Web3 Watch: Yuga Labs Takes Voyagers to the Otherside While Minecraft Bans NFTs

Christie’s launched a Web3 venture arm to help NFT collectors buy and sell more digital art


Yuga Lab’s Otherside metaverse | Source: Screenshot of CurvelineFilms YouTube video


key takeaways

  • Paris, France hosted crypto community members for the Metaverse Summit and EthCC this past week
  • In the last 24 hours, the price floor of ENS (Ethereum Name Service) domains went down 100% to 0 ETH and had 0 sales

The first trip into the Otherside 

Web3-focused investment managers Yuga Labs — the now-owner of the blue-chip NFT collection Bored Ape Yacht Club (BAYC)  — says its metaverse is gathering steam.

The latest indicator, the company announced on Twitter: Around 4,500 BAYC followers who additionally owned at least one NFT (non-fungible token) from another fairly popular, albeit more-nascent, Yuga collection, Otherdeed, made their first foray into Yuga’s Web3 world.

The first-of-its kind demo for Yuga’s so-called “Otherside Metaverse” took place July 16, coinciding with Otherdeed digital collectibles swiftly topping $1 billion in sales. 

ApeCoin, which has been highly volatile — even by crypto standards — in no small part because of bullish sentiment toward the new digital frontier of by and large unoccupied metaverse plots, surged from about $4.6 last week to trade at approximately $6.5 per token on Friday afternoon in New York. 

The virtual excursion followed two load tests earlier in July that served to inform the Yuga Labs team and their technology partner Improbable of any “breaking points.” 

Some participants, or voyagers, described their experience as “wild,” “intense” and “incredible” on Twitter. Participation was recorded within the metadata of dynamic Otherdeed NFTs for each holder. 

After following a giant Bored Ape through a portal into the Otherside Metaverse and arriving in The Swamp, the fabled, original home of Bored Apes, voyagers could embark on a mission to save the Kodas, creatures central to Otherside lore. 

Shortly after, Yuga Labs released a litepaper outlining Otherside’s main principles at present and its future plans. According to the litepaper, there will be several more trips and three phases to the platform’s development. While the first phase includes an 11-part storyline surrounding a mysterious “obelisk” that has appeared in the Otherside universe, details of the other two phases remain under wraps. 

One participant narrated his experience in The Swamp:

Christie’s moves into the venture capital space 

Auction house Christie’s created a new investment fund called Christie’s Ventures for an undisclosed multimillion-dollar amount. The venture arm intends to provide financial support to early Web3 and fintech startups with art-related products and solutions, as well as technology related to art and luxury goods.  

Christie’s Ventures’ first portfolio company is LayerZero Labs, a cross-chain interoperability protocol, whose recent valuation reached $1 billion. This partnership may allow Christie’s customers greater flexibility when transferring or selling NFT assets, particularly across different blockchains.

While rival auctioneer Sotheby’s has also invested in early stage Web3 companies, such as Ethereum-based NFT studio Mojito, Christie’s is the first to establish a formal in-house investment firm.

The move comes at a time when overall venture capital activity in the crypto market has decreased, but startups with a focus on Web3 and the metaverse continue to attract significant capital.

Minecraft bans NFTs

Minecraft developer Mojang announced on Wednesday they will not support or allow its nearly 140 million active users to integrate NFTs inside Minecraft client and server applications, nor create NFTs associated with any in-game skins, items or mods.

According to the company, NFTs “can create models of scarcity and exclusion that conflict with our Guidelines and the spirit of Minecraft.” It added that the speculative mentality around NFTs “takes the focus away from playing the game and encourages profiteering.”

The post also explained how blockchain technology could be used by some server owners to reward players with unauthorized exclusive content. Unofficial Minecraft NFTs are currently being sold on OpenSea without Mojang or parent company Microsoft’s involvement. 

NFT metaverse projects built on top of Minecraft, such as NFT Worlds and TheUplift World, must now find other alternative platforms. The day of the announcement, the price of the NFT Worlds token collapsed from $.03 to $0.009 and traded down to $0.01 at the time of publication.

Minecraft may be considered a type of metaverse, and with this move, Microsoft has taken a strong stance against Web3. 

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Q&A with DappRadar at the Metaverse Summit

As the crypto community flocked to Paris for the two-day Metaverse Summit, Blockworks learned some insights from Pedro Herrera, data analyst at DappRadar, who commented on the bullish atmosphere.  

Blockworks: What are your biggest takeaways from the event?

Herrera: The bullish outlook of the metaverse is undeniable. Despite the bear market, teams continue to build. It was impressive to see the amount of venture capital firms attending the event. Since 2021, more than $10 billion has been raised by metaverse or Web3 gaming projects. It looks like the trend will continue.

The presence of Web3 games is massive, interesting gaming projects and a lot of talks surrounding this topic. One I particularly enjoyed was Square Enix talking about the challenges for distributing Web3 games. Also, there is a big focus on the design part, how to improve the immersive experiences and detailed presentations about the role of virtual designers. 

Blockworks: What real world problems is the metaverse solving?

Herrera: One could argue that the metaverse will make us less human in the sense that it will decrease the amount of real life interactions. However, Web3 technologies create positive impacts at different levels.

It enables a whole new economic system where routinary activities can be monetized through sustainable crypto economies. Then, blockchain allows the democratization of these revenue streams, as we saw with play-to-earn or move-to-earn. Platforms like the Learnoverse from BitDegree will play an important role in educating people.

Apart from that, the metaverse will create a new wave of jobs, from artists, to virtual designers, digital real-estate agents, developers and many more. But perhaps the most important part is the ownership that people will have on their digital assets inside the metaverse. This is powerful when compared to the real world. 

Blockworks: What’s the best way to onboard people into Web3?

By educating first, and then encouraging others to get involved. Currently, the friction level to enter the Web3 space is high. Simply speaking about NFTs and understanding blockchain might be challenging for some people, especially older generations. Being part of an active community is also recommended. The camaraderie in Web3 is unmatched.

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