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black-friday-goat-metaverse

GOAT carves out Spaces in the metaverse

black-friday-goat-metaverse
GOAT metaverse // Courtesy of GOAT

GOAT carves out Spaces in the metaverse

The Future. GOAT is taking shopping closer to the metaverse with its Black Friday opening of “Spaces” — an immersive world for users to show off their product wish lists. While still (charmingly) rudimentary, GOAT could build out this feature to create user-specific digital closets that house products for avatars, with the hope that users will buy them IRL one day.

Community curation
On Black Friday, digital resale market GOAT helped users put their tastes front and center.

  • GOAT launched “Spaces” — immersive, digital “mood board-like worlds.”
  • There are three different themes to choose from: Convenience Store, Outlandish Garden, and Gothic Cathedral.
  • Users are able to fill the spaces with their wish list of items — like a more interactive Pinterest board — that other users can then explore.

GOAT saw the boards as a way to both build community and create longtime users. Most people aren’t going to buy a thousand-dollar pair of sneakers right away, but putting it on the board gives them a reason to come back and aspire to buy them.

spotify-greenroom-music-social

Spotify wants to remix into a social platform

spotify-greenroom-music-social
Spotify Greenroom // Illustration by Kate Walker

Spotify wants to remix into a social platform

The Future. As live audio and podcasting become more popular, Spotify is aggressively investing in new formats to become the king of social audio. With few rivals to speak of that are as varied as Spotify, the company could transform itself from a (mostly) individual-experience platform to one that becomes a bona fide community destination.

Talk of the town
For Spotify, music was just the beginning.

  • It moved into podcast production and distribution, which is already driving immense growth by empowering users to start their own shows and platforming big names like Joe Rogan and Ava DuVernay.
  • It opened up a social-audio feature called Greenroom in order to compete with Clubhouse and Twitter Spaces.
  • It’s moving into audiobooks with its acquisition of Findaway.

And its advertising game in the audio space is second only to traditional radio, which still pulls in $30 billion in revenue… revenue that CEO Daniel Ek says “needs to shift online.” With few competitors in the ad-supported audio space, Spotify will likely absorb that revenue in the coming years to fund its expansion.

Shop Spotify
Spotify wants to become the TikTok of YouTube or audio, the central hub for all audio creation, distribution, and community, powered by a state-of-the-art recommendation algorithm. And it wants to make sure that creators have all the tools they need to understand their audience. Ideally, the more data transparency creators have, the more they’ll want to create, driving engagement.

parag-argrawal-twitter-ceo-jack-dorsey

Jack Dorsey leaves Twitter roost

parag-argrawal-twitter-ceo-jack-dorsey
Jack Dorsey // // Illustration by Kate Walker

Jack Dorsey leaves Twitter roost

The Future. Twitter co-founder Jack Dorsey stepped down as CEO yesterday, installing CTO Parag Argrawal in the top position. While Dorsey will inevitably focus his energies (and Bitcoin obsession) on Square full time, his recent projects (a push into crypto and a bid to create a decentralized platform with Bluesky) may take more of a backseat in his absence.

Top bird
In a surprise move, Jack Dorsey is leaving the post he’s most known for, CEO of Twitter.

  • Yesterday, Dorsey stepped down from his role as CEO of the social media giant, effective immediately.
  • Dorsey will stay on as a member of the board until sometime next year.

CTO Parag Argrawal (an engineer by trade who has been at Twitter for over a decade and was a key driver behind its recent audience growth) has been named the new CEO.

When the news first broke, Twitter’s stock jumped more than 10%… but actually ended the day down by almost 3% — a Wall Street story as complicated as Dorsey himself.

Taking flight
Interestingly, Dorsey’s time as CEO of Twitter has been chock full of other people kicking him off or trying to kick him off from the top leadership role. After co-founding the company and taking the top role in 2006, he was pushed out only two years later… and then returned again as CEO in 2015. Then early last year, Dorsey fought off activist investor Elliott Management, which tried to push him out because he’s also the CEO of Square.

Speaking of Square, Dorsey is still CEO of the payments company, which is worth twice as much as Twitter. So, yeah, Dorsey has his hands plenty full.

tidal-direct-artist-payment-distrokid-thefutureparty

Tidal trickles down direct-artist payments

tidal-direct-artist-payment-distrokid-thefutureparty

Tidal trickles down direct-artist payments

The Future. Tidal plans to roll out a feature that sets aside 10% of subscription revenue for artists that each subscriber listens to the most. That means that fans are directly giving part of their subscription payment to the artists they love — no matter how big or small. The feature could be a major boon to independent artists with a cult following, who typically must rely on touring to pay the bills.

Dollar distribution
Artists are about to make a little more money on Tidal.

  • The streaming service partnered with independent music distributor DistroKid to offer direct payments to artists on the platform.
  • Instead of just receiving a fraction of cents per stream, Tidal will pay up to 10% (about $2) of a user’s monthly subscription fee to the artist they listen to the most that month.
  • The payout percentage decreases if you subscribe through Apple or Google, which takes a cut before Tidal collects revenue.
  • The payouts only apply to subscribers of Tidal’s HiFi Plus plan, which costs $19.99 per month.

After striking deals with over 100 labels, Tidal plans to roll out the feature on the platform next January.

Connect the dots
Tidal’s “fan-centered royalties program” is an example of a user-centric payment system (UCPS), which is also used by streamers such as Deezer and SoundCloud. This model rewards artists for being a “favorite artist” of users while letting users know that they’re supporting artists they listen to the most.

Meanwhile, major platforms like Apple Music and Spotify pay what’s called “pro-rata” — a percentage of a pool of money based on total streams overall. That model pays artists about $0.0038 per stream… while a UCPS pays at least $0.01 per stream.

That extra money adds up… especially when an independent artist needs 283,684 Spotify streams per month to pay a monthly rent of $1,078 (the U.S. median). Now imagine how many streams they need to pay the rent in L.A.

barbados-british-embassy-metaverse-thefutureparty

Barbados to build an embassy in the metaverse

barbados-british-embassy-metaverse-thefutureparty
Virtual Barbados // Illustration by Kate Walker

Barbados to build an embassy in the metaverse

The Future. Crypto-friendly Barbados is planning on establishing a digital embassy within the (not here yet) metaverse as early as January. The Caribbean island is officially the first country to recognize digital real estate as land that can be claimed… which is sure to inspire other countries to gobble up land in digital worlds as a way to exert power over the coming virtual economy.

Sovereign on the server
Soon enough, you can become a citizen in the metaverse.

  • The Caribbean country of Barbados is planning to establish an embassy within the coming metaverse.
  • The Barbadian Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade is working with crypto-company Decentraland to establish the digital embassy.
  • It’s also working with Somnium Space, SuperWorld, and “other metaverse companies” on the project, which is set to launch in January.
  • The embassy will comply with international law and the Vienna Convention.

So what will this consortium of companies actually be doing?

  • Identifying and purchasing land.
  • Architecting the first virtual embassy and potentially future consulates.
  • Developing facilities to provide services such as “e-visas.”
  • Constructing an avatar “teleporter” so that users can travel between the embassies and the sovereign (digital) land of Barbados.
bitcoin-ar-game-metaverse-niantic

Niantic gamifies Bitcoin

bitcoin-ar-game-metaverse-niantic
Courtesy of Niantic

Niantic gamifies Bitcoin

The Future. Software developer Niantic unveiled a new AR game that allows players to “literally” mine for Bitcoin. It’s another step in Niantic’s overarching plan to build a metaverse that sits on top of the real world… and it just may attract a wide swath of users who would otherwise hesitate before creating an identity inside a digital world.

Pickaxe player
Niantic, the creator of the super successful Pokémon Go, is rolling out a play-to-earn game in augmented reality.

  • Fold AR (created in partnership with financial company Fold) tasks users with finding cubes of binary code in an AR metaverse.
  • Users then have to repeatedly tap the cubes until they reveal a prize.
  • The game mimics the metaphor of “mining” for Bitcoin, even spawning a new cube at the same rate as real Bitcoin mining.
  • The Bitcoin prizes are rewarded in the denomination of Satoshis, which are currently worth about 1/20th of a penny.

Eventually, Niantic would like to roll out a feature that would allow users to leave cubes behind for other friends to find, as well as some sort of NFT system (because, of course).

“Real-world metaverse”
Niantic’s goal for the game is not for people to really make money (that’s a nice byproduct though), but instead to “make a virtual currency feel real.” It helps sell the idea that digital revolutions such as AR, crypto, NFTs, etc., are actual tangible concepts that the average person can engage with.

It’s all part of Niantic’s larger plan to create a “real-world metaverse,” which the company just raised $300 million to make happen (valuing it at $9 billion). It plans on using that funding to expand its Lightship AR Developer Kit (ARDK), which is already being used by companies like Coachella, Universal Pictures, SoftBank, and Warner Music Group.

Roblox Builds Metaverse with Educational Video Games in Schools_ The Future Party

Roblox builds an education curriculum

Roblox Builds Metaverse with Educational Video Games in Schools_ The Future Party
Roblox // Courtesy of Filament Games

Roblox builds an education curriculum

The Future. Roblox invested $10 million in three educational games — the company’s first foray into non-entertainment content for the platform. The move is meant to help set Roblox up as a metaverse where users can play, work, and do everything in between in a digital environment. Soon enough, virtual classes may take place on Roblox instead of video platforms like Zoom… and become a lot more interactive.

Game time is in session
Roblox wants to go where the majority of its users spend the majority of their day: school.

  • Roblox announced that it has invested $10 million to develop three educational games aimed at middle-school, high-school, and college students.
  • One of the games teaches robotics, a second is centered around space exploration, and a third explores concepts such as computer science, biomedical science, and engineering.
  • The games were developed in partnership with education nonprofits such as Boston’s Museum of Science and education-focused game studios.

Unlike the typical Roblox games, they won’t offer any virtual goods for sale.

The investment is the first time that Roblox — the largest U.S. video-game company — has invested directly in developing games for its own platform. And with Roblox bandied about as a precursor to the metaverse, the company probably wants to show that its platform can be used for more than just entertainment.

Quentin Tarantino Sued by Miramax for Making ‘Pulp Fiction’ NFTs_The Future Party

Miramax is trying to shoot down Tarantino’s ‘Pulp Fiction’ NFT plans

Quentin Tarantino Sued by Miramax for Making ‘Pulp Fiction’ NFTs_The Future Party
'Pulp Fiction' NFTs // Illustration by Kate Walker

Miramax trying to shoot down Tarantino’s Pulp Fiction NFT plans

The Future. Quentin Tarantino is planning on auctioning seven scenes from his seminal work, Pulp Fiction, as NFTs… but Miramax, the production company behind the film, is trying to stop the sale in its tracks. With both sides battling over the definition of “reserved rights,” the legal showdown may beg the ultimate web3 question: “Who owns art, the creator or the sponsor?”

Cinema squeeze
Tarantino’s NFT plans were hit with a dramatic twist.

  • Refresher: Quentin Tarantino announced that he is auctioning seven previously unreleased scenes from the script of Pulp Fiction as NFTs.
    • They would also include new audio commentary from Tarantino (yes, we would like one of these NFTs).
  • But Miramax, which is co-owned by ViacomCBS and BeIN Media Group, doesn’t like that idea — it filed a lawsuit in California alleging copyright infringement and breach of contract.

Miramax says that it’s launching its own NFT offerings centered around the company’s content library, and Tarantino’s move could “devalue” those plans.

Whose rights are they anyway?
Tarantino’s camp says that the filmmaker is well within his rights to offer the NFTs because his contract for Pulp Fiction let him retain “reserved rights” to the IP, including “soundtrack album, music publishing, live performance, print publication, interactive media, theatrical and television sequel and remake rights, and television series and spinoff rights.” An NFT has to fall into one of those categories.

Of course, Miramax sees Tarantino’s auction as a test case, which, if successful, could open the floodgates for countless creators with reserved rights offering their own NFTs to Miramax titles. That’s the last thing the production company wants when it hopes to profit off NFTs themselves.

Disney Pursues ESPN Sports Betting Deal to Profit from Gambling_ The Future Party

Disney to roll the dice on sports betting

Disney Pursues ESPN Sports Betting Deal to Profit from Gambling_ The Future Party
Disney + ESPN // Illustration by Kate Walker

Disney to roll the dice on sports betting

The Future. Disney is planning on getting in on the now-legal sports-betting market, hoping to conjure up a new revenue stream. Expect ESPN+ to add an in-app sports-betting feature shortly in order to woo subscribers and make up for losses from cable cord-cutting.

Magic bets
It’s official: Disney wants to place its bets on sports betting.

  • While the company initially said that it would probably avoid cashing in on the trend, Disney CEO Bob Chapek said on an earnings call that it plans on getting in on the sports gambling craze.
  • The Mouse House plans on using ESPN as its “entry point” into the space.
  • It’s talking with betting operators like DraftKings (which it owns a stake in), BetGM, and Caesars about a possible partnership.

Gamblin’ Goofy
Originally, Disney was going to avoid sports betting to avoid tarnishing its clean family image. But a few things have changed…

  • After the Supreme Court ruled sports betting legal in 2018, every major sports league got on board with the plan.
  • The “gamification” of everything has turned the idea of sports betting into just another video game, like Fortnite (jury’s still out if this is a good thing).

But still, Chapek knows that some may worry about gambling harming Disney’s clean “image,” to which he hedged concerns with: “We have done substantial research in terms of the impact […] and what we’re finding is that there is very significant insulation. It actually strengthens the brand of ESPN when you have a betting component, and it has no impact on the Disney brand.”

 

The potential revenue must be fantastic.

Crypto DAO Group Krause House Raises Money in Tokens to Buy NBA Team

The Krause House wants to NFT its way to owning a pro basketball team

Crypto DAO Group Krause House Raises Money in Tokens to Buy NBA Team
Courtesy of The Krause House

The Krause House wants to NFT its way to owning a pro basketball team

The Future. A decentralized autonomous organization (DAO) named The Krause House has ambitions to acquire an NBA team by selling tokens to the community. While the plan may seem far-fetched, the NBA is the first professional sports organization to embrace crypto (and find success doing it)… and it may only be a matter of time until the teams themselves are up for sale on the blockchain.

Crypto court
Welcome to the evolution of fantasy sports.

  • A DAO named The Krause House wants to buy an NBA team using crypto raised through the sell-off of community tokens (which will be available starting Friday).
  • If purchased, the NBA team (which would probably cost billions) would be collectively run by The Krause’s House’s 1,200 members.
    • The membership possibly includes former NBA players and current NBA agents.
  • They would have a say in every aspect of the team, including hiring decisions and uniform designs.

The founder of The Krause House, Flex Chapman, said the plan is “the purest form of win-win that a league like the NBA can have, which has so much power and has done all the right things. This is that way to level up where people can actually participate in the league that they loved for decades.”