In my email today, I received an invitation to be one of the early beta testers of MATERIA.ONE, in exchange for filling out and signing a non-disclosure agreement, which I did.
If accepted, I will receive a Steam key to access the technical closed beta demo before the end of the month. I’m actually very surprised I was even asked, since I am not an investor in Staramba or an owner of any Staramba tokens, their in-world cryptocurrency. And, as any regular reader of my blog knows, I have been casting a rather skeptical eye at this project so far.
Have you joined the RyanSchultz.com Discord yet? Come join 170 avid users of various metaverse platforms, and discuss social VR and virtual world predictions for 2019! More details here.
Time to peer into that crystal ball and make some predictions!
First: Second Life is going to continue to coast along, baffling the mainstream news media and the general public with its vitality and longevity. It will continue to be a reliable cash cow for Linden Lab as they put a portion of that profit into building Sansar. And I also predict that the ability to change your first and last names in SL will prove very popular—and also very lucrative for Linden Lab! Remember, they’ve got seven years of pent-up demand for this feature. (I have a couple of avatars myself that I’d like to rename.)
Third: I confidently predict that one or more blockchain-based virtual worlds are going to fold. Not Decentraland; there’s too much money tied up in that one to fail. But several cryptocurrency-based virtual worlds are starting to look like trainwrecks of epic proportions (and I’m looking at you, Staramaba Spaces/Materia.One). Somebody still needs to explain to me why people will want to pay to hang out with 3D-scanned replicas of Paris Hilton and Hulk Hogan. The business model makes absolutely no sense to me. Another one that I think is going to struggle in 2019 is Mark Space.
Fifth: High Fidelity and Sansar will continue their friendly rivalry as both social VR platforms hold splashy events in the new year. (I’m really sorry I missed the recent preview of Queen Nefertari’s tomb in HiFi, but it looks as though there will be many other such opportunities in 2019.) And High Fidelity will continue to boast of new records in avatar capacity at well-attended events (it certainly helps that they’ve got those venture-capital dollars to spend, to offer monetary enticements for users to pile on for stress testing).
Sixth: the Oculus Quest VR headset will ignite the long-awaited boom in virtual reality that the analysts have been predicting for years. There; I’ve said it! And those social VR platforms which support Oculus Quest users will benefit.
And Facebook? If they thought 2018 was a bad year, I predict that we’re going to see even more scandals uncovered in 2019 by news organizations such as the New York Times. And more people (like me) will decide that they’ve had enough of being sold to other corporations and data-mined to within an inch of their lives, and jump ship. The public relations people at Facebook are going to face a lot of sleepless nights…
And, still on the same topic, we might yet see the launch of a new social VR platform backed by Facebook, after they decide to ditch the lamentable Facebook Spaces once and for all. Maybe it will be based on Oculus Rooms; maybe it will be something completely different. But despite my negative feelings about the social networking side of Facebook, they still have the hardware (Oculus), the money, and the reach to be a game-changer in social VR. (Just not with Facebook Spaces. At this point, they should just kill the project and start over. Any improvements will be like putting lipstick on a pig.)
Finally, I predict that the RyanSchultz.com blog will head off into new and rather unexpected directions (that is, if the past 12 months’ activity is any indication!). I never expected to cover blockchain-based virtual worlds, or Second Life freebies; they just kind of happened. Expect more of the same in 2019, as various new topics catch my interest.
Staramba Spaces (you remember, the social VR space/virtual world with links to celebrities such as Paris Hilton and Hulk Hogan) has launched their online shop, where you can buy… well, not much, yet. All they offer for sale right now are “bidding rights” for various sectors:
Plot Bidding Right for the Paris Hilton Sector. This early access Bidding Right enables you to bid for your own real estate plot in the Paris Hilton Sector of the celebrity cluster Primus of STARAMBA.spaces. You will have the opportunity to participate via your Staramba Tokens in the non-public Investor Phase (starting in November 2018) before any public bidding begins.
Be the first!
Bid for a real estate plot with your Staramba Tokens before the public bidding begins.
Next to YOUR star!
The plots will be in Paris Hilton Sector in the celebrity cluster Primus on our first planet, Pasyra.
Here’s a picture of what the planet Pasyra will look like, with the location of the Paris Hilton sector:
I note with amusement that these “bidding rights” are limited to one per buyer, and there are “only 412 left in stock”:
I’ve been trying to figure out what the bidding cost (25 STT, or Staramba tokens) works out to in US dollars, but I haven’t had much luck in finding a website that will do the conversion for me. All I can find is this rather long-winded Medium post explaining the projected lifecycle of Staramba tokens, with the following less-than-helpful timeline:
Now, I also follow the chatter on the Staramba Telegram discussion forums, where someone posted the following information:
After the ITO: restricted trade and trade of STT
In November a restricted trade will be possible depending on regulations. This trade is only possible inside the Leondrino Wallet. It is most likely, that initially trade restrictions must be followed: on a daily, monthly and yearly basis as well as per transaction. These specifications are imposed on us by the competent authority in Germany. This means that the STARAMBA.Tokens can be offered and bought once. The price can be made by the seller or the buyer but cannot be lower than 0.25 USD per STT, which was the last price during the ITO. As soon as the STARAMBA.Tokens changed the owner or wallet, the new owner cannot resell those tokens until token class A was reached.
But you can still use them to buy services and products in the STARAMBA.spaces shop.
Tokens which were not sold during the ITO will be offered by Staramba as sell orders (instant exchange) for 1.00 USD per STT, as this is the value per STT reflected in the shop offers, to give all interested parties the possibility to fill up their STT account and afford desired products and services in the STARAMBA.spaces shop.
The token class B will be the next step and an “advanced” restricted trade will be possible.
At this time trading on other exchanges (selection process has already started) will be possible. Furthermore, the possible limits defined for the restricted trade might be loosened.
That means that today, no exact date can be provided when token classes B and later A will be reached. Every step is made due to all regulations and has to be approved by the regulator in advance.
The aim is to have the STT listed on exchanges that meet all regulations. Therefore, we are in close contact with the regulator to get information about which licenses are needed. At the moment, there is no final decision on regulations regarding trading tokens on exchanges from the side of the Financial Supervisory Authority, but we know that they are setting them up and we are in close contact with them to meet all requirements with the highest precision.
Depending on the time it takes until regulations are defined, we cannot tell you when the STARAMBA.Token will be available on exchanges or which exchanges are approved by the Financial Supervisory Authority.
Our goal is to get the STT listed on established exchanges as soon as the applicable regulations are in place and to make the STT as liquid as possible by October 2019. Nevertheless, our product development team of more than 70 people is working on STARAMBA.spaces and the whole company with more than 100 employees is doing its best to have a successful STARAMBA.Token.
If you should have any further requests regarding regulations or trading of the STARAMBA.Token feel free to contact us and we try to answer all questions as good as we can in the next newsletter.
So, you got all that straight? You basically need a Ph.D. in crypto to figure this thing out.
And for what?!?? A coveted space next to Paris Hilton or Hulk Hogan?? Or rather, a possibly-animated “lifelike scan” or “lifelike 3D avatar” of Paris Hilton, or Hulk Hogan, or some soccer star, or Gene Simmons from KISS?
I’m sorry, but this simply makes no sense to me at all. Caveat emptor!