Metaverse riding on NFT boom, says owner of $69 million digital artwork

Metakovan and Twobadour Panar, a.k.a Vignesh Sundaresan and Anand Venkateswaran, the buyers of the $69 million NFT-backed artwork “Everydays – The First 5000 Days” by Beeple — have built a monument called “The Souk” in a virtual online world, Venkateswaran told ET. The duo’s NFT portfolio, which spans digital land, art, wearables, and names, is worth $189 million according to a valuation by Nonfungible.com.

Twobadour Panar (TP) spoke to Apoorva Mittal about the metaverse and what’s working so far and what’s not. Edited excerpts:

metaverse

What is happening with the metaverse? Why is it blowing up?
The idea of the metaverse rode on the wave that NFTs sparked, at least since March and the big Beeple incident. But I think Mark Zuckerberg’s announcement had some major implications for this space as well.

Metaverse has been blowing up for a little while now, to be honest, especially digital land. Showing ownership of digital land is the most important use of NFTs, though art and gaming have sort of taken the limelight right now. Land, I think, is very important because it represents the nature of ownership in the NFT space probably better than any other asset category. Property rights are not equal all over the world. In the metaverse, the one asset category that represents absolute inalienable ownership is virtual land. And that is why, when we started to collect NFTs, the first category he looked at was land. Metapurse is the largest single estate owner in Decentraland. We own vast estates in Sandbox and Cryptovoxels, too.

What happens on the vast estates you own in digital worlds?

It allows you to experience NFT art instead of just buying it and storing it someplace. Decentraland recently had a series of football matches, they are organising a music festival, they had gallery openings. All of this stuff happens in these worlds. So there is a lot of experiential activity. There are experiments in trying to make it a sort of an actual functioning virtual world, like Second Life, with the exception that everybody’s land is their own. But we’re still a far way away from that. There is a lot of interest in using these virtual worlds for product launches. I think it is very interesting.

Are you monetising anything in the metaverse at the moment?
No, not at the moment. The more the space evolves, the more options it’s going to present.

Where are we right now in the evolution of the metaverse?
I feel it’s sort of saturated a little bit, because people have realised that there is a limit to what we can technologically achieve on virtual land right now. And there is way too much land already that is not being built on, which is not being populated. I think the focus now has shifted to what you can do on those lands, into being able to build experiences for these spaces, into creating assets that work in interesting ways. For instance, we are in the process of building a massive structure called The Souk, which will become the permanent address for the Beeple 5000 piece. The design is almost complete. We’ve been working with some amazing artists and architects to build it. It will be launched on November 4.

How do you respond to criticism that NFTs are a bubble that will burst soon?
We’ll be happy for them to believe what they want to. The longer it takes for others to get into this space, the more time we will have to ourselves. I’m in no hurry to convince hordes of people to enter and saturate this market. We’ll have fun until then and continue our experiments.

Are you looking at any investments in India through the Metapurse fund?
In India, it’s still tricky, isn’t it? It’s not something we are actively focusing on in terms of investments, but what we are doing is sort of creating an incubator for artists and creatives. We got into the crypto space so that we could bring some of its benefits and ideas back to India. But that’s easier said than done.

What’s next for digital worlds?
Every brand that is present in a two-dimensional environment today will want to create more immersive experiences for its clients and its customers. And that’s where these virtual spaces come in. It will also be important for every artist or creator to have an original identity or virtual address, and display his wares, so to speak. The earlier you are in this sort of game, the earlier you can recognise its potential.

Published By : The Economic Times

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