Jefferies says the metaverse is as big an investment opportunity as the early internet

An art exhibit depicting the metaverse.
Skeptics argue that no-one really knows what the metaverse is.

  • Investors should consider the metaverse as like the early days of the internet, according to Jefferies’ head of thematic research.
  • Simon Powell noted key stocks to watch, telling CNBC people will want to “own the Ciscos” of the metaverse.
  • Yet many are still skeptical of the idea, with one investor saying proper metaverses are still years away.

Wall Street is getting very excited about the metaverse, with investment bank Jefferies perhaps the most optimistic.

Its head of thematic research Simon Powell told CNBC that the metaverse is an investment opportunity akin to the early days of the internet.

“The way to think about it is [that] all human activity that hasn’t moved online is about to move online in the next five to 10 years,” he said. “We can only imagine what it can be.”

Powell was speaking to CNBC’s “Worldwide Exchange” on Friday, after Jefferies released a research note saying the metaverse will be the biggest disruption to how people live ever seen.

The metaverse is a fuzzy term that refers to a wide range of virtual worlds, in which people use avatars to play games, watch virtual concerts, work, build things, and even buy and sell crypto assets such as non-fungible tokens, or NFTs.

Social media giant Facebook recently changed its name to Meta to mark a switch in focus to the metaverse. The move spurred a surge of interest in the idea among investors and other technology companies.

Powell said investors should be thinking about investing in the metaverse as though they were investing in the early internet. That means first focusing on hardware providers; then on software providers; then on companies that actually operate inside the technology.

“What did you want to own from 1989 to 2000? You wanted to own the Ciscos of the world. And I think the same is going to be true for the metaverse,” he said.

Powell recommended investors think about chipmakers such as Nvidia and AMD, saying that the push into virtual worlds will require a huge amount of computing power.

He also recommended device manufacturers, for example, those that make virtual reality headsets. “It’s all about infrastructure for the next few years,” he said.

Read more: Universal Music Group bets on the metaverse by partnering with Genies to make digital avatars and wearables

However, there are plenty of skeptics about the metaverse who argue that it’s far too soon to predict whether the idea will become a major part of everyday life.

Jon Jordan, blockchain specialist at venture capital firm Hiro Capital, told Insider that “no one knows what [the metaverse] is.” He added: “Nothing that is yet live, I would call a metaverse.”

The uncertainty makes investing decisions about the metaverse tricky, Jordan said.

Jefferies’ Powell said it’s still uncertain whether the metaverse will be dominated by the likes of Facebook/Meta or by decentralized virtual worlds such as The Sandbox or Decentraland.

Decentralized virtual worlds, in which users can create and sell their own items in the form of NFTs, have recently been attracting a lot of attention, with virtual land selling for millions of dollars.

This story has been amended to give the correct name for Jefferies’ head of thematic research, Simon Powell.

Read the original article on Business Insider

Jefferies says the metaverse is as big an investment opportunity as the early internet, as its research chief lays out the bull case

An art exhibit depicting the metaverse.
Skeptics argue that no-one really knows what the metaverse is.

  • Investors should consider the metaverse as like the early days of the internet, according to Jefferies’ head of thematic research.
  • Simon Powell noted key stocks to watch, telling CNBC people will want to “own the Ciscos” of the metaverse.
  • Yet many are still skeptical of the idea, with one investor saying proper metaverses are still years away.

Wall Street is getting very excited about the metaverse, with investment bank Jefferies perhaps the most optimistic.

Its head of thematic research Richard Powell told CNBC that the metaverse is an investment opportunity akin to the early days of the internet.

“The way to think about it is [that] all human activity that hasn’t moved online is about to move online in the next five to 10 years,” he said. “We can only imagine what it can be.”

Powell was speaking to CNBC’s “Worldwide Exchange” on Friday, after Jefferies released a research note saying the metaverse will be the biggest disruption to how people live ever seen.

The metaverse is a fuzzy term that refers to a wide range of virtual worlds, in which people use avatars to play games, watch virtual concerts, work, build things, and even buy and sell crypto assets such as non-fungible tokens, or NFTs.

Social media giant Facebook recently changed its name to Meta to mark a switch in focus to the metaverse. The move spurred a surge of interest in the idea among investors and other technology companies.

Powell said investors should be thinking about investing in the metaverse as though they were investing in the early internet. That means first focusing on hardware providers; then on software providers; then on companies that actually operate inside the technology.

“What did you want to own from 1989 to 2000? You wanted to own the Ciscos of the world. And I think the same is going to be true for the metaverse,” he said.

Powell recommended investors think about chipmakers such as Nvidia and AMD, saying that the push into virtual worlds will require a huge amount of computing power.

He also recommended device manufacturers, for example, those that make virtual reality headsets. “It’s all about infrastructure for the next few years,” he said.

Read more: Universal Music Group bets on the metaverse by partnering with Genies to make digital avatars and wearables

However, there are plenty of skeptics about the metaverse who argue that it’s far too soon to predict whether the idea will become a major part of everyday life.

Jon Jordan, blockchain specialist at venture capital firm Hiro Capital, told Insider that “no one knows what [the metaverse] is.” He added: “Nothing that is yet live, I would call a metaverse.”

The uncertainty makes investing decisions about the metaverse tricky, Jordan said.

Jefferies’ Powell said it’s still uncertain whether the metaverse will be dominated by the likes of Facebook/Meta or by decentralized virtual worlds such as The Sandbox or Decentraland.

Decentralized virtual worlds, in which users can create and sell their own items in the form of NFTs, have recently been attracting a lot of attention, with virtual land selling for millions of dollars.

Read the original article on Business Insider

The next age of the internet could suck power away from Big Tech while living on the same backbone as cryptocurrencies. Here’s what to know about Web3.

nft immersive art
Web3, the metaverse, cryptocurrencies, and NFTs (artwork of which is pictured above) will all play a pivtol role in the next era of the internet.

  • Web3 is the next generation of the internet and will exist on the blockchain.
  • It will be decentralized, meaning it won’t be controlled entities like Facebook or Google.
  • Twitter, GameStop, Reddit, and VC firm a16z are all putting resources into building Web3.

In the next era of the internet, you won’t have a social account for each platform.

Instead, you’ll have a single social account, able to move with it from Facebook and Twitter, to Google, shopping websites, and more.

Your moves may be cataloged on the same digital backbone that supports cryptocurrencies like bitcoin — blockchain — instead of massive corporate servers like Amazon Web Services. And this new iteration of the internet won’t be controlled by a central power, meaning no single entity will govern it as Facebook, Google, and others govern their own empires. 

Welcome to Web3, the successor to Web2 — which is what we’re in now, where tech giants hold the majority control of the market. Web1 spawned Web2 when we went from merely reading information on web pages to a more social internet.

Like so many other ponderings about the internet’s evolution, Web3 is still merely a thought, or perhaps even vaporware, a name for ultra-hyped tech that has yet to materialize. It also may not prove to be as benevolent as is hoped (look at how social media turned out.)

But proponents say it, like cryptocurrencies and the metaverse, is the future.

NFTs, the metaverse, Web3, and cryptocurrencies are linked

VR goggles headset
A man wears VR goggles.

One aspect of the metaverse is that users will hopefully be able to go virtually from platform to platform with one single account — just like we will in Web3. 

And NFTs, one-of-a-kind tokens representing your ownership of a virtual good, could be more easily bought and sold with cryptocurrencies within a space like Web3. 

Web3, a name coined by Ethereum cofounder Gavin Wood, will be about evenly distributing online power, sucking away control from the Big Tech platforms. It’ll exist on the blockchain, a virtual spine built by a network of computers housing data that’s open to the public (Ethereum is an example of a blockchain, though it also has its own cryptocurrency called Ether.)

How you use Web3 won’t look very different than how you use the internet now though, Wood wrote in 2018.

The idea is that if you participate in Web3, such as perhaps posting a photo on a network that lives on the blockchain, you’ll get a token, as NPR reported. That token will give you a stake of ownership and will let you weigh in on decisions made on said platform, such as whether a certain post containing misinformation should be removed.

That’d be a big departure from how things operate now, where internet platforms make their own rules and carry them out online, much to the chagrin of critics, including conservatives with unproven allegations of censorship.

That’s also why Web3 could be a balm for antitrust woes and monopolistic business practices. This next-gen web would inherently strip power from big corporations since they would no longer be the only prominent platforms to use — and would give that power back to the people, at least hypothetically.

Many technologist bigwigs are all for Web3 — but not all

Jack Dorsey appears at a bitcoin convention on June 4, 2021 in Miami, Florida.
Twitter is working on a handful of decentralized technologies, including cryptocurrencies and Web3.

Tesla CEO and bitcoin enthusiast Elon Musk has notably decried Web3 as “BS.”

But venture capital firms and large corporations are already investing time and money into building it out.

Twitter is working on a project — dubbed Bluesky — to build its own decentralized social media platform, which would be a step toward Web3. And in November, Twitter said it would launch a dedicated crypto team to be “a center of excellence for all things blockchain and web3.”

GameStop was looking for Web3 gaming leaders in October, and Reddit is tinkering with Web3 features on its platform.

And famed Silicon Valley VC firm Andreessen Horowitz, which is working to thrust crypto into the mainstream, is putting sizable leg power into lobbying Capitol Hill to embrace Web3.

“It’s time to begin,” reads a blog post on the firm’s website. “It’s time to build a better internet.”

Read the original article on Business Insider

As DAOs redefine crowdfunding, Kickstarter is shifting its platform to the blockchain

A screenshot of projects on the Kickstarter crowdfunding platform
Projects on the Kickstarter crowdfunding platform blockchain DAO crypto

  • Crowdfunding platform Kickstarter is heading to the blockchain, it said in a blog post Wednesday. 
  • Kickstarter said even its competitors will be able to use its open-source tools. 
  • The move comes amid a rise in decentralized autonomous organizations raising funds for projects. 

Kickstarter, the crowdfunding platform that helped jumpstart Oculus VR and Peloton, is moving to a blockchain, with the change coming alongside the rise of decentralized autonomous organizations, or DAOs, that have raised money to buy everything from the US constitution to an NBA franchise. 

“We are entering a significant moment for alternative governance models, and we think there’s an important opportunity to advance these efforts using the blockchain,” said Perry Chen & Aziz Hasan, Kickstarter’s co-founder and CEO, respectively, in a blog post Wednesday.  Plans for the move were first reported by Bloomberg

Kickstarter, which has hosted pledges of more than $6 billion for projects since 2009, will start a separate, yet-to-be-named company to create a crowdfunding system that will run on the Celo blockchain. 

When that’s completed, Kickstarter’s website will move to the new blockchain system. Open-source tools will “be available for collaborators, independent contributors, and even Kickstarter competitors,” wrote Chen and Hasan. 

The $2.4 trillion cryptocurrency market has seen a recent uptick in DAOs raising funds for specific projects. One high-profile example is ConstitutionDAO, a group of people who banded together to bid for one of 13 remaining copies of the US Constitution put up for auction by Sotheby’s last month. 

Andreessen Horowitz venture capital firm a16z has previously said DAOs will have an “enormous impact” on the next phase of the internet known as web3 or the metaverse. 

A DAO “enables online communities to form, pool resources, and coordinate towards common goals – all run trustlessly via code,” Ali Yahya, a crypto general partner at a16z, previously told Insider. That code runs on blockchain technology and enforces the rules that govern the group. It’s also cheaper and faster to set up than an entity such as an LLC, he had said. 

Kickstarter said in the coming weeks, a white paper outlining the technology and plans for the protocol will be released.

The winning bidder of the Sotheby’s auction was Ken Griffin, the founder of Citadel Securities. 

Read the original article on Business Insider

To the moon? Terra’s luna crypto coin has shot up almost 80% in a week, vaulting past shiba inu and avalanche

Moon's ashen glow, a phenomenon when the Moon's night side is lit by earthshine.
The name “luna” echoes crypto fans’ cry of “to the moon.”

  • Terra’s luna cryptocurrency has gained around 80% in a week, making it bigger than either shiba inu or avalanche.
  • A network upgrade and upcoming changes to how users report their tax liabilities have driven the surge.
  • JPMorgan’s Nikolaos Panigirtzoglou said recently terra’s stablecoin mechanism means it’s good for cross-border payments.

Terraform Labs’ luna is fast becoming one of the crypto market’s best performers, having gained around 80% in value in the last week alone.

The gains have come thanks to a combination of falling supply of tokens, and a series of changes in how the coin is used in its own payment network.

Luna’s even overtaken dogecoin-darling shiba inu and “ethereum killer” avalanche’s avax to become the 11th biggest cryptocurrency by market value, according to data from CoinMarketCap.

The Terra blockchain launched in January 2018 and uses fiat-pegged stablecoins to run its payments system. Its native luna token is then used to stabilize the price of the protocol’s algorithmically-backed TerraUSD stablecoin, UST. According to its whitepaper, luna holders can submit and vote on governance proposals of their own. 

This week, investors voted to allow community funding for an overhaul of the network’s “TrackTerra” tax and reporting app. That will allow luna holders to export transactions to different tax software programs, according to a tweet from developer Terra.

The US government is tightening the rules around tax liabilities stemming from cryptocurrency transactions. This was one of the catalysts that knocked bitcoin, ether and other major coins lower in November, when Joe Biden’s infrastructure bill — which includes regulations for crypto — passed into law. 

Luna has been one of the strongest-performing major cryptocurrencies over the last seven days, much to the enthusiasm of its “LUNAtic” community of supporters. The price was up 7.2% at $67.83 in the 24 hours to 06:45 a.m. ET on Friday, bringing its market capitalization above $26 billion. Earlier in the day, it hit a record $70.46 on the Binance exchange.

Its network rolled out a major upgrade last month, aimed at better maintaining the peg of the TerraUSD to its fiat value. In turn, that resulted in over 93 million luna tokens being “burned,” effectively vanishing from circulation, according to FX Leaders analyst Aiswarya Gopan.

Part of luna’s popularity is coming from the rapid evolution of decentralized finance. Along with competitors such as avalanche and solana, terra has been gobbling up market share from leading DeFi blockchain ethereum, thanks to its faster transaction speed and lower “gas” fees.

JPMorgan currency strategist Nikolaos Panigirtzoglou flagged Terra’s advantages relative to some rival protocols in a recent research note. 

“Terra is a stablecoin-issuing platform using a mechanism that minimizes volatility to achieve close peg of the issued stablecoins to fiat currencies,” he said.

“This mechanism, operating via dynamic expansion and contraction of token supply, issues several regional stablecoins that can be swapped, making the Terra platform particularly suitable for cross border payments,” he added.

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Here’s what 14 top executives are saying about the ‘metaverse’

Metaverse digital cyber world technology, man with virtual reality VR goggle playing AR augmented reality game and entertainment, futuristic lifestyleMetaverse digital cyber world technology, man with virtual reality VR goggle playing AR augmented reality game and entertainment, futuristic lifestyle
  • Tech leaders are increasingly using the vague term “metaverse” in earnings calls with investors. 
  • Many are following the lead of Meta, who announced it would be focusing on building the metaverse.
  • Executives had different expectations for what the “metaverse” will be when questioned in earnings calls.

The “metaverse” has become a hot topic for executives, analysts, and investors alike, being mentioned in the earnings calls of more than 15 companies in the past few months alone. 

As the tech world grapples with what the metaverse will actually look like, several executives have started weaving mentions of it into discussion with investors. However, their remarks indicate they are still fairly unsure of what specifically the metaverse is and how it functions. 

While Facebook’s recent rebranding to Meta helped increase awareness of the metaverse and propelled it to a topic of global conversation, even CEO Mark Zuckerberg only has a vague notion of the definition of the metaverse. 

“The best way to understand the metaverse is to experience it yourself, but it’s a little tough because it doesn’t fully exist yet,” Zuckerberg said at a conference last month. 

Some companies are divided on whether it represents a real virtual space or if it’s just a concept, while others are unsure if a metaverse will ever actually exist and are weary of the nebulous technology. 

Analysts at Morgan Stanley said the metaverse could represent an $8 trillion opportunity, but it would be a challenge to get people interested in using it. Augmented reality and artificial intelligence experts also told Insider that a metaverse could drastically amplify society’s political polarization.

Still, companies are willing to make large investments in the metaverse, even if they don’t fully understand it yet. The space is expected to be worth $82 billion by 2025, according to The Information, and companies plan to expand their goods and services into the experimental virtual space.

Here’s what some company executives are saying about the metaverse, and what they intend to do with it.

Agora Inc.

The real-time video platform just announced a network product that would “accelerate any kind of data, not just video or audio, and for any application, whether it’s gaming, e-commerce, collaboration, or metaverse,” according to CEO Tony Zhao.

“Recently, we have seen an accelerating trend of real-time engagement in extended reality environment, creating the infrastructure of metaverse,” Zhao said in a November call with investors. “Our plan is to further enhance our capabilities in these areas and become an instrumental infrastructure provider for metaverse.”

Bilibili

“Metaverse is a concept, it’s not a product,” Bilibili CEO Rui Chen said in a call with investors on Wednesday, suggesting elements of the metaverse have existed for a long time, but companies are only now jumping onboard.

“I think that if someone hears the concept of metaverse and decided to get into this business, probably would be a little bit too late,” Chen said. “When we talk about metaverse, we think this is not something that can be done by a singular company. You need to have massive content production capability to produce another world.”

Whitney Wolfe Herd wears a brown and white dress while sitting on stage.
Whitney Wolfe Herd is the founder and CEO of Bumble.

Bumble

Bumble plans to build new engagement and community relationships for users “through the communities they build, the virtual goods and experiences they acquire or through new ways of owning their identity as they navigate the metaverse,” CEO Whitney Wolfe Herd said in an earnings call in November.

“Built on blockchain technology, we believe [Bumble BFF] will enable a level of participation and empowerment that will make our mission come to life,” Herd said. “In the near term, this means new engagement, participation and creator models.”

Coinbase Co-founder and CEO Brian Armstrong speaks on stage in front of a green background
Coinbase Co-founder and CEO Brian Armstrong

Coinbase

Coinbase COO Emilie Choi said in a November earnings call that the company had been spending “a lot of time” developing the metaverse alongside blockchain technology, cryptocurrency, and NFTs, which are being used by “tens of millions of Americans.”

“We think there’s just an abundance of innovation in this space, and we want to keep doubling down on those opportunities,” Choi said in the call. 

Dolby Laboratories 

Dolby laboratories said it sees potential of the metaverse to integrate with its technology, particularly when it comes to auditory features. 

“I think the metaverse can take many forms, but ultimately, it is an audiovisual experience,” CEO Kevin Yeman said in an earnings call on Tuesday, noting he hopes to integrate it with their Dolby.io technology. “I think some of our developers, they even define themselves as virtual environments and maybe, by extension, the metaverse.”

Mark Zuckerberg Facebook Connect 2021
Mark Zuckerberg at Facebook Connect 2021

Facebook

Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg announced the company was changing its name to Meta in a push to focus its attention on the metaverse. Zuckerberg previously said Meta’s first venture into the metaverse would be focused on building a virtual reality workspace, where employees could interact in virtual meetings.

 “You can think about the metaverse as an embodied internet, where instead of just viewing content — you are in it,” Zuckerberg told The Verge.

Match Group

Match Group CEO Sharmistha Dubey said in an earnings call in November she imagines using metaverse features for the company’s dating apps, like “a piano bar where people’s digital selves are gathering around, but they’re actually playing their pianos at home and jamming with others.”

“It is metaverse experiences coming to life in a way that is transformative to how people meet and get to know each other on a dating or social discovery platform and is much more akin to how people interact in the real world,” Dubey said. 

Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella, seated with open hands.
Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella

Microsoft

Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella touted the company’s new Azure service in its earnings call in July to help decentralize computing, with companies like Campbell Soup, L’Oréal, and SAP migrating to its service.

“As the digital and physical worlds converge, we are leading in a new layer of the infrastructure stack, the ‘enterprise metaverse,” Nadella said.

NetEase

The Chinese tech entertainment company said the company is “technologically ready” for a move into the metaverse space.

“The metaverse is indeed the new buzzword everywhere today. But then, on the other hand, I think nobody has actually had firsthand experience in what it is,” Margaret Shi, NetEase head of investor relations, said on a November earnings call.

Roblox CEO David Baszucki
David Baszucki, founder and CEO of Roblox, presents at the Roblox Developer Conference on August 10, 2019 in Burlingame, California.

Roblox

Roblox has been frequently cited as an example of a potential metaverse model. Roblox CEO David Baszucki said in an earnings call in June that the company is driven to “really participating in inventing and shepherding in the metaverse in an innovative way.”

“When we think about the metaverse and what Roblox is, we do think of it as a utility,” Baszucki said.

The company aims to connect more than 1 billion people in the metaverse, according to Chief Product Officer Manuel Bronstein. The metaverse will also house experiences from ad agencies, according to Chief Business Officer Craig Donato.

Unity Software

The video game software company recently acquired Weta Digital, which it said will help with entry into the metaverse space, especially with a creator-focused approach. In an effort to populate the metaverse, the company has started building thousands of digital assets, such as virtual collectibles.

“That’s going to really help us extract and help build the metaverse around the notion the world’s a better place with more creators in it,” CEO John Riccitiello said on an earnings call in November. “This really puts under our platform something that is, at least from an artist perspective, truly magic and they’re the largest tappable audience we have in our universe.”

Vonage Holdings

The cloud communications provider said it’s focusing on cloud-based technology to increase user engagement in preparation for something bigger, hinting at use in a metaverse context. 

Vonage Holdings CEO Rory Read said on an earnings call in November that the company expects to see a more fleshed out version of the metaverse in the next five to ten years.

“We believe this is only going to accelerate as this 360-degree kind of engagement in the metaverse expands and explodes,” Read said.

Bob Chapek
Bob Chapek, CEO of the Walt Disney Co.

The Walt Disney Company

CEO Bob Chapek said he is confident in Disney’s ability to capitalize on the metaverse with its broad properties, citing the company’s history with adopting technologies, like synchronized audio and computer animation.

“Suffice it to say, our efforts to date are merely a prologue to a time when we’ll be able to connect the physical and digital worlds even more closely, allowing for storytelling without boundaries in our own Disney metaverse,” Chapek said in a November call, suggesting the company creates its own metaverse.

Warner Music Group

Warner Music Group discussed the potential for content creation and distribution for their music on large-scale metaverse platforms, like Roblox and Fortnite, in its earnings call in November.

“When you begin to look at the global reach, the number of people that spend meaningful amounts of time in these new worlds, I think it provides a universe of opportunity,” CEO Stephen Cooper said.

 

 

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The IRS predicts billions in cryptocurrency seizures from fraud schemes next year after taking $3.5 billion this year

bitcoin cryptocurrency - stock illustration
Bitcoin.

  • Billions of dollars worth of cryptocurrency could be seized again next year, the IRS said.
  • For fiscal year 2021, the agency retrieved $3.5 billion worth of crypto, according to a report. 
  • The high-profile case related to Silk Road led to a $1 billion seizure of thousands of bitcoin this past year.

The Internal Revenue Service said cryptocurrencies worth billions of dollars could be seized again next year.

That’s after it retrieved $3.5 billion worth of crypto in fiscal year 2021, making up 93% of all assets seized by the agency that year, according to the IRS annual report.

During a call reported by Bloomberg, the IRS Criminal Investigation Chief Jim lee said he expects the trend of crypto seizures to continue in fiscal year 2022. 

The IRS said in its annual report that cybercrimes affecting the US tax and financial systems are seeing “exponential growth” and added that it has prioritized training on criminal schemes related to cryptocurrency and blockchain.

As part of that prioritization, the criminal investigation unit is launching an Advanced Collaboration & Data Center in Northern Virginia in 2022, according to the report.

One of the high-profile crypto cases this past year was the $1 billion seizure of thousands of bitcoin related to Silk Road, the online marketplace for drugs that was shut down by law enforcement in 2013.

A federal jury convicted Silk Road creator Ross Ulbricht in 2015 of distributing narcotics and laundering money. But investigators had yet to track down all the money from the scheme until they discovered previously unnoticed bitcoin transactions and followed the trail. 

Meanwhile, crypto trading platforms are now required to report transactions to the IRS, as the infrastructure package signed into law on Monday also includes new requirements for the sector, Bloomberg said. But lawmakers have introduced bipartisan legislation to loosen some of the law’s reporting rules.

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Softbank leads a nearly $100 million funding round for a metaverse and NFT-focused startup also backed by Snoop Dogg

NFT
NFT. Sashkin

  • A metaverse startup got nearly $100 million in a funding round led by Softbank.
  • Sandbox is a virtual world where players can monetize digital assets like NFTs.
  • Snoop Dogg, The Walking Dead, and CryptoKitties have also partnered with the company.

A metaverse and NFT-focused startup scored nearly $100 million in a round led by a Softbank fund.

The startup, known as Sandbox, is is an ethereum-based metaverse that allows gamers to create their own virtual world and monetize digital assets, such as non-fungible tokens. For example, players can purchase plots of land they can build on, Coindesk reported Tuesday.

“In this era of new possibilities, The Sandbox is emerging as the main NFT-based, open metaverse, where the content, economy, and even governance will be in the hands of the players, creators, and users who contribute to this virtual world,” the company said in its press release.

The company is a subsidiary of Animoca Brands, a Hong Kong-based venture capital firm backing the metaverse and GameFi.

In its press release, Sandbox Cofunder Sebastien Borget said the Series B funding round will send “a clear statement that the world’s most innovative fund believes in Web3 and decentralization as the next major trend.” Executives from GoldenTree Asset Management, among others, also invested in the round, the press release said.

The startup has partnerships with brands and people, including Snoop Dogg, The Walking Dead, and CryptoKitties, and has more than 500,000 users with connected crypto wallets. Its cryptocurrency, aptly named “Sandbox,” has a $2.3 billion market valuation, according to data from CoinMarketCap.

Monday, another NFT-focused company called Sfermion got a $100 million funding round with big-name backers like the Winklevoss twins and two general partners from Andreessen Horowitz.

The announcements follow news that social media platform Facebook would be changing its name to Meta in an effort to forge into the future of the internet, the metaverse.

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How to make money with an NFT (Non-Fungible Token)

Reading Time: 9 mins

Have you wondered how to make money with an NFT? You actually could do it. You don’t have to be a celebrity to make money with an NFT (although it does help).

It’s hard to avoid the hype of Non-Fungible Tokens, or NFT’s as they’re referred to, with stars such as Argentinian footballer Lionel Messi launching his own NFT collection, pop star Katy Perry launching a video/music NFT and digital artist Grimes raising over $6m in NFT sales.

Then there’s the stories of digital art NFT’s such as Beeple raising $69 million and even an NFT of the YouTube video “Charlie bit my finger” raising £500,000. And there’s the controversy of Jay-Z’s lawsuit around album copyright and NFT’s. We’re even seeing “traditional” firms such as Visa moving into NFT’s when they purchased a Cryptopunk NFT for almost $150k.

Phew! What a lot of money is already sloshing around this sector!

NFT’s aren’t just for big stars with big budgets though.  They can be bought and sold by mere mortals such as ourselves and you can even create your own.

There’s a growing market in the sale and resale of NFT’s with sales of NFT’s exceeding $700m in Q2 2021.

So what is one of these mystical “NFT”’s ?  is it all a bumble of short-term hype or any opportunity to make money and how can you create your own NFT?  Read on…

 

what is an nft (Non-Fungible token)?

An NFT is a digital representation (or “token”), held on a blockchain, showing ownership of a specified digital asset.

See our article about NFTs here for more information.

Think of it as like a digital receipt or a bearer bond where whoever possesses the receipt can prove ownership of the item. That means that people can trade the ownership of something by buying and selling the NFT.  That makes it quite similar to how bank notes came about – they originally represented the ownership of an equivalent sum of gold held in a vault. The difference being a bank note wasn’t representing a specific gold coin or ingot and was interchangeable (a £5 is pretty much the same as any other £5 note).

That’s what’s meant by ‘fungibility’. NFT’s instead represent ownership of a specific, uniquely identified asset which isn’t interchangeable – it’s unique.

That’s what makes it ‘non-fungible’. That’s why they’re called Non-Fungible Tokens.

 

what’s the point of an nft?

NFT’s are being used to represent ownership of digital art through marketplace platforms like

There’s a growth of NFT’s representing digital assets in the metaverse (think of avatars and inventories held in computer games)

  • there’s stories of how the NFT representing the first tweet from Jack Dorsey sold for $2.9m
  • and an NFT linking to Sir Tim Berners-Lee’s source code of the World Wide Web selling for $5.4m.

NFT’s can be exchanged directly between people or are more typically bought and sold on the various NFT marketplace platforms described elsewhere in this article.

  • Some people buy them as short term opportunistic purchases – looking to spot something that will quickly increase in value.
  • Some buy them as longer term investments and others buy them simply to say that they own them!

NFT’s sell for anywhere between $100 and $1 million and, like the traditional art world, have become the domain of experts focussing on particular niches – such as crypto artists like Nanu Berks.

If you’re a digital artist then NFT’s provide a new way to promote, market and sell your works and they also bring an additional benefit as NFT’s can be set up to pay a fee back to the originating artist every time the artwork is subsequently resold.  This means that artists benefit not just from the initial sale but from any subsequent resale and this makes NFT’s very attractive to artists.

 

how to create your own nft

Hopefully you’ve checked out some of the suggested sites and feel suitably inspired to create your own NFT and dip your toe into this exciting market.  To do this you will need a number of things, each of which will be explained further:

  • A digital asset – maybe a .jpeg, .gif or other image that you’ve created and would now like to sell
  • A digital wallet – This holds the keys to your NFT and allows the NFT marketplace platforms to verify that you are the owner of the asset. A popular one is Metamask. You can install this on a mobile device (Android or iOS) or on the Chrome, Firefox, Brave or Edge browser on a desktop
  • Some ETH (Ethereum cryptocurrency) – this is used to pay for the minting and registering of the NFT. You will also need ETH if you want to buy an NFT. If you’ve installed Metamask then you can buy ETH with a debit card or use Apple Pay. Just click on “add funds” and follow the instructions. The amount you will need varies but somewhere between £25 and £200 will probably be enough.  The reason for the big range is down to demand and supply and activity on the network.  An indication of past prices can be found at https://ycharts.com/indicators/ethereum_average_gas_price

Once you have all of the above pre-requisites you’re now on the way to creating your first NFT!

start on your nft

For this explanation we will use Rarible as this has a relatively simple interface which makes it easy to use.  The instructions are for someone using a Windows PC but you should be able to figure out how to do it on an Apple device as it’s pretty similar!  Just follow the steps below:

SET UP METAMASK WALLET

  1. Whilst you can use various browsers, I personally prefer Chrome.
  2. Next you will need to install the Metamask wallet extension for Chrome. Go to https://metamask.io/ and click on ‘Download now’.
  3. Now click on ‘Install Metamask for Chrome’
  4. Now click on ‘Add to Chrome’ and then ‘Add extension’ and then ‘Get started’
  5. You should now have two options and you should click on the second button ‘Create a Wallet’
  6. Metamask will ask if you want to help Metamask improve, click on your preferred option. I prefer ‘ No Thanks’
  7. It will now prompt you to create a password and agree to terms of use and then click on ‘Create’
  8. Ensuring that your wallet is secure is important and you’re offered an opportunity to watch a video about it. It’s only 95 seconds long so worth watching!
  9. Finish setup of wallet here…..

Congratulations, you now have a crypto wallet which you can use to store the keys to your NFT’s and connect to NFT platforms to verify your ownership of NFT’s.

You’ll now need to purchase a small amount of ETH.  It’s fairly easy but we’ll step through the process here:

  1. On your browser, click on the MetaMask extension icon (the little fox)
  2. Click on ‘Buy’
  3. Click on ‘Continue to Wyre’
  4. Click on your chosen payment method
  5. Click the ‘authorise Wyre’ and then ‘Next’
  6. Fill in the payment details and then click on ‘Submit’
  7. You may then need to go through your card issuers verification process and put in how much you wish to purchase
  8. You should now receive a confirmation that you have received ETH in your wallet

Congratulations, if you’ve made it this far, you’re now a member of the crypto owning community!

You now have all the pre-requisites to finally product your first NFT and, if you wish, put it up for sale.

 

CREATING YOUR NFT

Now create your very own NFT (remember, it can be anything you like – you don’t need to be a genius artist to do it)

  1. Go to https://rarible.com/
  2. Click on ‘Create’
  3. Click on ‘Choose file’ and navigate to your .jpeg.gif/etc.
  4. Click on ‘Single’ (we’ll keep it simple for now)
  5. Select whether you want to put on marketplace at a fixed price, timed auction or open for bids
  6. If you want to sell your item for a fixed price then enter it in ETH (Ethereum)
  7. Select ‘Unlock once purchased
  8. Click on ‘Create (ERC-721)
  9. Click on ‘Sign in with Wallet’ and then ‘Sign in with Metamask
  10. Enter a title and description and set any royalties (up to 50%) that you will receive on any resale
  11. Click on ‘Create’
  12. The Mint process will ask you to confirm the Gas fee (this is how much it will cost to mint the NFT and will change depending upon network activity.  This can have a big effect on how much it will cost
  13. Click on ‘Confirm’ if you’re ok with the gas fee
  14. Depending upon how busy the Ethereum blockchain network is the process may now take a few minutes before you receive a confirmation

At last! You’ve now created your first NFT!

 

how to sell your nft

Now what ?  For some people it’s sufficient to simply have the bragging rights to say you own an NFT  (or a particular NFT).  On Rarible, if you click on ‘My items’ details of the NFT’s you own is displayed.

From here you have the option to

  • take the item off sale
  • or put it on sale
  • or transfer it to somebody else (a bit like gifting something).

If you put the item up for auction, you can view the bid history and see if you are on the way to becoming an NFT millionaire!

If the NFT is successfully sold then the price paid in ETH will appear in your MetaMask wallet.  I guess you’d now like to know how to turn that into cash right ?

If you just want to show somebody the NFT, you can click on the three little dots ‘…’ at the top right hand side of the item and choose ‘Share’ and then select how you want to share it.  Options currently include Twitter, Facebook, Telegram and E-mail.

 

where can you buy and sell nfts?

As we can see from the examples above, an NFT can be associated with a variety of assets held as a digital file.

Typically the underlying asset will be a .

  • jpeg, gif or png for a digital image, .
  • mp3 or .wav for music
  • mp4 for video.

The creation of the asset is therefore limited only by your own creativity and imagination as pretty much anyone can create a .jpeg with an application such as paint on a PC or even record a video on their mobile phone.

If you would like to see what the assets (pictures, video, writing etc) that NFT’s are linked to are then a good starting place is Opensea which is considered to be the world first, and largest, NFT marketplace.

There’s also niche markets like

You’ll see a lot of prices expressed in dollars (USD) or cryptocurrencies such as ETH (Ethereum) and that’s just the nature of the market and something you need to adapt to.

 

finding out more about nfts

So there you have it, you’ve been on quite a journey involving creating a wallet, buying cryptocurrency, minting your first NFT, putting it on sale and being able to see it on a marketplace.

The world of NFT’s is fascinating and hopefully this guide has provided you with the step by step instructions to creating and selling your own NFT’s.  If you’d like to learn more then it’s worth reading the guides on the Rarible and Openseas sites.  Also, feel free to contact me at gnuttall@distlytics.com.  I run an NFT Community on Telegram and host crypto zoom meetings where we discuss NFT and other crypto related developments.

If you’d like to learn more about NFT’s, cryptocurrencies and much more then check out my Youtube channel and “useful guide” playlist:

I’m going to soon be publishing a video on the NFT creation process, so subscribe to the channel and be alerted when it’s available.

If you have enjoyed this article then please share the link with others who you think would benefit from it.  If you found it too complicated then let me know!

 

Disclaimer: MoneyMagpie is not a licensed financial advisor and therefore information found here including opinions, commentary, suggestions or strategies are for informational, entertainment or educational purposes only. This should not be considered as financial advice. Anyone thinking of investing should conduct their own due diligence.

The post How to make money with an NFT (Non-Fungible Token) appeared first on MoneyMagpie.

Shiba Inu coin is vying with dogecoin to be the 10th biggest cryptocurrency

In this photo illustration, a cryptocurrency Shiba Token $SHIB logo is seen on a smartphone with a pc screen in the background.
Pavlo Gonchar/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

  • Shiba inu coin is eyeing a spot among the top 10 largest cryptocurrencies amid an epic rally.
  • CoinGecko data showed the meme-inspired coin overtook dogecoin in terms of market capitalization.
  • The meme coin has risen about 133% in the last 7 days, stoked by retail investors in the #SHIBarmy.

Shiba inu coin is vying with dogecoin for a spot in the list of top 10 cryptocurrencies as an army of retail traders take the token to new heights.

On Twitter, the hashtag #SHIBarmy trended as fans of the coin cheered it on as it narrowed the gap with dogecoin for the 10th largest cryptocurrency by market capitalization. #SHIBDELETEAZERO also trended on Twitter with about 9,000 tweets.

One user known as the “The Shiba Boy,” wrote: “We are 1 away from taking over!”

Not so long later, the coin did just that, according to one site’s measurements.

CoinGecko showed Shiba Inu moved into the ninth position – edging out dogecoin and USD coin – with an approximate $33 billion market cap. Data from CoinMarketCap, however, showed the coin was still about $6 billion away from the two aforementioned cryptocurrencies.

In the last seven days, shiba inu coin, named after the meme-famous breed of dog, has rallied 133%, according to CoinMarketCap data. Much of the rally came Wednesday alone as the cryptocurrency rose 38% to $0.0000657 at 1:11 p.m. in New York.

Investor enthusiasm also stemmed from a rallying cry from thousands of retail traders asking Robinhood to add shiba inu trading to its crypto platform.

An online petition has been signed by more than 340,000 people, according to change.org. Robinhood CEO Vlad Tenev, however, told investors on its third-quarter earnings call that it was satisfied with the current coins listed and was awaiting further regulatory clarity.

Read the original article on Business Insider