Digestible news on the latest developments across the fields of Web3, NFTs, blockchain, and metaverse in Greater China and beyond, compiled for you every week by Pandaily.
This week: Beijing announces a two-year plan for metaverse innovation and development, Huobi-backed NFT platform iBox to halt international operations, The Sandbox launches its newest Alpha season, and more.
Beijing Announces Two-Year Plan for Metaverse Innovation and Development
Last Tuesday, the Beijing municipal government announced a two-year (2022-2024) metaverse innovation and development plan, which will require all districts to adhere to its new rules around Web3 innovation. Cointelegraph first reported the story.
- The plan refers to the metaverse as a new generation of information technology that could drive the internet towards Web3, according to Cointelegraph, citing the government announcement.
- The plan will promote the development of metaverse-related industries in Beijing and establish it as a benchmark city for the digital economy.
- The plan also lays out a few priorities, one of them being the consolidation of industry resources, which include think tanks, companies in the fields of cloud computing, artificial intelligence, and blockchain, as well as other entities across the metaverse value chain.
- Another priority is to provide support for the industry on a national and municipal level, as well as encourage leaders in the industry to innovate new technology and business models.
- The plan also calls for the continued development and improvement of digital infrastructure.
- On the content creation side, the Beijing government calls for the establishment and standardization of subsectors within the metaverse industry, as well as the creation of user-generated content platforms and creator communities.
- Lastly, it claims to “strongly support” the development of “safe, stable, and credible digital asset trading services.” (Cointelegraph)
Huobi-Backed NFT Platform iBox to Halt Overseas Operations
Chinese NFT marketplace iBox announced last week that it is planning to shut down its overseas operations. Forkast first reported the story.
- iBox is one of the first NFT platforms supported by Huobi X Center, an incubator program that supports innovative projects in the fields of Web3 and the metaverse.
- In a letter addressed to its international users, the NFT platform said that it is in the process of “orderly liquidation and exit” due to adjustments in the direction of its core business.
- iBox said that starting September 1st, users who bought NFTs from the platform will be reimbursed at the purchase price, and that they should provide screenshots that show their crypto wallet addresses.
- In a separate announcement, Huobi Global wrote:
- Huobi Global had been withdrawing its business from Mainland China since May 2021, and had completely retired the accounts of Mainland Chinese users at 16:00 (UTC) on 31 December, 2021.
- Through this process, Huobi Global also ended its partnership with iBox, completing the shares transfer on January 14, 2022. At this point, Huobi Global does not have any shareholding or business relationship with iBox. (Forkast)
Shanghai Data Exchange Debuts Untradable NFTs
Last week, the Shanghai Data Exchange announced the launch of blockchain-based digital assets, without allowing for secondary trading. Forkast first reported this story.
- The debut occurred despite Beijing’s continued crackdown on crypto, which has eliminated all providers of related services, including offshore exchanges.
- Regional governments are also beginning to look to NFTs and the metaverse as a means to boost the economy, in spite of official warnings against speculation risks associated with virtual assets.
- The batch of digital assets was issued by the Shanghai Data Exchange, along with Chinese footwear maker Warrior, and Bilibilihttps://pandaily.trade/cards/BILI, a video streaming platform popular among Chinese youth. The new NFTs live on the High Energy Chain, a specialized blockchain developed by Bilibilihttps://pandaily.trade/cards/BILI.
- The tokens are distributed for free, and each item can be exchanged for a pair of physical shoes, according to an official press release.
- Established in November 2021, the Shanghai Data Exchange is a state-owned institution that offers companies trading data and related services. (Forkast)
The Sandbox Launches Newest Alpha Season
The Sandbox, a metaverse platform backed by Hong Kong-based venture capital firm Animoca Brands, is launching Alpha Season 3 for its would-be open metaverse which connects various Lego-like virtual worlds. Venture Beat first reported the story.
- The blockchain-based virtual universe has over 90 different experiences and 100 hours of gameplay available for the new season, according to Sebastien Borget, the company’s Chief Operating Officer.
- The platform currently has four million users who have accessed its wallets, up from two million in March when the company launched Alpha Season 2, the COO noted, adding that virtual land ownership also increased, with close to 22,000 people paying decent money for virtual real estate.
- Borget is optimistic about the company’s growth momentum as it works towards building a decentralized virtual metaverse. However, it remains to be seen whether the metaverse concept will be accepted by mainstream users.
- In The Sandbox metaverse, users can create avatars, buy skins, and participate in music, art, architecture, gaming, and fashion-related activities.
- The company expects Alpha Season 3 to surpass draw over 350,000 active users. Ubisoft will make its debut in Season 3. DJ Steve Aoki will also participate as an avatar. (Venture Beat)
Singapore Intensifies Scrutiny of Crypto-Related Firms
Singapore is stepping up its scrutiny of cryptocurrency-related firms in the city state ahead of planned regulatory changes. Bloomberg first reported the story.
- The Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS), the country’s central bank, has sent out a questionnaire to selected applicants and holders of its digital-payments license seeking detailed information about their business activity and holdings.
- The questionnaires were sent out last month, and recipients were expected to reply promptly.
- The regulators also inquired about their top tokens owned and top lending and borrowing counterparts, in addition to checking with local crypto exchanges about the processes they follow after getting their license to understand related risks.
- The news comes ahead of planned changes to crypto regulation in the city state, where authorities are encouraging innovation and development of the Web3 ecosystem on the one hand, and limiting speculation risks and crypto contagion on the other.
- “Licensees and applicants are expected to notify MAS of any events that materially impede or impair the operations of the entity, including any matter which may affect its solvency or ability to meet its financial, statutory, contractual or other obligations,” an MAS spokesperson told Bloomberg. (Bloomberg)
Meta Rolls Out New Metaverse ID System
Last week, Meta announced that it has officially rolled out what it is calling Meta Accounts and Meta Horizon Profiles, a new log in system for the company’s VR headsets that will be used in place of personal social media accounts such as Facebook and Instagram. TechCrunch first reported the story.
- Both old and new users of Oculus, Meta’s VR devices, will be required to create new Meta accounts to log in and access the metaverse. The company developed the new log in system in response to growing privacy concerns surrounding personal social media accounts.
- At the moment, the company still allows users to create a Meta account using Facebook or Instagram, according to a spokesperson.
- While users are being asked migrate from their previous social media accounts, they will still be able to access all of their “previous VR purchases and downloads” once the transfer is complete, according to the company.
- The firm also claims that those who choose to connect their Meta-run social media accounts will have access to better experiences in the metaverse, such as livestream sharing, messaging, and being able to gain followers faster.
- In addition to the Meta account, a “Meta Horizon Profile” will replace the once-used Oculus account. The profile will be the home for all things avatar-based and be considered the social media for the metaverse. (TechCrunch)