Melania Trump, New York Stock Exchange join the big race
Arun Kumar Shrivastav
A harsh critic of cryptocurrencies is becoming a part of it today! In 2019, US President Donald Trump had said that he was not a fan of bitcoin and asked Facebook to seek a Banking Charter if it wanted its digital currency Libra to work in the US. On President’s Day on February 21, former first lady Melania Trump would launch POTUS NFT Collection to commemorate some of the iconic moments of her husband’s presidency. There would be 10,000 items to be grabbed whose initial price is $50 a piece.
Last month, Melania reportedly paid $170,000 for Melania’s Visions NFT collection to buy the collection herself from the auction she held. Because of a price-crash of digital coins in recent weeks, the auction did not fetch high prices for these digital artworks and personal collectibles. However, Mrs. Melania has not let the initiative slip out of her hands. By buying the NFT collection, she holds the rights to sell them at higher prices later on.
While Donald Trump had dismissed bitcoin and Libra in his 2019 rebuke, POTUS NFT Collection that Melania launches today is powered by Solana, one of the smartest and fastest blockchain networks around, and its native coin SOL.
If Donald Trump has given his consent to his wife to go ahead with the NFT series that leverages 10,000 iconic moments of Trump’s presidency, he is not the only high-profile convert to cryptocurrency and blockchain.
Last week, the world’s largest stock exchange by market cap, New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) filed an NYSE trademark with the US Patent and Trademark Office. The stock exchange with over $30 trillion in market cap said it wanted to secure the trademark to run a cryptocurrency exchange and NFT marketplace. NYSE may not launch either of these two ventures immediately but the move preempts any attempt by a new product in the metaverse to use NYSE as a trademark or benefit from the brand recognition it enjoys. NYSE is one of the several high-profile non-tech companies that have taken a plunge into the metaverse in the past few weeks.
For example, McDonald’s has filed 12 trademarks for its planned metaverse ventures. It intends to set up virtual restaurants and cafes where people active in metaverse can eat out and buy their favourite burgers and beverages as part of the larger gaming experience. To pay for these virtual products and services, McDonald’s will launch its digital coin which will interact with the larger cryptocurrency ecosystem to be part of it.
Another big name that has filed for the trademark to launch its products in the virtual world is Victoria’s Secret, the famous US lingerie maker. It intends to market its range of bras, panties, swimsuits, and other products to be used in the virtual world.
What does this mean to a common reader? Well, metaverse was supposed to be a digital environment where people may be seen in their digital avatars – so far a digital caricature with some twists. But as the idea of metaverse evolves0, a million new business ideas are emerging on the scene. Gaming is at the core of it and metaverse is sure to change it as nothing else did so far. As per an estimate, the number of gamers worldwide is over 2.7 billion while the industry is worth over $150 billion.
Metaverse is, of course, a digital environment. But here the entry is restricted to only those who pay in digital coins. When digital coins come into play, the supporting network is a blockchain that makes it virtually impossible for anyone to break in or snoop. So, here you are!
If you want to play a game, you need to use the digital coin of the platform to get into its network and enjoy the games or other services such as banking services available there. These networks may have links to other networks like we have on an internet website. Once a player is inside a network, he can buy and wear a few Victoria Secret’s lingerie pieces, go to McDonald’s restaurants and buy a few burgers or coffees, play a game or two on one or other platforms, and so on. At the end of the day, he may go to the NYSE NFT marketplace or some other similar entity and sell the lingerie items or McDonald’s snacks as NFT. So, this is how non-tech companies are leveraging their brands to position their business in the metaverse.
Big tech companies are also bullish on metaverse. After posting a record Q4 earnings and revenue that stood close to $130 billion and $35 billion respectively, Apple CEO Tom Cook admitted in a call with investors that his company was working on business plans for the metaverse. He said that there is already 14,000 augmented reality (AR) apps on Apple Play Store. The company now plans to take this number to 50,000. Besides, it’s believed that the company will launch a headset for an enhanced metaverse experience.
Microsoft and Google are also planning to introduce headsets and smart glasses for the metaverse. Facebook has already changed its name into Meta with a grand business plan for the emerging metaverse.
Twitter founder Jack Dorsey has said goodbye to Twitter to focus on his payments platform Square which is now rebranded as Block to focus on digital assets and metaverse.
And, to support it all, the world’s second-largest chipmaker, Intel last week announced that it would start shipment of its blockchain accelerators (processing chips) this year. And, it would be 1000x faster than its nearest rival. Block is one of the first clients of Intel’s blockchain accelerator. (IPA Service)