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Why You Absolutely Must Invest In The Metaverse – Forbes

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Since Mark Zuckerberg announced on October 28 that Facebook would now be known as the Meta Platform, or simply Meta, its share price has risen by more than 9%, which is more than double what the Nasdaq

NDAQ
has done.  

If you don’t know what the Metaverse is – think of it as a virtual world. There are many types of virtual worlds. Facebook wants to be the biggest one. Say what you will about Facebook’s foray into the metaverse (they’ll probably censor people in these new parallel universes), Zuckerberg’s move into this space shows that within the Big Tech juggernauts, this guy is ahead of the curve.

“The current, most popular ideas of the ‘metaverse’ we have today could be described simply as a place that one can visit via smart glasses or VR headsets where you find yourself in a computer-generated world – some fake forest or a beach somewhere or your office. The possibilities are endless,” says Guy Yanpolskiy, chief organizer of the biggest blockchain and NFT event in Gulf – the WOW Summit in the United Arab Emirates.

Yanpolskiy suspects the rest of the Big Tech will follow Zuck into the metaverse, as will the Japanese gamers at Sony and Nintendo.

Disney’s going in. This is so obvious.

People are going to become addicted to these virtual worlds, and all sorts of nefarious sad things will happen in them (I’ve seen Caprica! This doesn’t end well for humanity!), but if I am wrong, maybe I should put some money to work in the meta-space, but I don’t want to fork over $340 to own a single share of Facebook. There’s got to be something better, and of course there is. Blockchain platforms are sprouting up all over the place, designed to be the backbone of their own virtual world, where people play games or whatever, trade NFTs and cryptocurrency. It’s a wonder they will ever get off the keyboard.

“The metaverse trend offers immense potential to revolutionize our lifestyles and communication, and we’ve seen its development accelerate post-pandemic. But the metaverse is still conceptual and the race has just started,” says Shixing Mao , aka “Discus Fish”, the CEO and Co-founder of Cobo, a Beijing-based crypto currency asset manager and wallet.

Companies like Facebook are investing in the software and hardware to support metaverse virtual displays. The scalability of these virtual worlds have yet to go far on the blockchain outside of a few games or well-known platforms like Decentraland. I’ve never used it. It seems like the Sims. For games, this brings up a whole new segment of crypto for me – GameFi. Yes, I’ve heard of it. No, I don’t invest in it. I think I should start poking around. This is definitely a corner of the metaverse worth checking out.

If this is going to be a thing, how do we invest in the metaverse before the Cylons take it over?

“The best way to invest crypto in the metaverse are by buying NFTs,” says Mao, which everyone reading this knows to mean non-fungible token. An NFT is usually graphic arts, audio or video clips that give investors the chance to own a virtualized asset on the blockchain.

Everyone has heard that Decentraland’s native token Mana hit all time highs shortly after Facebook’s announcement. That was a pure momentum trade. Only the lucky got in on that one. Anyone that bought in on the hype has lost money since. It’s already back down to $3.20 as of Saturday.

Serious investors can buy the Grayscale Decentraland Trust as a metaverse play in that very same MANA token. Can you believe this is a thing now with Grayscale? It’s up over 1,000% since it launched in February. But there’s a catch, you have to be an accredited investor – which requires a $25,000 minimum investment. If you bought on day one of the fund’s launch, you’d now have $275,000 as of this weekend. Does this make you sick? It makes me sick.

How can us plebs get in on the action?

“One thing that’s noteworthy about crypto based metaverse projects is that you can earn tangible resources and assets in the metaverse, which can be exchanged for other digital and real-world goods,” says San Morales, chief operating officer for Myobu, a new GameFi project out of Spain. (Wow, I didn’t know Spain made things anymore.) “It’s the intersection of gaming and finance. You’ve seen it already with several blockchain projects where it is possible to earn a living merely by playing games. Think Axie Infinity (AXS) for example,” he says about the Vietnam-based blockchain game by Sky Mavis where you can make “money” in NFTs, then sell them for fiat.

We are creating parallel universes right now, people.

Myobu started as a community token in June 2021 and is just starting to work on making a game for the metaverse. They plan to roll it out in stages on the blockchain, starting with a fairly simple trading card game, and moving into a full-blown immersive role-playing game in the later stages. The token is available on Uniswap.

The creation of metaverses will serve as a catalyst for the development of blockchain systems oriented towards decentralized governance, decentralized finance and smart contracts in general, thinks Roman Nekrasov, a serial IT-entrepreneur from Russia and co-founder of the ENCRY Foundation.

He has another way for investors to get into the metaverse: just buy the foundation builders.

“Think Ethereum (ETH), Polkadot (DOT), Solana (SOL), Cardano (ADA),” he says. “This is not only about blockchain systems for creating decentralized applications but also about infrastructure-building blockchain projects that are created for seamless transfers between blockchains. In my opinion, Polkadot is among those that are worth mentioning most,” he says. “Polkadot wants to solve a very important task — to ensure interoperability among various blockchains within one platform. The seamless transfers among blockchains will become a necessity one day soon. I think over the next five years, Polkadot…has a bright future.”

Mister Discus Fish agrees.

“The first thing to do is to invest in the infrastructure of the metaverse platforms and ecosystems,” he says. “Typically, the token economy underlying the ecosystem are common investments. The second one is to invest in core NFT assets on a (particular) metaverse platform. It could be something like (gaming) accessories, or clothing for a virtual avatar. The third way is to invest in a social token. Because the social interaction in the metaverse may bring some new social networking apps and create a fans economy, so it’ll be an integral part of the development of the metaverse,” he said.

Social tokens are a type of cryptocurrency that is built around a community, influencer, or brand. They can be part of a metaverse or have nothing to do with it. It’s just another way to diversify your crypto portfolio so you’re not just owning Bitcoin, Ethereum and the classic alts like Filecoin and Litecoin.

“I’d buy AXS for its social aspect,” says Yanpolskiy, who was ranked this year as one of the blockchain influencers to follow by Hackernoon. “What we see there in terms of their community development is insane. They’ve built multi-billion-dollar, player-controlled ecosystems into games now.”

The idea behind the gamification of entire token ecosystems brought Yanpolskiy to make his own play-to-earn gaming guild, CGU.io. “Play to earn: the metaverse is calling” it says on their website with something like a pink flying pig crossed with a ram and a chicken on their home page.  They have their own token – CGU is the ticker – it trades at around $2 and change.

Yanpolskiy claims Crypto Gaming United now has 70,000 members in around 26 countries. In case you want to follow him on Insta, here he is.

I’d rather invest in these than play them. These virtual worlds look like a total time suck. Check out The Sandbox. This Mindcraft looking game has its own token – SAND. It started the year worth $0.03. It’s now priced at $2.7 and there is something like $2 billion invested in this token.

As the teens used to say back in 2018: I can’t even.

“Start buying and developing virtual land and assets,” says Joel Dietz, founder of ArtWallet, and a founding member of Ethereum. “Get involved in a couple 100-times growth potential projects and spread your bets.”

Dietz is behind the Meta Metaverse, a new platform for building metaverses. It started in late October. “We just started issuing our own land sale after intense interest following Dubai blockchain week,” he said about the event which ended October 18.

Cryptocurrency investors of today are likely to be the “masters of the metaverse”. The metaverse now has the potential to take The Sims to a whole new level. We are truly creating parallel systems of existence that will change how we live, how we interact with people across the world, and how we do business – meaning you can probably hire someone in the metaverse.  So you got fired in the new dystopia for wrong thing? Create a parallel universe in the metaverse and earn a living that way. Oh, it’ll happen. This is pre-Star Wars stuff going on here.

Nigel Green, CEO and founder of wealth manager deVere Group, says Facebook will hire a reported 10,000 people in the European Union to develop Zuck’s metaverse on its Horizon World’s platform.

“Facebook’s announcement once again underscores that the metaverse is not being seen by those-in-the-know as an ‘extension’ of the internet…but as its successor,” says Green.

As a side note, while this isn’t exactly all due to the metaverse, it is all due to crypto: Grayscale’s total assets under management is now over $60 billion, which is bigger than State Street’s

STT
Gold ETF (GLD)

GLD
, once the most hotly traded ETF around.  Grayscale didn’t start launching crypto ETFs until around 2017. The SPDR Gold fund has been around since 2004.

“My favorite investment: my own project the Meta Metaverse where you build Metaverses inside a Metaverse. What could be more meta?” says Dietz, half-jokingly. Even though, the metaverse, as an investment, could not be more serious. We all have some research to do.

Disclaimer: The author is the happy owner of Polkadot and Cardano. And, of course, Bitcoin.

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Oil rises as investors focus on OPEC+ decision amid growing Omicron fears

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Oil prices rose on Thursday, recouping the previous day’s losses, as investors adjusted positions ahead of an OPEC+ decision over supply policy, but gains were capped amid fears the Omicron coronavirus variant will hurt fuel demand.

Brent crude futures rose 85 cents, or 1.2%, to $69.72 by 0402 GMT, having eased 0.5% in the previous session.

U.S. West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude futures gained 85 cents, or 1.3%, to $66.42 a barrel, after a 0.9% drop on Wednesday.

“Investors unwound their positions ahead of the OPEC+ decision as oil prices have declined so fast and so much over the past week,” said Tsuyoshi Ueno, senior economist at NLI Research Institute.

Global oil prices have lost more than $10 a barrel since last Thursday, when news of Omicron shook investors.

“Market will be watching closely the producer group’s decision as well as comments from some of key members after the meeting to suggest their future policy,” Ueno said.

The Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries and its allies, together known as OPEC+, will likely decide on Thursday whether to release more oil into the market as previously planned or restrain supply.

Since August, the group has been adding an additional 400,000 barrels per day (bpd) of output to global supply each month, as it gradually winds down record cuts agreed in 2020.

The new variant, though, has complicated the decision-making process, with some observers speculating OPEC+ could pause those additions in January in an attempt to slow supply growth.

“Oil prices climbed as some investors anticipate that OPEC+ will decide to maintain the current supply levels in January to cushion any damage on demand from the Omicron spread,” said Toshitaka Tazawa, an analyst at Fujitomi Securities Co Ltd.

Fears over the impact of the Omicron variant of the coronavirus rose after the first case was reported in the United States, and Japan’s central bank has warned of economic pain as countries respond with tighter containment measures.

U.S. Deputy Energy Secretary David Turk said President Joe Biden’s administration could adjust the timing of its planned release of strategic crude oil stockpiles if global energy prices drop substantially.

Gains in oil markets on Thursday were capped as the U.S. weekly inventory data showed U.S. crude stocks fell less than expected last week, while gasoline and distillate inventories rose much more than expected as demand weakened. [EIA/S]

Crude inventories fell by 910,000 barrels in the week to Nov. 26, the Energy Information Administration (EIA) said, compared with analyst expectations in a Reuters poll for a drop of 1.2 million barrels.

(Reporting by Yuka Obayashi; Editing by Tom Hogue)

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Toronto market hits 7-week low on Omicron uncertainty

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Canada‘s main stock index fell on Wednesday to its lowest level in over seven weeks as the United States reported its first case of the Omicron variant that investors fear could impede economic recovery, with the index giving back its earlier gains.

The Toronto Stock Exchange’s S&P/TSX composite index ended down 195.39 points, or 0.95%, at 20,464.60, its lowest closing level since Oct. 12.

Wall Street also closed lower as the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said the country had detected its first case of the new COVID-19 variant, which is rapidly becoming dominant in South Africa less than four weeks after being detected there and has spread to other countries.

It might take longer than expected for supply chain disruptions to abate, “especially if we have renewed shutdowns in Asia,” said Kevin Headland, senior investment strategist, Manulife Investment Management.

Still, Headland does not expect the new variant to lead to an economic recession or a bear market for stocks in 2022, saying: “Reaction to headline news provides opportunities for those that have a longer-term timeframe to add in the equity markets.”

The TSX will add to its recent record high over the coming year as the domestic economic recovery helps underpin corporate earnings, but gains are expected to slow from 2020’s breakneck pace, a Reuters poll found.

The technology sector fell 2.7%, while energy ended 1.9% lower as oil was unable to sustain an earlier rally. U.S. crude oil futures settled 0.9% lower at $65.57 a barrel

The materials group, which includes precious and base metals miners and fertilizer companies, lost 2.2%.

Financials were a bright spot, advancing 0.4%, helped by gains for Bank of Nova Scotia as some analysts raised their target price on the stock.

Bombardier Inc was among the biggest decliners. Its shares sank 10.4%.

 

(Reporting by Fergal Smith; Additional reporting by Amal S in Bengaluru; Editing by Peter Cooney)

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Canada’s TSX to extend record-setting rally; pace of gains to slow: Reuters poll

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Canada‘s main stock index will add to its recent record high over the coming year as the domestic economic recovery helps underpin corporate earnings, but gains are expected to slow from 2020’s breakneck pace, a Reuters poll found.

The median prediction of 26 portfolio managers and strategists was for the S&P/TSX Composite index to rise 9.1% to 22,540 by the end of 2022.

That’s a move that would eclipse last month’s record high of 21,796.16 and compares with an August forecast of 22,000. It was then expected to edge up to 23,150 by the middle of 2023.

The index had advanced 18.5% since the start of the year, putting it on track for its second biggest gain since 2009.

“We think the economy and markets will continue to progress further into the mid-cycle phase next year,” said Angelo Kourkafas, investment strategist at Edward Jones. “We are past the strongest point of the cycle, but there is plenty of runway ahead, especially from an economic standpoint.”

Canada‘s economy https://www.reuters.com/world/americas/canadian-economy-posts-annualized-gain-54-q3-october-gdp-seen-up-08-2021-11-30 grew at an annualized rate of 5.4% in the third quarter, beating analyst expectations, and growth most likely accelerated in October on a manufacturing rebound.

“Banks can continue to benefit from an improving economy and reducing loan loss provisions and resource companies can benefit from higher commodity prices,” said Colin Cieszynski, chief market strategist at SIA Wealth Management.

Combined, the financial services and resource sectors account for 55% of the Toronto market’s valuation.

Nearly all participants that answered a separate question on the outlook for corporate earnings expected earnings to improve. But the pace of growth could slow.

“We expect a decelerating pace of (earnings) growth,” said Chhad Aul, chief investment officer & head of multi-asset solutions at SLGI Asset Management Inc. “In particular, we expect the recent strong earnings growth in the energy sector to begin to moderate.”

The price of oil, a key driver of energy sector earnings, has tumbled 24% since October, pressured by rising coronavirus cases in Europe and the detection of the possibly vaccine-resistant Omicron variant.

Another risk to the outlook could be a reduction in policy support, say investors.

With inflation climbing, the Bank of Canada https://www.reuters.com/world/americas/bank-canada-signals-it-could-hike-rates-sooner-than-expected-2021-10-27 has signaled it could begin hiking interest rates as soon as April and the Federal Reserve https://www.reuters.com/markets/us/powell-yellen-head-congress-inflation-variant-risks-rise-2021-11-30 is mulling whether to wrap up tapering of bond purchases a few months sooner.

“The key is the pace of both fiscal and monetary policy normalization,” said Ben Jang, a portfolio manager at Nicola Wealth. “This process will likely lead to more volatility in markets, potentially returning to an environment where we will see drawdowns of more than 10%.”

Asked if a correction was likely over the coming six months, nearly all respondents said yes.

 

(Reporting by Fergal Smith; polling by Mumal Rathore and Milounee Purohit; editing by David Evans)

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