Meta's infamous legs, rumbles about royalties, and more SEC scrutiny (Issue #43)
We don't need legs where we're going... but we want them.
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In this week’s edition:
Emperor Zuck’s empire’s infamous legs announcement 🦿
Solana darling DeGods kills royalties 💸
Yuga faces fresh SEC scrutiny 🔍
A word (about Google Cloud) from our frens at Web3 Daily 🤝
CNN’s vault is closed forever 🔒
Right, let’s get straight into it!
On Tuesday, Meta, the company which owns Facebook, Instagram, and WhatsApp, but desperately wants you to think of it as the master of the emergent metaverse instead, announced it’s finally giving the avatars in its Horizon Worlds platform legs. That was the tweet. Literally.
It may seem like a pedestrian update, but Meta swears it’s been a major technical challenge, and we’re frankly a little sad we won’t be able to mock it about its legless avatars anymore… but all good things. Plus, you can be sure there’ll be another awkward misstep from the social media network turned would-be metaverse mavens. After all, this is the same company responsible for the Cambridge Analytica scandal, making teenage girls suicidal, and destroying the possibility of civil bipartisan discourse.
But back to the news at hand — or at feet, because that’s right, avatars are getting feet, too… phew! You’ll soon be able to use Meta’s new, leggy avatars in Zoom, and the company is opening up the software development kit (SDK) for Android and iOS too, so mobile app developers can integrate them into their wares. Microsoft is onboard, too, and is adding support for Teams, Windows, and even Xbox Cloud gaming to Meta’s hardware.
Speaking of hardware, there are some updates there, too. First, there’s the new aimed-at-enterprise $1,499 (~1.15 ETH) Meta Quest Pro VR headset that launches on October 25. Then there’s the new fitness-focused accessory pack for the existing $399 Meta Quest 2 headset.
Say what you like about Meta’s metaverse efforts (no, really, we’d love to hear it), but at least it’s remaining committed to the bit. It’s rebranded, sunk billions into developing its metaverse-focused software and hardware, and endured plenty of abuse and derision along the way. But that’s also the price you pay for trying to control web3, something many advocates believe is poised to right the wrongs of web2… many of which Facebook justifiably gets blamed for.
Still, the most interesting part of Meta’s news for us came in its update about the Meta Avatar Store, which launches later this year. The company’s previously said it plans to take a 50% cut on every transaction, which is outrageous and heinous, but in this week’s news blast, it said it’s hoping the store “will kickstart a marketplace for interoperable digital goods — meaning if you buy a sweater, you can wear it on your avatar no matter what app you’re using.”
Interoperability is a core tenet of the open metaverse. Meta letting goods purchased on its platform move elsewhere is a good start, but the real win will be when items purchased elsewhere — free of Meta’s oversight or rent-seeking — can be used in its Horizon Worlds metaverse.
We’re not going to hold our breath. But we are going to remain cautiously optimistic. Because we’re always optimistic about this space. And we’re confident there are going to be so many compelling metaverses that, to remain relevant, Meta will have to embrace interoperability or risk becoming irrelevant.
👨👩👧👦 “Family Discord,” LOL, as if 🎄
Drop alert 🚨
On Sunday, October 16, Nifty Gateway, in partnership with Saucebook, presents “City Visions,” a project where three new artists — Ali Abbas Khan, Priyanshu Singh, and UnchainedArt — have been invited to share their visions of the future. The collection includes limited editions and pricing starts at $25.
Next Wednesday (October 19), creative studio Aranda\Lasch will host its latest drop on Art Blocks. Entitled “Primitives,” the collection of 400 editions feature a three-dimensional figure that can be perceived in two dimensions. Like cubism… but make it generative. The auction starts at 4 ETH (~$7,000) and will exponentially decrease until a resting price of 0.25 ETH (~$440) is reached.
Probably nothing 🤔
DeGods is killing royalties 🔪
DeGods, the runaway success NFT collection of the Solana ecosystem, and the group behind t00bs and y00ts, announced this week it’s getting rid of royalties on all of the projects it oversees, but added that it believes royalties still have a role to play in the NFT space:
“We still believe that royalties are an incredible use case of NFTs. We will continue to support creators that want to find solutions to enforce royalties. We believe this is the best decision for our business at this time. It's about time we take a new approach.”
We’d’ve expected collectors would be pleased with the news, but the response was muted, with prices remaining largely unchanged following the announcement.
There’s an argument to be made that royalties entice and attract traders looking to make a quick buck. Meanwhile, removing royalties from collectibles rewards those with long-term conviction in a project… and forces project owners to find investors or other ways to generate revenue rather than relying on royalties alone.
Whatever the motivation, we’re sure this won’t be the last zero-royalties move from a big-name collection. Or the last headline-grabbing play from the DeGods team.
BAYC vs. SEC x Sandbox 🥊
It’s been a big week for the Bored Ape Yacht Club, with some of the news positive and some of it… less so.
Let’s start with the bad news. Yuga Labs, the company behind the project, is being investigated by the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), which is trying to work out whether its NFTs or $APE token count token constitute “securities.”
How this plays out could have massive ramifications for the rest of the NFT market. But we feel confident Yuga has done its due diligence. If it hasn’t, we’re equally confident it can use some of its enormous war chest to hire the sorts of lawyers who will bog the SEC down in litigation for a decade or two.
On the upside (or Otherside, if you will), Yuga also announced a new game with The Sandbox, BAYC: Miami 2035, this week.
Yuga has its own game in the works, but as is as often the case, the more partnerships, the better. Tethering multiple recognizable brands together can create a rising tide that lifts all ships.
👻 Stranger things 🙃
Looks rare 🖼
At Metaversal, we don’t only invest in iconic NFTs, we also use our capital to support builders shaping web3.
One of our portfolio companies Graceful.io has created a programmable, digital vault to elegantly gift and pass down memories, messages, and digital assets. Think of it like a trust, built for the digital age… that comes with a beautiful, aircraft-grade aluminum cube to boot.
Each vault comes with $200 in Bitcoin, a physical cube that’s designed to last a lifetime, and the ability to add video messages and timers to it.
So, for instance, you could use Graceful to create a vault for someone the day they graduate college that only unlocks five years later. Thanks to AR integration and an app, you can also attach a video message for when you first gift it and another for when it unlocks.
One of the co-founders, Greg Rogers, tells us, “Our product uses augmented reality to create a bridge from the physical world to our digital vaults. It’s a practical application of the metaverse theme in a consumer financial product. I think that's pretty unique.” As do we, Greg.
Graceful’s first edition vault goes on sale November 28 for $299.
NYC has never looked so clean 🗽
📣 A snippet from our frens at Web3 Daily newsletter 🗣
Here's something we learned by throwing parties back in high school:
If you want to throw a rager, the easiest way to do so is by locking in the cool kids first. Once they're in, everyone else tends to follow.
(Oh, and hide your replica lightsabers — we learned that the hard way).
Coinbase are taking a similar approach by locking in one of the biggest names in the tech industry, Google.
Google Cloud will soon start accepting crypto payments from a selection of customers, via an integration with Coinbase Commerce.
It's a small gesture, given Google's size, but one that sends a clear message to the rest of the industry:
If Google is adopting it, it must be legit.
And it seems Coinbase knows this - they agreed to move all of their data-related applications off Amazon Web Services (sorry, Jeff n' Andy) and over to Google Cloud, in order to lock the deal in.
(What's good for crypto, is good for Coinbase).
Web3 Daily is a free newsletter where you can find the most important and interesting web3 and crypto news, without all of the jargon.
Head to web3daily.co to sign up, and get the day’s web3 news straight in your inbox.
🙊 Wait ‘til they learn it’s spelled “artifact” 🤭
CNN’s vault is closed forever 🔒
News outlet CNN is shutting down “Vault by CNN,” its self-described “first foray into web3” that saw it tokenize key events from its 40+ year history as NFTs.
The items were minted on the Flow blockchain, and the implication from CNN was that this was a long-term project. Now, however, it says it was intended to be a “6-week experiment,” and less than four months after launch, CNN’s pulling the
With many collectors in the 1,400-member Discord crying foul, CNN has since said it intends to reimburse holders 20% of the original mint price… but for those who purchased the NFTs on the secondary market, that could amount to very little, given some items in the collection minted for as little as $10. In other words, rather than serving as an example of big businesses embracing web3 and using it to connect with and reward their customers, CNN’s foray instead serves as a warning. Sigh.
🙌 The (g)nome knows ✅
Bag boosters 💸
The week that was (Oct 6-13, 2022) 🗓
This week, it’s an almost all-ETH affair once again, with the one notable exception coming from the no-royalties-for-us-thank-you-ma’am DeGods. Newcomers to the rankings include StreetMachine and Genuine Undead, and the biggest climb comes from Clone X, no doubt thanks to last week’s intriguing (and Koda-guest-starring) teaser video.
Goats only 🐐
Whether you think NFTs are securities, lottery tickets with (sometimes) pretty pictures attached to them, or harder to categorize, you should be watching or listening to Goats and the Metaverse.
This week, they unpack free-to-own NFT project DigiDaigaku Genesis and latest announcements from BAYC and RTFKT:
Aside from providing unique insights into digital art and collectibles, Stan and Yossi have also put together a collection of NFTs dubbed “The Goat Vault,” purchased with their own cold, hard, Benjamins. When the show hits 5,000 subscribers on YouTube, one of those lucky subscribers will win the contents of the vault, which at last count is valued at more than 9.1 ETH (~$14,400)!
Follow for more 🐦
Congrats on making it all the way down here, fren! And to think your parents said you never finished anything you started?!
Until next time, see you in the Metaverse.