NFT crash wipes out nearly all collections, and the metaverse won’t save them

Well, the NFT craze certainly crashed and burned quickly.

According to a new report by DappGambl, 95 percent of NFT collections now have zero value. That’s not a typo. Zero.

Out of over 73,000 collections, only around 3,500 still have any market cap at all. And only a tiny fraction of those are worth more than a few bucks.

(Image courtesy DappGambl.)

Remember when NFTs of random pixel art were selling for millions? When Jack Dorsey sold his first tweet for $2.9 million? When Melania Trump thought people would pay real money for NFTs of her eyes? When Alex Pomposelli thought people would pay for a random in-world screenshot?

Yeah, those days are long gone.

Not that, for some people, they were ever there. Of the 22 NFTs in Pomposelli’s AviTron A Metaverse World collection, none have seen any recorded purchases.

One of the AviTron NFTs, “A gentleman in a metaverse.” (Image courtesy AviTron.)

But he’s not alone.

According to the new report, 79 percent of NFT collections had no sales.

But people still spent a fortune minting them, wasting enough electricity to power 2,048 homes for a year, the Guardian calculated, and emitting as much carbon as 4,061 round-trip flights from London to New Zealand. For nothing.

I love how the report points out that a lot of these NFT collections still have insanely high list prices that are completely detached from reality. As if anyone would actually pay over $13 million for some random NFT named MacContract that has only ever sold for $18.

Weekly NFT trading volume. (Data courtesy Cryptoslam via The

Will NFT values ever recover? Experts say they’d need historical significance like Pokémon cards, artistic merit as true artworks, or real utility.

So no, those randomly-generated cartoon apes aren’t coming back.

And neither are random snapshots of OpenSim builds.

As for utility, some say NFTs can represent virtual land or items in the metaverse. But as we’ve seen with falling VR headset sales, the metaverse hype has faded.

Plus, while the NFTs can REPRESENT virtual land or items they are not, themselves, that land or items. They are pictures of that land or items. Pictures that you can go and take for free. Or grab copies of from the NFT websites themselves. That NFT above, “A gentleman in a metaverse,” does not give you actual ownership of that avatar, his clothes, or the landscape behind him. If you want to buy land in the metaverse, you can … actually, you can’t. Anybody who’s “selling” metaverse land is not actually selling anything, just renting you some server space. You don’t really get to own that server. If you want to own a server, you can go to the server store, buy a server, buy rights to the virtual content, and put it on the server. That is the only way, legally, to actually own virtual land. If you do this, I recommend using the DreamGrid version of OpenSim, which, as a bonus, happens to be free. They buy the rights to the build from its original creator or copyright holder. Then you’ll have actual ownership. And only then.

What people are actually “selling” are bragging rights. Like those companies that claim to name a star after you or rent you a square inch of space in Scotland. You don’t actually get a star named after you. You don’t actually buy any Scottish land. You just get a piece of paper with no legal significance. And, with NFTs, you don’t even get a piece of paper.

So, for example, the guy who paid $3.4 million for this picture at a Southesby auction:

By the way, as of this writing, that NFT is selling for $37,532 on OpenSea. And you can just right-click or screenshot, and you’ve got your own copy. I just saved you $37,532. You’re welcome.

The NFTs were just another way for people to gamble online. For a great look at who profited from all these scams, check out the book Easy Money: Cryptocurrency, Casino Capitalism, and the Golden Age of Fraud by Ben McKenzie. I just finished reading it, and it’s a fun read.

And, for future reference, if you want to buy something that you can’t yourself use, then don’t spend more money than you can afford to lose.

Despite his own data, Vlad Hategan, NFT Gaming Specialist at DappGambl, says that NFTs still have a place in the future.

“At DappGambl, we still maintain that once the dust has settled, we will start to see an evolution within NFTs,” he wrote, but added, “To weather market downturns and have lasting value, NFTs need to either be historically relevant (akin to first-edition Pokémon cards), true art, or provide genuine utility.”

I’m not sure how any of those things can be true. First of all, if the NFT platforms themselves will probably go away, since it costs money to keep the servers going and, the amount of money the platforms are collecting from the sales is steadily falling. At that point, the NFTs will no longer even exist, much less exist with any historical relevance. And we’ll always have the news articles for historians to look at.

As far as “true art” is concerned, I can see them being stunt art, like that Banksy painting that destroyed itself after it was bought. But there’s a limited number of buyers for self-destructing art. And, with the Banksy painting, it did have resale value — there was a piece of the painting left, plus the frame, and the shreds. With an NFT, there is literally nothing left other than the memory of its existence — and the news articles about the initial sale. Is there some value in being known as a giant idiot who blew a bunch of money on nothing? I guess… but I’m guessing that these idiots will move onto something else that they can waste money on, instead. Something fresh and hot and new. After all, there might be news value in being the first giant idiot, but nobody pays any attention to the thousandths giant idiot or the ten-thousandths idiot.

And genuine utility? Nobody’s come up with any uses for these things yet. They’re inefficient, ridiculously wasteful of resources, and astoundingly insecure. If someone steals your virtual wallet, there’s no FDIC insurance to get your money back.

I, personally, am glad that NFTs are dying a quick death. But I am a little worried about what’s going to come next.

How VRJAM is Redefining Live Experiences in the Metaverse

If you’re like most of us, your favourite concert experiences were desperately missed during the pandemic. Artists also suffered significantly — according to an annual report conducted by UK Music, almost one in three industry-related jobs were lost during COVID-19. Employment in the sector also fell by a devastating 35%. 

It’s easy to wonder: what if we’d been able to experience live concerts remotely at the start of 2020 (set designs, lights and all)? Better yet, what if said experiences allowed us to interact with artists in real-time — a feature not (so easily) allowed at typical gigs? After major artists such as Ariana Grande, Lil Nas X and Post Malone have used virtual concerts to increase their fan engagement within the last year, a rising startup is here to show us what the next step of this looks like.

gmw3 recently attended the exclusive platform preview of VRJAM, a ‘multiverse’ platform for music and live entertainment in the metaverse. With an upcoming launch date in the coming months, we were thrilled to be in the front row of a live show performed by record producer and artist DJ Junior Sanchez. We also had the opportunity to speak with Marc Daille, VRJAM’s Head of Marketing, to learn more about the company’s objectives and plans to release its technology this year.

How VRJAM works

According to their official website, VRJAM “empowers creators, platform owners and brands to effortlessly create inspiring immersive experiences that redefine fan engagement.” They’re hoping to achieve this “by making content beautiful, interactive and immersive.” Using blockchain technology, the company also aims to help artists more easily monetise their work by selling tokenised versions of concert tickets, merchandise and other assets on the platform.

How are the worlds created? According to Marc Wille, VRJAM’s Head of Marketing: “We first create a 3D model of a venue (if it also exists in the real world) using a laser scan technique. We then have a basic layout of the place and add in the details and specifics. This, of course, can be an (almost) exact copy of the real-world venue, but we can also add things or alter things. Our tech gives us limitless possibilities.”

Photo by © VRJAM –

VRJAM is also currently in the process of signing a series of well-known artists (who are yet to be named). Artists and record labels will have the opportunity to join VRJAM’s Creator Guild, which is a “rapidly growing network of creators and industry members driving the evolution of live music” in the metaverse. Members of the Creator Guild can create, publish and trade their work as NFTs, create and publish avatar concerts and live events, look for new ways to publish their music and more.

Additionally, the company has launched its own native cryptocurrency token — the VRJAM Coin. Recently, VRJAM raised over $2 million USD in a pre-sale of its VRJAM Coin (with a market cap of $50 million). Once the platform has officially launched, the VRJAM Coin will be listed on an exchange, which will enable anyone to buy and sell the platform’s native cryptocurrency. A blockchain ticketing feature is set to go live this summer (according to the company’s roadmap).

Artists and labels that join VRJAM’s Creator Guild will receive an allocation of the VRJAM Coin, which can be used for all transactions made on the platform. As more artists are poised to use the platform to sell their work as NFTs, tickets, merchandise and other products, the more the volume of trade in VRJAM Coin will increase — thereby stabilising its value.

An immersive street party

During the preview, I was seated at a pre-prepared station inside London’s Shoreditch House (equipped with my own table, laptop, customised avatar and Meta Quest 2).

After putting on my headset, I found myself (in floating avatar form) standing within what looked like a fun and busy suburban block, lit by the muted glow of overhead lanterns and streetlights. The streets were also dotted with various tables, drinks and discarded red cups, mimicking the appearance of a real-life street party gone right. A diverse and colourful crowd of in-game NPCs also materialised around my avatar, dancing and vibing in tune with the surrounding beats. 

The life-like avatar of DJ Junior Sanchez — who was physically located in Brooklyn, New York while donning a full motion-capture suit — appeared at his own dedicated set, equipped with strobe lights, laser beams and mock fireworks. The other attendees also joined the virtual space — also floating around the pavement as their own respective avatars. 

Photo by © VRJAM –

Throughout the course of the set, we were able to teleport around the block party and speak with the other attendees’ avatars as if they were actually beside us in real life. I said hello to some other industry professionals that I had spoken with (in person) prior to joining the live event. Luckily, I also got the chance to speak with company CEO Sam Speaight (who was physically situated inside his hotel room in Los Angeles).

Once DJ Junior Sanchez finished his virtual set, we were given the chance to ask him questions. I asked him: “Where do you see the metaverse in five years?” His response was that he believed it would become a ubiquitous part of our lives and take over the internet as we know it.

What’s next?

The COVID-19 pandemic can aptly be characterised as one of the darkest periods the music industry has ever seen. In addition to the aforementioned numbers, figures now reveal that live music revenues suffered by about 90% as artists were unable to tour or perform. Musicians have also since started standing up to leading mechanisms (such as music streaming platforms like Spotify) for clawing away at any last dregs of revenue they were able to hang onto.

Will platforms like VRJAM change this landscape?

“This is exactly one of the reasons we started VRJAM,” says Baille. “With big tech dominating the music industry more and more, artists are looking for different models to connect with their audiences and generate new revenue models. We are offering that. But we also allow artists to push the creative boundaries of their art and move into the virtual space. We strongly believe that in a more decentralised model like VRJAM is offering, artists [will] have more control over their art and over how and when they wish to monetise it.”

Photo by © VRJAM –

In the future, VRJAM also plans on creating more immersive event spaces in the metaverse. “Think about arenas, comedy clubs, whisky bars or underground dance locations,” Baille describes. “Also, here, the only limit is our imagination.”

VRJAM plans on releasing its tech to the public later this year. To stay up-to-date on what’s next and join the VRJAM community, be sure to join their Discord and Telegram groups and follow their Twitter page for more updates.

Stakester: An Interview with Andy Nolan

You can be forgiven if you’ve never heard of Stakester, I’d not heard of it until one of their NFTs appeared on my LinkedIn page. After I did some digging I discovered an app for iOS and Android which allows users to register and compete against other users across particular videogames to win small pots of money of gems which can be redeemed against goods from one month of Spotify Premium, right up to a Peloton Bike.

For each game played through the app, you’re rewarded with gems which are used in the prize catalogue. However, real money is up for grabs too – $1, $10 or $25, all you need to do is ready up and the app finds you an opponent. At this point, the app gives you the user’s details in order to play the game. After the game concludes, each user takes a photo of the results screen and submits it to the app for the winner to be rewarded.

The NFTs are a new thing, something fancy which adds extra value to using the app. In fact, while the NFTs have been minted and sold, the team is still working on implementing the utility they will deliver. The NFTs themselves act like a membership to better utility within the app, in fact, they look like a backstage pass, except these have a cheat code scribbled and attached, reminding users of how we traded cheat codes back in the 1990s.

I sat down with Stakester’s head of marketing, Andy Nolan to discuss aspirations for the app, the future of Web3 inclusion and gaming competition.

GMW3 – Can you tell us a little about how Stakester originated?

Nolan – Our founder, and CEO, Tom Fairey had set up a jujitsu match with this big Russian guy, they put money down because Tom was the smaller guy. Tom won, the Russian never paid up. It made Tom wonder if there was an app that could cover these kinds of competitions and gambles. He was working in financial security at the time, he was bored, so he roped in a few friends from work to set up Stakester, but for videogames, as jujitsu was probably too niche.

GMW3Stakester allows players to set up competition across mobile games, but also console and PC. Where do you see the most activity?

Nolan – It’s interesting, we thought there would be people flitting between the two, but there’s not as much of that as we expected. At the moment, there are two disparate audiences, but historically the ‘arenas’ side, which is console play, has always been bigger. Having said that, the mobile side is starting to pick up and we’ve got some really interesting stuff coming down the pipeline.

GMW3 – It seems as if Stakester is attempting to create a community of gamers to play together, after all, once you’ve played a game against someone, there’s no stopping you staying friends.

Nolan – I like the analogy that this is like playing five-a-side football in the evenings after work. We’re all playing, we’re a bit older, the football dream is over for me, but I love playing because of the experience you have; there’s competition, but it’s minor and you can make new friends. 

Andy Nolan ©

Stakester scratches that competitive itch, but with people rather than some unnamed person behind a screen. With our upcoming app update, we’ll be adding in direct challenges, plus a much better chat function to really stimulate the growth of the community.

GMW3 – Can you let us in on when the app update will be with us?

Nolan – I’m not exactly sure – I don’t want to give you a date and it be incorrect – but I’ve seen it up and running, with all the new features and it looks great. There’s a huge facelift on the console side, plus we’ve got some great new games coming to the mobile section; the ones we have right now are all from small developers, but we’ve got some recognisable signing on. Everything is moving a mile and minute!

GMW3 – That’s understandable, particularly with the inclusion of Web3 functionality. How has the app been fairing to this point?

Nolan – We’ve had over 100k signups on the app to this point, which is really encouraging. Our most popular games are FIFA on the console side and Quick Dunk for mobile. It seems most players like to play for around $5-10 per game.

GMW3 – With the recent launch of NFTs, you’re aiming to give utility to players through VIP access. How did the community react to the announcement and inclusion of the rather divisive Web3 concept?

Nolan – I think, there are stumbling blocks for gamers, with NFTs, right? I think, with our project, we didn’t want to create anything which could upset people, where some would just steal IP from a beloved franchise or something like that. Ours are built on giving you something which translates into value. We used cheat codes because nobody owns them, they’re in the public domain. It’s clear that this isn’t a cash grab.

We had a little bit of a mixed response, but there wasn’t really a backlash. I think people understood what we were trying to do and that the NFTs would open up new experiences within the app.

There’s a lot of negative press, plus barriers for people to overcome before that would even buy one. Our only unfortunate situation was launching them right as LUNA, and the market, crashed. But, we’re looking long-term and we aim to deliver all of the benefits by this summer (2022).

GMW3 – Will the sale of the NFTs help fund bigger cash prizes for players?

Nolan – Absolutely. You’ll be able to play for more money. I can’t wait until we have our first $1,000 competition, that’s going to be amazing. However, it’s not just the prize pools, we’ll be able to offer more varied prizes for players to trade their gems through an exclusive prize store for NFT holders.

Those who own a high tier NFT will also benefit from royalties from secondary sales, as each month that money goes into a pot and then NFT holders can collect their share.

GMW3 – Are there plans to offer crypto payments for winners of competitions?

Nolan – I believe so. I think the plan, as they stand right now, is to have a crypto version of the app where you can deposit crypto, play with it and take your winnings as crypto. The Web3 space moves so quickly, it might be subject to change, but I think it would be a cool direction for Stakester.

GMW3 – it would definitely offer the product to two separate audiences, while still focusing on friendly competition.

Nolan – Yeah, and I think the app speaks to two different audiences in the sense that a lot of people in the crypto world want to play games to earn a living, while there are others – typically in Europe and the United States – who want to heighten the tension of the game while still enjoying a game of FIFA.

Right now, our biggest audiences are Europe and the US, mostly because a lot of our marketing centres on FIFA, as it’s our biggest game, it has the most cohesive audience and we’ve got a really engaged Twitter following of FIFA fans.

GMW3 – You must have seen a large jump in users recently, particularly while the pandemic kept everyone indoors?

Nolan – Absolutely! During the pandemic, the app traffic just exploded. It was unbelievable. It was funny how we could track data points; when everyone was working from home we’d often see a spike of activity around 2 pm as if they’ve just had lunch and have time for a quick game before getting back to work.

A lot of people were sat at home playing games anyway and Stakester added an extra dimension to their playing.

Stakester is available on both Android and iOS, through the relevant storefronts.

Women in the Metaverse: Carly Long

Carly Long refers to herself as women in Web3’s “hype girl”. Having amassed almost 20,000 followers (and counting) on LinkedIn, it’s an apt description. Carly is behind a highly successful newsletter, Women in Web3, which regularly updates readers in the Web3 community on female-led initiatives, women-based roles and other notable efforts that are both leveraging and connecting members within the space.

As part of our ongoing series, we recently sat down with Carly to discuss how she got started with Women in Web3, how she first entered the space as an NFT artist and how she’s risen to the fore as an important connector and mediator for those with technical and creative backgrounds alike.

Entering the space

Carly cites tech recruiting as her day job — while also noting her “passion that she’s trying to mix with her day job” as Web3. As a dedicated tech recruiter for Weld Recruiting, Carly helps position senior software engineers, UI/UX designers, product designers and more.

Also an artist and a painter, Carly also taught herself her “own kind of art therapy”. In January of this year, she encountered some downtime — a period in which she carved out some commissioned pieces for different professional athletes, celebrities and actors. 

She was pleased to find that she carved out a niche for herself: “I was like, okay, no — people enjoy my art. And I was starting to see that. There were all these stories of artists making millions on NFTs. And naturally, that piqued my interest. So I was like, ‘what is an NFT? What is Web3? Is this something I could do or not?’ And I just wanted to explore it.”

Carly was pleased to receive ample support from her boss, Matthew. “He knew I was starting to research a lot of this, in my nights and weekends. And he was like, ‘just run with it. He very much understood and knew we were going to be getting more and more blockchain engineer jobs, Web3 developers, that sort of thing — so he let me kind of run that and spearhead that. And I just started having all of these conversations with people in the space. And that was kind of how I learned.”

Kicking off Women in Web3

Carly’s foray into Web3 was furthered by Matthew’s encouragement: “He really encouraged me to start the newsletter and podcasts and just document the journey. And that’s really how Women in Web3 evolved.”

She continues: “I feel like it’s still evolving. I’m not quite sure what it will turn into. But so far, it’s a really awesome community that we have.” At the time of writing, Women in Web3 currently has (x) followers on LinkedIn — and I explain that other colleagues and thought leaders I’ve connected with have shared it. 

On whether Women in Web3 has helped leverage more opportunities for women in the space, Carly says: “Absolutely. I don’t think I realised the gap until I was in it. And the further I go into it and the more I build Women in Web3, I’m realising the gaps just kind of almost seem grater, even though we’re doing an incredible job. And we’re closing them.”

With that being said, however, we both note the abject confusion of entering the space — particularly where things like technical jargon or financial talk are at large. “I know a bunch of women who would love to get into it. But we don’t know where to go, we don’t know where to get started. I feel like there’s a lot of that out there — it’s very daunting. I don’t have an original tech background — I have a creative background. So I can totally relate to when I started researching and learning Web3 and NFTs. As I learned more and more and saw how it was blending these worlds of creativity and tech, I really wanted to highlight women artists.”

On making Web3 more accessible

Being an artist and a writer, Carly and I also note the accessibility that her newsletter and podcast have given not just women, but anyone looking to enter the Web3 space: “The news goes on in my tone of voice as a non-technical person to try and make it more accessible. Whereas [with] the podcast, we take those conversations to another level — and really beyond women just making it more accessible for anyone and everyone who wants to get involved.”

“I picked down a lot of people whose projects I could actually support and stand behind,” Carly explains. “So you’ll notice I [also] speak to plenty of men on there. But there’s usually a really cool tie — like Vijay Pravin. He’s the CEO of Bitches Crunch and his company started employing women who have career gaps because they took time off to raise their children. So they started educating them on Web3 — and now one of those women who came in as an intern is almost one of the highest paid in the company.”

Taking a leaf from Pravin’s book, Carly hopes that Women in Web3 will similarly empower other women to find success in the space. “My hope is that these short, bite-sized episodes can spark someone’s interest to like, ‘oh yeah, I want to look up that company. And maybe I can get involved that way.”

Despite us finding our niche, however, we both make note of the prevalent scepticism at entry points of Web3. What can be done to change this? “The first thing I would absolutely want to highlight is the community of the space. Just dip your toe in and you will receive so much love and support. Obviously, there [are] good and bad sides to it — but the good side is very pervasive right now.”

She continues: “On the flip side, I would tell people to absolutely do your research before you invest in anything, before you put your money into anything. It is crucial to be aware of the other side of Web3. And right now that looks like a lot of people trying to take advantage of those who are trying to learn it. I’m very open about that.”

On filling more roles with women

In one of Carly’s most recent Women in Web3 newsletters, she raises that while job openings in Web3 appear to be opening up, women are only filling one-third of them. Being a seasoned recruiter, does she have a special approach to encouraging more women to enter the space?

Again, she cites Matthew’s help as a catalyst for her stance as a Web3 recruiter: “He really pushed me to be like, ‘I know you don’t feel like you know everything — especially about Web3 and NFTs — but just like, put yourself out there.”

She also adds: “I feel that a lot of women in a male-dominated industry might feel as if they can only step up to the table if they know their stuff or if they don’t have any questions. But it’s really okay to just go as you learn — and there are so many male counterparts in this space who want to support and lift women up.”

A valuable connector

Carly is determined to not just be a recruiter or educator, but also a friend and sounding board to everyone in the community. “I wanted to be one of those communities or those sounding boards — like that circle of trust that I mentioned — where I can just be very welcoming to anyone who has questions. And I love connecting people. I don’t look at myself as an expert, I look at myself as a connector — so I can connect them to someone else who might have a job for them or who might be able to help their project.”

Her advice to other women (and just about anyone entering the space)? “I would say to find your niche and your circle of trust and those people who you can rely on. So anytime you have questions, put it out there on LinkedIn or Twitter and you’ll get a billion people outside of that circle who genuinely want to help. But then you’ll also have them to really be a close sounding board.”

What’s next for Women in Web3?

If you ask Carly, the sky’s the limit for Women in Web3. “I know a lot of different projects have started Telegram groups and community WhatsApps. So we might start that with some different offshoots of the newsletters — maybe like a one-on-one with some of the guests on our podcast, those sorts of opportunities.”

She’s also looking into planning more events in Nashville, where she’s currently based. With this initiative, Carly will be partnering with and working with female lead tech groups in the city. “There are some really awesome women in power at different VC firms in Nashville,” she says. “So sharing it with them and opening those doors for people is a very low risk.”

By converging her talents for connecting people, writing and creative problem-solving, Carly stresses the importance of carving out in-person opportunities. “I think creating more of these opportunities and spaces is just another good way to start getting more and more women in the door.”

To subscribe to the Women in Web3 newsletter, be sure to follow her link here. You can also follow the Women in Web3 podcast on Spotify using this link. Carly’s additional handles can also be followed here.

Women in the Metaverse – Paula Marie Kilgarriff

Currently serving as an international lecturer on Web3 fashion marketing, branding and retail innovation, Paula Marie Kilgarriff has become a formidable leader in the burgeoning space. Leveraging her expertise in luxury fashion, digital technology, business development, branding, digital retail and more, you can find her in all sorts of corners right now.

As part of our ongoing series, we recently sat down with Paula to discuss the future potential of various Web3 technologies, the role of fashion as an important metaverse entry point and why Web3 is truly benefiting from the power of female leadership traits.


With 20 years of experience working in e-commerce, Paula’s first venture involved lecturing on both e-commerce and fashion. She spent a decade in China, working with various different technologies (including VR, AR and QR codes) before moving into the e-payment sphere. This included serving as the founder and CEO of The Style Workshop, where she assisted with the development and training of various luxury brands and served as a keynote speaker at a long list of panel discussions.

Paula worked with several brands working on their technology — particularly in terms of how their marketing and sales strategies would serve the field of e-commerce. Citing China as pioneers of app technology and gaming, she also explains how it was “only natural that retail would become part of entertainment and gamification.”

Paula eventually returned to her home country of Ireland, noting this time as her official entry point into the Web3 space. Citing academia, computer science and fashion industries as the three main components of her background, she notes how Web3 protocols are “a kind of natural progression of her career and academic work”. 

“I like the vibes of Web3,” she says. “I think it’s very youth culture-orientated. It’s got a lot of diversity and inclusion and we’re challenging and revisiting existing narratives.”

She continued: “We’re, you know, looking for new models and monetisation and IP models for creatives, which is also linked back to the fashion industry. And I also like real-time supply chains that have DAO mechanisms for consensus-building on what types of collections are coming through — plus the co-creation opportunity for people who are not in fashion in terms of the art and design part, but who still have an opportunity to build new fashion products and services.”

Teaching future creatives and builders

Paula also works as a guest lecturer for Master’s programmes at both the London College of Fashion and Nottingham Trent University, offering unique instruction on how she believes Web3 will change fashion and which types of protocols are most conducive to improving the industry. At the moment, she breaks down how the metaverse is now serving as a distribution sales platform for brands who are trying to dip their foot into the Web3 space through 3D modelling.

“We say NFTs are actually a natural extension of the integrated marketing communications plan. So you don’t always have your marketing team. They don’t have your metaverse activation. So it’s natural — my gang would have to have an understanding of online technology and an in-store environment. So the seamless integration between the two — whether it’s an omniverse you’re shopping in, an app, or an IRL activation — is all integrated.”

How are the advents of Web3 being received by her youngest students? “They’re very curious,” she says. “And if I use a lot of Web3 mechanisms to explain the future of education, they’re really down. They love the idea of attention tokens or attendance tokens being paid to go to college — they like to think that they can use them to influence the curriculum and the delivery format of the exams.”

In fact, Paula’s first-year students seem to be the most eager of the bunch. “They’ve got the finance cards and whatnot. The Master’s [students] are coming back from work, so they’re more interested in the metaverse as our 3D distribution and sales platforms. And there’s a great opportunity for us to service our customers in real-time, so they’ll accept it from that point of view. But my first years will be more about NFTs and all that kind of crazy stuff — because they’re coming from a gaming background.”

We also bring up the plethora of scepticism that’s surrounded the growing space, particularly within academic circles. “You’re always going to have this kind of hype stuff initially, but at the end of the day, the technology is phenomenal and very disruptive.”

“What I’ve noticed about that generation — you know, people say their attention span is a little bit limited, but it’s not really — I just think they want to understand the applied part of it. And I understand that — because if you’re coming from centralised systems and older education systems, we do condition you in a certain way based on the culture or for some reason.”

She continues: “The great thing about Web3 is the fact that you can pick and choose their stakeholders, right? So you have real-time people in those areas and those disciplines telling you about history. And so it’s such a great opportunity to learn more intensively and more specifically if that makes sense.”

Making fashion more digitally accessible

In 2022, we’ve clearly seen a newfound combination of both physical and digital assets develop within the fashion world. Top brands have begun selling their pieces as NFTs, while others have increased their visibility within popular games and metaverse-based events. 

Paula recently helped with handling metaverse event sponsorships for the successful Metaverse Fashion Week, which was recently held within the popular metaverse platform Decentraland. Working alongside Admix, she assisted brands with selling billboards and 3D wearables at the virtual event and helped them distinguish which ones were able to provide pre-universal content. “I was basically trying to qualify, or validate who would be suitable to have — or whether we’d need to create premium diversity content or not.” 

“You see, the great thing about 3D modelling and the metaverse moment is that it’s a piece of cake to make products right — particularly for coming from e-commerce platforms. But when you’re getting into like, virtual experiences and you know, the intangible nature of immersive experiences — that’s much more complex and difficult to communicate through technology.”

Paula is vocal about where improvements could have been made to the first inaugural fashion week in the metaverse (such as pointing out the pitfalls of ‘digitally twinning’ products in both the physical and digital worlds), she also stresses that it was a “great first step” for Decentraland. “I thought the brands were very, very brave, actually — and curious. I think they basically wanted to figure out: ‘Okay, let’s dip our toes into the waters.’ It was a great kind of opportunity for brands to just get familiar and comfortable with the space in terms of what we know which ad makes will have hyper-personalisation and real-time and 3D wearables.”

The future scope of metaverse fashion

From Metaverse Fashion Week to record-setting fashion NFTs, there’s no questioning that we’ve seen the idea of digital assets effectively enter mainstream consciousness within the last year. But will this concept bring more people into Web3? 

“In terms of adoption? Absolutely,” says Paula. “I think people should have the choice in the future where they’ll want to have a physical or digital item, so I definitely think so.” Moreover, she explains how she believes that digital items are “the key to a smart contract that we own if it’s a luxury good, in addition to being a key to co-create.”

To enhance the digital fashion world, we also discussed further possibilities that we may see down the road. “The metaverse is going to be a great opportunity for everybody — but particularly customers and what kind of products and services are made. And I think if you have this ‘IRL’ online activation, you have to mirror the physical and you have to merge them together. It has to be seamless. Whether they’re in a metaverse or in a store, it has to be the same.”

In regards to how we can best mirror the ideal customer experience inside a metaverse platform, Paula discusses the idea of creating a digital alternative signal into a metaverse — or building capabilities for users to redeem points within the metaverse that could also be redeemable in physical stores. “That’s what the brands want to hear,” Paula asserts. “They’re not interested in all this part — they want it all integrated inside the customer supply chain.”

The upsides of female leadership 

Given her position as a female who teaches leadership to young learners, Paula isn’t afraid to underline the upsides of female leadership traits and how she believes they are beneficial to the space. “We’re pro-life, or pro-community. It’s our job to nurture, lead and discipline men. Because female leadership traits are pro-life and they’re pro-progression.”

“With centralised systems, we’re born into cultural and social norms that no longer serve us,” she proclaims. “The thing about Web3 is that it’s not coming from a historical narrative. It’s brand new, where everybody’s invited. Everybody has a right. Black, white, green, yellow, pink. It hasn’t been defined yet. And that’s what’s beautiful about it.” 

“What do I want to say to women?” she poses. “Rock on. Do what you want. Say what you want. I do think women have this — they’re strong and without them, you can’t build strong communities.”

Achieving balance in a future metaverse

What does an ideal future metaverse look like to Paula? “I think there should be a healthy balance of centralised and decentralised metaverses,” she says. Also highlighting the value of receiving information from non-centralised sources, she mentions how “history is written by the victors, and sometimes those narratives are inaccurate.”

“With these decentralised organisations, we get first-hand knowledge about what’s going on the ground — and then they get the opportunity to tell us. It’s not coming from this privileged, centralised monarchy that no longer serves the community. So that’s what I’m most excited about [with Web3] — it gives us the chance to build correctly by the people, for the people.”

However, we also stress the importance of staying on the business curve. “We don’t [just] want to be happy about it — we also want to make money from it, we want to be clever. I just want to be a bit more clever about what information we put out there, what kind of businesses we create. That’s why women are so important. If you’re replicating certain types of technologies, it’d better be replicating human conditions. But be damn sure that there’s children, women, everybody’s representative — because you’ve got this piece of technology that’s replicating something that hasn’t been created in its true form.”

Ultimately, will Web3 technology become more ubiquitous one day? “I don’t even think we’ll talk about NFTs in the future,” Paula says plainly. “I think they’re just gonna come with the deal.”

To learn more about what Paula’s working on next, follow her on her Twitter and Instagram pages for more updates.

Annka Kultys Helps Us Bridge the Gap Between NFT Artists and Art Collectors

This weekend, gmw3 stopped by the Annka Kultys Gallery in London to view one of its most recent installations — a metaverse gallery titled Web 3.0 Aesthetics: In the Future Post-Hype of the NFTs. The programme, which showcased a total 27 animated and interactive NFTs, was curated by founder Annka Kultys for — a new NFT marketplace that works with world-renowned museums and galleries across the globe.

The show, which allowed viewing of all 27 NFTs inside the metaverse, was accompanied by a three-part online auction — the first respective segment titled ‘Metamorphosis of the Body’. The following auctions, which will be shown later this year, will be titled ‘Digital Florascapes’ and ‘Digital Abstraction’. According to the official website, these trilogies have presented “the NFT aesthetics as a continuation of traditional art”, exploring “the historical bridge in these two apparently separated spaces”. 

Using a Meta Quest 2, we were able to traverse a digital gallery built by Kultys — equipped with specialised rooms that housed each respective NFT. The NFTs ranged from still images to 3D animated segments — each one springing to life when digitally “approached” inside the metaverse. Notable featured artists included Black trans activist Danielle Braithwaite-Shirley, digital artist and animator Marjan Moghaddam and renowned avatar project LaTurbo Avedon.

In her own words, Kultys has noted the propensity for NFTs to focus more on interests, cultural outlooks or community goals, rather than the quality of the art itself: 

“I have noticed that NFTs have created a focus on hype itself, rather than the art behind it, which was accelerated during the COVID-19 pandemic. The hype around the cryptographic token, the prices paid, and the novelty of the blockchain consumes all press coverage, not to mention private chat apps and online platforms. We don’t, however, talk about the digital art it points to, the conceptual work, the content, the art itself.”

Annka Kultys

Throughout the programme, Kultys also calls us to question: what actually defines a good piece of art? While it might seem simple, it’s also a deeply complex question that has been raised many times throughout the course of art history.

If they’re counted as an art form, then NFTs are now statistically among some of the art world’s best-selling pieces (Beeple’s now infamous piece sold for a total of $69 million). However, this hasn’t prevented the quality of NFT art from being called into question. While much of the well-known artwork is certainly (or arguably) endearing in its own right, the general chunk of the most well-known NFT projects — including Bored Apes, CryptoPunks and CryptoKitties — don’t quite feature something you’d find on the average art collector’s wall.

In fact, many of these images have primarily been created through a programme that algorithmically randomises different traits (such as hairstyles, accessories, clothing items and skin colours). At the time of writing, creators don’t even need any preliminary coding knowledge — machines just take care of the work.

Photo by © mundissima –

Moreover, the quality of NFT art has been so heavily debated by art communities as of late that in January of this year, five out of six community voters opted to exclude NFTs from any articles listing the most expensive artworks by living artists. One argument among voters was the idea that NFT technology is too new to be considered a viable art form. And if you ask J.J. Charlesworth, art critic and senior editor at ArtReview, Bored Apes can be summarised as a “collector aesthetic” that “isn’t aspiring to be great art.”

It might seem apt that the backlash against NFTs can be compared to previous aversions to modern art forms. Kultys, who is ever-aware of these trends, highlights how “abstract art has frequently baffled many people, largely because (unlike body and still nature) it seems unrelated to the world of appearances. Around 1910, several artists began to experiment with abstraction (Picasso, Cezanne and Braque). Today, we live in a world which generates abstractions. With the right software, an image on a screen can be morphed from figurative to abstract at the press of a key.”

Leading art experts have also weighed in on the visual calibre of popular NFT art, insisting that it appeals much more to cultural appeal as opposed to artistic integrity. According to J.J. Charlesworth: “Trying to apply art world standards to some NFTs is missing the point. A lot of the NFT market is based on collectables and there’s always been a visual culture in collecting — from comics, to trainers, baseball cards — that is very mainstream.”

With all the above taken into account, Kultys has done an excellent job at exploring “canonical themes within art history”, In her curatorial statement, she addresses her belief that “NFTs have created a focus on hype itself, rather than the art behind it”. By “examining the gap between the separated worlds of NFT and ‘traditional’ art”, she uses both the gallery’s Instagram account and her curatorial goals to compare her chosen NFT works with reputable classical and contemporary art pieces (including Sir John Everett Millais’ popular Pre-Raphaeliate gem ‘Ophelia’ and Marina Abramović’s performance piece ‘The Artist is Present’).

Photo by © Rokas Tenys –

As we see a considerable expansion of Web3 technologies, we’ve now learned that both digital and crypto art has entered a first of many steps in progression. While crypto collectors and artists continue to work in the NFT space “without being aware of the rich art history that exists elsewhere”, she’s simultaneously raised the most important message of all: that “traditional art and NFTs are two sides of the same river — and to navigate from one side to the other we need bridges or to jump in the water”.

5 Restaurants That Are Gearing Up for Web3

After reading this title, you might be wondering: since we can’t actually eat in the metaverse, what use will restaurants truly have inside a virtual world? Or what use could possibly come out of an NFT “food” item?

Over the years, restaurants have seen growth by adopting more purpose-driven brand models. McDonald’s, for example, isn’t just known for its cheap and delicious food items — but also for its ability to raise funds for charity efforts and give back to communities in need. The Taco Bell Foundation has also spent years gathering millions of dollars in funds, which it regularly allocates towards grants and scholarships to help young leaders access easier paths to education and career-building.

Web3 technology is slowly presenting a range of use cases for the restaurant industry — including opportunities to crowdfund using NFTs, create innovative metaverse experiences, build deeper brand loyalty and serve as access passes for greater experiences and perks. In this article, we’ll take a look at 5 notable brands that are adopting Web3 and metaverse technology.


The fast-food industry’s reigning champion has already shown significant interest in utilising Web3 technology to create new experiences for its customer base. So far, the restaurant’s initiatives include plans for metaverse experiences and commemorative NFTs.

Photo by © Deman –

While this may be a new turn in the company’s marketing roadmap, it isn’t necessarily an uncharacteristic move for McDonald’s. The fast-food restaurant has been long-regarded as an innovator in the fast-food industry, with frequent changes to its branding and model over the course of several decades. Out of all fast-food restaurants, Mcdonald’s is also highly regarded as a leader in digital technology — with a digital innovation team that counts 130 people globally.

In February 2022, it was announced that McDonald’s tendered an application for 10 trademarks in the metaverse. According to the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO), this trademark registration is meant to cover the support of both physical and virtual goods, as well as a virtual restaurant that also offers home delivery services.

Taco Bell

Last year, popular fast-food chain Taco Bell announced that they would be releasing a series of “limited” NFTs on the Ethereum blockchain. Sold on the Rarible marketplace, the 25 pieces of digital art sold within a half hour. With the highest recorded bid, the restaurant’s “Ever-Crunching” tacos piece received the highest of all bids — coming in at 3.9 ETH, or the equivalent of $9,406 USD.

Venture capitalist David Pakman commended Taco Bell for their early adoption of NFT technology: “Right now, we are in the experimentation phase of the market, so I would expect to see lots of different experiments from musical and visual artists, brands, tech companies, media companies and creators of all stripes. Sometimes brands can be rewarded for embracing emerging consumer trends earlier than their peer group, so kudos to Taco Bell.”

Taco Bell’s NFT drop ended up being a great case for tokenised crowdfunding, with all funds from the restaurant’s project being allocated to charity. According to the listing, 100% of the profits earned from the sale were donated to Taco Bell Foundation, Inc. “to empower youth to discover and pursue their career and educational pathways.”


This month, Starbucks announced that they would be launching their own digital community Web3 platform, including a release of loyalty-based NFTs. On the company’s fiscal Q2 2022 earnings call, Starbucks presented their new plan to investors — arguing in favour of NFT technology as a way for the popular coffee chain to extend its brand’s concept of the “third place” — a term they used to describe a place where people can feel a sense of belonging over coffee between the home and the workplace.

Photo by © AngieYeoh –

“Emerging technologies associated with Web3, and specifically NFTs, now enable this aspiration and allow us to extend who Starbucks has always been at our core,” says Brady Brewer, Starbucks Chief Marketing Officer. “We are creating the digital third place. To achieve this, we will broaden our framework of what it means for people to be a member of the Starbucks community, adding new concepts such as ownership and community-based membership models that we see developing in the Web3 space.”

Starbucks has not yet revealed specific details on what their first set of NFTs will look like or which sorts of utilities will come attached. However, the company has detailed in an official blog post that it believes there is potential for the company to provide customers with additional experiences and perks through greater utilities.

Starbucks, which is also well-known for promoting artists and musicians, plans to continue this streak with its first NFT launch. According to the post, the company plans to start its first “collection, membership and community later this year, based on coffee art and storytelling. It will come with a host of unique experiences and benefits.”


Last month, in honour of National Burrito Day (which was April 7th, in case you weren’t aware), Chipotle set up shop in the metaverse by launching its very own virtual “burrito builder” — hosted by Roblox. The game was apparently inspired by “Chipotle fans on social media who have compared the complexities of rolling burritos to playing a video game,” the brand announced in an official statement.

While Chipotle didn’t necessarily make use of a Web3 platform (such as Decentraland or The Sandbox), the famous Mexican chain did tap into the popular ‘play-to-earn’ model found in several blockchain games. In this case, users who were able to complete gamified tasks were rewarded with burritos.

Chris Brandt, Chipotle’s chief marketer, made a statement on the model: “We’ve tapped into play-to-earn, an emerging engagement model in the metaverse, to launch our newest experience on Roblox that celebrates the iconic Chipotle burrito. We’re blending the metaverse and real-world elements of our brand to take the Chipotle fan experience to a whole new level.”

Bored & Hungry

Based in Long Beach, California, Bored & Hungry was inspired by — you guessed it — the imagery from the now infamous Bored Ape NFTs, which are indisputably the most popular and successful of all NFT projects. Andy Nguyen, owner and founder of the new popup establishment, purchased four NFTs from Bored Ape Yacht Club and two NFTs from Mutant Ape Yacht Club to fund the initiative. Each image now appears across the restaurant’s food packaging and branding.

Photo by © mundissima –

“The main bored ape, which is our logo, we spent a little over $267,000 on — and on the Mutant Apes we spent around $65,000 to $75,000 for each one,” Nguyen has detailed, revealing how much money was spent on each lucrative crypto asset to kick things off.

In all, it appears that Bored & Hungry isn’t just a flashy new burger joint adorned with popular cartoons as its logo. Its interesting model has actually revealed several insights into how NFT technology can translate into the real world, as the company has also announced that it will accept both Ethereum and ApeCoin (BAYC’s token) as a form of payment.

“The goal is to give back to the growing [Web3] community and open the doors to those who want to learn more about this new Web3/NFT world,” Nguyen has commented. When detailing his greater mission, he says: “Our job is to educate the public about this new future world. And show people that you can create a brand/business out of this IP. Taking away the stigma of, ‘it’s just a jpeg.’”

Women in the Metaverse: Marie Franville of NABIYA

After spending four years in the blockchain gaming space, you might consider Marie Franville a Web3 veteran of sorts. From curating events for major tech companies to helping launch an early blockchain gaming project, Marie’s focus is now on building premium metaverse experiences for brands and gamers alike.

Marie now leads indie game studio NABIYA — which she co-founded with Sebastien Borget, co-founder and COO of The Sandbox. With The Sandbox as their chosen metaverse platform, Marie and her team of creative experts are now at the forefront of Web3 entry — creating “tailor-made worlds with games or architectural projects” and “state-of-the-art NFTs” for clients in the gaming, music, art and fashion industries. They’ve also got their own unique metaverse game in the works.

After seeing Marie speak at a panel discussion held at London’s annual Pocket Gamer Connects conference, we recently connected with her to discuss what she’s witnessed in her years within the blockchain gaming space. We also enjoyed covering her foray into building immersive experiences for high-end clients, as well as what she sees for female leadership in the growing Web3 space.

How did things start?

Marie began her career in IT, working as a business developer with Big Tech brands (including Samsung and Dell). Along the way, she found herself curating video game conferencing events — effectively hunting for sponsors and organising game connections in major cities across the globe.

In 2018, Marie began organising events sponsored by Unisoft in Lyon, France, where she’s based — primarily the Blockchain Game Summit, which cropped up quite early in the Web3 space. “At the time, there weren’t so many conventions — the general consensus was that massive adoption of blockchain would happen through video games. This is because game players have an inherent understanding of the value of digital assets.” She further adds: “Of course, the story says otherwise — more mass adoption came through art, with NFTs.”

Marie marks this occasion as her main turning point, describing how she “met really brilliant, bright visionaries — these people really understood what [Web3] was about and how exciting it was. That’s how I fell into that rabbit hole.” She continues: “Nowadays, things have changed — but these people understood how exciting things were and were trying to educate people.”

Marie spent the next four years serving as COO of blockchain video game studio B2Expand before founding NABIYA with longtime friend Sebastien Borget, co-founder and COO of The Sandbox (a popular decentralised metaverse gaming platform that has partnered with a growing list of brands and artists — including Snoop Dogg, Adidas and Deadmau5). 

When Borget caught wind of her idea, he offered his full support to set up the business. “He’s an industry friend and he’s always been very supportive,” she explains. He now serves as the publisher and developer of NABIYA. Amongst their team is also a creative director who has worked extensively in the Paris fashion industry, having previously collaborated with high-end labels such as Christian Dior and John Galliano.

Marie also comments on the power of friendship and community in Web3, describing how: “Many friends in the industry and people work together — that’s what’s so wonderful.”

What does NABIYA’s “all-in-one service” entail?

Today, NABIYA focuses on two missions: one, to conceive and develop their own video game ELEMENTS — and two, to build video games and architectural projects for landowners in The Sandbox.

Now backed by a team of seven experts in art, fashion and blockchain gaming, Marie has helped turn NABIYA into a uniquely creative and innovative collective. While some clients require their help with building artistic or architectural projects in the metaverse, “some people need really cool game mechanics and gameplay. So we are also architects and game builders — we do both.”

On building their client base, Marie claims that “many brands came to look for us”. Some of their most notable clients include popular rock band Avenged Sevenfold (who they’ve collaborated with to create a series of signature NFTs), mobile blockchain gaming pioneer Spells of Genesis and rising NFT project Cyberkongz (with whom they’ve recently formed a co-partnership with).

NABIYA’s wide range of services and approaches also means that their team aims “for high, premium quality — because there are many, many types of businesses and their positioning is different,” Marie explains. “People who have a very strong idea and very strong communities — they come to us and say ‘could you build something for us?’ There is a learning curve with The Sandbox, but we know the process really well.”

She elaborates: “We come up with the concept art, of course working with their director, to really reflect their universe and where they want to go. Then we create, from scratch, their own unique experience — and it’s very unique to their own brand.”

ELEMENTS and next steps

ELEMENTS is an exploration game based on the Chinese cosmogony. In the game’s overall storyline, the player’s mission is to restore equilibrium to a metaverse world using the five elements: Earth, Wood, Metal, Fire and Water. Through a series of 12 chapters, the player embarks on an in-depth and immersive journey through a colourful and historical universe.

On why they chose this theme for their flagship game, Marie simply states her belief that, due to climate change and other environmental issues, our current world is out of balance. In turn, “[the concept] is very modern — because the 5 elements — they are very complimentary and we need all of them to be in balance.”

Each asset created within ELEMENTS is an ERC-1155 token minted on The Sandbox — a fungibility-agnostic and gas-efficient token contract. “Of course, the big, big dream is the utility — we are really doing some research and trying to work with other chains so we can bring our assets that are native to The Sandbox.”

“Maybe it’s a bit naive,” Marie also remarks, “[but] my ambition is to make a game that is fun, enticing and compelling — and then the economy will follow.”

Frictions and next frontiers in blockchain gaming

It’s an issue we seem to keep raising — but gaming communities are still averse to the idea of NFTs and blockchain (an estimated 70% of them consider them to be a negative trend). We’ve already discussed it in previous pieces — and so have other thought leaders we’ve spoken with in the past. It’s become an unavoidable subject when speaking about the advancement of blockchain gaming — but like many others in the space, Marie sees ways for players to see greater incentives with blockchain technology.

“I can see the barriers to adoption — I can see why some people can be bitter or why they misunderstand the intention. At the moment, it’s a bit rough. Everything is still in the process of being built — nothing is laid down or perfectly clear,” she says.

“I think that the conventional games are more and more interested in integrating tokenomics based on Web3. But it’s not because [you] add NFTs.” Rather, she insists that the tension is on hiring: “I’ve observed that traditional video games are trying to input the Web3 component and it’s not done, in my humble opinion, by adding some NFTs.”

Moreover, Marie emphasises the need for more tokenomics experts to join the gaming space and apply a play-to-earn model to more projects and concepts. “We need more people in a new line of career for tokenomics — people who are completely into tokenomics and who understand what’s going on. But these people — they are really scarce.”

With that being said, however, she still notes that we have a long way to go before we see changes start to materialise. “In mobile games, you have free-to-play [models] and you have the economic model to understand how it works. But at the moment, we are still creating — everybody’s trying.”

A window of opportunity for women

Marie also describes the rise of female leadership she’s seen in her four years of working in the blockchain world, noting how the time has never been more optimal for women to find both footing and equal treatment in the space. “I think there is a very big window of opportunity right now and many new jobs are being created, which needs to be defined as we are working on [Web3].”

She continues: “Whatever your speciality is as a woman — whether you’re working as a CMO somewhere or a designer, or whatever your vertical is — there are many ways of connecting the dots at this Web3 layer — so it’s really the right timing now.”

Her advice for other women entering the space? “Whatever you do, whatever your expertise is — you learn by doing. And there are always, always possible connections to Web3, whatever you are doing. So it’s a good time.” She also adds that throughout her trajectory in the space, she’s been very glad “to see so many women taking leadership positions. I think it’s only the beginning.”

What’s next for NABIYA?

Along with wanting a more equitable space, Marie envisions a more interoperable and cross-functional metaverse. She mentions how certain experts “are a bit wary of interoperability, but it’s one big dream for me. It’s very, very hard technology and I don’t know how it’s going to unravel — but it’s a big dream for interoperability, where you [can] hold a piece of history through your NFT and have utility on different platforms.”

She looks forward to seeing a future where users can create [their] story within all the different metaverses. “It’s a new form of content creation,” she says.

NABIYA is also excited to launch what Marie refers to as “full experiences” this upcoming June, where they’ll be releasing part of ELEMENTS. “Of course, not all of it,” Marie clarifies. “We want to launch the game by degrees, so we can get feedback and build a community. That way, we can build the game with the community. This is how things are done nowadays.”

To stay updated on ELEMENTS and NABIYA’s upcoming projects and releases, be sure to follow their Twitter and Medium pages.

Women in the Metaverse: Ekin Eriş of Infinite Arcade

Ekin Eriş — one of the Core Contributors of blockchain gaming platform Infinite Arcade — has ambitious plans to influence wider gaming audiences, help form greater communities for casual gamers and serve as a frontrunner in the Web3 community.

As part of our ongoing series, we recently sat down with Ekin to discuss her entry into the blockchain gaming industry, her plans to leverage Infinite Arcade as a frontrunner in the Web3 and gaming spaces and how she hopes to see the internet become more equitable and diverse, with greater opportunities for women in gaming and tech.


Ekin started her roots in the sciences, but eventually shifted her focus towards marketing and business strategy. After subsequent ventures in e-commerce and travel, she eventually landed a position in the adtech field. 

The pandemic unfortunately forced her previous company to shut down, but not before she was introduced to the leadership team at Coda — a reputable UK-based mobile games publishing platform. It was here where she got started in the gaming space, quickly helping the company expand their growth operations and tech team and ultimately scaling their growth strategy. She also participated in the early stage of their pipeline, helping their team find new ideas for games, creative briefs and newly tested concepts.

More recently, the Coda team has launched their first Web3 project — Infinite Arcade. The platform currently has plans to double the size of its team within the next year and see more talent come to the fore.

How does Infinite Arcade work?

Infinite Arcade is a new gaming ecosystem where players can tap into a portfolio of games — ranging from puzzle games, runner games and action games (to name a few). In all, players have the opportunity to play and earn across a wide portfolio of choices throughout the greater ecosystem. Players can also add value to each game through any NFTs they own.

From a creator and game developer’s perspective, Ekin says that their team has seen a great deal of interest from casual game studios. Since joining Coda, she’s had access to over 15,000 studios within their greater network — giving her greater insight on where the sector is going and what game developers are working towards. 

Ekin claims that there is a burgeoning interest from the creator community to enter the Web3 space. However, she notes a conundrum — that smaller studios often don’t have the right amount of expertise or funds to get their projects off the ground. “It’s really hard to kickstart a community from the ground-up, with design and economy around it — and this also comes up with game mechanics.”

Screenshot from Court Master / Infinite Arcade

In response, she hopes that Infinite Arcade’s model can offer developers an easier way to onboard their existing games, in addition to offering a way for them to bring their blockchain games into the Web3 world without hassle. To achieve this, their team offers easy implementation of their SDK into their games — as well as a platform where NFTs will also be available to access within their play-to-earn mechanics.

“They don’t have to design the economy or think through how the in-game mechanics work,” Ekin explains. “We cover all of that.”

Infinite Arcade is also building a design that aims to encompass the creator’s space, for both developers and NFT artists. This framework will be open to both third-party blockchain projects and NFT collections. With this, she’s also leveraging Infinite Arcade’s business model to build a better community within Web3 — particularly a community where players are able to interact one-on-one with game developers who create within the space. 

Helping gamers embrace blockchain

It’s a known fact that gamers have struggled to embrace blockchain. In fact, ahead of the 2022 Game Developers Conference, 72% of surveyed game developers claimed that their studios had little-to-no interest in cryptocurrency as a form of payment — while 70% of respondents claimed that they also weren’t interested in NFTs. However, despite current frictions between the two spaces, Ekin remains optimistic about this “once in a lifetime change” and asserts that we will one day see these worlds come together.

“It’s quite obvious that some people are resistant to change in general and Web3 is a huge shift from what we’ve been living through in our generation,” she remarks. “So it’s quite understandable for some people to be completely against it or even take a neutral stance.”

When it comes to Web3 and blockchain gaming, she raises the point that we can see that the proof of concept works: “We can see this in successful games like Axie Infinity and The Sandbox — there are 2 million play-to-earn players already. So there is a slow and steady adoption that’s happening right now.”

Photo by © Ira Lichi –

Ekin aspires to place Infinite Arcade into the front row of this shift. By the end of the year, she hopes that there will be up to 200 games in the system — along with millions of existing casual gamers at their helm. “It’s in these little areas where we will implement these cues for casual gamers to get exposed to the systems and get to see the adoption. Then, slowly people will be more open to interacting with NFTs and digital tokens.”

With the right talent and technology in place, Ekin also claims that Infinite Arcade will be well-equipped to be one of the pioneers of gaming within the blockchain space. Providing an easier way for gaming studios to adapt their games to blockchain technology will thereby allow them to gain better tokenomics and also interact more easily with their users. Also, since games are offered to multiple players, there is utility that can be used across their greater portfolio for NFTs.

A better future for women in gaming

Ekin is optimistic that we will one day see more women become interested in working for gaming companies, in addition to more job opportunities appearing within the industry as it grows. In Turkey, where she’s based, she’s seen large communities of gaming and female talent start to proliferate. For example, she notes new study tracks opening in universities — where women can now “invest in themselves earlier on in their careers.”

When speaking about what can effectively drive this change, she’s a firm believer that women in gaming will be the ones to shift these dynamics. “Even if we don’t see women in leadership positions now, a lot of them are entering the space with incredible talent to offer — and I believe we will one day see them enter those higher rank positions in the future.”

Her advice? She encourages all women in the Web3 space to “be active in their community, talk about their experiences, be vulnerable, actively seek new talent and create awareness within their leadership teams on gender equality.”

Envisioning a more equitable Web3

It’s a harsh fact that most gaming industries are still male-dominated (as of 2020, a reported 70% of people who work in the UK games industry were men). Ekin also makes note of these skewed numbers. She hopes to lead by example, be active within the gaming community and attract new talent within the space as early as possible.

“There are a lot of incredible women out there who are not happy with their current roles and who want to change career paths,” she says. “Web3 overall would benefit from these talents — especially women who have backgrounds in digital industries.”

At the end of the day, she believes that there will one day be a “Web3 version of anything” that we’re seeing in the digital space right now — ultimately making it more equitable and ripe for more opportunities for women in tech. She also claims that the time to invest in this goal is now, given that the space is still at a critical developing stage — something that currently makes it especially creative and diverse at this point in the timeline. “This makes it a good building block for the future, when there is more talent and adoption coming into the space.”

Rather than wide-scope ideas and envisioning a concept where everyone will live inside a metaverse space, she’s focused on more realistic and short-to-mid term improvements — such as the concept of virtual worlds that can be accessed through mobile devices (such as smartphones and tablets) — as these mediums are more widely accessible to mass audiences worldwide.

A shift towards greater blockchain adoption

Will we one day see gamers become more receptive to blockchain gaming? 

Ekin believes that the biggest change will come when mass gaming audiences enter the Web3 space. Taking into account a current estimated number of 3 billion gamers globally, she asserts that when this happens, blockchain gaming will no longer be fully dependent on the play-to-earn aspect. While there will be players with earning as their main motivation, there will also be other players who will be attracted to projects simply due to the quality of the experience — “hopefully to the extent where they want to invest in these games without expecting a short term warranty, because the economies of the play-to-earn model [will be] dependent on players who see this as a daily job.”

Screenshot from Rope Rescue / Infinite Arcade

Ekin says she hopes to see the gaming industry become better equipped to take on that challenge and become better poised to influence mass audiences to make these changes. She continues: “The metaverse concept has been existing in games for years now, so it’s not a new idea for gamers in that space — they’re used to being in a world where assets are traded.”

Moreover, she adds that this shift “will allow projects to have more sustainable economies, because they will be balancing forces. That will drive hyper-growth, because that will be the point where we will have the mass adoption. That’s going to be an exciting time — and I’m looking forward to it.”

She also comments about her hope to see greater interoperability in Web3 spaces — where assets can be moved from one world to another in a seamless way and where they’ll still retain their value. This, she adds, should be coupled with more collaboration between blockchain projects. She notes how blockchain projects are currently more siloed, but that one day she believes we will see more collaboration within the space, with more utility for asset owners and new value flows.

Lastly, Ekin also says she is excited to see more worlds form their own digital economies with their tokens and NFTs, hoping that they’ll offer a wide range of solutions — from entertainment and media to gaming to education and fashion. “There are obviously projects that have established some or most of these aspects, but the experience itself is in its early stages — whether that’s in the quality of the game or the social experiences. There’s room for improvement and I’m very interested in seeing that.”

What’s next?

Going forward, Ekin hopes to collaborate with existing gaming and Web3 projects. She notes that the capability for people to purchase NFTs from other projects and then transfer them into Infinite Arcade “will add more opportunities and value for asset owners.”

She’s also looking forward to seeing how new projects come into the Web3 space — such as where there may be areas to merge the sectors of gaming and education. “It’s a very exciting time right now,” she says, “because with the pandemic, we’ve seen that the education of anything can be accessible through the internet.” In light of this, she notes the likelihood that we will see a combining of these worlds — which will lead to many more projects and visions. In all, she’s thrilled to see how Web3 will solve these issues.

Infinite Arcade will also be launching its own token — $TIC (Token of Infinite Choice) this upcoming May.

To check out Infinite Arcade’s current lineup of games — including their Gamer NFT Genesis Collection, which will go on sale March 30th — be sure to visit their website and Twitter page to learn more and get the latest updates. For the latest news and sneak peeks, users can also join their community on Discord.