How This VR Company Became the OYO for NFTs

In Ballroom B at the Santa Clara Convention Center in the heart of  Silicon Valley, California, a small crowd of less than 100 people disguised and scattered were waiting to hear about collaboration software.

How This VR Company Became the OYO for NFTs

In Ballroom B at the Santa Clara Convention Center in the heart of  Silicon Valley, California, a small crowd of less than 100 people disguised and scattered were waiting to hear about collaboration software.

Loewenstein is  head of business development at Spatial, a venture capital startup that has been convincing corporate customers to wear headsets and buy VR conferencing apps for the past few years. But  last Wednesday, Loewenstein kicked off a presentation on the NFT, the Virtual Art House, the Utah Jazz NBA team, and the curse called "The Future of Work" app.

“This is  a rather strange situation,” Loewenstein began. “Anyone who has ever used Spatial would say, 'What? What happened to Spatial? How many more buzzwords can you throw away? And  if it helps us make money, the answer is infinitely more buzzwords. I'm kidding." Loewenstein humorously articulated the company's monetization goals, but Spatial  is actually watching the money.

Right now, this is heading in the direction of the well-known NFT art market. NFT stands for “non-fungible tokens” often referred to  as digital asset ownership certificates. Some  artists are making millions of dollars selling  digital art as well as tokenized proof of ownership. Tokens are managed on a blockchain, so cryptocurrency is the default currency.

According to a recent Bloomberg report, the crypto arts market generated revenue of $3.5 billion  in the first nine months of 2021. Anand Agrawala, Co-Founder and CEO of Spatial, said, "The industry seems to be rallying around the idea of ​​an interoperable, NFT-based metaverse that we believe to be delivering in a unique, very simple and fast way." Send an email to WIRED.

Spatial's rapid transition from holding VR boards to holding NFT auctions symbolizes the quick steps many tech startups should take if they hope to sell  better and cheaper products than their larger competitors are offering. But for Spatial, which has worked with partners like Microsoft and sold software to customers like Mattel and Pfizer, the donut's transition to the notorious fluid world of NFT art looks particularly risky.

Meta Masterpieces

Agarwala and Lowenstein say this shift is more of an evolution than a turning point for the Silicon Valley language. Their users have decided what Spatial is. Of course, the opportunity to appear as an avatar in the "holographic office" was rewarding, especially as the white-collar world took over working from home during quarantine.

Multiple office leaders are using Spatial to host virtual team events, giving remote workers a sense of being together. (I once met  the Spatial team on their own app, and they switched from a Meta Quest 2 headset to the internet and smartphones that support the Spatial app.  Julian Choccattu from WIRED also used Spatial. But something strange happened. When the Spatial app was first released on the Quest 2 headset in 2020, most users accessed the app in virtual reality.

Given that the whole world is a pandemic, the company thought  the moment would come when people would be more comfortable wearing  VR headsets for extended periods of time. not really. Spatial is starting to get feedback that people don't really want endless VR meetings and prefer being able to join the network just like they can click a link and join  a Zoom meeting.

Therefore, the company has created a mobile application and has become web-friendly. 75% of people who use Spatial virtual reality conference rooms now don't use VR headsets at all. "It's almost entirely on a desktop computer, and sometimes on a cell phone," Loewenstein says. "So when Metaverse was most talked about this month... what most people think has nothing to do with headsets."

Then, in January  2021, something else happened. A Parisian artist named Yassin Ait Kachi was tasked with creating a virtual museum to celebrate the 10th anniversary of ELYX, a fully digital, genderless, national diagnostic ambassador created by the United Nations. The artist, also known as YAK, decided to host a virtual museum event on the Spatial app.

A few months later,  visual designer Jarlan Perez and contemporary video producer and sculptor Federico Clapis also presented a sharp interpretation of the modern world through a sculpture of a baby with an iPhone in her womb and a virtual reality helmet for a mother with an invisible child. in space. They used Spatial, a virtual space created by large corporations to use PowerPoint or modify 3D  renderings of their products, and instead created a gallery for their work. And  they started selling NFTs.

The whole idea is surprisingly abstract. Digital art, a beautiful and bizarre collection of 1s and 0s, displayed in a complete virtual atelier, as a series of 1s and 0s, then sold to buyers as blockchain-based intangible tokens. You may not physically own the art, but  at least to a certain audience you can prove that you own a unique copy. Never mind. Before long, 90% of Spatial users were NFT artists using the application's virtual environment as an exhibition space.

The Spatial team was quick to respond, creating an opportunity for artists to integrate Ethereum wallets, leverage NFTs, and choose from one of the many galleries to host their event. The app has become a virtual Airbnb for artists selling NFTs. Not all Spatials are on board. Two of the company's executives were enthusiastic, but most of the rest had to be convinced.

Also, while Spatial didn't say exactly how many users it currently has  or  how many pieces it has sold,  Loewenstein says there are separate success stories. Artist Tyrone Webb, for example, was able to sell  12 NFTs for the first time since starting an exhibition at Spatial.