Over the last couple of weeks, I've talked about everything retro from the OJ Simpson trial to Y2K, from classic video games to Napster. This week’s news is a basic variation on a theme such is the lack of anything fresh and new in this space currently. I’m just back from India and I have to say, the level of innovation in web3 technologies out there is off the scale. As westerners we’ve become complacent about the future and this crop of news is about as dry as reading Oracle’s licensing conditions. If you know, you know.
Digital twin technology is as old as me, actually, it’s 3 years older. And thank goodness for this mansplaining article about what digital twins are because I don’t think I would have been able to get through the rest of my career if I didn’t know this. For the last 2 years at least I have been in the trenches of digital twins, working with everyone from the Smithsonian Institution to Louis Vuitton, carefully crafting the art of the digital twin and though there was a big explosion of digital twins initially, it was quickly silenced by the metaverse.
We use digital twins more than we think. Whether we're using them as environment props in games, or we are creating the latest looks for Decentraland’s Metaverse Fashion Week (yeah there’s digital twins in there too, I know because I made them!), we're using digital twins in some way or another without even realising it.
Digital twins are very real, and they’re really good (the ones that I make anyway), but this article is shrouded by the metaverse again, and why? Because there is some kind of metaverse winter happening. A decline in “investment and excitement”? Really? I thought that was just Meta. The truth is that digital twin technology is as much a part of the metaverse as avatars without legs. We have only to glance at the Gartner Hype Cycle to know that everyone in the west is sleeping, struggling or, in the case of blockchain games, doing great thanks for asking. This article is asking me to focus: the NFT, the platform tech or the blockchain or even digital twins are becoming some weird amorphous blob and we’ve got to find one thing that each of us are good at and focus on it—that way we can turn this trough of disillusionment into an opportunity.
And, if digital twins are as great as I think they are—why isn’t someone, something or some body doing more to secure IoT and AI in supporting the overarching tech it supposedly supports?
Overheard in Prime Tower: “It’s scrambled egg on my trousers, in case you were wondering.”
Memories of the Alhambra
I have a phobia of MWC. There you go, I said it. A problem shared is a problem halved, right? The Mobile World Congress is everybody's favourite meeting every year. I have avoided this conference since about 2017, more’s the pity because if you are working in mobile tech—this is the one for you. One of the main reasons why I haven't been to Mobile World Congress for the last few years is because I watched Memories of the Alhambra, a Korean drama about an AR game that goes wrong and it scared the absolute bejesus out of me. Of course, it had one of the greatest innovations I've ever seen in it, which has only been 50% developed IRL. Notably this news story is about SK Telecom, but not specifically. It’s also about increased interest in our wonderful metaverse despite any doubts. SK Telecom is a South Korean operator and is making all the vomit inducing thanks to their Air Taxi. Think Korben Dallas meets Marty McFly and this VR simulator is heralding a new age of 5G. MWC is there to show advancements in this space and illustrates my mantra perfectly: the metaverse is mobile first, oh and then my other one (which I didn’t steal from Oliver Kern) and my other one about the metaverse being a device driven revolution (rather than a single access experience). So you can pretty much leave your fancy built-for-PC, “nothing” metaverse platforms at home because your phone is the only device you will ever really need.
SK Telecom’s Air Taxi is just another demo/function that is part of a bigger metaverse experience. Bringing forth the age of 6G requires a tighter focus on 5G towards private network support and if you were at Camille Mendler’s talk in Mumbai last week, as I was, you will realise how important these next couple of years are. So for South Korea, a country who, let’s face it, has done more for mobile technologies than most of the western world, a small virtual reality demo has made as much of an impact as an AR game set in Granada that goes horribly wrong. Innovative coincidence? I don’t think so.
Which new tech CEO has taken to letting her executive assistant do all her start-up pitches. No, no, not the power points, the ACTUAL pitching.
Ixnay on the Tnfay
Coindesk does a play on words, and so did I, but let’s face it, everyone seems a bit short of ideas in this new age of enlightenment and innovation. Building a tool to create AI powered NFTs is a bit lame when you think about it. It gets lamer though, if that’s possible. Here’s how. Using Dall-E or Midjourney you can create NFTs in the Binance Wallet using the Binance Chain (BNB). “You can turn your creative visions into NFTs with AI,” Binance CEO Changpeng Zhao said on Twitter. “Give it a try and show me what you make with it.”
It sounds absolutely ridiculous. And actually it is one of the most ridiculous stories I've read in a really long time. What I want to know is who is going to buy a picture of presumably yourself that you've created in Voilà, or in Dall-E and then minting it to make your own Bicasso (trademark pending, ugh). Surely this is a bit of a grift and a flex. And you know how much I hate a grift and a flex when it comes to NFTs. I love NFTs as much as the next person, I even created a standard for it. I have even developed a pretty awesome wallet for it. But I-AM-NOT-A-GUY, so it doesn’t even matter what I create for the world, I will never be heard or seen. Listen, if I see another guy with a twee and twizzled moustache who isn’t my friend Eddy or Whale Shark, I am moving to another planet. So if you think you've got a better handlebar moustache than those guys, send me some pics, I dare ya.
Which trailblazing studio is struggling to secure funding due to their senior management team’s tone-deaf video edit of their current product trailer?
The Year of the PR Survey
“74% of survey participants say that they buy NFTs for status.” God here we go. Metajuice, who, as you can probably tell, is trying to get a little bit of press because they want even more users (remember that IMVU story we did a few months ago? It’s them). Well, their “team” surveyed over 6000 NFT users (they have 1,000,000 active VCOIN wallets but only 6000 could be arsed to respond). We don't really know anything about the demographic. We don't know how old these people are. We don't know anything. But what we're getting here is just a bunch of numbers, as usual, which really does negate any belief that we have in the metaverse or any associated platforms, and rightly so, this is baseless. And NFTs for status at a time when it’s slowly becoming a decent asset class standard? That’s just rude.
The less people produce these absolutely ridiculous surveys, the better chance we've got of being able to establish a solid protocol inside this space. Next!
Which well known web3 VC is adding hundreds of media products to their extensive metaverse stable? Term sheets aside, this VC is not as flush as they say they are.
Crypto Spring has Sprung (Thank the Universe)
Can blockchain gaming survive the crypto winter? Who writes this crap? Listen, we're coming out of a crypto winter, you absolute weirdos, why would you start writing about the crypto winter on 1st March 2023? Let me count the amazing companies coming out of this silly ass winter with solid products and one of the reasons why is because they went into the crypto winter knowing full well like everybody else that they were going to come out of it successfully. There are some good tips in this article about surviving the crypto winter, but the truth about surviving the crypto winter is to stop thinking about it like it's some kind of death knell to web3 businesses worldwide.
What we should all really be doing is focusing on not whether the game is on blockchain, but whether the game is any bloody good because that's the only thing that's going to survive any market fluctuation ever.
“I’ve already spanked two developers today, don’t make me spank you as well!” Overheard at NFT Paris.
Yes, it’s International Women’s Day this week. I have been very fortunate to participate in a series of interviews led by NumberEight’s Enchantress of Numbers: Emma Raz. However, this story, hopeful though it is, isn’t about women taking up “53% of all STEM,” which is fantastic news, nor is it about “60% of women reporting they've implemented more than two Metaverse related initiatives in their organisations”, and that women are “20% are more likely than men to implement multiple Metaverse initiatives.” All possible facts.
Though I have just mentioned Emma, there are a million other women in STEM who are killing it out there, but are they all leaders? Maybe. Some of them are, I definitely am. However, some women are still trying to get into leadership positions because their male counterparts are somehow better(?), smarter(?), well connected (definitely) than they are. That’s not ok (fashion tech people I’m looking at you).
In Mumbai, I was pleasantly surprised and more importantly I was invigorated by the amount of powerful female leaders in everything from politics to software. I loved speaking to each and every one of them and finding out what their secret sauce for world domination was, and you know what? It wasn’t anything dissimilar from how western women punch glass ceilings. Things like “I’m bringing up a family” or “I want to be a good role model” or “I want to get shit done” or “I believe in my vocation.” These are the reasons why we do what we do. I would argue that the issues with women in technology including the metaverse are seldom aimed at wanting to be better than men. We just want to be equal. And how can we seek equality? This final stat was the blow that I didn’t need to read: “According to research published by McKinsey & Co, just 10% of metaverse funding and investment is directed towards companies headed by women.” Why? VCs need to do better if we’re gonna succeed at anything close to our male counterparts. And also as this is fairly old news and is still being published, it means that the needle has not moved one jot.
Which web3 CMO has been kissing with confidence at parties all over Europe? If only her husband knew the kissee is his brother.
Cointelegraph is exploring a little of what I touched upon in a previous week’s newsletter. Thanks for dropping by every damn week to see your name in lights, lads. This week’s conundrum? Is the metaverse testing the limits of what is legally possible?
Look, holding a court session in Horizon Workrooms is a PR flex, nothing more. Meta is loving it. Take a look at my news story of last week, go on, you should be more concerned about the other metaverse platforms in the article which aren’t named.
I would say that this particular article joins together the concept of an ethical metaverse and that magical KPI: privacy and data, something I also wrote in this newsletter previously. The mavericks of the metaverse will do their best to argue that transparency and openness is a control in and of itself, that’s quite existential. The protocols that will need to shift up a gear in the metaverse are the exact same regulatory requirements that we might have in, say, online games. Whilst I think that you can do anything in the metaverse (just like you can do anything in a massively multiplayer online game); these things are not, you know, mutually exclusive. They're actually very closely related. DAOs are our friend(s).
That’s enough metaverse for this week. I’m off to bury Mark Zuckerberg’s metaverse whilst simultaneously wetting the baby’s head of his new AI project. Are there enough cigars in the world for this? Want more metaverse? Listen to our new Spotify article playlist whilst you do something really special.