Metaverse Tokens Rise as Facebook Rebrands to “Meta”

The race for the metaverse is heating up as Facebook has officially rebranded to become “Meta,” but judging from token prices, metaverse OGs don’t feel threatened.   

The announcement came as part of Connect 2021, Facebook’s day-long digital event exploring augmented and virtual reality technologies.

Web3 investors appear to be celebrating the tech giant’s foray into their turf. The Metaversal Index, which contains 14 assets related to the hype-laden paradigm, is up 13.7% in the last 24 hours as of Oct. 28.

Image source: Index Coop

The biggest winner of the index MANA up a whopping 48.9% in the past 24 hours as of Oct. 28. MANA is the token of Decentraland, which bills itself as a “virtual world owned by its users.” 

The Metaversal Index’s double-digit 24-hour gain beats ETH’s 9.6% climb. The crypto market overall is up 6.2% as of Oct. 28. Investors are apparently treating Facebook’s rebrand and associated hour and seventeen-minute presentation as bullish, rather than the sounding of a death knell for Web3’s metaversal dreams.

“Meta is extremely bullish for crypto. There is no reality where the metaverse is not powered by web3,” Cooper Turley, partner at crypto fund Variant Fund and the Defiant contributor tweeted. “Today – the biggest social network in the world just validated that future.”

Some are taking a more adversarial stance to Facebook’s rebrand. “The stakes are higher than ever before; the goals clearer,” tweeted Jeffrey Zirlin, co-founder of Axie Infinity whose AXS token has the largest allocation of the Metaversal Index at 24.5% as of Oct. 28. “This is a battle for freedom. Don’t let them hijack our movement.” 

It’s not clear yet how Facebook, now Meta, truly intends to approach the metaverse. 

Interestingly, CEO Mark Zuckerberg emphasized that Facebook’s vision for the metaverse would necessitate hundreds of thousands of creators and developers working together to build the rich experiences of a purely digital world. Emphasizing the need for the work and the potential success of many parties, not just Facebook, sounds strangely similar to crypto and DeFi’s community building rhetoric.

Zuckerberg even emphasized very crypto-forward values like interoperability, the ability to bring your digital goods from one app to another. Presentations also included NFTs, a blockchain creation. 

Facebook also produces the Oculus Rift headset. To the degree that hardware is a necessity of the metaverse, web3 hasn’t produced anything remotely competitive.

Crypto has a strange relationship to the legacy companies and institutions it’s trying to replace. On one hand, auctions of NFTs at the venerable Christie’s art house are celebrated. On the other hand, Christie’s is a gatekeeper of the art world, typically a realm only accessible to the wealthy elite.

A similar dynamic may be at play with Facebook. They are certainly validating the idea of the metaverse, but the devil is in the details in terms of how they integrate with web3 NFTs and protocols. Zuckerberg is certainly speaking some of crypto’s language.

Anyway, Facebook investors were as thrilled as web3 token holders, with the company’s stock was up 1.47%.