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The Metaverse, “The Merge” and the Pig Butcher

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The hottest thing in Tech RN is…

The metaverseaka a 3D world that combines Virtual Reality (VR) and Augmented Reality (AR) to create immersive experiences.

And… where is it exactly?

On line. Platforms like Decentraland and The Sandbox allow you to create an avatar (aka your digital mini-me) and explore the metaverse.

What can you do there?

You can shop, socialize and play games. Think: Attend concerts, fashion shows, and more. But it’s not all fun and games. Meta’s Horizon Workrooms connect you with your colleagues to collaborate virtually. Think: WFH but with avatars and virtual conference rooms.

Who is in the Metaverse?

Especially young people. Gaming platforms like Roblox, Fortnite, and Minecraft are attracting Gen Z and Gen Alpha into the virtual world. And they expect to spend a lot of time there. A study estimates that people will spend an average of four hours a day in the metaverse in the next five years. And (spoiler) they don’t just spend their time there. They also spend $$$.

Real money?

Real money. A sin $54 billion per year on virtual goods, according to an estimate. But since the metaverse isn’t technically fully operational, any investment in it (think: buying metaverse real estate) is speculative. And in addition to investing US dollars in companies that build the metaverse (hint: Facebook became Meta for a reason), you’ll need crypto to buy things like virtual property.

theSkimm

An early version of the metaverse is here. And people are starting to spend more time and money on it. But investing in space can be risky.

And Also…This

Who got a makeover at the level of “Princess Diaries”…

Ethereum. “The Merge,” aka the cryptocurrency platform’s transition to a proof-of-stake transaction model, happened this week. Proponents say this move will reduce Ethereum energy consumption. Opponents say this could lead to the platform becoming more centralized and less secure.

Who could jump on the bitcoin bandwagon…

loyalty. The investment firm may launch bitcoin on its brokerage platform after adding crypto to its 401(k) offerings earlier this year. ICYMI, crypto can be a risky investmentso be sure to review your timelines, savings goals and risk tolerance before taking any action.

Who keeps an eye on crypto…

The White House. This week, Admin Biden released his first-ever framework on what crypto regulation could look like.

Open the way

We are still in the very early days of the Metaverse. But experts predict that the market size will reach nearly $700 billion by 2030. We know that. We gasped too.

Some companies are already betting big. Private equity firms, venture capital firms, and corporations have invested over $120 billion in metaverse-related technologies this year alone. Our friends from Nasdaq dug deep into these technologies – and the leaders who will help shape the future of the metaverse. Read here.

ask a friend

Design: theSkimm | Photo:Michelle Singeltary

Q: What advice would you give to women who are reluctant to invest in crypto?

Michelle Singletaire: Cryptocurrency is speculative. It’s new, it’s different and it’s very volatile. Any money you invest should be money you can afford to lose. So you wouldn’t put all your retirement money or every penny you have in savings into it. If this is an area you’re interested in, you’ve done some research and you think, “It’s something I want to be in”, it should be the same as saying, “I want to get involved in the health sector.” You should treat it the same way. You shouldn’t go into this because it’s the newest and greatest thing. Because that’s no reason to invest.

Michelle Singletary is an award-winning journalist and author of four books on personal finance. His nationally circulated column “The Color of Money” is featured in the Washington Post. His response has been edited for length and clarity.

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Things that seem intimidating but shouldn’t be: performing a “business casual” dress code, singing karaoke in front of co-workers, etc. and build an investment portfolio. We can’t help you with your office attire needs or your musical skills, but we’ve got you covered when it comes to your money’s future. Join us from tomorrow September 19 for SkimmU Money, a series of courses on everything related to investing. * Dollar sign eyes. * Presented by loyalty. Register now.

Thing to know

Pork butchering

Aka the latest trend in crypto scams. Basically, scammers send messages (usually via WhatsApp or Tinder) to unsuspecting victims. But instead of asking for $$$ right away, they earn their target’s trust. Once they have it, they convince their victims to send their crypto assets to fake trading platforms or digital wallets controlled by the scammer. Until (spoiler) the scammer cuts them off and takes all their money.

Quick Quiz

Question: What percentage of women in the United States have heard of NFTs?

  1. 77%

  2. 59%

  3. 38%

  4. 19%

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Quick Quiz

Answer: VS 38%, according to a recent study by the Pew Research Center. If you are reading this email, congratulations — you are one of them.