While crypto writers compare the sizes of their new names for the Metaverse, the real thing is showing its face in both predictable and preposterous ways.
In the former category, Coinbase has announced integration of Ledger hardware wallets as part of a push toward self-custody as a web3 norm. The idea is to live up to DeFi’s potential to buck banking traditions by giving consumers control of their own financial assets. It sounds great on paper. But, in practice, crypto wallet management is a bug-ridden shitshow and a major impediment to mass adoption. (Criticisms to which Coinbase is not immune.) Meanwhile, Ledger, supposedly a safe answer to prevalent crypto scams, is functionally an overpriced USB drive with time delayed login and a pretty display screen.
In the latter category, a video went viral last week, demoing a product concept for a digital price tag you can attach to your sneakers to broadcast their latest valuation on StockX. The ‘Hypetags’ received instant backlash — which, given that no mention of them exists outside of the original video, and that the ‘inventor’ is infamous for garnering unironic coverage of straight-up trolling, was obviously the whole point. Luckily it also sparked an interesting discussion of what the Metaverse looks like, irl.
Zuckerberg press conferences and degen Twitter diatribes aside, the Metaverse of the forseeable future will likely be less Ready-Player-One-esque dystopia and more cringey products designed to flex your online creds in real life. The reasons why are up for debate — maybe we still have some preservation instincts as a race, or perhaps we really are just marginally evolved, hierarchically hardwired great apes.
Personally, I lay blame at the feet of Web3’s overwhelmingly white, male, and dopamine-addicted early adopters. However, being one myself, I also feel entitled to carve a piece of the Metaverse in my own image. So here are my $M ideas:
- Headphones that display the artist and song being played — for those who want to cosplay as the type of people who still bump To Pimp A Butterfly, or have the balls to admit they listen to Baby Keem.
- An iPhone case with a screen on the back showing your social media post with the most engagement, so everyone will know you have the dankest memes.
- An $800 black hoodie with the logo of an NFT collection you hold screenprinted on it. Oh wait.