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What is the metaverse, and what can we do there?

What will it take for the metaverse to live up to its potential? (Shutterstock)You’ve likely heard recently how the metaverse will usher in a new era of digital connectivity, virtual reality (VR) experiences and e-commerce. Tech companies are betting big on it: Microsoft’s massive US$68.7 billion acquisition of game developing giant Activision Blizzard...

Cryptocurrency price collapse offers hope for slowing climate change – here's how

The price of bitcoin has tumbled. WindAwake/ShutterstockCryptocurrencies like bitcoin were meant to be used as digital cash. Instead, they’ve become popular as speculative investments. As well as being resource-intensive and inherently wasteful, cryptocurrencies are also incredibly volatile. Prices for the largest cryptocurrencies, bitcoin and ethereum,...

Curious Kids: what are NFTs – and why are they so expensive?

shutterstock What is the purpose of making NFTs and what makes some of them so costly? – Tanvi, aged 16, Delhi, India An NFT is a technology that proves who the owner of a digital object is. This digital object could be a song, a picture, a video, a tweet – or even a piece of digital land in an online game or virtual world. Recently, pieces of digital...

Can you truly own anything in the metaverse? A law professor explains how blockchains and NFTs don't protect virtual property

In 2021, an investment firm bought 2,000 acres of real estate for about US$4 million. Normally this would not make headlines, but in this case the land was virtual. It existed only in a metaverse platform called The Sandbox. By buying 792 non-fungible tokens on the Ethereum blockchain, the firm then owned the equivalent of 1,200 city blocks. But...

Behind the crypto hype is an ideology of social change

For some, promoting cryptocurrencies is political activism. Vasil Dimitrov/E+ via Getty ImagesAds for blockchain, NFTs and cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin seem to be everywhere. Crypto technologies are being promoted as a replacement for banks; a new way to buy art; the next big investment opportunity, and an essential part of the metaverse. To many,...

NFTs: one year after Beeple sale, non-fungible tokens have become mainstream

Beeple's NFT art sale propelled NFTs into the public consciousness. mundissima / ShutterstockOne year ago, an artwork was sold for US$69 million (£52.6 million) by the prestigious auction house Christie’s. This was no lost Matisse or rarely seen Van Gogh. Instead, it was a composite collection of digital art by the then relatively unknown artist Beeple....

Super Bowl ads turn up the volume on cryptocurrency buzz: 6 essential reads about digital money and the promise of blockchain

Super Bowl 2022 was dubbed Crypto Bowl even before the game was played because of the advertising blitz cryptocurrency companies unleashed during the annual televised spectacle. The ads, featuring a bevy of celebrities and gimmicks, aimed to convince viewers that cryptocurrencies are the wave of the future. Preying on FOMO – that is, the fear of...

NFTs: WWF tried raising money with digital art but backtracked – environmental charities should follow suit

GGG999/ShutterstockMost online images are just a right-click away from being in someone’s personal collection. They’re free, pretty much. So it’s tough for charities to fundraise with them. That is, until 2017 when non-fungible tokens, or NFTs, came along. Unlike regular pieces of digital media, NFTs can’t be so easily copied. And for as long as they...

Cryptocurrency, NFTs and the metaverse threaten an environmental nightmare – here’s how to avoid it

Cryptocurrency's environmental impact is raising concerns. Voytek Pavlik/WikimediaAs concerns rise and hearings are held in the US about the cryptocurrency industry’s effect on the environment, it’s time to address blockchain’s poor sustainability record. The first port of call should be changing how transactions on the blockchain operate – a move which...

Why are people calling Bitcoin a religion?

Some Bitcoin evangelists see the currency as an answer to problems that plague society. mustafa akman/iStock via Getty ImagesRead enough about Bitcoin, and you’ll inevitably come across people who refer to the cryptocurrency as a religion. Bloomberg’s Lorcan Roche Kelly called Bitcoin “the first true religion of the 21st century.” Bitcoin promoter...

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