I've been enjoying the wonders of the French Alps, hence a break in updates from the worlds of Web3 and the Metaverse.
But there is no time to wait in the emerging digital realm, so here are the stories that I've been engrossed by since being back in the damp Welsh Marches
Ice Age beasts recreated for the metaverse
Who knew Paleoart was a thing?!
Well, according to Dr. Emily Lindsey, Assistant Curator at La Brea Tar Pits:
"Paleoart can be very influential in how the public, and even scientists, understand fossil life"
Dr Lindsey was part of a team researching the impact of AR in museums.
However, when they went looking, they couldn't find any examples of Ice Age animals.
So they made their own! 🤓
Dr. Matt Davis and colleagues at the Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County and La Brea Tar Pits collaborated with researchers and designers at the University of Southern California (USC) to create more than a dozen new, scientifically accurate virtual models of Ice Age animals, published recently in Palaeontologia Electronica.
“The innovation of this approach is that it allows us to create scientifically accurate artwork for the metaverse without overcommitting to details where we still lack good fossil evidence.”
Dr. William Swartout, Chief Technology Officer at the USC Institute for Creative Technologies
And better still? They are already available to use on Snapchat's AR
My takeaway? If we want to educate people using the Metaverse, it would seem to make sense to ensure we build things accurately. It's great to see academics offering examples of best practise.
AP cancels NFT sale of a migrant boat photo
The Associated Press is one of the world's most respected news organisations. But with much of its heritage firmly in the old world of print media, it was surprising to me that the AP had launched the AP Photography NFT Marketplace.
Even more surprising was the news that they had tweeted to promote the sale of a news image featuring migrants in a rigid inflatable boat.
The AP marketplace is provided by partners Xooa, which is based in Denver, Colorado. At the time of writing, the AP photography NFT site seems to have fewer than 20 images accessible to buy as NFTs, with subject matter ranging from landscapes of buildings to forest fires.
Clearly, news organisations must adapt to ensure they remain commercially viable. But what many legacy news organisations misunderstand is that their remaining brand value is almost entirely dependent on championing their strong journalistic heritage and ethical approach. These are strengths that challenger digital news brands struggle to develop quickly.
Quick, low-cost commercial experiments like this NFT fail weaken the AP brand and will do nothing meaningful to their income. This type of smal-scale entrepreneurial activity is best left to startups. If AP want to build a new commercial approach, it will need to be at scale, and have a worked-through, strategic plan that builds on its heritage.
The lesson? Don't risk diluting the reputation of a strong, established brand with a poorly executed, tiny commercial experiment. If the AP wants to get into Web3, it needs to be the best Web3 news operation in the world. Otherwise, forget it.
White Rabbit show kicks off new Web3 crowdfunding platform
Now THAT is a very cool trailer!
It's the promo for the first show to drop on the brand new Web3 video platform Shibuya.
The brainchild of former Hollywood VFX artist pplpleasr, Shibuya is:
a web 3 experiment where long-form content is free to watch, but monetized on the blockchain to allow viewer participation on the creative process and also shared ownership
And this is not her first rodeo. pplpleasr has already successfully raised millions of dollars from selling NFTs to fund her documentary about @Vitalik: ‘Ethereum: The Infinite Garden’.
The idea is that people buy "Producer Passes" which are NFTs that offer ownership in upcoming shows.
Those shows are effectively individual DAOs, and the producers get to vote on editorial decisions during production.
This sounds familiar to those already up to speed with Mila Kunis' Stoner Cat animation project.
But for me, this project looks like a big step up from there. The art is incredible, and the subject matter in the White Rabbit Pilot on their website is completely aligned with the crypto community.
pplpleasr has written a great medium post that breaks down their approach. Check it out - it's inspiring stuff!
My big takeaway? The combination of Hollywood talent and genuine Web3 community focus is a potent one. Projects like this are highly likely to be successful as they inherently understand the craft of making stunning content PLUS the needs and wants of their customers.