Vitalik Buterin, a co-founder of the world’s largest smart contract platform Ethereum, has criticized “existing corporate attempts to intentionally create the metaverse,” in a series of Sunday tweets primarily aimed at Mark Zuckerberg’s Meta Platforms.
Facebook’s pivot towards the technology under the Meta Platforms rebranding is destined to “misfire” said Buterin, due to a lack of understanding of metaverse technology. That misfire may already be playing out, given Meta’s recent market performance.
As first movers in the metaverse industry, play-to-earn (P2E) big-hitters The Sandbox, Decentraland, and Axie Infinity have also cratered in value this year, not helped by several harmful hacks and exploits and an intensely volatile wider crypto market.
The hype around the metaverse may have cooled off recently – if the 66% year-to-date fall in Google searches is anything to go by – but the metaverse economy remains a hotspot for venture capital and, increasingly, international governments.
The Shanghai Municipal People’s Government announced in July a $1.4 billion metaverse fund to grow a $52 billion industry by 2025.
Meanwhile, the Dubai government announced its own Metaverse Strategy in the same month, targeting 40,000 virtual jobs in five years under a plan to position the Middle East emirate as a global leader in the sector.
Concerning venture capital, Andreessen Horowitz’s Games Fund One vehicle has recently dedicated $600 million to metaverse projects, while Fortnight developer Epic Games recently secured $2 billion from Sony Group Corporation and The LEGO Group to develop its own metaverse vision.
As a result, while Metaverse-exposed enterprises may be enduring a crisis period in tandem with broader crypto trends, investments continue to flow into the little-understood sector.
In 2021, investment bank Morgan Stanley called the metaverse the next big investment theme. Strategists from the bank believe this alternate conception of reality is amassing important interest from companies like Meta and Microsoft, which are already trying to grasp the metaverse concept.