Startups Eye Metaverse and NFTs to Help Solve Africa’s Economic Woes
Some things just do not make sense when you first hear about them. On Monday, July 18th, a Nigerian-born tech entrepreneur says he has found a way for Africans to escape inequality and bad governance. Emole, Co-founder of the Afropolitan Network State Project, said that there are so many things that limit Africans from real-world opportunities. He added that the internet is the only place which serves as an equalizer. Emole’s tech startup is among a number of African-led virtual projects that aim to help the world’s poorest continent capitalize on digital growth and tackle real-world problems. The development of the metaverse has sparked concern over digital rights, privacy and online inequality. The emerging virtual economy already includes some 2.5bn people and generates billions of dollars each year, according to a report by market research company, L’Atelier. Johan Steyn, Chair of the Special Interest Group on Artificial Intelligence and Robotics with the Institute of Information Technology Professionals South Africa (IITPSA) has said that most of the technology platforms they use in Africa were created in northern America, Europe, the Middle East or China. He added that there’s a need for an African lens on the use of smart technology in order to accommodate the people of the continent. In the words of South African tech startup Founder, Mic Mann, bringing the metaverse to Africa is part of “future-proofing” the continent to ensure it keeps up with the rapidly expanding digital space. He also added that it’s going to completely change everything: the way we work, live, play. Mic Mann is the co-founder of Ubuntuland, a platform that calls itself the continent’s first metaverse marketplace.
The Afropolitan project is aimed at the more than 140mn strong African diaspora, and ultimately aims to expand to a physical territory. Emole said it can offer solutions to poor governance in many African countries, which he cited as a key factor behind emigration. Its founders plan to launch initially by selling NFTs which will act as a “digital passport” to Afropolitan events and physical spaces, before developing an app allowing members to transfer money and buy goods and services.
VR Concert Platform, AmazeVR Partners with K-pop Leaders
AmazeVR and SM Entertainment, a leading entertainment company in South Korea, will open a new studio in Seoul that will bring K-pop and Asian artists closer to their fans through VR concerts. With this partnership, AmazeVR hopes to expand VR concert production by sourcing K-pop and Asian artists and broadening content diversity. The goal is to bring fans closer to their favourite artists through this global platform. Concerts will be distributed exclusively through AmazeVR’s VR music metaverse service and SM’s VR metaverse service. Ernest Lee, Co-CEO of AmazeVR has this to say:
“We’re thrilled at the prospect of working with SM to collaborate with K-pop and other Asian artists, as well as other Asian music companies through our new partnership. SM has influenced K-pop globally, united the music industry across the continent, and brought unique and energetic performances to worldwide audiences. We’re going to see some phenomenal VR concerts.”
SM Entertainment is South Korea’s largest entertainment company pioneering the global emergence of K-pop since its establishment in 1995.
Samsung Launches Experiential Metaverse Platform ‘Space Tycoon’ Investing.com
Samsung has announced the launch of Space Tycoon, a virtual experience built on the global metaverse platform Roblox. Gen Z users are the real targets in the development of Space Tycoon. The space allows users to create and play games while sharing experiences using Samsung products. Built on the metaverse, the space will also allow customers to become a part of a space station to gather resources and design Samsung products. One can also buy and sell in-game items for avatars. The Executive Vice President, at Corporate Design Center in Samsung Electronics, Jinsoo Kim, said:
“We wanted to give our Gen Z customers a chance to experience Samsung products in a way they have never done before. We will continue to showcase content that can deliver more meaningful and entertaining digital experiences for both our current and future customers. Space Tycoon is designed to be a playground where many customers can experience unlimited possibilities of virtual spaces.”
Samsung has always shown interest in gaming and entertainment-related software. The company launched an NFT platform in conjunction with “Nifty Gateway” at the beginning of the year. The deal will allow the platform to offer its NFTs via Samsung smart TVs.
Tony Hawk Partners with The Sandbox to Create World’s Biggest Skatepark in the Metaverse and NFTs
Tony Hawk has announced a partnership with The Sandbox, a decentralized gaming virtual world, to create ‘Tony Hawk LAND’. Some think that this would be the ‘world’s biggest virtual skatepark’ where users will be able to create Tony Hawk avatar NFTs based on his most iconic skateboards, equipment, and apparel, including the iconic skateboard used to land the 900 at the X Games in 1999. With this partnership, The Sandbox will make these NFTs interoperable in its open metaverse as high-fidelity 3D voxel avatars, complete with in-game functionality for experiences. This isn’t the first partnership that The Sandbox is having. Before now, they already have metaverse deals with Warner Music Group, Ubisoft, The Rabbids, Gucci Vault, The Walking Dead, Snoop Dogg, Adidas, Deadmau5, Steve Aoki, Atari, and more.