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Exclusive: Empowering Creators in the Open Metaverse with Justin Melillo, CEO of Mona

Hassan Shittu
Last updated: | 3 min read

At Consensus 2024 in Austin, Texas, Cryptonews’s Matt Zahab sat down with Justin Melillo, CEO and founder of Mona, for an in-depth discussion about the platform’s mission, its support for creators, recent achievements, and future trends in the digital art space, especially the metaverse.

Mona was Founded in 2021; it is a platform designed to accelerate the growth of the open metaverse. It provides tools and protocols that enable creators and developers to thrive.

Melillo, who has a rich background in 3D animation and visual effects, created Mona to address the lack of support for 3D artists’ tokenization and sharing of their work.

Mona’s Mission for the Open Metaverse and Support for Creators

Melillo explained that Mona’s mission is to build tools that help creators and developers succeed in the metaverse. He said,

“Mona’s mission is to accelerate the growth of the open metaverse by building tools and protocols that help creators and developers thrive.”

The platform allows users to upload and tokenize various digital assets, such as immersive worlds, 3D objects, game items, and avatars, which can then be bought, sold, and traded. A key feature of Mona is that its tools are free for artists and creators. Melillo highlighted,

“Our tools are all completely free for artists and creators to use to upload and tokenize their work and then sell it.”

The platform also emphasizes perpetual royalties, ensuring that creators continue to receive payment for their work, which supports long-term sustainability for artists.

One significant differentiator for Mona is its approach to virtual land. Unlike other platforms that require users to buy expensive virtual land, Mona values the creative merit of the assets.

“There’s absolutely no concept of land in Mona.”

Melillo noted that this eliminates artificial scarcity and allows creators to focus on building high-quality content without financial barriers.

Notably, Mona also focuses heavily on interoperability. Melillo emphasized that assets tokenized on Mona can be used across various platforms and experiences, ensuring true digital asset ownership.

“You can take that asset and bring it with you to any other game, any platform,” he explained, highlighting the importance of avoiding walled gardens that restrict asset usage.

Mona recently celebrated its third anniversary, with notable milestones. One of the most ambitious projects launched this year was Tom Sachs’ Rocket Factory, featuring 1,000 unique virtual worlds and nearly 7,000 space station apartments. Additionally, Mona has revamped its 3D object marketplace and launched a new software development kit (SDK). Melillo said,

“We launched our SDK, which just went live last week and is available to use for hackers in HackFS during ETHGlobal right now.”

These updates are set to enhance the platform’s functionality and attract more developers to build independent games and experiences.

Future Trends in VR, AR, and Digital Art

Looking ahead, Justin Melillo sees a significant shift towards spatial computing, where interacting with digital content will become more immersive and three-dimensional. This technological evolution aligns with broader trends predicted for the coming years, as virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR) will gain greater influence and integration in various sectors. Citing the growing trend of younger generations spending extensive time on platforms like Roblox and Fortnite, Melillo predicted,

“3D digital assets are going to become the most valuable asset available.”

As hardware and infrastructure improve, the value and utility of digital assets are set to rise significantly. Several key trends are shaping the future of VR and AR. Social VR experiences are becoming increasingly sophisticated, allowing for more realistic interactions in virtual spaces.

This is complemented by advancements in enterprise VR applications, where industries like healthcare, education, gaming, and manufacturing are adopting VR for training, collaboration, and operational efficiencies.

For instance, VR will significantly transform education. Immersive learning experiences, such as virtual field trips and interactive simulations, enhance educational outcomes by providing students with engaging ways to understand complex concepts. Moreover, integrating artificial intelligence (AI) with VR creates more personalized and responsive learning environments.

These trends indicate a promising future for VR, AR, and digital art, with substantial investments from tech giants like Meta, Microsoft, and Google driving the development of the metaverse.

The global VR market, valued at nearly $60 billion in 2022, is projected to grow at a compound annual growth rate of 27.5% from 2023 to 2030, reflecting the expanding potential and adoption of these technologies across various domains.

Consensus 2024

Cryptonews reporters Rachel Wolfson and Matt Zahab were on the ground at Consensus 2024. Talking with industry leaders and pioneers, as well as prominent analysts, they bring you the latest updates from one of the biggest crypto events globally.