TEDx into the Metaverse

The so-called"Metaverse" has already unlocked new possibilities of interaction for us at TEDxHultLondon, the organising committee for the independently hosted TED event of Hult International Business School, London. We embarked on a journey to bring our TEDx event to the metaverse. This journey started over one year ago;when facing the challenges of the Covid-19 pandemic, we became the first-ever TEDx event to go live in Augmented Reality. 

With restrictions prohibiting large events in London, the 2021 event "Game Changers - Ideas that fuel innovation" had to be moved entirely online. This, however, proved to be an opportunity to explore a direction that had not been taken before. Through a partnership with Beem, an Augmented Reality tool that creates greater intimacy in digital communication, the 2021 event became the first Augmented Reality TEDx event ever. In addition to watching the entire event unfold on a virtual stage, audience members were able to experience all six talks onto their floors, beds & kitchen counters. Guests from all over the world attended the event, with speakers live in their living room. This marked a potential future for TEDx events and a glimpse of how the metaverse can be a means to enhance communication.  

But what exactly counts as being part of the "Metaverse"?

Robin Brown, Head of Innovation & Products @ EY, speaker at one of the 2021 TEDxHultLondonSalon events, defined it as "the convergence of social platforms, augmented and virtual reality, and blockchain technology", adding that "it's a virtual space that allows people to interact in a more immersive way, where the physical and the virtual worlds converge". 

This year, we are venturing into the Non-Fungible Token (NFT) space. But what exactly are Non-Fungible Tokens(NFTs)? This Wall Street Journal videos helps us in our understanding. 

To understand how NFTs work, first, we need to understand what fungibility is. Fungibility refers to the ability of an asset to be exchanged or substituted with similar assets of the same value. A simple example of a fungible asset is currency. For example, fiveone-dollar bills can easily be exchanged with a single five-dollar bill. The value of the money is still five dollars, regardless of the fact it's now in a different form. Non-fungible assets are the opposite. Each one is unique and cannot easily be exchanged for something similar. Take the "MonaLisa", for example. The art piece cannot be substituted for a "Mona Lisa" poster because the poster does not hold the same value. 

NFTs are cryptocurrencies,but unlike fungible cryptocurrencies like bitcoin, they are unique. They exist as a string of numbers and letters stored on a blockchain ledger. This information is encrypted, ensuring the NFT's authenticity and scarcity. In doing so, they fix a complex problem for digital creators on the internet: how to make your creation scarce and therefore more valuable. 

To promote our 2022 event "Never Settle - How curiosity did not kill the cat", we launched our first NFT and are giving it away to someone in our community. Holding the TEDxHultLondon Lifetime Pass NFT allows you to attend all independently organised TEDxHultLondon events free of charge for life. For a chance to win the NFT, head over to our page on Instagram to participate in our giveaway, which ends on the 6th of February 2022.  

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