7 min read

NFT Innovation Digest #49

Invesco’s $30M Metaverse Fund / BAYC x M&Ms / Neopets enter Web3 / Metaverse Art Week in Decentraland
NFT Innovation Digest #49

Cover: Moment by Kax

Most innovative (author's pick)

Image: The Defiant

In a positive move for the open Metaverse (meaning that digital identities and assets will be easily transferrable between different Metaverses), multi-world-compatible avatar company Ready Player Me has raised $56M in a Series B funding round led by a16z. They will now focus on improving avatars' graphics, creation tools, and interoperability.

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  • Users can already easily create a personalised avatar by uploading a selfie on RPM's website.
  • In a statement on behalf of a16z, Jonathan Lai wrote "Today, the largest games and virtual worlds are closed economies that are not interoperable with one another... Rather than hold players inside walled gardens, the virtual worlds that comprise the open Metaverse will empower players to own their identity and take their digital assets wherever they go. These open economies will be larger and more durable."
  • Other investors include Roblox co-founder David Baszucki, Twitch co-founder Justin Kan, Kevin Hart’s Heartbeat Ventures and Punk6529.

Most discussed

Image: NFT Gators

BAYC teams up with M&Ms! Universal Music Group's virtual band, KINGSHIP, which consists of three Bored Apes and one Mutant Ape, has released a tour rider that includes custom, collectible M&Ms. Limited edition physical M&Ms featuring the apes have been created, with early access for holders of KINGSHIP NFTs.

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  • According to official statements, the collaboration references M&Ms' place in rock and roll history. Apparently David Lee Roth of Van Halen would request packets of M&Ms with the brown ones removed, and then trash the backstage area if the request hadn't been met!

Image: The Crypto Times

Neopets, a popular web-based game launched in 1999, where users own virtual pets in the world of Neopia, has announced a move into Web3 with a collection of customisable Neopets NFTs and a new 3D play-to-earn game based on the original. Long-term, they plan to evolve the community into a Decentralized Autonomous Organization (DAO).

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  • While some have welcomed the continued 'Noughties Nostalgia', others have labelled it a cash-grab. In a brutal review, Input Magazine concluded that the 'Neopets Metaverse showcases web3's most unnecessary tendencies'.

Mainstream adoption

Next week at MTV's VMA Awards, Snoop Dogg and Eminem will perform their recent collaboration 'From the D to the LBC', for which the music video was based around their Bored Apes, on a stage transformed by the Otherside Metaverse.

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  • The Otherside Metaverse is still in development and does not have a set release date, although certain partners have been granted access to its 'Phase 1'.

Frida Kahlo's Red House. Image: ezel.life

Metaverse Art Week 2022 is currently taking place in Decentraland, with major players from across the NFT and IRL art world getting involved, from OpenSea to Artnet and Sotheby's. Highlights include a new permanent installation of Mexican artist Frida Kahlo's work, sponsored by her family. 3D sculptures and videos are also on display from Nick Knight, Nicola Formichetti and Krista Kim. Check out the full event schedule here.

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  • This year's Art Week is curated by David Cash with the theme 'The World is Made of Code'.
  • According to Cash, “At this point in metaverse history, artists and curators are constantly battling between fidelity and how many users can experience a virtual space simultaneously. During the third edition of Art Week, we have the chance to witness the best of both worlds, presenting several artworks at a massive scale at their full resolutions. I’m excited to see how this experimental yet new realm of technical possibilities will inspire artists to create works beyond their wildest dreams.”

Jonathan Simkhai and Kim Shui's NFT keys. Image: Afterpay

NFTs will be prominent at New York Fashion Week in September, with five designers releasing NFT toys that unlock exclusive access to IRL experiences such as after-party invitations or limited-edition clothing. On why this matters, project advisor Jenny Wang told Vogue Business that “Fashion week has always been a walled garden that is difficult to access, and Web3 can be a democratising force.”

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  • The designers participating are Altuzarra, Jonathan Simkhai, Kim Shui, AnOnlyChild and The Blonds.
  • The NFTs will be on sale for $100 and there are 50 NFTs available per designer.

New products and ideas

Image: Bitcoin.com

There's a new fund in town: The $30M Invesco Metaverse Fund, which will invest in large, medium and small-cap companies across what Invesco (one of the largest global asset management firms) is calling the Metaverse Value Chain. Commenting on the motivation behind the investment, fund manager Tony Roberts stated that the Metaverse's interconnectivity “will likely have a transformative impact across industries as diverse as healthcare, logistics, education and sport.”

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  • The fund will invest in key areas such as hardware and devices that enable Metaverse access, as well as operating systems and connectivity networks.
  • Invesco launched a blockchain-related exchange-traded fund (ETF) in March 2019 and in November 2021, it partnered with crypto indices provider CoinShares to create its first European exchange-traded product (ETP) backed by Bitcoin.

Another new NFT Finance product launched this week: Hook. Focused on call options, Hook essentially enables users to bet on the price of an NFT rising and to benefit from successful predictions, without needing to invest in a full purchase of that NFT.

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  • So far, only 2 collections are available - CryptoPunks and Good Minds.
  • Hook's founder Jake Nyquist explained his vision further in a blog post from July 2022 titled Why Call Options Make Sense for NFTs. One of the arguments he made was stability, claiming that with fewer NFTs in circulation (while locked in the Hook vault, for example), there would be less impetus to undercut collections' floor prices.

Image: Jadu

This week, augmented reality gaming platform Jadu unveiled AVAs: robot avatars designed by Michael Bay, the director of high-profile films such as Transformers and a long-time robot enthusiast.

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  • Jadu aims to develop 'Web3 and AR's premier Robot IP' and stated that these AVAs are the first avatars built natively for AR.

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New podcasts and shows

  • Podcast 1: In this episode of the Full Send podcast, the Bored Ape Yacht Club creators discuss their building plans and thoughts on the bear market;
  • Podcast 2: In this episode of the Defiant Podcast, Jake Chervinsky (Head of Policy at the Blockchain Association) shares his thoughts on the Tornado Cash sanctions and the need for more decentralisation in DeFi.

Save the date

  • 17 - 18 September 2022: NFT Show Europe takes place in Valencia, Spain
  • 3-4 November 2022: NFT.LONDON (brought to you by NFT.NYC) takes place in London, UK

NFT space in numbers

The values below are from 20 - 26 August. Source: DappRadar.

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