Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg announced that his company would now become Meta, and that it would be building out its own centralised metaverse. The Winklevoss twins on the other hand, have invested into the decentralised form of the metaverse, saying that the technology “protects the rights and dignity of individuals”.
The Winklevoss twins are to have a $400 million investment round into their parent company that values it at $7.1 billion. With an expected 75% ownership after this investment, the brothers, Tyler and Cameron, will see their combined wealth nearly double to $10 billion.
What they have said they want to do is to provide alternatives to the Facebook/Meta metaverse. In the Meta version of the metaverse, the whole thing would be fenced in and controlled by the company. All data within would be under the ownership of Meta, and could be farmed, sold, and used to make large profits. Although Facebook has a chequered history of managing their customer data in the past.
The difference between the Meta and the Winklevoss paths was explained by Cameron Winklevoss in an article on Forbes:
“There's these two parallel paths, in terms of technology right now. There's a centralized path, like Facebook or Fortnite, that is one step away from being a metaverse, and that’s totally fine. But there is another path, which is the decentralized metaverse and that's the metaverse where we believe there's greater choice, independence and opportunity, and there is technology that protects the rights and dignity of individuals.”
There is history between the Winklevoss twins and Zuckerberg. The brothers fought a protracted battle against the Facebook king, claiming that they were the rightful founders of the world’s biggest social network. They settled in 2011 for a value of around $65 million, which they then used part of to buy about 1% of all Bitcoin in circulation at the time - the rest is history.
The Winklevoss twins have now invested quite a lot into metaverses, According to the Forbes article, they have invested into a metaverse startup called “Somnium Space”, and also into “The Sandbox” which is also backed by Animoca Brands.
“Instead of building brick and mortar bank branches in meatspace,” says Tyler, referring to the real world where we actually live, “we're gonna build a Gemini experience in different metaverses, where you can go into Gemini, and trade but it would be immersive instead of on your phone.”
While Zuckerberg concentrates on building out a metaverse that will be monetised by a very few, the Winklevoss twins are making sure to invest in metaverses where individuals can carve out their own space and earnings. Just who will end up dominating this space is hidden in the future.
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