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Imagine going to a rock concert with thousands of people from around the world, checking out virtual houses or earning cryptocurrency by playing blockchain-based games. This, and a lot more, is possible in the metaverse.
But what is the metaverse? It’s a digital world that combines virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR) to create an immersive environment. Even though the metaverse is still in its infancy, it’s viewed by some—including Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg, who’s rebranded the company as Meta—as the future of the internet.
Already, the metaverse offers opportunities for gaming, education, commerce, virtual real estate, social networks and entertainment, among other aspects. Unlike existing social networks, the metaverse is powered by blockchains, incorporates cryptocurrencies and provides users with ownership of their digital avatars and assets.
But is the metaverse just a passing fad? Time will tell, but banking giant Citi estimates that the metaverse could be an $8-trillion to $13-trillion market (all figures in U.S. dollars) by 2030. And, according to research firm Gartner, by 2026, a quarter of us will be spending at least an hour a day working, studying, socializing and shopping in the metaverse, and 30% of organizations around the globe will offer metaverse products and services.
Metaverse coins—tokens used on metaverse platforms to pay for things like non-fungible tokens (NFTs), AR/VR, music and entertainment—had a blockbuster 2021, with values up about 120% over the calendar year. Despite a dramatic fall in prices so far in 2022, the space is up over 25% year-over-year.
Here are four metaverse-themed cryptocurrencies you can buy on NDAX, a fully regulated Canadian cryptocurrency trading platform.
With 1.3 million monthly active users, Gala Games is at the centre of the blockchain gaming revolution. It’s a blockchain-powered gaming ecosystem with several games in test mode or development. Founded in 2019 by Eric Schiermeyer, co-founder of game giant Zynga, Gala’s primary focus is creating enjoyable games that integrate key growth drivers like play-to-earn, NFTs, music and community engagement as part of their core strategy.
The GALA token is the native utility and governance token of the ecosystem. GALA holders can use their coins to gain in-game rewards, buy and sell in-game assets, purchase NFTs or run player-nodes, allowing them to participate in decisions such as which games to develop.
If building armies of creatures that can battle or hunt for treasure sounds like fun, then Axie Infinity is the game for you. You can earn AXS, the utility and governance token of Axie Infinity, by joining the 2.8 million players who show up daily. In fact, 20% of the AXS supply is earmarked for play-to-earn.
Interest in AXS really ballooned with the introduction of staking, to which Axie Infinity has allocated 29% of the AXS supply. (Staking allows crypto investors to earn rewards by temporarily locking in their coins to help verify a blockchain network’s transactions.) So, if you aren’t interested in playing the game but want to invest in the growth of the metaverse, you could buy AXS and stake it to earn annualized rewards, currently estimated to be above 70%. While this sounds exciting, the rate of return is not guaranteed—and the value of your rewards in dollar terms could be much lower if the price of AXS falls.
The metaverse isn’t only about gaming—it’s a shared digital world where you can create environments and exchange digital assets, including NFTs, with others. Enter the virtual world of Decentraland. It’s one of the success stories from the boom in initial coin offerings (ICOs) in 2017, when it raised about $26 million worth of ether from investors.
Users can purchase and monetize tokenized parcels of virtual land and create their own environments, including marketplaces. They can also build applications on the Decentraland blockchain for others to build on. MANA is Decentraland’s utility and governance token, allowing holders to buy land and other assets, as well as vote on projects and policies.
Similar to Decentraland, The Sandbox is an Ethereum-based 3D virtual environment in which users can buy, trade, share and monetize digital assets.
Launched in 2011 by Pixowl, The Sandbox was a successful mobile gaming platform with 40 million downloads before it became a blockchain-based 3D metaverse in 2020. The next year, it received $93 million in funding, led by Softbank. The Sandbox also has 50-plus partners, including Atari, CryptoKitties and rapper Snoop Dogg.
SAND is the platform’s native token, used for all transactions and interactions. Users can acquire SAND by playing games or purchasing it on a crypto trading platform.
You can buy GALA, AXS, MANA and SAND in Canadian dollars on the Canadian-regulated crypto trading platform NDAX, which offers a low transaction fee of 0.2%. It has a large selection of cryptocurrencies, robust security standards, and multiple deposit and withdrawal options. NDAX also provides customer service through live chat, email and phone, with an expected response time of 24 hours for messages received off-hours.
It’s early days yet for the metaverse, and crypto assets are still very volatile. Before you buy, understand what’s involved and the possible risks. Consider buying cryptocurrencies only if doing so is in line with your investment goals and risk appetite, and limit your purchases to what you can afford to lose. And, as with other investments, it’s prudent to have a long investment time horizon.