Alibaba Says ‘Open Sesame’ to Web3

The Chinese tech giant is releasing a metaverse launchpad. Plus, Sports Illustrated announces an NFT ticketing platform.

AccessTimeIconMay 5, 2023 at 4:10 p.m. UTC

This week, major Web2 institutions launched new tools to help bring Web3 to the masses. China’s tech behemoth Alibaba announced a metaverse launchpad for brands called Cloudverse built on the Avalanche blockchain, while Sports Illustrated released a non-fungible token ticketing platform on the Polygon network.

Meanwhile, Sotheby’s launched a secondary art marketplace, allowing NFT collectors to trade between themselves while also putting creator royalties at the forefront.

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This Week's Alpha

Alibaba’s Cloudverse: Chinese tech giant Alibaba has built a launchpad for brands to release metaverse experiences built on the Avalanche blockchain. Called Cloudverse, the launchpad will use Avalanche’s technology and Alibaba’s Cloud division for computing and storage.

  • Quick builds for brands: The initiative aims to be a turnkey system for brands that would make it easier for them to get involved in Web3 and expand their customer experience.
  • Onboarding billions: The combined annual active consumers of Alibaba Group’s consumer-facing businesses in China are said to be over 1 billion, creating a potentially massive opportunity to onboard scores of users and brands into Web3.

SI Tickets: The Sports Illustrated publication is launching an NFT ticketing platform built on the Polygon blockchain. SI Tickets will allow event owners, organizers and promoters to use its “Box Office” function to build further fan engagement opportunities.

  • NFT ticketing on the rise: The use of NFTs as tickets to events and clubs continues to gain momentum and could be a mass-market way to invite users into Web3.

Sotheby’s enters the secondary market: Art auction house Sotheby’s, which has enthusiastically embraced Web3 technology through its Sotheby’s Metaverse platform, is launching a specially curated, peer-to-peer secondary marketplace for digital art.

  • Artists first: The fully on-chain sales system will offer direct transactions between collectors and will honor creator royalties through smart contracts embedded into its platform. "Sotheby’s commitment to honoring artist royalties comes amidst a larger debate about royalties within the NFT community, and signals Sotheby’s artist-first ethos as one of the only major NFT marketplaces committed to artist resale royalties," it said in a press release.

Projects on the Rise

(Big Inc)
(Big Inc)

Who: Truth Labs, the creators of NFT project Goblintown

What: Goblintown, an unlikely success story in the form of a 9,999-edition NFT collection, is getting a sequel called Big Inc, which expands the goblin lore even further. The new 15,000-edition collection will prioritize collectors based on their “rekt activity,” or poor trades in the NFT space.

How: Interested collectors can apply to mint and Truth Labs will analyze wallet data to determine the quality of a trader’s transactions. This will place traders on the “Down Bad Board,” or leaderboard of the worst traders in the space. The top 1,000 worst traders in the NFT space will have 24 hours to mint their Big Inc acceptance letter for free.

Mint participants can pay 0.096 ether or get a 50% discount by paying with the meme coin pepe. The company has not publicly released a date or time for the mint.

In Other News

Token-gated kicks: Web3 experiential company Tokenproof has announced a three-year agreement with Adidas to bring token-gated drops and experiences to the footwear giant’s Confirmed app.

Bernard Arnault’s secret NFTs: The world’s richest person and founder of LVMH has been quietly collecting NFTs, according to Ledger’s Ian Rogers.

“Shark Tank” + Web3 = “Killer Whales”: CoinMarketCap and Hello Labs are teaming up to produce a reality competition show in the style of “Shark Tank,” but for Web3 companies to pitch their ideas to get funding.

A lotta y'all get it: It’s been one year since this tweet graced our timelines:

Non-Fungible Toolkit

Meme Coins: What You Need to Know Before Aping In

The latest meme coin craze has expanded beyond the world of dogs and into frogs with pepecoin (PEPE), a token that takes its name from the internet meme Pepe the Frog. Just a short while after the token’s launch, one whale had over $1 million in PEPE, which was made with just a small initial investment of 0.19 ETH (about $385). These kinds of stories of exponential growth in value often attract new investors to meme coins, but buyer beware: Once you’ve heard about a story like this, you’re probably way too late to the game and are jumping on the bandwagon too late to benefit. In fact, more often than not, investments in meme coins lose value.

Edited by Toby Leah Bochan.


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Rosie Perper

Rosie Perper was the Deputy Managing Editor for Web3 and Learn, focusing on the metaverse, NFTs, DAOs and emerging technology like VR/AR. She has previously worked across breaking news, global finance, tech, culture and business. She holds a small amount of BTC and ETH and several NFTs. Subscribe to her weekly newsletter, The Airdrop.