Finverse Forum 2022: At the Convergence of the Metaverse and Crypto

Michaël Renotte I 11:08 am, 20th May

The Finverse Forum organized on May 18 at the CELO multifunctional center by TechSense by The Dots, the all-channel platform fully dedicated to the Tech, Innovation and Digital community, brought together nearly 400 tech curious decision makers eager to exchange views, ideas and future projections on what financial analyst Chris Skinner defines as the place "where the metaverse and crypto come together".

The Finverse Forum is the culmination of The MetaverseMonth, the new initiative by TechSense dedicated to emerging virtual worlds, and definitely one of the highlights of the Tech, Innovation & Digital scene in 2022. 

Finverse Morning Live: NFT, Crypto, and VR explained

The conference was opened with a chat between John Karp, CEO of NFT Factory, and Kamel Amroune, founder of The Dots. The conversation revolved around NFTs, their current use, their potential and pitfalls. "If you want to invest in an NFT project, you have to understand it, and believe in it", said John Karp. "Build your own analysis matrix and choose preferably those who are on the market for some time, even if they are a bit expensive", he advised. He mentioned CryptoPunks and Bored Ape Yacht Club as examples of NFTs that can be regarded as safer investments. "For me", he added, "the ideal NFT would be one with an historic and artistic value, an NFT that will stand the test of time, that you can situate in the context of a long-term perspective. Because as with any investment in artworks, the possible added value can only emerge after a sufficiently long period".

Professor Diana Derval, Research Director of DervalResearch, then joined the convention via video for a talk entitled "NFTs Playground: From Panini to Banksy". She started by decoding NFT buyers' behavior and went on by analyzing potential future developments. During the last session of the morning, participants had the opportunity to discover three surprising NFT, Crypto, and VR players embodied by Mehdi El Mansouri and Abdelkader Mouloudjo, COO and CEO respectively of METACARD, Jesus  Pena, CEO of Nexify, and Matthieu Bracchetti, CEO of Virtual Rangers, a Luxembourg-based company specializing in VR, AR, and Metaverse that already has real-life industry uses cases.

Digital Asset Summit 

After the walking lunch, the Digital Asset Summit, co-organized by digital asset marketplace VNX, started with an opening speech by Jaeyong Ahn, Director General of Korea Trade-Investment Promotion Agency (KOTRA), followed by a talk on "The (not-so) Stablecoin Debacle" by Jake Lee, Chief Strategy Officer of GOPAX, and a panel session, moderated by Frances Mae Lintag from Ziffer Group, on the "Expansion of the crypto universe: new opportunities for traditional investors" that brought together Alexander Tkachenko, CEO and Founder of VNX Exchange, Michael Jackson, Chairman of Arcane Crypto AS, Max Shin, CEO of Burrito Wallet, and  Youngjun Jang, co-founder and General Partner of Edimus capital.

Two use cases were presented to the attendees. Suho Park from MK Media Group explained how journalism could adopt Crypto and NFT. As for VNX founder Alexander Tkachenko, he gave a presentation on the new opportunities offered by the tokenization of gold and precious metals, taking gold-backed digital asset VNX Gold as an example.

Stephane Pesch, CEO of the Luxembourg Private Equity and Venture Capital Association (LPEA), then opened a startup pitch session moderated by Jiyeon Kwon, Manager at KOTRA, and gathering Jae Rin HAN, CSO of NFT-based wine investment platform BLINKERS,  Cecilia Park, Head of Strategy & Development of  NFT marketplace CRISPY WHALES, Jakyung Gu, CEO and founder of NFT gaming platform GLEN STUDIO, and Alex Junsung Lim, Global Marketing & Strategy Lead of KARRY.

Tokenizing Assets

After a Q&A session and a coffee break, Thibault Chollet, Technology & Enterprise Applications at Deloitte Luxembourg, launched the second pitch session of the day featuring a selection of start-ups engaged in the tokenization of assets. More specifically, the participants had the opportunity to hear Jean-Paul Scheuren, Director of BlocHome, a young company from Luxembourg that offers a new way to access the real estate market. The other speakers were Dominik Kara, Head of Business Risk Management, and Gabriel Übleis, Product Manager, from VP Bank, Otto Nino, Chief Product Officer of Marco Polo Exchange, Antonio Vitti, CEO of Pontoro, and John Cronin, CEO of Zodia Custody.

Serial entrepreneur and investor Xavier Buck then addressed the question of "Why and how to invest in NFTs". He told the audience of his personal experience with crypto assets, from his first encounter with Bitcoin in 2012 until the moment when he stumbled "by luck" into NFTs and purchased some LAND - a digital piece of real-estate - in the Sandbox metaverse. "There many definitions of NFTs but for me, NTFs come down to digital ownership. They can be signed by their creator, sold, bought and traced", he said. Xavier Buck believes that "NFTs and digital ownership will affect all industries in the future".

From left to right: Alex Panican, The LHoFT and Xavier Buck, Namespace Group & EuroDNS.

According to him, the most impacted sectors today are art, digital collectables, domain names, music, photography, sports, trading cards, utility, and virtual worlds. He told the attendees how he bought his first utility NFT which eventually allowed him to get today much sought-after PFP collectibles for free. "One of the reasons why I believe in NFTs is that large brands will have to enter PFP projects and acquire successful communities to bolster their position in the Metaverse", he said. "Another market that will be the next big think is the gaming industry", he added. On another hand, "trying to make short-term gains with NFT artworks will not work at the present time. It will take at least 5 to 10 years before the communities and the demand are large enough to buy them"

Finally, Xavier Buck explained his method for selecting NFT projects. "First, you have to evaluate the quality of the project team", he said. "Then you have to analyze the whitepaper and project plans issued by that team. You must consider the size and growth speed of the community as well as the quality of the artwork itself. You must also asses the sales volume and the quantity of owners".   

Xavier Buck then gave the floor to Owen Simonin, CEO & founder of Just Mining, who raised the question of whether the "Crypto assets and NFTs" were "really becoming mainstream".

An idea whose time has come

Those talks were followed by a fireside chat involving Frank Desvignes, Global Head of Open Innovation at AXA Next, Louis Chevalier, Adoption Manager Benelux at Nomadic Labs (research lab for Tezos), and artist Félicie le Dragon, who answered the questions asked by the masters of ceremony, Alex Panican, Head of Partnerships and Ecosystem at The LHOFT, and Emilie Allaert, Project Lead at Luxembourg Blockchain Lab.