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The term “metaverse” seems to be everywhere — in the news, on social media and even at the dinner table. Although the technology is far from mainstream, it’s quickly garnering the attention of tech and crypto investors. As a result, metaverse coins present an untapped opportunity for 2022.
It also helps that one of the biggest tech companies globally, Meta, is betting on the metaverse, even going so far as to change its name from Facebook. The company reportedly spent $10 billion on its metaverse project last year, calling it the future of technology. Cryptocurrencies and blockchain will play a vital role in that journey.
So, how is metaverse linked with cryptocurrencies? What is metaverse exactly? Plus, what metaverse tokens should you be buying? Here’s a look at everything you need to know about the metaverse and the best coins to invest in.
The good news is that because metaverse projects are fairly new, coin prices are quite low — well under $1 in many cases, and less than 1 cent in some. This opens the investment opportunity for nearly anyone. At the same time, it doesn’t mean all projects are worth your money.
It’s ideal to buy those metaverse coins that have shown potential through performance, utility, powerful financial backing or all three.
Here are some promising metaverse cryptocurrency coins for 2022.
APE is what’s known as an ERC-20 token, which means it exists on the Ethereum blockchain. As a governance and utility token, it allows holders to participate in governing the Ape ecosystem and gives them access to games and other products and service available only to apecoin holders.
In the not-too-distant future, apecoin holders will be able to use their coins in Otherside, an upcoming metaverse game from Yuga Labs, which created the wildly popular Bored Apes Yacht Club non-fungible tokens. Yuba Labs recently raised about $320 million in a virtual land sale that allowed APE token holders to purchase parcels in Otherside, Fortune reported. Holders purchased 55,000 lots, or “Otherdeeds,” and 45,000 went to other individuals, such as Yuba Labs NFT owners and project developers. The sale created so much traffic on the Ethereum network that it drove up “gas fees” — the fee each user pays to conduct a transaction over Ethereum.
Apecoin was launched on March 17, at which time about 30% of the maximum supply of 1 billion coins was expected to be in circulation. Despite its position as a brand-new token, it already has a market cap of $2.435 billion, making it the largest metaverse coin by that measure.
The crypto metaverse project The Sandbox has shown impressive performance. The native token of the platform, SAND, was consistently on the rise during 2021 and finally crossed the $1 mark in the last quarter, continuing its upward trajectory. As of May 15, SAND is selling for $1.37.
With a VR aspect, this project is realizing the vision of metaverse. The Sandbox is essentially a game, and it has the backing of gaming brands like Atari. HSBC recently purchased virtual real estate in its metaverse. But it’s heavily based on the creation and trade of NFTs. Players can create NFTs using the SAND metaverse tokens.
Like countless other cryptocurrency projects, this one is based on Ethereum.
Another promising factor is that it has a limited coin supply of 3 billion tokens, of which 1.23 billion are in use. Its market cap stands at $4.1 billion as of May 15.
In terms of popularity, Decentraland is one crypto metaverse project that has frequently been in the news. This was partly because of the NFT craze, which also led to significant gains for the platform’s native tokens, MANA.
Many NFT owners started using the platform to show off their NFTs. But NFTs aren’t the only thing on this metaverse platform. As its main feature, you can also buy virtual land and create virtual games and other digital assets –– hence the name.
Sotheby’s, the broker of luxury goods and art, bought a plot of land in Decentraland and used it to create a replica of its London offices. This goes to show that even big companies are eyeing metaverse projects.
Created in 2017, Decentraland is one of the older projects that has taken time to get recognition. Although MANA’s performance hasn’t been something to write home about, its market cap impressively stands at $2.28 billion as of May, making it the second-largest metaverse token by market cap. Like many, if not most, cryptocurrencies, MANA is down significantly since the beginning of the year, but it’s up over 8% compared to a year ago.
Highstreet is an interesting metaverse project with virtual reality support that has potential, at least in terms of metaverse applications. For one, you can shop for things inside this virtual universe using the currency HIGH. Some Shopify stores are already integrated into the platform. It also features gaming and has NFTs on its radar as well, so it seems to be up to date with tech and crypto trends. What’s more, HIGH is now available on Coinbase.
From a real-world — or in this case, meta world — point of view, this project already accomplishes what the metaverse technology promises. If you’re an investor who sees practicality as a measure, this might be a good option.
The project is backed by the tech company HTC and, in August 2021, raised $5 million. Its market cap as of May 2022 is over $24.68 million.
Yes, Floki Inu is yet another dog-meme-based cryptocurrency, but it’s in the running for viable metaverse crypto — especially for those looking for any undervalued cryptocurrencies. The currency is named after Elon Musk’s dog, which is a Shiba Inu — also the name of another crypto project.
The project’s website says that it aims to combine memes with real-world use cases. It also says that it will launch a game and an NFT marketplace as well as a content and education platform. This is a project that is still in the making, but that hasn’t stopped people from buying the FLOKI tokens.
Floki Inu has a market cap of $74.14 million and is selling for $0.0000008165 as of May 15.
Metahero is a new metaverse project that revolves around creating HD avatars of real-world objects and people using 3D scanning. The company has even installed a scanning chamber in Doha that scans objects and creates their digital, 3D form for the Metahero universe.
Metahero has partnered with Wolf Studio for this purpose. The cryptocurrency HERO, its native token, has a market cap of $84.8 million as of May 2022. Although that’s comparatively smaller than other tokens on this list, that’s because the project is very new.
Metahero’s YTD performance is at -87%, which is not out of line compared to other alt-cryptocurrencies. Its new listing on the Bybit exchange could give it a boost.
Terra Virtua Kolect is a project that goes back to 2017, when NFTs weren’t even in existence. However, now it’s a virtual environment that’s all about NFTs. You can create, sell and buy NFTs from other members using the native token TVK.
Since this project is banking on NFTs, it has massive potential given the surge in NFT investment. The platform is compatible with web, PC and augmented reality/VR environments, according to CoinMarketCap.
The TVK market cap as of now stands at over $28.87 million, while the YTD performance is -80%. However, new partnerships, such as a recent one with NFT game Kawaii Islands, could increase its user base enough to make it viable in the long term.
Star Atlas is a metaverse project based on a game offering stunning graphics. The game shows the future — the year 2620 to be exact — where players can conquer land and collect resources in a highly futuristic setting.
The game, which is still in development, also involves a metaverse token, ATLAS, which will be earned by playing the game. Think of it as an average reward-based game where you earn coins as you play and accomplish things. But in this case, the rewards have the potential to make gains.
The game is based on Solana, which gives it the advantage of low transaction fees as compared with Ethereum-based projects. Its market cap is over $20 million, and the coin trades for $0.009347.
You’ll see a lot of metaverse coins in games, and Enjin is no exception. It’s a metaverse-style gaming environment where you can “mint” the local token, ENJ, which you can then use to buy assets that will help you progress in the game.
Everything in the game, from medicine to feature enhancement of your character, can be paid for with ENJ. So it’s also like a marketplace.
Enjin is also based on the Ethereum blockchain and has over $648 million worth of market cap. Despite the volatility of the last several months, ENJ is up about 4077% since it was introduced in 2017. And it appears to be poised for growth. Enjin recently launched the first-ever NFT parachain on Polkadot, making available over 100 games and apps.
Epik Prime is a metaverse project that has become all about NFTs. The cryptocurrency EPIK is available on PancakeSwap, Hotcoin Global, KuCoin and Huobi Global. Epik licenses NFT collectibles and experiences to companies like Warner Music and Universal, according to CoinMarketCap, suggesting it’s likely to bounce back after the slump of the last few months.
EPIK was released just a year ago and has a market cap of $7.23 million. That’s the smallest by far of the coins on this list, but use cases from major companies make it worth considering. Of the maximum supply of 2 billion coins, over 349 million, or 17%, are in circulation.
Metaverse is the technology behind a virtual universe where people can shop, game, buy and trade currencies and objects, and more. Think of it as a combination of augmented reality, virtual reality, social media, gaming and cryptocurrencies.
In the metaverse, cryptocurrencies will serve as money. This is based on the blockchain concept. This naturally is where the terms “metaverse coins,” “metaverse tokens” and “metaverse crypto” arise from. Every metaverse project has tokens that are used for transactions within that particular environment.
Numerous metaverse projects are already in motion, and their tokens are available for purchase, with some even listed on certain coin exchanges. Both crypto investors and enthusiasts are eyeing these projects as they show potential.
According to Macro, a research firm based in the U.K., metaverse coins gains topped those of Bitcoin — with a whopping 37,000% increase — in 2021. Meanwhile, Bitcoin, the biggest cryptocurrency by market value, made gains of 100%.
Metaverse projects range from virtual games to non-fungible token marketplaces, each proposing a unique concept and even some real-world applications.
Metaverse projects are appearing right and left, but some show real potential and stand above the crowd. The metaverse concept is deeply rooted in blockchain and cryptocurrency, which is why it can be a good idea to invest in some of these projects. Plus, the NFT buzz only seems to be increasing.
However, as with any other investment, don’t bet all your money on just one kind of metaverse coin, and don’t invest money you can’t afford to lose. It’s best to diversify, and more importantly, buy coins you think have potential.
Daria Uhlig contributed to the reporting for this article.
Data is accurate as of May 15, 2022, and subject to change.
The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Nasdaq, Inc.
Authentic Artists says the funding round will help accelerate the development of its AI-driven metaverse music platform. The web3 company is also looking to build its WarpSound music brand and onboarding market-making partners like Warner Music and Crush Ventures.
“We love revolutionary brands, and WarpSound is one of them,” says RTFKT Co-Founder Steven Vasilev. “My Co-Founders and I are excited to join the Authentic Artists team on their journey as they create the sound of the metaverse and ignite new music culture.”
“WMG is focused on harnessing the tools, technologies, and protocols that collectively make up web3 to consistently unlock new opportunities for our artists, songwriters, and fans to create and consume together,” adds Warner Music Group’s Chief Digital Officer, Oana Ruxandra. “This partnership sees us leaning in with the ambitious team at Authentic Artists as they build out unique communities at the intersection of music and technology.”
WarpSound features music ambassadors like virtual artists Nayomi, DJ Dragoon, Gnar Heart, and GLiTCH. The WVRPS by WarpSound is the #1 music NFT collection on OpenSea and offers 9,999 unique, visual trait-driven musical voices enabled by Authentic’s generative music technology.
“Music is Authentic’s lifeblood, and we’re using new creative tools to awaken a deeper connection with music and each other,” says Authentic Artists CEO Chris McGarry. “We’re grateful to have the support of some of the most transformative brands and leaders in music and digital culture as we build the defining metaverse music platform.”
Meta Chief Mark Zuckerberg revealed in an interview this week that he hopes “around a billion people” will soon be active in the metaverse.
Despite the pandemic spurring an enthusiastic uptake of video conferencing services such as Zoom, and other technologies that create virtual spaces, not everyone is as enthused by metaverse developments.
Meta will continue to innovate in this area, however, and if the rise of Facebook and social media is anything to go by, it might not be long before we’re spending as much time in digital spaces as we are in physical ones.
Speaking to CNBC on Tuesday, Zuckerberg – who is currently the 15th richest person in the world – said that, in the second half of this decade, the metaverse could be a “considerable” part of the company’s business.
“We hope to basically get to around a billion people in the metaverse doing hundreds of dollars of commerce, each buying digital goods, digital content, different things to express themselves,” Mark Zuckerberg, Meta CEO
Zuckerberg explained that he wants people to spending on “clothing for their avatar or different digital goods for their virtual home or things to decorate their virtual conference room” or even “utilities to be able to be more productive in virtual and augmented reality, and across the metaverse overall.”
This sort of progression away from the relics of Web 2.0 and social media sites – of which Zuckerberg’s first, Facebook, is in sequential decline for the first time in its history – has been a long time coming.
For instance, Meta (which was then Facebook) paid $2 billion for Oculus VR in 2014 – but it didn’t quite take off as planned.
In 2018, however, Oculus executive Jason Rubin sent a 50-page document to the company board claiming that the metaverse was “ours to lose” in the next 10 years. Since then, serious time and money have been plowed into to making the idea come to life.
Other companies are taking it seriously too – Microsoft, Epic Games, Meta, and 33 other companies have formed a group for the metaverse, which will consist of “action-based projects” that support common standards.
The debate over whether there truly will be anything near to one billion people in the metaverse in the near future evokes fierce disagreement – and there’s evidence either way.
On the one hand, phenomena like the purchase of virtual land – by both real estate investors, celebrities, and ordinary people – illustrates that digital spaces can be valued in ways that someone a decade ago would never have been able to predict.
Plus, we many people do already spend a lot of time in interactive ‘digital spaces’. We play video games, we surf social media and we video call each other. They aren’t quite as immersive as the metaverse, but would it really be that big of a leap?
Others aren’t so convinced by the hype. “I don’t know if I necessarily buy into this Metaverse stuff, although people talk to me a lot about it” Elon Musk quipped last year, adding that he does not see a future where people want to stay put in the virtual realm.
Recent studies of people working in VR environments have seen test subjects drop out due to nausea and anxiety. Physical side effects such as dry eyes, dizziness, tiredness, stiff necks, facial swelling, and skin issues were also recorded in participants, but this was largely put down to the bulky equipment, which still remains an obstacle to widespread participation.
Video conferencing apps like Zoom and Microsoft Teams, however, have started to incorporate metaverse-like features into their services with more immersive rooms. Microsoft Mesh for Teams for example, allows you to “Connect and collaborate with a feeling of presence through personalized avatars and immersive spaces”, as Microsoft describes it.
Will there be a day when everyone receives a VR headset in the mail, and suddenly, our whole society goes digital? It’s unlikely. Will we start to see more and more applications, software, games, and general life experiences that have “immersive” elements, taking us, for a time, inside the “metaverse”? It certainly looks that way. And if that’s the case now, who knows where we’ll be by 2030.
The marketing news cycle this year has been inundated with announcements from brands around their plans for the metaverse, the nascent idea of a channel that can blend real and virtual worlds seamlessly together. Activations have spanned packaged goods, quick-service restaurants, retail and fashion verticals and made platforms like Decentraland, The Sandbox, Meta’s Horizon Worlds, Fortnite and Roblox into household names (for marketers, at least).
Despite the flurry of activity, many brands have struggled to differentiate their metaverse activations, some of which seem like slapdash efforts thrown together to avoid missing the bandwagon. Still, well-executed plays represent an opportunity for brands to experiment with how they will be able to meet consumer needs in the future, whether it be through ties to real-world rewards, hybrid events or diversity and inclusion initiatives. Nearly six in 10 (59%) consumers are excited about transitioning everyday activities, like shopping and attending events, to the metaverse, with a similar number of metaverse-aware companies (57%) already adopting the concept, according to a new report by McKinsey & Company.
The metaverse is expected to be worth $5 trillion by 2030, per the McKinsey report — despite the fact that it doesn’t really exist yet. That expansion will support growth in e-commerce ($2.6 trillion), advertising ($206 billion) and gaming ($125 billion).
“The metaverse is about creating worlds and experiences that you want to go to, that you’re drawn to,” said Ginny Ziegler, Accenture’s chief marketing officer in North America. “It’s not going to be about better headsets, more realistic visual renderings, faster network speeds, more intelligent engines or the next TikTok or Fortnite… What’s really going to make the metaverse real is the adoption of the experiences that it enables and the propositions that it brings to life.”
Even in this nascent stage, the development of metaverse brand activities are shadowed by the market corrections and crashes impacting related areas including cryptocurrency and nonfungible tokens. As with any experimental marketing spend, metaverse activations will face questions over their degree of risk, budget allocation and outcomes. But that doesn’t mean that crashes elsewhere should impede experiments in the metaverse.
“If you’re aligned to the opportunity cost of what you’re going to put into the world, and if you’re actually creating opportunity for the community that you’re there to support, it’s probably a good bet,” said Hall Carlough, vice president and head of creative strategy at Web3 marketing agency Invisible North.
Below, Marketing Dive has gathered some of the most significant brand activations in the metaverse that point to how the space could evolve and meet industry expectations going forward.
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