Welcome to This Week in the Metaverse, where Fortune rounds up the most interesting news in the world of NFTs, culture, and the metaverse. Email email@example.com with tips.
The metaverse may already need a shakeup, according to EU regulators. While Meta has made its name (literally) on dominating metaverse investment, this could soon become a problem for competition, Bloomberg reported on Thursday.
The European Union antitrust chief, Margrethe Vestager, said at a conference this week that regulators are already starting to look at “what healthy competition would look like in the Metaverse,” which means Meta, currently the leader in metaverse investment, could be further scrutinized.
Still, Vestager said that her organization needs to plan and be proactive, as any enforcement or legislation process will be slower than the speed of technological advancement.
“Sometimes we should allow ourselves to be bold, in order to be sure that we are up to the challenge,” she said.
Although Meta has made a big deal about its investments in the metaverse, the emergence of AI and ChatGPT could reportedly be shifting CEO Mark Zuckerberg’s priorities.
DappRadar released its February industry report this week, which showed NFT trading volume skyrocketed 117% month-over-month to $2 billion—the first time it reached that level since May.
The increase in trading volume is a marked contrast from the 31% decrease in sales count, showing that although sales decreased, the price tags for NFTs were higher.
Despite the emerging category of Bitcoin NFTs, or Ordinals, the Ethereum blockchain was still the most popular for NFT transactions, with $1.8 billion in trading volume.
Although much has been said about upstart NFT marketplace Blur’s moves to take on OpenSea, the latter marketplace still dominated in February in terms of unique traders, with 317,000—227% more than Blur. Yet, Blur had the upper hand on trading volume with $1.3 billion in February, which beat out OpenSea’s $587 million.
McLaren teamed up with creators of the Tezos blockchain for a series of NFTs tied to Formula 1. During each race of the season, McLaren fans will be able to mint one of the NFTs, beginning with the March 5 competition in Bahrain. Those who collect them all will be eligible for one of three awards, including a 2024 race weekend experience for themselves and one guest, a virtual meeting with McLaren Racing CEO Zak Brown, or a physical poster signed by a McLaren Formula 1 Team driver.
Rapper and metaverse enthusiast Snoop Dogg has teamed up with tech entrepreneur Sam Jones to launch Shiller, a Web3 live broadcast platform. The app lets creators token-gate video and audio, sell e-commerce products, and promote their own NFTs, while fans can tip and give gifts to their favorite creators. The app is set for release in April.
Taco Bell married its first couple in the metaverse. The restaurant chain opened a competition last year for couples willing to participate in a wedding in Decentraland, and selected one couple from San Francisco, Sheel Mohnot and Amruta Godbole, out of the 300 who applied. The wedding took place in a virtual world but included some IRL traditions to reflect the couple's Indian heritage, including a baraat where the groom Mohnot was led to the venue on an adorned digital elephant.
Learn how to navigate and strengthen trust in your business with The Trust Factor, a weekly newsletter examining what leaders need to succeed. Sign up here.