“The Metaverse isn’t coming soon. It’s already here.” (INTERPOL press release)
Trying hard not to sound threatening, INTERPOL surprised attendees by unveiling a global law enforcement-focused metaverse at its 90th General Assembly in New Delhi.
The immersive environment was modelled after the General Secretariat’s headquarters in Lyon, France, and will allow ‘registered users’ the ability to “interact with officers via their avatars”, to take in-metaverse training courses such as for forensic investigation, to access these resources “without any geographical or physical boundaries”, and facilitating the preserving of evidence from crime scenes.
“For many, the Metaverse seems to herald an abstract future, but the issues it raises are those that have always motivated INTERPOL – supporting our member countries to fight crime and making the world, virtual or not, safer for those who inhabit it” (Jürgen Stock, INTERPOL Secretary General)
The virtual world claims to “ensure neutrality” by being hosted on INTERPOL’s own secure cloud, whatever that means.
INTERPOL’s technology research partner Gartner forecasts that by 2026, “one in every four people will spend at least an hour a day in the Metaverse to work, study, shop and socialize”.
As the pace of digitization has increased, there will be significant challenges “to protect communities”, such as the definitions of crime in the physical world do not necessarily translate to those in the virtual.
“By identifying these risks from the outset, we can work with stakeholders to shape the necessary governance frameworks and cut off future criminal markets before they are fully formed. Only by having these conversations now can we build an effective response.
“ (Madan Oberoi, Executive Director of Technology and Innovation at INTERPOL)
A live metaverse training was conducted during the assembly, with passenger screening and travel document verification demonstrated before students were given the chance to apply their new skills at the border point of a virtual airport.
“The Metaverse has the potential to transform every aspect of our daily lives with enormous implications … in order for police to understand the Metaverse, we need to experience it” (Madan Oberoi)
"I never imagined I could buy and finance a house with a simple click, rather than going through the time-consuming and cumbersome traditional settlement and mortgage process" (Adam Slipakoff, buyer of the property)
A physical house has successfully been sold as a non-fungible token (NFT) by Web3 real estate platform Roofstock onChain. The three-bedroom rental property was sold for $175,000 to an investor and paid for in the US-dollar pegged stablecoin USDC via the on-chain financing platform USDC Homes. That’s right, you can use crypto to buy an NFT to legally own a real house.
“Instead of waiting months for underwriting, appraisals, title searches and preparing deeds, I was able to buy a fully title-insured, rent-ready property with one click. Best of all, I am no web3 expert – the Roofstock onChain platform made it simple and easy.” (Adam Slipakoff)
While the buyer’s quotes might sound like a late-night infomercial, Roofstock insists that the sale is legitimate and that buyers should not be worried.
Wait, so how did it actually work and is it legal? Despite the layers of technology facilitating the sale, the customer experience was impressively smooth and simple.
Roofstock onChain promises “instant ownership transfer”, with the purchase completed “in a few clicks”. The real estate limited-liability company (LLC) that owns the property creates an NFT representing the legal deed. The buyer completes the purchase with either cryptocurrency OR fiat. The owner of the NFT is given the legal ownership of ‘tokenized’ physical property. Sounds simple, right?
Roofstock claims there are benefits to buying a house that has been tokenized as an NFT. The investor saves on traditional costs associated with real estate transactions. As a Web3 asset, the NFT can now be used in the growing decentralized finance (DeFi) industry. For example, taking out a loan with a DeFi lending protocol is far easier compared to traditional finance (TradFi) lending. USDC Homes claims up to 80% of the property’s value can be taken out as a loan via their DeFi lending pools.
The property is in fact the second physical home sold as an NFT, with a house in Florida selling for $650,000 earlier this year. It’s only a matter of time before a million-dollar property will be sold as an NFT, which would well be a sign that Web3 financial tools are infiltrating TradFi at an accelerating rate.
“For Roofstock it is a major milestone to provide a radically simple way for … properties to be purchased and sold with one-click using web3 technology … ushering a new era of real-world asset ownership” (Geoff Thompson and Sanjay Raghavan, Roofstock onChain press release)
The stats for Reddit’s NFT marketplace have so far been impressive. In just three months since launching, a total of 3 million wallets have been created by users on Reddit’s social networking platform.
As a comparison, OpenSea, which was founded in 2017, boasts around 2.3 million active wallets to date.
Known as Reddit Vaults, 2.5 million of the wallets are claimed to have been created solely for purchasing avatars that can be customized, collected, and used as profile pictures that show up on users’ posts.
Over 96% percent of the wallets are holding just one collectible avatar which indicates real user interest rather than the profiteering normally associated with the wider NFT market so far.
The original collection of 40,000 NFTs ranged in price from $9.99 to $99.99 and sold out. Not a surprise considering its 50 million daily active users and the strong presence of digital art, crypto, and web3 communities on the platform.
Demand has remained strong, with the community succeeding in convincing the platform to release a new Halloween-inspired collection. At present, almost all avatar editions are sold out and their avatar builder boasts a polished interface that is fun to play with.
Given that potentially only 6% of Reddit’s daily active users own an avatar, there remains an enormous growth opportunity for the platform. Indeed, social networking platforms such as Reddit and Twitter could be the main drivers of NFT adoption and Web3 commerce.
Review written by Quoc Nguyen