North America’s Largest Bitcoin Miner Goes Public With a SPAC Merger (Report)

Investors of Core Scientific Inc. (a leading US bitcoin mining company) have reportedly approved a plan to get listed on Nasdaq. The firm started trading under the symbol CORZ.

Nasdaq’s Newest Member

According to a recent report by Bloomberg, the blockchain infrastructure provider – Core Scientific Inc. – will proceed through an estimated $4.3 billion merger with the special-purpose acquisition company Power & Digital Infrastructure Acquisition Corp. (ticker XPDI).

The latter’s price shares have been on a downtrend after peaking to an all-time high of nearly $15 in November 2021. Since then, it has lost approximately 32% of its valuation.

Speaking on the partnership was Mike Levitt – Co-Founder and CEO of Core Scientific Inc.:

“We’ve worked hard to lay the groundwork that will enable us to achieve our 2022 projections. Our objective is to be the best. Being the best means doing all that we can for our business, the industry in which we participate, and for the bitcoin network.”

The Texas-based company assured it is the largest in the USA in terms of processing power as its combined mining capacity of 6.6 exahash at the end of last year significantly surpassed its rivals. In comparison, Marathon Digital Holdings had a 3.5 exahash in December 2021, while Riot Blockchain was third with 3.1 exahash.


It is also worth noting that Core Scientific mines for itself and provides Internet hosting services for other large-scale miners. Currently, the entity has a stockpile of nearly 5,300 BTC.

How Are The Rivals Doing?

A month ago, the American bitcoin miner – TerraWulf – raised $200 million in debt and equity financing from a group of individual and institutional investors to expand its mining capacity. Furthermore, the firm revealed plans to become a Nasdaq-listed public company through a business combination with IKONICS Corporation (IKNX).

In turn, Marathon Digital, which is already a publicly-traded entity, spent almost $900 million to acquire 78,000 Antminer S-19 XP Miners from the Chinese manufacturer – Bitmain. The organization will receive the machinery in the second half of 2022.

Riot Blockchain was also active in the space. In December last year, it purchased the electrical equipment provider – Ferrie Franzmann Industries (known as ESS Metron) for $50 million. As a result, the latter started providing a steady infrastructure supply for Riot’s new mining machines.


Binance Free $100 (Exclusive): Use this link to register and receive $100 free and 10% off fees on Binance Futures first month (terms).

PrimeXBT Special Offer: Use this link to register & enter POTATO50 code to get 25% off trading fees.

You Might Also Like:


Tagged : / / / / / / / / / / /

After The Huge Bitcoin, Ethereum And Crypto Price Crash, These Coins Are Suddenly Soaring

Bitcoin and cryptocurrencies have crashed this week, with around $1.5 trillion wiped from the combined cryptocurrency market price since November.

Subscribe now to Forbes’ CryptoAsset & Blockchain Advisor and discover hot new NFT and crypto blockbusters poised for 1,000% gains

The bitcoin price has dropped under $35,000 per bitcoin this week with ethereum and other major cryptocurrencies also falling sharply. The ethereum price has crashed to around $2,400, down from almost $5,000 late last year—with JPMorgan issuing a serious ethereum price warning.

Now, as bitcoin, ethereum and some other top ten cryptocurrencies continue to struggle, ethereum rivals BNB and solana, Ripple’s XRP, stablecoin network Terra’s luna and the meme-based dogecoin and shiba inu have rallied, each adding between 2% and 7% over the last 24 hours.

Sign up now for the free CryptoCodex—A daily newsletter for the crypto-curious. Helping you understand the world of bitcoin and crypto, every weekday

MORE FROM FORBESCrypto Price Prediction: ‘Valuation Models’ Reveal Bitcoin 2022 Target


The major crypto market is being led higher by Terra’s luna, up 5% on this time yesterday. Luna is one of the best performing cryptocurrencies over the last year, adding a staggering 7,500% to its price since January 2021.

Meanwhile, dogecoin, a bitcoin rival backed by Tesla’s Elon Musk, has added almost 4% and climbed back into the crypto top ten, as measured by price data site CoinMarketCap. Shiba inu, a doge-based rival memecoin, has also jumped since this week’s crypto crash, adding over 7%. Further down the crypto market charts,’s cro and Cosmos’ atom have both added around 8%.

Despite the steep crypto price slide this week, many crypto market watchers think the bitcoin price may have now bottomed.

“We expect BTC to find a bid around the 35K mark, close to 50% from the top. In the short term,” Pankaj Balani, the chief executive of Delta Exchange, said in emailed comments. “We can bounce to challenge the $45,000-$50,000 zone but the overall outlook remains bearish as liquidity remains tight.”

This week’s crypto price crash came as global stock markets fell sharply, with the tech-heavy Nasdaq falling into correction territory as investors face up to the reality of a more hawkish Federal Reserve.

CryptoCodex—A free, daily newsletter for the crypto-curious

MORE FROM FORBES‘Astonishing’-An Investment Giant Just Advised Countries And Central Banks To Buy Bitcoin While The Price Is Low

“As more investors, institutional or retail, adopt cryptocurrencies, the more the crypto market correlates with the traditional market,” Konstantin Boyko-Romanovsky, the chief executive of crypto platform Allnodes, said via email, adding the crypto market’s “correlation with the stock market should give investors confidence that blockchain technology will only develop further, and its mass adoption is underway.”

Bitcoin, ethereum and other cryptocurrencies are braced along with stock markets for the Federal Reserve’s January meeting, scheduled for Tuesday and Wednesday this week. Fed chair Jerome Powell will give a press conference on Wednesday afternoon after the policymaking Federal Open Market Committee releases its statement.

Investors are closely watching for clues on how much the Fed will raise interest rates this year and when it will start with economists expecting a quarter-percentage-point March rate hike.


Tagged : / / / / / /

Most Cardano (ADA), Shiba Inu (SHIB) and Polygon (MATIC) Holders Now Underwater Amid Deep Pullback: IntotheBlock

New data shows that the majority of Cardano (ADA), Shiba Inu (SHIB) and Polygon (MATIC) holders are now nursing losses as the crypto markets continue to sell-off. 

Crypto insights firm IntoTheBlock looks at wallets with a Cardano balance, identifies the average purchase amount of the coins and compares the figure to the current price of ADA to determine which holders are currently underwater.

A holder is underwater or “out of the money” if the average purchase amount is greater than the current price. On the other hand, an investor is listed as “in the money” or in profits if the average cost is less than that current price.

IntoTheBlock shows that most Cardano holders are now underwater. Among those who invested in ADA, 81% are “out of the money,” while only 12% are “in the money” and 8% are “at the money” or breakeven.  

Using the same process, IntoTheBlock reveals that 51% of Polygon investors are in the red, while 37% are in profit and 12% are breakeven. 

Meanwhile, of those who bought Shiba Inu (SHIB), 50% are losing money, 39% are in profit and 11% are breakeven. 

The crypto intelligence firm also shows that among those who invested in Dogecoin, 44% are holding on to losing positions, 52% are in profits and 5% are breakeven.

Looking at Bitcoin and Ethereum, IntoTheBlock shows that majority of BTC and ETH investors are still in the green despite the downturn. With Bitcoin losing about half of its value in two months, 58% of investors are still holding on to gains. As for ETH 61% of its holders are “in the money”, 30% are “out of the money” and 9% are breakeven.

Check Price Action

Don’t Miss a Beat – Subscribe to get crypto email alerts delivered directly to your inbox

Follow us on Twitter, Facebook and Telegram

Surf The Daily Hodl Mix



Disclaimer: Opinions expressed at The Daily Hodl are not investment advice. Investors should do their due diligence before making any high-risk investments in Bitcoin, cryptocurrency or digital assets. Please be advised that your transfers and trades are at your own risk, and any loses you may incur are your responsibility. The Daily Hodl does not recommend the buying or selling of any cryptocurrencies or digital assets, nor is The Daily Hodl an investment advisor. Please note that The Daily Hodl participates in affiliate marketing.

Featured Image: Shutterstock/SimpleB


Tagged : / / / / / / /

Ethereum Competitors Like Solana (SOL) and NEAR Set for ‘Immense Growth’ This Year: Pantera Capital

Digital asset investment giant Pantera Capital is giving a bullish outlook for Ethereum (ETH) rivals like Solana (SOL) and Near in 2022. 

In its latest letter to investors, Pantera partner Paul Veradittakit says that rival smart contract platforms are eating away the market share of Ethereum, which now accounts for just 63% of the total value locked (TVL) in decentralized finance (DeFi), down from 97% at the start of 2021.

Veradittakit says that Solana (SOL), which aims to be a faster and cheaper alternative to Ethereum, is particularly primed to grow in 2022 fueled by the increasing number of projects in its ecosystem.

“Solana, which offers unparalleled transaction throughput, saw an incredible 2021, reaching a peak TVL of $15 billion and a peak price of $260 in November versus $0.22 when it began trading in April 2020. Recent activity in the Solana community, including the launches of massive funds for decentralized social media and gaming, suggests that the ecosystem will continue to grow immensely in the coming year.”

Veradittakit says that Near, which in April launched the Rainbow Bridge that enables the transfer of crypto assets between blockchains, is also set for explosive growth.

“Bridges (which enable interoperability between vastly different networks), such as NEAR’s Rainbow Bridge, will help accelerate the growth of non-Ethereum ecosystems by expanding access to liquidity and allowing easier composability of digital assets. Ethereum virtual machine (EVM) platforms, like Aurora on NEAR, are also making it easier than ever for Ethereum-based DApps (decentralized apps) to launch on other chains, enhancing cross-chain engagement within DeFi.”

At time of writing, Solana is equivalent to $94.85, while Near is valued at $11.35. Ethereum is trading at $2,388.35. 

Check Price Action

Don’t Miss a Beat – Subscribe to get crypto email alerts delivered directly to your inbox

Follow us on Twitter, Facebook and Telegram

Surf The Daily Hodl Mix



Disclaimer: Opinions expressed at The Daily Hodl are not investment advice. Investors should do their due diligence before making any high-risk investments in Bitcoin, cryptocurrency or digital assets. Please be advised that your transfers and trades are at your own risk, and any loses you may incur are your responsibility. The Daily Hodl does not recommend the buying or selling of any cryptocurrencies or digital assets, nor is The Daily Hodl an investment advisor. Please note that The Daily Hodl participates in affiliate marketing.

Featured Image: Shutterstock/Sergey Nivens/WhiteBarbie


Tagged : / / / / /

Solana Network Suffers Yet Another Network Outage: DeFi Users Pay the Price

While the crypto market was bleeding heavily on Friday, Solana experienced another network hiccup that caused panic among traders and DeFi users across the crypto community.

48-hour Solana Network Outage

The Solana network has suffered multiple issues within the last few months, and this current incident is the second in January. But unlike other occasions, the latest outage lasted about 48 hours.

The Solana team said they first noticed the hiccup on Friday, January 21 2022, at about 00:00 UTC.

“The mainnet-beta cluster is experiencing some performance degradation, we are currently investigating the issue,” the team wrote.

The investigation lasted more than 24 hours before the team was able to identify the cause on Saturday at 17:55 UTC.

According to the brief report on the Solana Status page, the issue was caused by “excessive duplicate transactions” done by bots.


The issue was resolved today (Sunday), at about 16:19 UTC after the release and adoption of v1.8.14, which was designed to “mitigate the worst effects of the issue.”

“These forthcoming releases are aimed at improving the state of the network, with more improvements expected to roll out in the next 8-12 weeks. Many of these features are currently live on Testnet, where they are being rigorously tested,” the team added.

Throwing Taunts and Jeers

The recent Solana network issue provided developers and non-Solana supporters another opportunity to jeer the supposed Ethereum killer.

HarperCollins’ author Mark Jeffery believes that Solana is already out of the winning blockchain of the future due to persistent network outages.

Tech investor Daniel Cheung shares the same feelings:

DeFi Users Pay the Price

While the network issue has been resolved, DeFi users on the blockchain were left to pay the price as they faced heavy liquidations over the 48 hours the network was down.

The Solana network outage over the weekend happened at one of the worst times in the crypto market. Prices dipped in massive red, liquidation was in sight, and users were looking for ways to top up their balance to avoid forced liquidation.

Unfortunately, Solana network users who took loans with collateralized assets like SOL from lending platforms like Solend could not save their assets during the market meltdown as the blockchain struggled with congestion. A massive liquidation across the board happened next, and users were left counting their losses.

But Solend said it sympathizes with users and is currently reconciling affected users.

“We’re painfully aware of the issues in which users were unable to save themselves from being liquidated due to network congestion, and are looking into reconciliation,” the Solana-based lending protocol tweeted.


Binance Free $100 (Exclusive): Use this link to register and receive $100 free and 10% off fees on Binance Futures first month (terms).

PrimeXBT Special Offer: Use this link to register & enter POTATO50 code to get 25% off trading fees.

You Might Also Like:


Tagged : / / / / / / /

This Week on Crypto Twitter: HODLers Joke Through Bitcoin Bloodbath, Twitter Tries Ethereum NFT PFPs

this week on crypto twitter
Illustration by Mitchell Preffer for Decrypt

The crypto market was already having an ugly 2022, but crashed even harder this week, shaving almost half a trillion dollars from the global market cap in 24 hours between Friday and Saturday. Bitcoin and Ethereum sank to prices not seen since summer last year.

Crypto Twitter, as it typically does, turned to humor and memes to get through the misery. And of course, while pundits were focused on the price crash, that was far from the only chatter on Crypto Twitter, which turned its attention to mocking one DAO’s confusion over intellectual property and Twitter’s controversial leap into verifying NFT PFPs. 

Market misery… and memes

The crypto market has been depressing all year, but things got much worse this past week. HODLers mostly coped with the bloodbath with jokes and memes. Without further ado, here were just a few of our favorites.

…And not all the tweets about the market crash were jokes. Many prominent crypto investors and entrepreneurs went with earnest, optimistic encouragement reminiscent of the “put our heads down and build” mantra of the last crypto winter in 2018.

The Dune Bible DAO fiasco

Devoted Decrypt readers may remember that back in December we reported on Spice DAO, another in the recent parade of decentralized autonomous organizations that formed with the purpose of buying a physical asset. The group forked out $3 million for Alejandro Jodorowsky’s “Dune Bible.” The rare book is a storyboard for an unmade movie (not to be confused with David Lynch’s “Dune” in 1984, or the 2021 adaptation directed by Denis Villeneuve).

Last Saturday, Spice DAO unveiled its post-auction master plan: it planned to “make the book public” and “produce an original animated limited series inspired by the book and sell it to a streaming service.”

But owning a copy of the document does not equate to owning the commercial rights to the story. And the contents of Jodorowsky’s “Dune Bible” are already public, viewable on a Google drive here. The group’s apparent confusion confirmed some of the flaws people have identified with DAOs and their ambitious aims.

When Monday rolled around, Crypto Twitter (and the mainstream media) had a field day making fun of the group’s misconceptions. Gary Brannan from the web series “Two of These People are Lying” tweeted: “I have genuinely spent 10 minutes starting at this but, no, it really DOES appear to be true that a bunch of cryptobros just spent €2.6 MILLION – 100x the asking price – for a book at auction in the mistaken belief that they would therefore own the copyright in it.”

Ethereum team lead Péter Szilágyi reacted to a proposal that the DAO burn the original book with this harsh indictment: “And we wonder why people hate crypto. I’m ashamed to have enabled someone to even think about doing this.”

On Thursday, Spice DAO posted a Twitter thread addressing “common misconceptions” about the project, and confirmed it now understands that it doesn’t own the rights: “Yes. After two months of outreach, conversations with former business partners and consultations with legal counsel we were not able to reach an agreement with any of the rights holders involved in the creation of the contents of the artist’s book.”

Spice DAO also played down the book burning, saying that it was a proposal by a stranger, which had been left up on the Discord server, until the community flagged it as inappropriate and the post was taken down. 

In spite of the major setbacks, Spice DAO has since tweeted that it will continue to push for a “Dune” animated series based on Jodorowsky’s Bible. They’ve got Alex Garland on their wish list for the screenwriter…

Bukele mocks fake news about Moody’s, buys the dip

El Salvador’s Bitcoin-maxi president is a regular fixture in this roundup. And this week his account was busier than usual. 

On Monday, finance site tweeted out this screaming headline: “MOODY’S DOWNGRADES EL SALVADOR SOVEREIGN DEBT DUE TO #BITCOIN TRADES.” The tweet also included a map of El Salvador, with the name changed to “El Hodlador.”

Bukele blasted an all-caps reply: “BREAKING: EL SALVADOR DGAF.” 

It turns out’s headline was wrong, according to Bloomberg. Moody’s had downgraded El Salvador’s credit rating last July, but has not changed the rating since.

When Bukele isn’t angrily replying to critics, he’s proudly declaring that he bought the Bitcoin dip, and on Friday he did so again. He replied to one of his own tweets from the week before, when he complained about missing the dip, and added: “Nope, I was wrong, didn’t miss it. El Salvador just bought 410 #bitcoin for only 15 million dollars.”

Budweiser, Burger King, and Netflix are crypto curious

The big brand news on Crypto Twitter this week was that Budweiser purchased its first NFT. The Bud Lite Twitter account shared the news with a square specs emoji to show it had bought a Nouns NFT. The account also changed its profile picture to showcase the avatar.

Nouns is a DAO which mints one unique NFT avatar a day. The avatars are low resolution a la CryptoPunks. What’s fascinating about Nouns is that the money for each NFT gets funneled into the DAO’s treasury. NFT holders then vote on how the money is spent. Each NFT is worth one vote, and holders choose from projects and initiatives that will become open-source intellectual property

Meanwhile, Burger King on Tuesday hinted it’s curious about NFTs—or it was just trolling. The fast food giant’s UK arm tweeted: “ok we’ll bite what’s an NFT.” 

Netflix’s “Netflix Engineering” solicited the same NFT advice from its followers, tweeting: “What are your thoughts on NFTs?”

Twitter debuts NFT PFPs, to the chagrin of NFT haters

On Thursday, Twitter rolled out verified NFT profile pictures. But there are a few catches: the feature is currently only for Twitter Blue subscribers, only on iOS (though Android users can still see the NFT profile pictures), and only in the U.S., U.K., Canada and New Zealand. 

The new feature allows you to prove you own an NFT (if it’s minted on Ethereum and verified by OpenSea), and Twitter will reflect the verification with a hexagonal border.

But the hexagon quickly became an object of ridicule and target for NFT haters.

Tesla CEO and Dogecoin pumper Elon Musk was also unimpressed with the feature. He tweeted: “This is annoying” before later adding: “Twitter is spending engineering resources on this bs while crypto scammers are throwing a spambot block party in every thread!?”

The next few weeks will prove out whether the NFT fanatics embrace the hexagons despite the ridicule, or fold to the noise and make the feature a failure. Musk is right about those spambots, though.


Tagged : / / /

Venture Capital Giant Andreessen Horowitz Plans To Raise $4,500,000,000 for Two New Crypto Funds: Report

Venture capital titan Andreessen Horowitz plans to start two new crypto funds worth a total of $4.5 billion to support its expansion in the digital asset space.

As reported by the Financial Times, the firm says it plans to raise $3.5 billion for a new crypto venture fund and $1 billion for a fund focused on seeding startups centered around digital assets.

Citing someone with knowledge on the matter, the Financial Times says that the venture capital behemoth plans to finalize the two new funds by March.

The report comes weeks after Bloomberg revealed that venture capital firms across the world poured a staggering $30 billion into crypto assets last year, which is more than all previous years combined and quadruple that of the previous high of $8 billion set in 2018.

Bloomberg also cites data from market research firm PitchBook showing that Andreessen Horowitz itself has made 40 crypto-related deals between 2016 and December 2021. Coinbase Ventures, the investment arm of digital asset giant Coinbase, leads all US-based crypto venture capital with 68 deals over the same time period.

In May last year, Andreessen Horowitz announced that it was planning to raise up to $1 billion to invest in cryptocurrencies as well as crypto startups.

2021 also saw Andreessen Horowitz investing in crypto projects as the company struck deals last year with popular smart contract platform and Ethereum-competitor Solana (SOL), leading non-fungible token (NFT) marketplace OpenSea and blockchain-based gaming startup Sky Mavis, the studio known for creating NFT-focused metaverse game Axie Infinity (AXS).

Check Price Action

Don’t Miss a Beat – Subscribe to get crypto email alerts delivered directly to your inbox

Follow us on Twitter, Facebook and Telegram

Surf The Daily Hodl Mix



Disclaimer: Opinions expressed at The Daily Hodl are not investment advice. Investors should do their due diligence before making any high-risk investments in Bitcoin, cryptocurrency or digital assets. Please be advised that your transfers and trades are at your own risk, and any loses you may incur are your responsibility. The Daily Hodl does not recommend the buying or selling of any cryptocurrencies or digital assets, nor is The Daily Hodl an investment advisor. Please note that The Daily Hodl participates in affiliate marketing.

Featured Image: Shutterstock/iurii/Vladimir Sazonov


Tagged : / / /

Blockchain metaverse ecosystems gain traction as brands create digital experiences

Billion-dollar companies are taking the Metaverse by storm as consumers have shown heightened interest in virtual, interactive, three-dimensional experiences that take place online. 

While the “Metaverse” is still a new concept, research firm Strategy Analytics found that the global Metaverse market is forecasted to hit nearly $42 billion by 2026. This very well may be the case, as a handful of businesses including Nike and Walmart have begun exploring consumer experiences in metaverse environments.

NFT utility for brands launching in the Metaverse

To understand how and why brands are leveraging the Metaverse, it’s key to point out the role that NFTs, or nonfungible tokens, play within these ecosystems. While the year 2021 saw an influx of NFTs, the rise of the Metaverse is predicted to highlight the importance of utility behind NFTs.

Adrian Baschuk, founding partner at Ethernity Chain — an authenticated and licensed NFT platform — told Cointelegraph that every brand, company and notable figure will eventually have a metaverse and NFT integration:

“This is the “Myspace days” of the NFT-metaverse interactivity layer. Just as every company and individual has adopted some form of social media, this will also be the case for NFTs and the Metaverse.”

Given this, Baschuk shared that Ethernity recently brought its IP to The Sandbox, a blockchain-based metaverse ecosystem. Specifically speaking, Ethernity has acquired a desirable plot of land in The Sandbox to host a gallery and fully licensed NFT store. Baschuk explained that this will allow The Sandbox users to purchase Ethernity NFT wearables and collectibles.

According to Baschuk, these wearable NFTs include athlete jerseys, which will be used to dress and provide special powers to The Sandbox avatars. “Dallas Cowboys’ Zeke and Dak will kick this off, as the players’ wearable jerseys and shoulder pads will boost a user’s avatars’ skills and powers,” he said.

While this specific example may appeal to The Sandbox gaming community, the concept behind it is universal for brands entering the Metaverse. For instance, Baschuk explained that NFTs within virtual ecosystems allow for companies to monetize assets across a blockchain network, enhancing interactivity for consumers and fans.

To put this in perspective, consumer electronics giant Samsung recently announced that it will have a virtual replica of its New York physical store located within Decentraland, another leading metaverse ecosystem. The store, known as the “Samsung 837X shop,” will be accessible in Decentraland for a limited time.

Samsung 837X shop in Decentraland. Source: Samsung

A Samsung spokesperson told Cointelegraph that establishing Samsung 837X as a metaverse brand will provide limitless possibility for consumers to connect with Samsung and its products in an immersive way:

“In our metaverse, the brand pillars of sustainability, customization and connectivity will come to life in experiences that showcase the cutting-edge technology embedded in the Samsung family of products. This virtual hub will become a place for our community to celebrate the convergence of technology, art, culture, fashion and music.”

Samsung’s spokesperson further mentioned that Decentraland specifically gave the company a platform to enable a true Web3 metaverse experience. They noted that the Samsung community wanted a metaverse store to feature interactive quests that would allow participants to earn wearables like NFT badges or opportunities to win exclusive Samsung branded clothing for avatars.

Samsung 837X wearables in Decentraland. Source: Samsung

Overall, Samsung explained that its 837X store will serve as a foundation for the future, which will offer significant utility to its visitors. In turn, the company is looking at ways in which badges earned at 837X will offer access and utility for future events and experiences in its virtual space. “In the future, it’s our hope that everyone who visits our world will be able to enhance their online experience in the metaverse and their real-world experience with Samsung products,” commented Samsung’s spokesperson.

While Samsung was one of the first major brands to launch a virtual store in Decentraland this year, other organizations are following suit. Most recently Tennis Australia, the organizer of the Australian Open (AO), partnered with Decentraland to host the AO in the metaverse. This virtual environment contains key areas in Melbourne Park, including the Rod Laver Arena and Grand Slam Park. AO Decentraland 2022 will take place Jan. 17–30, mirroring the in-real-life tournament schedule.

An avatar watching the Welcome Address at the AO in Decentraland. Source: Decentraland

Ridley Plummer, Tennis Australia NFT and metaverse project lead, told Cointelegraph that it was a natural progression for the event to expand into the metaverse. Plummer shared that this was also the case due to border closures brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic, which has made it more difficult for fans to attend the event in person:

“We can only have a certain number of people in the area and the arenas, so we are bringing the AO to the world by allowing fans to partake in a virtual, interactive experience on Decentraland. This will enhance our fans’ viewing experience at home from their television by providing users with a more voyeuristic look at what’s happening at Melbourne Park.”

Plummer elaborated that AO’s metaverse environment features entertainment hubs where fans can watch replays of tennis matches, along with historical footage of past tournaments. He noted that during the final weekend of the event, fans will have access to behind-the-scenes footage that will show players during practice sessions and more.

Ariel image of the AO arena in Decentraland. Source: Decentraland

Plummer added that users on Decentraland can walk around Melbourne Park with their avatars to collect wearables and play virtual games to earn NFTs. “There are items and branding we can add within Decentraland that enhance experiences for our partners as well from a play-to-earn perspective. We have a series of gamification within Decentraland.”

Blockchain-based metaverse offers more, but will the mainstream catch on?

Given the unique experiences NFTs can bring to consumers and fans, it’s equally important to highlight the benefits offered by a blockchain-based metaverse ecosystem. For instance, while many brands have started to engage users through connected environments, blockchain networks enable digital asset ownership while demonstrating the true power of Web3.

Elaborating on this, Adam De Cata, head of partnerships at Decentraland, told Cointelegraph that the difference between a blockchain-based metaverse and a non-blockchain metaverse is interoperability:

“When it comes to interoperability and what this means to users in blockchain, it can provide countless utilities and benefits. You can buy your digital garments, trade and sell them and receive these funds via crypto (that can be transferred into fiat if need be). As a creator, you can receive a trailing commission on wearable sales too.”

De Cata added that open source platforms like Decentraland further allow users to connect their digital wallets to the platform to access particular builds and scenes that might be exclusive to a particular NFT they already hold: “We are still in the infancy of exploration, and it’s exciting to think of the possibilities moving forward with Web3.”

In regards to interoperability, Sebastien Borget, co-founder of The Sandbox, told Cointelegraph that the Metaverse enables a digital economy, noting that a true virtual ecosystem should allow for an avatar to be used across a variety of platforms: “The Metaverse means that your avatar can function across a myriad of virtual worlds, with the same identity. This is only possible through blockchain technology, which puts the users in control of their identity, data and currency.”

Borget further remarked that virtual worlds have existed for over 20 years, adding that many current metaverses are just centralized platforms:

“The value centralized platforms bring by creating or being present is locked into the platform, and even worse, captured mostly by the platform rather than going back to the users. For me, the Metaverse’ true potential can only happen if there is a technology that supports this digital economy and users’ sovereignty.”

Yet while blockchain-based metaverse environments are capable of offering more to both companies and their users, the question as to whether this concept will catch on with the mainstream remains. De Cata remarked that he is optimistic about mainstream adoption, noting that Decentraland has seen an almost equal number of guest wallets and users with existing digital wallets utilize the platform. He shared that he is looking forward to the feedback from the AO event. “I’m keen to see what happens during the course of the AO on Decentraland. There is just enough market research to find out the retention rate and user experience for events like the AO, and if these users are crypto native or not.”

It’s also notable to point out that Samsung shared that the company has had an overwhelmingly positive response from visitors coming to Samsung 837X. “Based on the response we’ve received, we’ve seen attendance to Samsung 837X from both experienced users and new explorers alike. For us, that’s very exciting.”

Will metaverse experiences replace real life?

Metaverse experiences may be the next big innovation for brands and users, but some may be wondering if virtual environments will replace real-life experiences entirely. After all, this could very well be the case due to the advanced capabilities provided within blockchain-based metaverse environments.

For instance, while NFT utility has been brought to life through the Metaverse, the trillion-dollar e-commerce sector is being disrupted overall. To understand the scope of this, Justin Banon, co-founder of Boson Protocol — a decentralized commerce protocol — told Cointelegraph that brands are ultimately seeking commerce opportunities. “The whole point of the Metaverse is that it’s programmable and gameable, therefore offering full capabilities for a new wave of commerce.”

In turn, Banon explained that Boson Protocol has purchased one of the largest plots of land in Decentraland to host virtual shops that allow for NFT wearables to be purchased and then redeemed for physical items either online or at store locations. For example, Boson Protocol recently launched a virtual store with DressX, a retailer for digital fashion clothing, allowing the company to sell items to users in the metaverse that can be redeemed for physical versions. “We are getting more demand for Web3 features, like “digiphysical” offerings. There is no longer the demand for vanilla e-commerce,” he remarked.

Boson Protocol’s DressX shop in Decentraland. Source: Boson Protocol 

While this may be, De Cata commented that time spent in the Metaverse depends on individual users:

“Metaverse events will be complementary to real-life events and experiences. We are already seeing a blended mix of both. Social content is key in the digital age we live in. I draw from the tech adoptions curves — the early adopters may spend increasingly more time in the Metaverse whereas the late majority less time.”

Although it’s hard to predict the future traction of the Metaverse, industry experts remain confident that all brands will eventually adopt a metaverse model. Borget commented that he expects this trend to accelerate because brands are looking for new ways to engage with users digitally. “It makes sense for brands to give more value back to the users directly, rather than spending on advertising,” he remarked. And De Cata added that although “the Metaverse” is trending as a topic, he believes that these virtual worlds are just an extension of social media platforms:

“The Metaverse allows us to connect with like minded individuals in a way that we don’t currently get from swiping up and down in a mobile app. For the crypto community, interoperability is key. For non-crypto users entering these environments, it’s clear that they are enjoying them now more than YouTube.”