This week in the metaverse: A new Bored Ape game, memecoin-themed NFTs, and a possible virtual bar from the makers of Absolut Vodka
Welcome to This Week in the Metaverse, where Fortune rounds up the most interesting news in the world of NFTs, culture, and virtual worlds. Email email@example.com with tips.
Bored Ape Yacht Club, Mutant Ape Yacht Club, and Bored Ape Kennel Club topped the charts on the NFT marketplace OpenSea this week as creator Yuga Labs announced a new development for its NFT ecosystem.
The company, which also owns the NFT collections CryptoPunks and Meebits, announced a free mint of “sewer passes” for existing BAYC and MAYC holders that gives them access to Dookey Dash, a game set to launch on Jan. 18. The new game comes after the company’s beta launch of its own metaverse, Otherside, last year.
BONKz, a Solana NFT project tied to a popular meme coin, sold out 15,000 digital collectibles this week in just a few hours. The NFTs were originally listed for 16.25 million BONK tokens a piece, about $14.81 as of Friday, but were soon selling for an average price of 13 Solana (SOL), or about $216.06, on NFT marketplace Magic Eden.
Attention-grabbing new developments like Yuga Labs’ sewer pass and the BONKz NFTs are almost always a boon for the NFT industry as a whole, but because of the market downturn, crypto-related companies had much less funding available to develop these sorts of projects last year.
In 2022, the amount crypto companies raised decreased 42% compared with 2021, according to a report from CoinGecko. Crypto companies raised $21.26 billion in 2022 after getting $37.06 billion in 2021, according to CoinGecko.
Although a year-over-year decrease isn’t surprising because of the outsized attention crypto enjoyed in 2021, the CoinGecko report does illustrate the larger effects of the latest Crypto Winter. One bright spot: The $21 billion raised by crypto companies this year outpaced funding numbers from before 2021, which points to massive growth over the five years CoinGecko captured in its report.
In other news:
The Absolut Company, which produces Malibu rum and Absolut Vodka, filed a trademark application that would give it the right to use its brand in NFTs and the metaverse. Specifically, the company said it would like its brand secured for virtual alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages, as well as food, clothing, and footwear. The trademark application also opens the possibility that Absolut will release NFTs or a virtual bar/restaurant offering digital food and beverages or real-life home delivery, according to trademark attorney Mike Kondoudis.
Movie subscription service MoviePass said this week it had raised an undisclosed amount of financing from major Web3 investor Animoca Brands. The company, which went viral in 2017 for letting customers watch unlimited movies in theaters for $9.95 a month, went bankrupt in 2020. The new funding will be used in part to implement the company’s Web3 strategy, including virtual reality cinema experiences and using technology to drive traffic to theaters.
Club América, Mexico’s most successful and popular soccer teams, said this week that it would launch a crypto fan token ($AME) in partnership with blockchain company Chiliz. The token will be available for purchase on Socios.com’s fan engagement and rewards app, and it will give buyers unique discounts and promotions, VIP tickets, and the chance to vote on polls to make fan-related decisions.
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