Weekly Wrap: What's Happening in the Metaverse This Week? [Jan. 7, 2021]
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Weekly Wrap: What's Happening in the Metaverse This Week? [Jan. 7, 2021]

10 months ago

CoinMarketCap takes a look at some of the latest happenings in the metaverse — from Paris Hilton's NYE party on the metaverse, to a possible ProShares Metaverse-themed ETF coming this year?

Weekly Wrap: What's Happening in the Metaverse This Week? [Jan. 7, 2021]


The metaverse space is heating up as celebrities, big tech and even governments rush to grab a slice of the pie. From metaverse startups raising millions from investors to metaverse-hosted parties, here’s a rundown of some of the exciting events that graced the industry over the past week.

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Shanghai Hints at Metaverse Plans in Its Five-Year Development Roadmap

The Chinese government has always maintained a strong anti-crypto stance, tightening its 2017 ban on cryptocurrencies when it moved to clampdown on mining facilities and companies providing crypto-related services. It even went as far as expelling a government official who tried to promote crypto mining activities.
Although the Asian nation has attempted to crush cryptocurrencies, it has actively invested in building its own digital currency, the digital Yuan, which was piloted in four major cities and economic regions early last year. It appears China is taking the same approach towards the fast-rising metaverse mania.
In an opinion piece published by Chinese state-owned media, the author advises the public to stay calm as the metaverse gets hotter. Similarly, the director of the Anti-Money Laundering (AML) unit at the People’s Bank of China (PBoC) Gou Wenjun recently pointed out the risks associated with new trends such as the metaverse and NFTs, proposing that they should be tracked with Anti-Money Laundering tools.

Surprisingly, China’s biggest city is gearing up to enter the metaverse space. In its five-year development plan, Shanghai officials reportedly made the first mention of the term “metaverse” as one of the four frontiers it is looking to explore. The Shanghai Municipal Commission of Economy and Information Technology called for “encouraging the application of the metaverse in areas such as public services, business offices, social entertainment, industrial manufacturing, production safety and electronic games.”

It intends to increase research and development in the areas of blockchain, real-time interactions, and sensors. However, there is currently no timeline or goals for the metaverse move.

Paris Hilton Celebrates New Year’s Eve on the Metaverse

Paris Hilton celebrated New Year’s Eve on the metaverse. The social media personality and celebrity DJ recently made a foray into the metaverse space with her “Parish World” on Roblox. Hilton explained that her decision to create her own virtual world was due to the tech’s limitless potential.
“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.”
To set things in motion, Paris announced on Friday that she was going to DJ in Paris World for the NYE countdown.

For some context, players can explore Paris World, which features digital replicas of her Beverly Hills mansion and her dog’s mansion, for free. Like most metaverse worlds, Hilton included microtransactions in her virtual world. Users will need to pay for a virtual ride on a jet-ski or Hilton-inspired clothing for their characters.

H&M Debunks Metaverse Store Rumors

Earlier this week, there were reports that leading clothing brand H&M had opened a store in the metaverse. However, the company has stepped forward to debunk claims.

The Economic Times, Mashable India and several major publications reported on Monday that the retail clothing giant was set for an imminent metaverse launch that would allow customers to experience a three-dimensional shopping experience via CEEK city.

“The payment of clothes, which can only be worn in the digital environment, is made through CEEK coin. Customers will also have the opportunity to order these clothes from H&M’s physical stores later,” the Economic Times stated.

A spokesperson for H&M has refuted the claims, telling Bitcoin.com News that “we’d like to confirm that H&M is not opening a store in Metaverse at this time.”

The rumor of H&M opening a store in the metaverse trailed a tweet by Ceek’s official Twitter account on December 7. The spokesperson for the retail giant clarified that the company was not collaborating with Ceek. This was later put to rest by the official Twitter account for Ceek.
“The H&M store in the Ceek metaverse was just a concept that was presented to H&M and not an actual virtual store yet. We are in discussions with people at H&M to make this a reality, but this is not something that’s a reality as of now.”

Square Enix CEO Unveils Plans for Blockchain, NFTs and Metaverse

The CEO of Square Enix, Yosuke Matsuda, has revealed his company’s plans for the blockchain and metaverse. In his new year’s message on Saturday, the CEO opined that Facebook’s name change to Meta is proof that the concept was more than a passing fad. According to him, the metaverse will witness an even greater hype in 2022 as more people begin to embrace virtual worlds.
“The metaverse was a hot topic in 2021, inspiring a lively global conversation first about what the metaverse is and then about what sort of business opportunities it presents. Against this backdrop, Facebook changed its name in October to Meta, serving as evidence that the concept is not a mere buzzword but here to stay. The metaverse garnered so much attention that 2021 was dubbed the Metaverse Year.”

Matsuda believes that the growing use of cloud computing and advancements in internet technology will drive metaverse adoption. He goes on to share his seemingly bullish prediction for blockchain, play-to-earn and NFTs.

Ready Player Me Raises $13M in Metaverse Push

Ready Player Me, a 3D avatar platform that is building a “connective passport for the metaverse” has raised $13 million to expand its metaverse plans. The Series A funding round was led by the co-founders of Wise and Teleport, Taavet+Sten. Other participants include the co-founder of GitHub, Tom Preston-Werner, Konvoy Ventures, Samsung Next and Gmoney.

The raised funds will be used for the company’s metaverse-interoperability dreams. Essentially, Ready Player Me seeks to build the infrastructure for a multiple-dimensioned metaverse ecosystem where users can maintain a consistent identity across multiple virtual worlds.

“The metaverse isn’t a single app/game – it's a network of thousands of virtual worlds people visit to play, work, and collaborate. It makes no sense for you to create a new avatar for each game or experience. Your avatar should be able to travel with you across the metaverse.”

Apart from this, the company is looking to support its community of developers through a number of new products while expanding its workforce to over 70 employees.

Sharing its ambition for the new year in an official blog post, Daniel Marcinkowski, the company’s marketing manager voiced their dream of building “the best avatar system for developers across the metaverse.” Meanwhile, CEO Timmu Tõke said:
“With the funding, we will scale our partner network further and will build out monetization tools for developers to help them make money with avatar customization assets and NFT’s. Our goal is to become the default system for the metaverse.”

ProShares Wants to Launch a Metaverse ETF to Track Meta, Apple and Others

In late November, two Canadian metaverse ETFs went live on the Toronto Stock Exchange. Following the latest rally around the space, ProShares, the first company to launch a Bitcoin futures-linked exchange-traded fund (ETF) on US soil, is looking to delve into the metaverse.
A filing with the US Securities and Exchange Commission revealed that the company is looking to launch a new metaverse-focused ETF. The product called the ProShares Metaverse Theme ETF will track the performance of the Solactive Metaverse Theme Index (SOMETAV).
SOMETAV features firms that use or provide metaverse-related technologies, including metaverse devices and data processing. The ETF prospectus notes that the index includes US companies that are listed on the Nasdaq Stock Market or New York Stock Exchange and meet certain liquidity requirements and market capitalization. Tech giants like Meta, Apple, and Nvidia are reportedly being tracked by the index.
Meanwhile, a study by Reports and Data, noted that the global metaverse was worth $48 billion in 2020 and is expected to climb up to $872 billion by 2028, at a compound annual growth rate of 44%.
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