Things are moving fast in the metaverse, and in the wider world of Web3 as a whole. Depending on who you ask, this futuristic, blockchain-based space is either the next big thing for marketing — and for almost everything else — or an overhyped fad. Here’s what you need to know from this past week:
Stella Artois drops NFTs for World Water Day.
Stella Artois released “The Drop Artois” NFT collection on World Water Day (March 22) — a day that was instituted to raise awareness of the approximately two billion people alive today who do not have reliable access to freshwater. The NFT collection was created in partnership with Water.org, a global nonprofit “working to bring water and sanitation to the world,” according to the organization’s website. The beer company, which has had an ongoing partnership with Water.org since 2015, says that its 1,024 new NFTs feature designs “depicting the contemplative effect of moving water.” All of the proceeds from the new NFT campaign will go towards Water.org to assist in the nonprofit’s mission of expanding access to safe freshwater across the developing world. “We’re incredibly excited about the impact we will make with The Drop Artois,” Tim Ovadia, global vice president Stella Artois, said in a statement. “As a longstanding partner of Water.org, we are always looking for innovative ways to help people around the world gain safe water access for their homes and families. By tapping into the world of NFTs and offering art collectors access to limited-edition digital collectibles as part of The Drop Artois, we are using technology to support our communities and be a positive vehicle for change.”
Fashion Week has officially kicked off in the metaverse.
The first-ever Metaverse Fashion Week (MVFW) began today, featuring activations from a number of well-known luxury brands. The event, which is being hosted from March 24-27 on Decentraland and has been modeled largely off its physical counterparts in New York and London, is an opportunity for leading fashion brands to engage with younger, more tech-savvy audiences and gauge consumer interest in particular design ideas — and in the virtual marketplace as a whole. Industry bigwigs like Tommy Hilfiger, Dolce and Gabbana, Elie Saab, and Imitation of Christ will all be making an appearance at the virtual event, which will have its own runway, musical performances, and shops. The event is open to anyone (Decentraland is accessible via desktop), but an Ethereum wallet will be required to purchase any virtual items. While the idea of virtual clothing might still sound a bit esoteric, there’s a growing body of evidence which suggests that it may soon become the norm. A recent report from Virtue Worldwide, for example, suggests that the average consumer expects roughly half of their wardrobe to be comprised of virtual clothing by 2030. Virtual fashion, in other words, is becoming mainstream — and brands are noticing.
Crypto.com scores deal with FIFA.
The cryptocurrency trading platform announced a new partnership with this year’s FIFA World Cup, which will kick off in Qatar beginning on Nov. 21. The World Cup, which takes place every four years, is routinely one of the world’s most-watched sporting events. The partnership is the latest in the long string of recent contracts between crypto brands and major sports organizations, signaling the beginning of a new, mainstream era for cryptocurrency. Crypto-related ads were a recurrent theme, for example, during this year’s Super Bowl, which is by far the most popular annual sports event in the U.S. Red Bull’s Formula 1 racing team also recently signed a $150 million sponsorship deal with Bybit, a crypto-trading platform based in Singapore. And on and on. Here’s the bottom line: crypto companies, which not so many years ago were seen by most people as somewhat fringe, are increasingly tapping into major sporting events — and their massive audiences — as a means of catapulting themselves and their industry into the mainstream. And it seems to be working.
Universal Music Group “hires” an NFT to manage a band of NFTs.
Universal Music Group, the world’s largest record label has (okay, deep breath) purchased a NFT to manage a band comprised of members that are all, that’s right, NFTs. The band, called “Kingship,” was formed in late 2021 by 10:22pm, a brand owned by UMG and described by the record label giant as “a next-gen Web3 label that discovers and develops artists, intellectual property, brands and digital creators.” Three of the four members of Kingship are NFTs from the Bored Ape Yacht Club, one of the most successful NFT series of all time — the fourth is a so-called “mutant ape,” from a NFT series that was spun off of BAYC. Now, 10:22pm has introduced Noët All, another Bored Ape, to “manage” the virtual band. According to Reuters, the band “will eventually produce new music and give virtual performances in the metaverse.” The purchase of Noët All reportedly cost $360,817. The move from UMG to invest more heavily in its Kingship project is reflective of a wider trend throughout the music and entertainment industries to experiment with NFTs as a means of establishing a presence and innovating in the ever-evolving world of Web3.
Media.Monks, Meta spotlight the WNBA for Women’s History Month.
Since 2020, digital production company Media.Monks has partnered with Meta to broadcast WNBA games in VR. Now, in observance of Women’s History Month, Media.Monks will be hosting an interview in the metaverse with two-time WNBA champion, and current co-owner of the Atlanta Dream (a WNBA team) Renee Montgomery. The interview will air this Sunday (March 27) during the live broadcast of the Philadelphia 76ers versus the Phoenix Suns. Media.Monks says that Montgomery “will share her perspective on re-writing the playbook for female representation on and off the court.” The event is also a promotional opportunity for Meta: The event will be accessible via the brand’s Quest VR headset, and the setting for the interview, which was modeled on a basketball court, was designed in Horizon Worlds, a popular VR game published by the tech giant.
Rapper’s delight: New Web3-based competition could give aspiring hip-hop artists a professional boost.
Music distributor DATDistribution has teamed up with HyperVerse Live, a virtual events organizer, to offer aspiring rappers an opportunity to be an opening act for the upcoming “Legendz of the Streetz” tour, which will be headlined by hip-hop heavyweights like Rick Ross, T.I., Jeezy, Gucci Mane, 2Chainz, and Trina. HyperVerse — a company which describes itself as living “in the space between the Metaverse and the physical world” — says that it also aims to empower up-and-coming hip-hop artists through “Web3, crypto, and NFT education to unlock new income streams.” After purchasing a NFT, participants will be able to submit an original song which, if chosen, could land them the chance to perform a 15-minute opening set at the tour’s Atlanta show on April 1. “One of the best things about the revolution that is going on in music right now is that through digital assets and the Metaverse, independent artists have the opportunity to get both more exposure and total creative control and money earlier in their careers,” HyperVerse co-founder Sebastian Ambrose said in a statement. “We came up with this concept for the Legendz of the Streetz tour to not only give aspiring artists a chance at a career-changing moment, but also to introduce independent artists and the hip hop community at large to the ability to make money from digital assets.”