse as a $300 million cash grab.

Speaking of the metaverse, how would a virtual burger taste? You will soon be able to find out as Wendy’s has launched a virtual restaurant on the metaverse.

Here’s a rundown of some of the top metaverse stories over the past week.

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Metaverse Market Could Rise to $13 Trillion by 2030, Citi Says

The metaverse industry has welcomed a lot of action in the last few months. From Facebook changing its name to “Meta” back in October to Microsoft’s acquisition of Activision Blizzard for $69 billion in a rather huge metaverse play, just how much do you think the metaverse market would be worth?
Well, according to the global investment bank Citi, the metaverse economy could grow to $13 trillion by 2030. In a Thursday “Metaverse and Money” report, the New York-based banking gaint said that the total number of users on the metaverse could also climb to around five billion.

2030 is only eight years away and Citi expects the industry’s growth to take some time. For one, the content streaming environment of the ecosystem needs a "computational efficiency improvement of over 1,000x today's levels." The multinational dubbed the metaverse as the “next generation of the internet,” which combines both the digital and physical worlds in an immersive way.

"A device-agnostic Metaverse accessible via PCs, game consoles, and smartphones could result in a very large ecosystem. Based on our definition, we estimate the total addressable market for the Metaverse economy could grow to between $8 trillion and $13 trillion by 2030 [...] But getting to that market level is going to require infrastructure investment […] Investment will be needed in areas such as compute, storage, network infrastructure, consumer hardware, and game development platforms."

Citi also thinks that the gaming industry will become one of the biggest use cases for the metaverse, with the possibility of spending cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin and Ethereum in virtual worlds. The bank also mentioned the likelihood of stablecoins and central bank digital currencies (CBDCs) making their way to the metaverse.

"Given the high volatility of most cryptocurrencies, stablecoins, with their relative stability, usually linked to fiat, are already showing promising adoption as a medium of exchange. We should expect to see stablecoins play a major role in the Metaverse as a form of money."

Dogecoin Creator Calls Shiba Inu’s Metaverse Project a $300M Cash Grab

Last month, the developers of the popular Shiba Inu “memecoin” revealed their plans for the metaverse. Shiba Inu finally entered the metaverse last week following the launch of its virtual reality project "SHIB: The Metaverse."
According to an announcement issued by the project team:
“SHIB: The Metaverse is the culmination of our history as a community, virtually displayed, in a layer of beautiful visuals that showcase our innovation and unity with a place to truly call home.”

More than 100,000 plots will be created in the ecosystem that will allow users “to generate passive income, gather in-game resources, and generate rewards.” But for a start, 36,431 plots will be issued in the introductory stage, with prices from 0.2 ETH to 1 ETH.

Interestingly, while the news was welcomed with great excitement from SHIB supporters, others have raised concerns over Shiba Inu’s metaverse plans. Billy Markus, Dogecoin’s creator, voiced his disapproval.

Markus, who founded the "OG" memecoin — Doge, as a joke, said that he was not happy with how Shiba was treating its investors. Responding to CoinDesk’s coverage of SHIB’s metaverse, he tweeted:
“How is making a random metaverse and selling fake land with Ethereum adding utility to their project.”

He argued that the entire project was a huge opportunity for SHIB developers to enrich themselves.

Taking a look at Nansen’s dashboards for Shiba, we see that 92% of all tokens have been held for at least 90 days. Unique addresses are currently hovering at 1.2M, a staggering ~5,500% increase from a year ago.

Dubai Announces Metaverse Plans at World Government Summit 2022

Tech giants are not the only ones entering the metaverse. A few countries like South Korea are already exploring developments in the burgeoning sector, and Dubai is one of the latest to jump on the bandwagon.

According to Dawood Abdul Rahman Al Hajri, Director-General of Dubai Municipality, the region will work with private investors to create a human-centric and futuristic version of the city that taps on the opportunities being presented by the metaverse.

During a plenary session held as part of the World Government Summit 2022, the director introduced the One Human Reality concept to delegates. He said:

"One Human Reality is the meeting point or integration between two worlds: the metaverse and the world we are currently living in together."

The metaverse has been largely touted as the future of interaction. It is a virtual-reality space where users can interact with one another in computer-generated environments. It combines elements of virtual reality, extended reality, augmented reality, digital assets, and other advanced technologies.

Late last year, Microsoft co-founder and billionaire Bill Gates dubbed the metaverse as the future of workplace meetings when he said:
“I predict most virtual meetings will move from 2D camera image grids – which I call the "Hollywood Squares model," although I know that probably dates me – to the metaverse, a 3D space with digital avatars.”

Al Hajri noted that the metaverse has become more of a reality than ever imagined. He gave an example of how a futuristic metaverse city might work, stating that:

"Residents could be joined by friends in other parts of the world in the form of avatars on a virtual walk through a city park. Similarly, simulated time travel to historic moments, or immersive tours of landmark destinations may be other metaverse applications."

Fast Food Chain Wendy’s Launched Virtual Metaverse Restaurant on Meta

If having a virtual beer is not your thing, then maybe eating a burger on the metaverse might appeal to you.

American international fast food restaurant chain, Wendy’s, has launched a virtual restaurant on Meta's Horizon Worlds platform.

Dubbed Wendyverse, the new metaverse restaurant went live on April 2 to consumers with Quest 2 VR headsets. Visitors will be able to explore Town Square Central, the first Wendy's restaurant in virtual reality, as well as Partnership Plaza, a March Madness-themed experience in the Buck BiscuitDome featuring a park fountain that sprays out Fanta Soda. Furthermore, all Wendyverse visitors will be treated to bacon or sausage, cheese biscuit and egg for $1.

Chief marketing officer for The Wendy's Company, Carl Loredo, said in a statement:
“We're excited to take this to the next level by launching the Wendyverse in Meta's Horizon Worlds and bringing a totally new dimension of access to our fans. Truly a first of its kind, the Wendyverse bridges the best of today with tomorrow to show up for our fans across every world - with a Frosty and fries in hand.”
Speaking of metaverse food, Dutch brewing giant Heineken recently released what it claimed to be “the world’s first virtual beer.” However, unlike Wendy, which appears to be in for serious business, Heineken was only throwing a jab at the raging metaverse craze.

South Korea Debuts DMZ-Themed Metaverse Platform

It is the dream of the South Korean government to have the fifth-largest metaverse market by 2026. And the government has been taking active steps to make this dream a reality.

Last Thursday, the country’s unification ministry announced the launch of a metaverse service designed to allow people to experience the Demilitarized Zone (DMZ) in a virtual space. A ministry official said:

"The DMZ is not easy to access for ordinary citizens due to (entrance) procedures and travel time restrictions."

The metaverse initiative, which is the first of its kind from the government, will allow users to take a virtual tour of the DMZ with avatars. Interestingly, preparations for the service have been in the pipeline since last year.

In another metaverse-related news from South Korea, the nation’s Ministry of Science and ICT (MSIT) is looking to launch what it has labeled as South Korea’s first “metaverse academy” in May.

For a start, the academy will train 180 specialists in metaverse-related tech. And so far, 27 international organizations, including Microsoft, Adobe and The Sandbox, have agreed to provide trainees with experience and employment opportunities.

Grimes to Release ‘Intergalactic Children’s Metaverse Book’

Grimes, a Canadian songwriter and an ex-girlfriend to Elon Musk, is gearing up to debut a metaverse storybook for children.

The singer announced her plans to launch the “intergalactic children’s metaverse book” at the Avalanche Summit in Barcelona. The move will be part of a $100 million initiative by the Avalanche Foundation and NFT launch OP3.

“When I first got into Web 3.0, this was the kind of project I was hoping to see. I’m very excited to be partnering with [OP3N] to launch a series of educational art for babies and small children with the goal of creating a profound experience for babies that is also deeply meaningful to adults.”

This is not Grime’s first foray into the world of digital collectibles. In January, she teamed up with NFT marketplace Nifty Gateway to launch her “Warnymph Collection Vol. 1.”

According to her, she decided to cool off due to environmental concerns, noting that she “hadn’t dropped any NFTs since the first drop because of the environmental concerns. But [she] feels totally comfortable launching on Avalanche.”

Bandai Namco Announces Gundam-Themed Metaverse

During the “3rd Gundam Conference” last Tuesday, Japanese business giant Bandai Namco announced the launch of the “Gundam Metaverse Project,” billed as the first step in its $130 million metaverse investment.

According to Bandai Namco:

“[This metaverse will be a] platform of opportunities for Gundam fans worldwide to come together to converse and connect in a variety of categories.”

The game developer and publisher named Gundam as the first IP that it will onboard to the metaverse.

Gundam is a Japanese military fiction franchise with several anime adaptations, video games and manga. The metaverse project will be set in ‘space colonies’ and contain ‘all kinds of Gundam-related content’ such as anime shows, video games, esports and Gunpla models.

As per reports, the metaverse known as SIDE-G will grant users access to a plethora of Gundam-themed colonies via avatars. Speaking of avatars, the company revealed that users will be able to scan their Gunpla models and introduce them to the metaverse to face other Gunpla users in battle.

SIDE-G will kick off with the “Gunpla Colony.” Further down the line, the team will roll out an “Esports Colony,” billed for completion in 2023.

The “Gunpla Colony” will bring entertainment to the virtual space by merging digital and physical worlds with “Gunpla Battle,” where fans can scan their Gunpla to face others in battle, hosting “Gunpla Contest” events and providing Gunpla lessons online.

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