Opening Doors To The Metaverse

SCMP bored naked apesCOUNTLESS celebrities are developing an interest in cryptocurrency and Web3.

For better or worse, cruising on their reputations, they bring their fan bases blindly in contact with decentralized ledger-based technologies, with mixed results.

Kim Kardashian, unfortunately now under investigation by the SEC, touted the EthereumMax cryptocurrency on social media in an apparent pump-and-dump scheme. Despite his alarming inability to pin down the definition of a security, the exorcism of celebrity led Ponzi schemes by SEC Chair, Gary Gensler, is something that both nocoiners and cryptophiles can get behind. The whopping $1.26 million fine, likely eating into Kim’s profit margin, and the ongoing investigation should do well to discourage copycats.

During the 2021 bull market, cash-splashing YouTube personality Logan Paul paid over $600,000 for an Azuki NFT. The WWE wrestler found himself in a chokehold, with the Azuki Bumblebee recently valued at $10.

azuki bumblebee
Azuki Bumblebee NFT stung as it dropped in value from $210,000 to $10.

There are, however, success stories: The Bored Apes Yacht Club NFT group have a die-hard and mature fanbase, absent ponzinomics. Snoop Dogg and Eminem both transformed into their Bored Ape counterparts during their VMA awards ceremony performance in August this year. Despite the bear market blues, the floor price of this collection remains over $70,000 on the OpenSea marketplace.

Such stories unwittingly have various lessons to teach businesses looking to enter this space. Enter Celebverse, the first virtual world to provide a neutral venue where fans can interact with celebrities. Users are granted exclusive access to celebrity cities, concerts, fashion shows and merchandise.

Yogesh Dixit, Head of Operations for the Dubai-based company hopes the platform will allow people to test the limits of their imagination. The peer-to-peer network, driven by Smart Contracts on the Ethereum network enables users to explore NFT ownership through designing and minting, buying, selling and auctioning land parcels. The platform also presents an opportunity for newer celebrities to gain exposure.

Celebverse captures the essence of what smart contract-based technologies have to offer, while leaving ample room for user exploration.

Metaverse In Business

The metaverse concept is gaining institutional traction.

Singapore’s largest bank DBS has launched a partnership with the Sandbox, a metaverse and gaming platform, to design DBS BetterWorld, an interactive metaverse experience for their customers. The South China Morning Post has snagged a large plot of land in the Sandbox metaverse with intentions of using the platform to deliver a variety of cultural experiences.

The metaverse yields much untapped potential in the form of community benefits derived from holding NFTs. Currently most NFT ownership revolves around price speculation, however the NFT collections that have stood the test of time such as the Bored Apes, also have well developed communities.

The utility of NFTs often seems ambiguous and applied after-the-fact, leaving many asking why this project required a blockchain.

The magic of NFTs lies in digital proof-of-ownership, the blockchain allows your unique membership identity to be set in stone forever – or until you decide to sell it.

The strongest communities hold onto their NFTs as they anticipate additional benefits as the community grows.

Imagine a time-share with a hotel, but one that appreciates in value, can be sold at market value or even auctioned off without a mediating third-party. Such membership NFTs can also offers exclusive access to community events and perhaps discounts and special deals with brands that partner with the community.

Practical Applications For NFTs

NFTs could also be used as sports events tickets, since many match tickets get lost over time. Hardcore collectors can be rewarded for holding onto tickets from classic games, as memorabilia collection takes on a new digital facet. With sports-focused projects like Chiliz and ticketing solutions such as GET, fans may soon be offered a deeper level of ownership over their sports club’s merchandise and have access to greater benefits.

Another totally untapped arena is gambling, currently there are many Web3 protocols that offer bets on predictions, such as Mojito markets crypto options platforms such as Buffer Finance. But these apps have yet to fully explore the potential of community membership assets such as an NFTs.

Harking back to those mischievous celebrities, community development also depends on the profit taking strategy of the business entity, which must not leave your most loyal customers and adventurous metaverstranauts feeling like they have had the rug pulled out from under them every time you need to boost your quarterlies.

While luxury items, such as Azuki’s scan-to-own golden skateboards seem to be leading this space, casual $100k purchases for businesses and celebrities translate to considerable risks for their loyal followers.

Retail audiences need security, assurances and some education when they choose to engage with such projects — but not blanket protection — because investing and making purchases always involves risk and people should not be made ignorant of that fact. The limits are yet to be tested in this space and are waiting for true entrepreneurs to venture forth and explore them.

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