Interest in the world of NFTs is growing exponentially, especially when linked to the metaverse, which seems to have become the latest technological frontier after Facebook’s announcements months ago and Bill Gates’ recent ones.
Bill Gates: the metaverse the new frontier
According to the Microsoft founder, the metaverse may become the new frontier of digital communication.
“Within 2-3 years, most virtual meetings will move from 2D to 3D virtual space using digital avatars”.
This is what Bill Gates said in a recent interview.
Nike in the metaverse with its NFTs
Nike, the American sports shoe giant announced the acquisition of the virtual trainers and collectibles brand RTFKT. In this way, the American brand enters the realm of the metaverse and NFTs. Nike has also registered its historic comma trademark and the famous “Just do it” slogan for use in the NFT auction market.
John Donahoe, president and CEO of Nike, commented on the acquisition as an important first step towards Nike’s deeper digital transformation:
“Our plan is to invest in the RTFKT brand, serve and grow their innovative and creative community and extend Nike’s digital footprint and capabilities”.
German rival Adidas has in recent days announced partnerships with Non-Fungible Token (NFT) companies including Bored Ape Yacht Club, Gmoney NFT and Punks Comic.
Californian pop star Katy Perry, in partnership with Theta Network, will launch her first set of NFTs for her fans on 15 December, available on ThetaDrop.
Broadcaster Fox in October launched its first set of Non-Fungible Tokens (NFTs), linked to its popular celebrity singing show “The Masked Singer”. The company will also launch a marketplace and community where users can buy, sell or trade Masked Singer NFTs, which it will call The MaskVerse.
Gucci has included some unique pieces in its latest collection to be auctioned as NFTs, but fashion houses such as Dolce and Gabbana and Jimmy Choo have also created pieces to be sold as NFTs.
According to some estimates, NFT sales in the first nine months of 2021 reached $3 billion. Gemini recently announced it would invest $400 million in a project on the mateverse.
Sports and NFTs
The sports world was perhaps the first to use this tool to boost its business. The NFL and NBA, the American football and basketball associations, have long used NFTs to sell memorabilia of their athletes via auctions. Even the world of football in 2021 has jumped on board, with big clubs such as Juventus, Real Madrid, Barcelona, Paris Saint Germain, Bayern Munich, Inter Milan and Roma.
Sorare, the company that created a platform for fantasy football based on blockchain, which consists of buying and selling digital cards as NFTs, has already closed deals with 142 football clubs. A Cristiano Ronaldo sticker a few months ago was sold for over £200,000.
The risks of the metaverse
But all this interest in the metaverse and NFTs from the big tech giants and others could be “dangerous” in some ways, according to Sebastien Borget, the founder of Sandbox, a virtual space on the metaverse where users can earn SAND digital tokens by selling and buying plots of land on the platform virtually.
It is one of the top performers among cryptocurrencies of the year with a gain of over 14000%, and recently closed a $93 million funding round.
“We don’t think those companies can build something truly fun that’s catered to the users because they’ve been so focused on their key business model and how to satisfy shareholders rather than satisfy users who own the asset, who own the governance of their own platform”.
For Borget, it is absolutely vital to defend the decentralization of the metaverse from the incursion of technology giants who might want to “subjugate” to their centralized technology an open and uncontrolled world such as the virtual metaverse
“Our goal is to build an open metaverse that can stand against what we call competition that is the Web 2.0 metaverses”.