Web3 Watch: Disney and Walmart Target Young Audiences in the Metaverse

FTX bets on new Solana-backed crypto and NFT wallet Backpack


Source: Shutterstock


key takeaways

  • Christie’s auction houses launches own NFT marketplace, Christie’s 3.0, to rival Sotheby’s
  • Crypto “wallets are more like Blackberries than they are like iPhones,” says founder of Coral

Apple recently let App Store developers buy and sell NFTs in-app, such as via marketplaces like OpenSea and Rarible. Magic Eden, however, will not support trading activities due to the 30% cut that Apple takes.

And if you own any CryptoPunks, Goblins, Bored Apes or Azuki NFTs and are a Mastercard debit cardholder who lives in Europe and is willing to stake the HI token, then you may be eligible to customize that card with an NFT avatar

Blockworks recaps other notable stories that caught the eyes of the Web3 Watch.

Disney’s Web3 Plans

The Walt Disney Company is on the hunt for a “corporate attorney” with experience in “emerging technologies” such as NFTs, the metaverse and DeFi.

It recently posted the job listing for a “Principal Counsel — Corporate Transactions, Emerging Technologies & NFTs.”

This may signal that Disney is working on a plan to make use of the “virtual-world simulator” patent it filed with the United States Patent and Trademark Office in 2021. The application refers to augmented reality (AR) technology being used at Disney theme parks, or even a potential theme-park metaverse.

CEO Bob Chapek revealed at Disney’s D23 Expo earlier this month that the company’s vision for the metaverse involves “next-generation storytelling.” This means leveraging data from theme park visitors and Marvel and Lucasfilm studios’ content streams to deliver personalized entertainment experiences.

Disney currently has NFT collections on the VeVe Digital Collectibles app, including the Golden Moments collection, offering digital statues inspired by Disney, Pixar, Marvel and Star Wars characters and other intellectual property.

Additionally, its 2022 Disney Accelerator Program recently selected six “growth-stage” companies to advise, including three Web3 companies — layer-2 scaling platform Polygon, NFT AR social media app Flickplay and startup Lockerverse.

Walmart enters the metaverse with Roblox

The retail giant is testing out new ground in online gaming platform Roblox in an effort to reach more and new customers. Roblox is a non-blockchain gamified virtual world with over 52 million daily users, mostly children.

Walmart announced on Tuesday that it launched two virtual experiences within Roblox — Walmart Land and Walmart’s Universe of Play.

Walmart Land features a store of virtual merchandise, or “verch,” to dress up users’ avatars, a ferris wheel, and minigames that earn players tokens and badges. It also has plans to host a music festival in October.

On the other hand, the Universe of Play intends to be a virtual toy destination so that users can collect products and characters from franchises such as L.O.L. Surprise!, Jurassic World, Paw Patrol, Magic Mixies and Razor Scooters — all in time for the holidays.

The company even changed its Twitter profile picture and banner to depict Walmart Land.

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Mark Long, CEO of blockchain-enabled AAA shooter game Shrapnel, told Blockworks that “marketing to eleven-year-olds is a risky proposition.” “On the other hand,” he said, “we’ve all seen how legacy companies missed the internet boat and with McKinsey predicting the metaverse to be an even bigger opportunity, what choice do they have?”

Christie’s 3.0 NFT marketplace

Christie’s auction house has launched a new NFT marketplace, Christie’s 3.0. The platform enables NFT art sales on the Ethereum blockchain, starting with nine NFT artworks by 18-year-old artist Diana Sinclair. 

In partnership with Manifold.xyz, Chainalysis and Spatial, Christie’s hopes “to bring young emerging artists to an international and digitally savvy market,” the company tweeted

Each work in the “Diana Sinclair: Phases” collection was created and minted specifically for the auction, and starting prices will range from 4 ether (ETH) to 8 ETH. Her images will also be on physical display at Christie’s for a limited time.

Christie’s NFT marketplace | Source: Christie’s

“For me, it’s a more fun and rewarding process to get to work with artists selling their art for the first time to its first collector as opposed to [selling] a Picasso on the wall from a collector who got it six hands ago from Picasso himself,” Nicole Sales, Christie’s director of digital art sales and NFTs, told Blockworks.

She also said that Christie’s adds value when it comes to “the narrative around the actual art for art’s sake as opposed to just the NFTs as an investment or as some sort of tool that someone can just flip.” 

In other traditional art world news, the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) in New York City, recently announced that it is selling $70 million worth of art from William S. Paley’s collection to fund an expansion of their own digital footprint — which could mean purchasing its first NFTs. 

Q&A with Coral: What is an xNFT?  

FTX Ventures and Jump Crypto co-led a $20 million fundraise for Solana tech developer Coral — the creator of the Anchor framework that provides smart contract tools and templates for Solana developers. Multicoin Capital, Anagram and K5 Global also participated in the round.

The funding will be used to expand the Coral and Anchor teams, as well as launch an “xNFT” protocol and a new non-custodial wallet and mobile app called Backpack. 

An xNFT is an executable non-fungible token that gives access to applications, games or assets built on any blockchain — similar to mini-programs offered by the Chinese messaging app WeChat, said the company. 

Blockworks conducted a Q&A with Coral’s founder Armani Ferrantel to learn about xNFTs and the company’s long-term vision:

Blockworks: How do xNFTs fit into the larger NFT ecosystem?

Ferrante: XNFTs give NFT collections the ability to create more immersive and customized behaviors. Imagine clicking on your NFT and going to not a normal wallet metadata view, but an experience specific to the collection, like a game. Or something more mundane, but important, like allowing NFTs to control the wallet experience, for example, allowing creators to control where and how their collections get listed on marketplaces.

Blockworks: How is Backpack different from other crypto wallets?

Ferrante: Today, wallets are the gatekeepers of blockchain ecosystems. They’re permissioned, closed, and closer to Web2 than they are to Web3. If you want to build a new protocol, you need to lobby for integration, but there are so many protocols on so many blockchains that no one can expect to be included. It’s a product management nightmare, and it’s holding back innovation. 

Wallets are more like Blackberries than they are like iPhones — token-specific asset management tools — but imagine a wallet that used all of your cryptoassets. Imagine if you could manage your Mango margin accounts, stake your DeGods, or view your Magic Eden listings not in a web view, but natively in a single interface. 

We’re building an xNFT operating system we call Backpack — it manages your private keys and connects to apps. It’s asset- and protocol-agnostic. Most wallets only show your tokens. Backpack, however, is a home for everything. 

Blockworks: Why did you choose to build on the Solana ecosystem?

Ferrante: We chose the Solana ecosystem as a starting point because we had built Anchor, the dominant Solana development framework and spent a lot of time incubating many of the projects in the ecosystem. These inroads made Solana the perfect place to start. The plan is to bring the xNFT framework multichain. At this moment, it is already possible to build Ethereum xNFTs and use them with your Ethereum balances in Backpack.

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