Web3 & The Metaverse’s Quest To Bring People Together Accelerates Amid World Cup’s Fanfare
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As social beings, the desire to “belong” is deeply ingrained in us. Since time immemorial, humans have formed communities around different shared interests. The process of building and expanding communities may have changed over time, but the core fundamentals remain the same.
Following the lead of technology, a new form of community building has emerged through the metaverse. The defining traits of the metaverse, especially its immersive and gamified virtual experiences designed to mimic real-life experiences, have unlocked new possibilities.
We have already seen metaverse communities focused on gaming, brands, and other subcultures. Now we are seeing an even larger experiment that has the potential to redefine community building, user engagement, and participation.
As one of the world’s highest-attended sports gatherings, the FIFA World Cup, which kicked off in Qatar last week, has officially found its way into the metaverse. An increasing number of blockchain and metaverse projects have rolled out several promising initiatives designed to engage football fans worldwide.
FIFA Arrives In The Metaverse
Prominent brands from the crypto universe, like Binance, Crypto.com, and Upland, are spearheading novel collaborations and partnerships with mainstream brands and organizations to unlock an array of fully immersive and gamified experiences revolving around the largest football event of the year.
For starters, metaverse platform Upland recently announced its multi-year partnership with FIFA. As part of this first-ever collaboration between FIFA and Upland, Upland has rolled out a one-of-a-kind gamified experience for global football fans.
The FIFA-Upland partnership helps football fans better understand Web3 and metaverse technologies while simultaneously allowing them to collect, trade, and acquire FIFA-themed digital assets, NFTs, and game video highlights, among other things.
Together, FIFA and Upland have created a diverse range of gamified experiences in the largest-ever open metaverse mapped to the real world with over 3 million registered accounts. Upland has developed 22 fully virtual replicas of real-world cities linked to their respective real-world addresses for the World Cup. Among them is an immersive replica of the Lusail Stadium alongside a World Cup-themed village, showrooms, and shops - all mapped to their respective real-world addresses.
In addition, Upland has introduced a new collection game for football fans, which includes a fixed number of mystery bundles with multiple rarity levels. These boxes feature specific team crests, digital boots, shirts, logos, mascots, posters of all 32 participating teams, and a replica of the official World Cup.
Football fans can seamlessly travel around the 22 real-world cities hosted on the Upland platform. They can also acquire and trade virtual assets, all of which are linked to their real-world addresses. As for the gamification angle, Upland enables users to collect and complete digital collections, directly contributing to each individual’s fan score. Users with the highest fan scores will stand a chance to win additional prizes, including the ownership of the virtual Lusail Stadium, special FIFA 2022 mementos, and video highlights from matches.
Supporting Football Communities With Web3 Technology
Upland isn’t the only one to tap into the global gathering of football fans. Crypto exchange Binance is also bringing its Web3 potential in front of millions of people through the FIFA 2022 World Cup. Launched recently, Binance Football Fever 2022 is the first-ever Web3 game and fan experience initiative for FIFA 2022, fully powered by blockchain technology.
Binance’s event kicked off on November 7th, granting users the opportunity to earn various rewards. These include limited-edition NFTs, premium football club experiences such as player meetups and training ground tours, and cash prizes worth more than $1,000,000.
While the event is free for all, it does have a few basic requirements. For instance, users who hold at least one fan token in their Binance account can claim their free NFT Football Passport to enter the $1,000,000 prize pool. Users can add their guesses for all upcoming FIFA matches and increase their chances of winning unlimited prizes, including cryptocurrencies, fiat rewards, and exclusive NFTs.
Meanwhile, mainstream payments service provider Visa has also launched a FIFA 2022-themed event called Visa Masters of Movement in partnership with crypto exchange Crypto.com. The event features an NFT auction and an immersive Qatar event for global football fans.
The pre-event NFT auction, featuring digital art of the five most spectacular goals scored by legendary footballers, was hosted on the Crypto.com platform. Each unique NFT is designed by XK Studio’s cutting-edge algorithm that seamlessly transforms memorable movements into digital artwork.
Besides the NFTs, Visa and Crypto.com are hosting an “interactive digital pitch” at the Qatar FIFA Fan Festival venue on December 18-19, 2022. Through this unique event, football fans can create their own digital art inspired by their favorite goals, signature movements, and moments of the FIFA World Cup.
The flurry of recent partnerships aimed at providing immersive and gamified experiences for football fans amid FIFA's hype and global fanfare reminds us that communities are at the heart of everything. These newfound efforts to combine technology and offline events are laying the foundation for a new era of community-building exercises where the off-chain and on-chain ecosystems merge to unlock novel experiences for events and individuals alike.