Boson Protocol seeks to blend physical and digital marketplaces in the Metaverse

Boson Protocol is a decentralized commerce protocol that seeks to enable the sale of physical goods, services and experiences in the Metaverse as nonfungible tokens (NFTs), and hopes to provide an infrastructure layer for exchanging assets of non-monetary value. For example, an NFT of a pair of sneakers bought using the Boson Protocol in the Metaverse would then be redeemable for that physical pair of sneakers in the real world, and vice versa. 

Ahead of the launch of its first Metaverse commerce experience in Decentraland, called Boson Portal, Cointelegraph spoke with Justin Banon, co-founder of Boson Protocol, to learn more about the company’s long-term vision and its commerce model:

“Now it’s normal for humans to have a digital shadow, such as a Linkedin or Twitter profile. And within the next couple of years, it will also be normal for physical and fashion items to have a digital twin.”

This notion of “twinning,” or that there is a digital NFT representation of every physical object or service, is central to Boson Protocol’s goal of being “a ubiquitous bridge between the physical and the digital,” according to Banon.

That’s why Boson Protocol has built Boson Portal to be a space, similar to a virtual mall, for Decentraland users to browse virtual items in the Metaverse and then potentially receive the physical item on their doorstep.

The Portal is also a gamified space. Banon described it as an “experiential wonderland with quests.” Users can go over to a brand’s boutique and choose to play in a quest or a game. The prizes are NFTs, and are considered hero items. Customers can either purchase these hero items at full price or play the suggested quest to purchase the NFT at a discounted price.

The BOSON token is the protocol’s would-be utility token. The network also established the dCommerce DAO with plans to be a self-sustaining, community-governed decentralized autonomous organization that reinvests its revenue into the growth of the ecosystem or uses the revenue to buy back or burn BOSON tokens. In Boson Portal, a 1%–2% fee will be applied per transaction. Those fees would then get recycled back into the protocol and distributed to the tokenholders.

“The key is that there is no intermediary, no Amazon or eBay in the middle. It’s all smart contracts encoded with game theory. That means there’s no one taking a slice out of the middle.”

Banon added that by working with trusted brands, users can carry out commerce in the Metaverse without a fear of losing their funds. In September, Boson Protocol acquired “The Glass Suit,” a $1 million Dolce & Gabbana suit that is also an on-chain NFT. The digital version of the suit will be housed on the Boson Portal, while the physical item is planned to be displayed in a museum. More and more major global brands are using NFTs to integrate fashion and the Metaverse.

When asked what the value of doing commerce in the Metaverse is, Banon told Cointelegraph:

“It’s this next generation interface. We tend to move towards the things that are the most real, rather than the low-fi versions. Why would you go with a 2D flat screen if you can be immersed into the same room as someone?”

Banon confirmed that an in-the-works Boson Protocol 2.0 will enable brands to plug in an e-commerce system like Shopify and then sell straight into the Metaverse. And that the protocol plans to expand to other virtual worlds and even traditional video games, such as Fortnite.

Starting with Decentraland, Boson Portal aims to not only host retail spaces for brands but to also have an events space for conferences, art installations and cultural activations. Its first conference, called Boson Forum, coincides with the Portal’s launch on Thursday and will feature speakers covering topics related to Metaverse commerce.

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Post Malone features BAYC NFTs in new music video with The Weeknd

Rapper Post Malone is the latest celebrity to move into nonfungible tokens (NFT) by promoting a major NFT project and a cryptocurrency firm.

In his latest collaboration with The Weeknd, a music video for One Right Now, Malone purchased an NFT from Bored Ape Yacht Club (BAYC), one of the world’s biggest NFT collections featuring 10,000 unique digital collectibles living on the Ethereum blockchain.

In the video, Malone buys the NFT via MoonPay, a fintech startup focused on providing cryptocurrency payments infrastructure. The firm reportedly plans to reach a valuation of $3.4 billion after conducting its first-ever venture capital round.

Released on Nov. 15, the music video has amassed over 5 million views at the time of writing.

Apart from the music video, Malone purchased two Bored Apes for a combined 160 ETH ($682,000) in TikTok videos by MoonPay.

One of the videos reflects the purchase of the BAYC NFT #9039 for 85 ETH ($362,000) and has over 90,000 views at the time of writing. Another one includes the NFT from the actual One Right Now music video, the BAYC NFT #961, which was bought for 75 ETH ($320,000).

Malone did not spend his own money to purchase the NFTs and apparently made some on promoting the NFT series. The address, which owns the two Bored Apes NFTs on the OpenSea NFT marketplace, previously received 175 ETH from MoonPay in two separate transactions. The amount was immediately spent on buying the BAYC NFTs on OpenSea, leaving Malone extra 15 ETH ($64,000).

Source: Etherscan

Malone’s address, which has already been verified on Etherscan, then continued to make purchases on OpenSea, adding more ETH from Coinbase last week.

Related: OpenSea volumes go bananas as collectors pile back into Bored Ape Yacht Club NFTs

Founded by Yuga Labs in April 2021, Bored Ape Yacht Club is one of the most successful NFT projects, reportedly amassing over $1 billion in trading since inception. At the time of writing, BAYC is the world’s third-largest NFT collection after Mutant Ape Yacht Club and Axie Infinity. At the time of writing, BAYC has over $12.6 million in daily trading volumes, according to data from CryptoSlam.

BAYC has been growing increasingly popular in the music industry recently, with projects like the digital metaverse band KINGSHIP planning to perform using four NFTs from the collection, taking inspiration from popular cartoon band Gorillaz.

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Indian PM urges democratic countries to collaborate on cryptocurrencies

India appears to be taking a progressive stance on Bitcoin (BTC). Especially given the fact that the country is attempting to reach a uniform viewpoint on the categorization and legality of this new asset class.

Amid a slew of cabinet meetings, industry debriefings and mounting banking issues, the country’s prime minister has grown increasingly vocal about cryptocurrencies.

At the Sydney Dialogue, Prime Minister Narendra Modi called for democratic countries to work together to get the most out of cryptocurrencies and blockchain technology. He also stated that they should not be used for unethical purposes.

On Monday, PM Modi spoke about cryptocurrencies in the context of money laundering and terror financing at a high-level meeting. The overall atmosphere around the meeting suggested that strong regulatory measures were on the way, albeit of a forward-looking and progressive nature.

The Indian government has previously taken steps to establish a robust regulatory infrastructure for the fast-growing sector. It has had numerous high-level discussions, including one between the Central Bank (RBI), Finance Ministry, and Home Ministry, as well as crypto-experts and important industry participants from within and outside of India.

Despite the objective viewpoint offered by some government ministers, RBI Governor Shaktikanta Das is still unconvinced. On Tuesday, the executive restated his stance that allowing crypto trading might jeopardize any financial system since they are not overseen by central banks.

Related: India’s top payment firm Paytm reportedly considers Bitcoin services

Despite the rise in popularity of cryptocurrencies in India, lawmakers are still divided over the need for a comprehensive regulatory system. A Bitcoin bill is expected to be presented before the Indian legislature during the next session. Many people are hoping that this will provide investors and organizations some peace and clarity.

As reported by Cointelegraph, India plans to lower the Goods and Services Taxes (GST) on cryptocurrency exchanges from 18% to 1% through regulatory reclassification. Also, Peru’s central bank president recently stated that his country will join forces with India and two other nations to create its own central bank digital currency, even though crypto regulation is still hazy in India.

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Nvidia’s Q3 report reveals sharp decline in crypto mining chip sales

Although digital currencies have skyrocketed in value throughout the year, Nvidia has not made any significant profits from its cryptocurrency mining processor (CMP) line.

According to Nvidia’s third fiscal quarter report, the company’s CMP sales dropped by 60% sequentially in the most recent quarter, with sales of the product line expected to drop even further in the fourth quarter.

In its quarterly financial statement, Nvidia said CMP sales fell from $266 million in the second quarter to $105 million in Q3, which ended in October.

Nvidia claims to have made $526 million in revenue throughout the product’s existence, roughly 3% of the total revenue of $19.27 billion over the same period. The company’s overall income has been driven almost entirely by gaming, data center and professional visualization equipment sales.

Last quarter was no different in terms of CMP sales income. As reported by Cointelegraph, Nvidia surpassed Wall Street expectations by generating over $6.5 billion in profit. Still, it failed to meet its crypto-mining GPU line profitability target for the second quarter of 2021.

During the first-quarter earnings call, Nvidia CFO Colette Kress predicted a $400 million revenue for the company’s cryptocurrency mining processor line in Q2. In the second quarter, Nvidia sold CMPs worth $266 million, short of its goal by a one-third margin.

Related: Influx of crypto miners to Kazakhstan reportedly strains energy supply

While CMP has yet to gain significant traction, Nvidia’s profits have not been harmed. Its value is up almost 123% this year. Overall sales were up 50% year over year, and $3.2 billion was generated in a single quarter by selling graphics cards to gamers and PC builders, according to the company’s earnings release on Wednesday.

Still, the firm claims it can’t be certain that its increasing sales of graphics cards aren’t linked to the cryptocurrency market. During a call with analysts on Wednesday, Kress said that: Our GPUs are capable of crypto mining, though we don’t have visibility into how much this impacts our overall GPU demand.”

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Bitcoin holders who bought at $20K refuse to sell BTC at all-time highs — latest data

Bitcoin (BTC) investors who bought at 2017 all-time highs and above have still not sold, data suggests.

According to the HODL Waves metric, coins which last moved in the past six to twelve months now make up the biggest portion of the BTC supply.

BTC buyers hold their nerve

Despite strong gains and equally strong corrections in 2021, those who entered the market or added to their positions in or after November 2020 are refusing to sell.

HODL Waves, which track the age distribution of unspent transaction outputs (UTXOs), show that the supply controlled by those six to twelve-month “hodlers” has increased — from 8.7% at the start of June to 21.4% as of Nov. 17.

At the same time, coins held for multiple years have decreased only slightly, highlighting that modest selling has taken place and that, with the exception of the six to twelve-month group, investors’ resolve remains steadfast.

Bitcoin HODL Waves chart. Source: Unchained Capital

The data underscores the theory that few BTC owners intend to sell at current prices, even as these circle all-time highs.

As Cointelegraph reported, however, distribution of coins by long-term holders — a classic characteristic of bull market peak phases — has now begun. The last time this occurred was also in November last year.

Bull market “still has a ways to go”

Meanwhile, further numbers tracking “older” BTC also hints that Bitcoin’s oldest hands will continue to sit tight.

Related: Bitcoin bargain: 3rd-biggest whale address adds 207 BTC at $62K

As noted by on-chain analyst William Clemente this week, dormancy flow — Bitcoin’s market cap divided by annualized dormancy — remains low near BTC/USD all-time highs.

High dormancy, Clemente explained, indicates older coins being spent.

“Seeing dormancy flow currently so low means older coins remain relatively dormant,” he added in Twitter comments Wednesday.

“This Bitcoin bull market still has a ways to go according to the metric.”

Bitcoin dormancy flow chart. Source: William Clemente/ Twitter

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Peru to partner with India, HK and Singapore central banks on a CBDC

The president of the Central Reserve Bank of Peru Julio Velarde announced that his country will be entering the global race to develop a Central Bank Digital Currency (CBDC).

At the Annual Conference of Executives (CADE) with business leaders in Lima on Nov. 16 he said:

“I think the payment system we are going to have eight years from now in the world is going to be completely different from the current one… Even the financial system will probably be quite different.”

Velarde stated that Peru will partner with the central banks of countries more advanced in their development of CBDCs including India, Singapore, and Hong Kong. A CBDC is a digital form of a country’s fiat currency, issued and controlled by the respective nation’s central bank.

“We won’t be the first, because we don’t have the resources to be first and face those risks,” Velarde said, “But we don’t want to fall behind. We are at least at the same level or maybe even further ahead than similarly-sized countries, although behind Mexico and Brazil.”

According to Atlantic Council, 87 countries (representing more than 90% of global GDP) are now researching a CBDC, and seven have launched one. Comparatively, in May 2020, only 35 countries were considering developing a CBDC.

Although it doesn’t have a CBDC, El Salvador’s adoption of Bitcoin as a legal tender on Sept. 7 has put a renewed focus on digital assets in the region.

Mexico and Brazil are planning to implement CBDCs sometime before 2023, and the Bahamas already has a Sand Dollar CBDC.

As for Peru’s upcoming CBDC development partners, the Reserve Bank of India plans to launch a trial implementation of the digital rupee before the end of the year, but it is also taking its time to ensure the rollout goes smoothly.

“We are being extremely careful about it because it’s a completely new product, not just for RBI but globally,” Governor of the Reserve Bank of India Shaktikanta Das told CNBC in August.

Related: U.S. is not moving fast enough to develop a CBDC, says former CFTC chair

Hong Kong’s Monetary Authority (HKMA) continues to explore the possibility of introducing a digital Hong Kong dollar (e-HKD) in a bid to capitalize on potential benefits for retail trading across the city’s cross-border markets.

The Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) has also shared plans for a privately-developed retail CBDC under its “Project Orchid initiative.” They are all racing to catch up with China however, which now has processed a total of 62 billion digital yuan according to PBoC’s digital currency head.

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Supersize McShib: Shiba Inu the largest ERC-20 holding among ETH whales

New data suggests that Shiba Inu (SHIB) is the largest ERC-20 token holding amongst the top 1,000 Ethereum (ETH) whales.

According to data compiled by WhaleStats looking at the Ethereum-based token holdings of the largest ETH wallets, SHIB represents 21.68% of the combined market share at $2.35 billion. The next highest asset in terms of holdings is Crypto.com’s native token CRO, representing 5.54% at $603.9 million.

According to data from Coingecko, SHIB is currently the eleventh highest-ranked crypto asset in terms of total market cap with $26.9 billion, suggesting that the ETH whales hold roughly 9% of all SHIB in circulation.

The fervent SHIB community has been on a mission to push crypto trading platforms such as Coinbase and Robinhood to list the asset. Its Change.org petition aimed at convincing them had received more than 530,000 signatures at the time of writing. Coinbase Pro listed SHIB back in late September.

One popular brand that gave the idea of accepting SHIB for payments a decidedly cool reception is fast-food giant McDonald’s who replied to a tweet from “ShibArmy1365” calling on the firm to accept “SHIB for payment, please”.

Related: AMC Theatres CEO considers adding Shiba Inu as payment for ticket purchases

McDonald’s wrote that “we appreciate hearing your interest and continuously evaluate the payments experience.”

Despite being the kind of non committal boilerplate brush-off corporate PR accounts tend to make, it didn’t stop the SHIB community from going into overdrive with the post receiving more than 500 retweets,1,400 likes and countless memes to boot.

ShibMac meme

“Appropriate response to build the hype. Can’t wait for the future!” Shib Social responded, while “ISHIB” chimed in with “Let’s Call it a McShib!”

While it is unclear how McDonald’s will proceed, SHIB adoption has ramped up across the board this month. Crypto payments firm Coingate revealed on Nov. 11 that it opened up SHIB support so that 500 of its merchants can accept SHIB payments. The Samsung-backed digital wallet providers ZenGo also added the beloved dog meme token to its platform on Nov. 17.

SHIB x McDonald’s meme

Shib stands strong

Amid the recent pullback across the crypto market that began around Nov. 11, SHIB has taken a minimal hit of 4.1% to sit at $0.00004854 at the time of writing. However, after reaching an all-time high of $0.00008616 on Oct. 28, SHIB is down 43.6%.

While the price is on a downward trend, the asset’s popularity hasn’t waned, with the official SHIB Twitter account surpassing 2 million followers yesterday.

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South Korea embraces the proto-Metaverse

The South Korean people and an increasing number of major companies in the country have begun to embrace and integrate the Metaverse into their everyday lives in new and unexpected ways.

Two major retailers in the country have recently introduced Metaverse and AI elements to shoppers to enhance their shopping experience.

GS Shop introduced home shopping via the Metaverse on Nov. 16 by showing the inner workings of a food production facility. It aimed to reassure customers of the quality of the facility and the food that was for sale.

GS Shop turned scans of the physical facility into 3D representations. This way, customers who had augmented reality (AR) devices, similar to the haptic gloves Meta previewed this week, could tour the facility in the virtual world to see the conditions under which their food was being produced.

Jason Ye, the co-founder of multi-chain ecosystem accelerator DeSpread, has noticed the explosion of companies joining the Metaverse in Korea. “It seems like every company is diving into the Metaverse and Play to Earn these days,” he told Cointelegraph.

“Korea has lots of huge IPs. If you can combine those IPs with great content around them, you can build a great business model. Attractive contents are the basis for entering the Metaverse.”

Metaverse and AI (artificial intelligence) avatars are popping up in several industries including retail shopping, finance, and even public services. 

Lotte Home Shopping, which topped $14 billion in sales in 2020, introduced Lucy, a virtual model to help promote the brand’s products. Lotte will use Lucy in future video content and on social media since the avatar has its own Instagram account. It is also highly likely that Lotte will integrate Lucy into its Metaverse-based virtual store.

The deployment of virtual reality has also extended to the public sector. The Seoul City government announced on Nov. 6 that it planned on building its Metaverse platform by 2023, where residents can file civil petitions.

Related: ‘We are building for the metaverse,’ says Meta VP Nick Clegg

The tentatively named ‘Metaverse 120 Center’ will handle virtual visits that do not require the visitor’s physical presence.

On Nov. 10, the Korean military announced that it would phase in Metaverse applications to soldier training programs by the 2030s.

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Lawmakers push back on crypto provisions in Infrastructure Bill

Lawmakers from both sides of the aisle are fighting back against changes to tax reporting rules for crypto brokers and transactions over $10,000 in the newly passed Infrastructure Bill. 

Ten U.S. Democratic Congresspeople led by Rep. Darren Soto from Florida called for revisions to the definition of a broker in the infrastructure bill that was passed into law on Nov. 15.

The group issued an open letter, signed by Soto along with Representatives Ro Khanna, Stacey E. Plaskatt, Eric Swalwell, Tim Ryan, Susan Wild, Marc Veasy, Jake Auchincloss, Al Lawson, and Charlie Crist calling for updates to section 6045(c)(1) in the tax code under the Bipartisan Infrastructure Framework (BIF).

Experts warned that the contentious new rule could see miners, validators, and wallet developers considered as brokers for tax purposes. The letter calls on House Speaker Nancy Pelosi to exclude this group on the grounds that they do not engage in brokerage services.

The letter also addresses concerns over negative market effects and how the United States will sustain its rate of technological innovation if the regulations remain unchanged.

“As it is written today, the BIF would increase uncertainty in the cryptocurrency industry, pick winners and losers, and thwart IRS efforts to accurately tax cryptocurrencies, all while ending our country’s competitive edge against other countries on the digital asset marketplace.”

Senators are also pushing to amend the tax reporting requirements in the BIF. As reported by Bloomberg, Democrat Senator Ron Wyden and Republican Senator Cynthia Lumis submitted a bill proposal which they say protects American innovation, ensures Americans pay the taxes they owe, and “do not apply to individuals developing blockchain technology and wallets.”

Related: US senator submits resolution to allow crypto payments in Capitol Complex

Republican Senator Ted Cruz also introduced legislation on Nov. 16 to amend the tax code. He calls the new reporting rules a “devastating attack” on the cryptocurrency industry. His concerns echo some of those from the Democratic House Representatives that the current provision will stifle American innovation, and “endanger the privacy of many Americans.”

Senators as a whole are only now beginning to understand with greater depth how the cryptocurrency industry works. U.S. Congress Joint Economic Committee held a Nov. 17 hearing titled “Demystifying Crypto: Digital Assets and the Role of Government.” At this hearing, they discussed the complicated tax entities that should govern centralized exchanges, and agreed that privacy and security are top issues.

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VR Metaverse comes closer to reality as Meta previews haptic gloves

Meta — the company formerly known as Facebook — is diving straight into virtual reality with a preview of its latest research and development on haptic gloves which give sensory feedback while in digital realms.

Facebook rebranded to Meta in late October to shift its focus from social media to Metaverse and VR tech development.

In a Nov. 16 blog post, Meta shared the latest breakthroughs in haptic glove research from its VR tech firm Reality Labs, noting that the product has been seven years in the making.

The firm shared a video that shows two people testing the haptic gloves in a demo Metaverse, as they clench their fists, pick up blocks, throw objects, shake hands, knock over dominoes, and play Jenga together.

Haptic glove preview: Meta

Meta says the gloves rely on haptic rendering to send “precise instructions to the actuators on the hand” that correspond with tracking technology that pinpoints the hand’s location and the properties of virtual objects in the Metaverse.

In their current state of development, the palms appear to be lined with small soft robotic motors that move in unison to deliver a corresponding sensation to the user’s hand movements in the Metaverse. Meta noted, however, that haptic gloves won’t be hitting the market anytime soon.

“The reality of these being an affordable, accessible tool for regular consumers is still some time off. I mean, look at the mess of the cables connecting these prototypes,” the blog post read.

Related: To work for everyone, the Metaverse must be decentralized

Meta stated that its haptic glove project “started as a moonshot,” but is becoming closer to being a reality due to advancements in perceptual science, soft robotics, microfluidics, hand tracking and haptic rendering.

The firm also outlined its vision for the project is moving forward, echoing something similar to the plot of the Ready Player One film in which VR tech and gaming have developed to the stage of providing a liveable Metaverse for its users:

“Imagine working on a virtual 3D puzzle with a friend’s realistic 3D avatar. As you pick up a virtual puzzle piece from the table, your fingers automatically stop moving as you feel it within your grasp.”

Many onlookers are waiting to see if Meta will launch an “open Metaverse” like its decentralized counterparts in the crypto space, or pose a threat to the space by wrestling for dominance over the sector.

However, some are quite bullish on Meta’s move, with Emil Angervall the co-founder and chief operating officer of music tech startup Corite telling Cointelegraph on Oct. 29 that the firm will provide extreme upside opportunities for the NFT and Metaverse sectors.

Meta’s share price (FB) has gained 9% since the announcement of its to sit at $341 at the time of writing.

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