A few of my recent posts have been about ‘big players’ entering the metaverse; see VISA, Adobe, and most recently Budweiser. Thus far, the companies I’ve talked about have something rather obvious in common –they are big companies. That is private institutions whose primary goal is profit. However, that doesn’t mean the only ‘big players’ entering the metaverse are profit-seeking.
Recently UNICEF announced they will launch NFTs on the Ethereum blockchain to raise funds to establish internet connectivity for schools around the globe. UNICEF, also known as United Nations Children’s Fund, is one of the largest nonprofit organizations in the world. Their paramount goal is to help children in the world’s poorest areas. They primarily focus on improving education, health, and the advancement of fundamental human rights.
The NFTs are what the designer Nadieh Bremer called patchwork kingdoms; 1000 will be issued, drop date yet to be determined. You can see an image of one attached to the article above. The NFTs represent all the schools in the world, with the ones above the barrier connected to the internet while the ones below are not. While the connected ones are interlocked and more colorful, those not connected are insular and less colorful. One can also note that the clouds are empty below and full above, and we see birds, representing how lack of internet connectivity hurts schools. Bremer is a data scientist who puts together the NFTs using algorithms. Essentially assuring no two NFTs are the same, though they all look somewhat similar.
This is, of course, a lovely and heartfelt plan, and it holds an important lesson about what the metaverse fundamentally is. Many talk about the metaverse in exclusively financial terms, yet the metaverse is about people connecting, not profits. While profit will undoubtedly exist, as they should, so will philanthropy and charity. It can be easy to forget that the fundamental goal of the metaverse has never been profit, It has always been human connection.
The project has a beautiful and elegant symbiosis with the metaverse. The metaverse connects people to people and people to good causes. The good cause, in this case, helps kids around the world connect with each other and valuable resources via the internet. In turn, this will further the overall connectivity of the world, just as the metaverse intended.