South Korean social networking platform Zepeto is getting a Web3 overhaul with a crypto-enabled metaverse version called ZepetoX
The company said Tuesday the new platform, which is being built on the Solana blockchain, is a collaboration between Naver-owned Zepeto and Jump Crypto, the cryptocurrency arm of U.S.-based Jump Trading.
Zepeto’s pivot is part of a larger trend in South Korea, which is vying to become an incubator for metaverse projects. The government has spent nearly $200 million in grant money into tech startups working on metaverse-related projects in a bid to boost the country’s tech sector and create more jobs.
The company’s Web 2 platform, which launched in 2018, already contains elements of a metaverse in its own right. With over 320 million registered users, it’s one of the largest in Asia.
In the existing version, users interact through avatars, which they can personalize with virtual accessories. A marketplace called Zepeto Studio allows third parties – from small digital artists to global fashion brands like Gucci and Nike (NKE) – to sell customized virtual accessories. In the four years since Zepeto launched, participants have purchased 2.5 billion of them.
The ZepetoX’s 3D open world is intended to make it easier for users to monetize their ownership of NFT accessories, land and more. ZepetoX seeks to onboard crypto-curious Zepeto players to its platform, which will have a look and feel different to the Web 2 version.
“We believe that ZepetoX can build the ideal Web3 platform to not only bring blockchain to our existing users but also to expand our footprint in the blockchain space through various disruptive initiatives,” NaverZ CEO Daewook Kim said in a press statement.
ZepetoX’s initial virtual land sale is expected in the coming months.
The leader in news and information on cryptocurrency, digital assets and the future of money, CoinDesk is an award-winning media outlet that strives for the highest journalistic standards and abides by a strict set of editorial policies. In November 2023, CoinDesk was acquired by Bullish group, owner of Bullish, a regulated, institutional digital assets exchange. Bullish group is majority owned by Block.one; both groups have interests in a variety of blockchain and digital asset businesses and significant holdings of digital assets, including bitcoin. CoinDesk operates as an independent subsidiary, and an editorial committee, chaired by a former editor-in-chief of The Wall Street Journal, is being formed to support journalistic integrity.