What is the metaverse?
The metaverse has become a catch-all term for the incoming shift in the way that people relate to technology and the world around them. Much of this relates to the shift from Web2, siloed centralized services run by corporations, to Web3, defined by Packy McCormick as “the internet owned by the builders and users, orchestrated with tokens.” However, ‘The Metaverse’ speaks to the future of human experience, a seamless transition of the self across multiple digital and physical spaces. Providing benefits of trustless interconnectivity and ownership, Distributed Ledger Technology (DLT) is the enabler of this experience.
What is the metaverse fund?
DLT is acting as the catalyst for the emergence of ‘metaversal’ experiences and these new digital and mixed reality experiences are creating entirely new virtual economies which require novel infrastructure. DLT is the core component of such infrastructure and it is the Hedera network that is best architected to meet the DLT demands of enterprise platforms and their complex economies.
If the metaverse is the next iteration of human experience then an unprecedented number of individuals will be onboarded into the applications and platforms that make up this realm.The THF Metaverse Fund was launched to bring consumers into the Hedera ecosystem at scale and accelerate the development of applications in high-growth target areas.
Gaming & Virtual Worlds
The Gaming industry was valued at $198.40 billion in 2021, boosted by the physical restrictions imposed on the global population by the Covid pandemic but year-on-year being propelled anyway by technological advancements, such as 5G and cloud gaming. With an estimated 3.1 billion gamers globally this is a significant market that is quickly being introduced to the benefits of their hard-earned digital goods having their value secured as NFTs.
THF aims to support game developers as they enter Web3 and introduce NFTs into their experiences. One key approach here is supportive ecosystems and product suites for building on the Hedera network. Partners like Venly exemplify this by providing developer tools, a market API, and a user-friendly wallet for quick deployment on Hedera. Expect to see more such partner ecosystems announced and working as BD partners for acquisition of Hedera projects.
Consumer Brands & Collectibles
When Nike announced the launch of a digital sneaker in Fortnite back in 2019 it was described by business analysts as a ‘genius move’. Brands have long acknowledged the power of the metaverse and pushed for their consumers to interact with them in all the spaces that they frequent. Moschino even launched, also in 2019, an in-game collection for the Sims to match their physical Sims-themed creations.
Businesses are keen to engage with tokens and the metaverse but are wary around deploying high value brand identities on untested networks. THF is working with industry partners who brands trust to hand-hold them into the Web3 space. Infinite by Suku is one project showcasing how brands can tie their physical goods to digital identities secured as NFTs. This delivers verifiable ownership, authenticity, scarcity, and provenance, but crucially also means that these physical goods can also be recognised in the metaverse. Expect to see THF announce luxury brands engaging with Hedera NFTs in both the physical realm and also the expanding world of digital fashion.
Social Platforms and Fan Engagement
Even more so than brands, and certainly earlier, it is artists and creators who have been embracing tokenised assets over the past year. Musicians have discovered additional sources of revenue for their output while projects such as Bored Ape Yacht Club (BAYC) have created entirely new billion dollar IPs.
Projects on Hedera such as TuneFM and Siki show the demand from musicians to engage more directly with their fans and take ownership of those valuable relationships, not having them locked across different siloed platforms. Taking ownership of one’s own brand as a creator is also now possible and Calaxy is leading the industry in development of a creator token solution with mass appeal. Expect to see more music, art, and creator platforms launch in partnership with THF, as well as the emergence of platforms reshaping how the sports industry can leverage tokens, pushing beyond the 2021 use cases of NBA Top Shot and Socios.
Ultimately, if 2021 was the year of ‘metaverse’ then 2022 is set to be the year of ‘enterprise metaverse’. This means the largest organizations and enterprises of Web2 moving at pace into virtual worlds, economies, and extended reality experiences. Tokens and NFTs will be everywhere and that proliferation will require robust supporting infrastructure and management that is informed by the architecture and depth of what has been built for Web2.
The Metaverse Fund recognises that such middleware is key to powering future virtual economies and that embedding Hedera’s technology best serves the growth goals of both enterprises and the Hedera network. THF partners such as MetaVRse show that enterprises want game engines that serve their needs and partners like Sayl are demonstrating that Customer Relationship Management (CRM) needs to become Owner Relationship Management (ORM) as consumers all start holding and owning tokens. Expect to see innovators who understand Web2 audiences, deploy that expertise with effect on Hedera.
The Metaverse Fund targets both B2C and B2B2C applications that will onboard users at scale into Web3 and de facto into the Hedera ecosystem. However, beyond that focus on growth of Hedera users and network TVL, there is a Fund focus on building an advanced and interesting metaverse, an ecosystem of supporting and complementing projects. This means the Fund also drives development of NFT markets and SI Partner expertise. Expect to see more emerging tech innovators such as Rev3al join the THF family and see us build the metaverse together.
About The HBAR Foundation
Founded in 2021, The HBAR Foundation fuels the development of the Hedera ecosystem by providing grants and other resources to developers, startups, and organizations that seek to launch decentralized applications in DeFi, NFTs, CBDCs, Sustainability, gaming, and other sectors. In addition to providing funding through a streamlined grant process, The HBAR Foundation acts as an integrated force multiplier through expert support across technical, marketing, business development, and other operational functions that are required to scale.
To apply for a grant from the foundation, please visit https://www.hbarfoundation.org/apply or follow the Foundation on Twitter @HBAR_foundation.