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Facebook’s centralized metaverse a threat to the decentralized ecosystem?

Facebook’s metaverse plans have caused discomfort in the crypto community, but there’s every reason to believe in a decentralized future for metaverses.
Facebook has been planning its foray into the metaverse for some time now…

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Facebook’s metaverse plans have caused discomfort in the crypto community, but there’s every reason to believe in a decentralized future for metaverses.

Facebook has been planning its foray into the metaverse for some time now — possibly even several years. But it’s only recently that its ambitious expansion plans have catapulted the concept into mainstream headlines across the globe. Renaming the parent company to Meta was perhaps the biggest, boldest statement of intent the firm could make. Suddenly, major news outlets were awash with explainer articles, while finance websites have been bubbling with excitement about the investment opportunities in this newly emerging sector. 

However, within the crypto sphere, the response has been understandably more muted. After all, decentralized versions of the metaverse have been in development around these parts for several years now. Even worse, the tech giants’ cavalier attitude to user privacy and data harvesting has informed many of the most cherished principles in the blockchain and crypto sector.

Nevertheless, metaverse tokens such as Decentraland (MANA) and Sandbox (SAND), enjoyed extensive rallies on the back of the news, and within a few days of Facebook’s announcement, decentralized metaverse project The Sandbox received $93 million in funding from investors, including Softbank.

But now that the dust has settled, do the company-formerly-known-as-Facebook’s plans represent good news for nonfungible token (NFT) and metaverse projects in crypto? Or does Meta have the potential to sink this still-nascent sector?

What is known so far?

Facebook hasn’t released many details about what can be expected from its version of the metaverse. A promotional video featuring the company co-founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg, himself, along with his metaverse avatar, looked suitably glossy. Even so, it was scant with information about how things will actually work under the hood. However, based on precedent and what is known, some distinctions can be made between what Facebook is likely to be planning and the established decentralized metaverse projects.

Facebook has some form when it comes to questions over whether it will adopt decentralized infrastructure based on its efforts to launch a cryptocurrency. Diem, formerly Libra, is a currency run by a permissioned network of centralized companies. David Marcus, who heads up Diem, has also confirmed that the project, and by extension Facebook, is also considering NFTs integrated with Novi, the Diem-compatible wallet.

Based on all this, it’s fair to say that the Facebook metaverse would have an economy centered around the Diem currency, with NFT-based assets issued on the permissioned Diem network.

The biggest difference between Facebook’s metaverse, and crypto’s metaverse projects, is that the latter operates on open, permissionless, blockchain architecture. Any developer can come and build a metaverse application on an open blockchain, and any user can acquire their own virtual real estate and engage with virtual assets.

Critically, one of the biggest benefits of a decentralized, open architecture is that users can join and move around barrier-free between different metaverses. Interoperability protocols reduce friction between blockchains, allowing assets, including cryptocurrencies, stablecoins, utility tokens, NFTs, loyalty points, or anything else to be transferable across chains.

So the most crucial question regarding Facebook’s plans is around the extent to which the company plans for its metaverse to be interoperable, and metaverse assets to be fungible with other, non-Facebook issued assets.

From the standpoint of the decentralized metaverse, it doesn’t necessarily sound like great news. After all, Meta’s global user base dwarfs crypto’s. But there’s another way of looking at it, according to Robbie Ferguson, co-founder of Immutable, a layer two platform for NFTs:

“Even if [Meta] decides to pursue a closed ecosystem, it is still a fundamental core admission of the value that digital ownership provides — and the fact that the most valuable battleground of the future will be who owns the infrastructure of digital universes.”

Centralization could be the most limiting factor

Based on the fact that Diem is already a closed system, it seems likely that the Facebook metaverse will also be a closed ecosystem that won’t necessarily allow direct or easy interaction with decentralized metaverses. Such a “walled garden” approach would suit the company’s monopolistic tendencies but limit the potential for growth or Facebook-issued NFTs to attain any real-world value.

Furthermore, as Nick Rose Ntertsas CEO and founder of an NFT marketplace Ethernity Chain pointed out, users are becoming weary of Facebook’s centralized dominance. He added in a conversation with Cointelegraph:

“Amidst [the pandemic-fuelled digital] transition, crypto adoption rose five-fold. At the same time, public opinion polling worldwide shows growing distrust of centralized tech platforms, and more favorable ratings of the very nature of what crypto and blockchain offer in protecting privacy, enabling peer-to-peer transactions, and championing transparency and immutability.”

This point is even more pertinent when considering that the utility of Diem has been preemptively limited by regulators before it has even launched. Regardless of how Diem could eventually be used in a Facebook metaverse, regulators have made it clear that Diem isn’t welcome in the established financial system.

So it seems evident that a closed Facebook metaverse will be limited to the point that it will be a completely different value proposition to what the decentralized metaverse projects are trying to achieve.

Meanwhile, decentralized digital platforms are already building and thriving. Does that mean there’s a risk that blockchain-based platforms could fall prey to the same fate as Instagram and WhatsApp, and get swallowed up as part of a Meta acquisition spree? Sebastien Borget, co-founder and chief operating officer of the Sandbox, believes that decentralized projects can take a different approach:

“Typically, big tech sits on the sidelines while new entrants fight for relevance and market share — and then swoops in to buy one of the strongest players. But that strategy only works if startups sell. So there has to be a different economic incentive, which is exactly why Web 3.0 is so powerful. It aligns the platform and the users to build a platform that stands on its own, where users have ownership over its governance — and ultimate success.”

A metaverse operated by tech giants?

Rather than attempting to dominate, Facebook may decide to integrate with established metaverses, games and crypto financial protocols — a potentially far more disruptive scenario. It could be seriously transformative for the crypto space, given the scale of Facebook’s user base.

Therefore, could there be a scenario where someone can move NFT assets between a Facebook metaverse and a decentralized network of metaverses? Sell Facebook-issued NFT assets on a DEX? Import a $69 billion Beeple to the Facebook metaverse to exhibit in a virtual gallery?

This seems to be an unlikely scenario as it would entail substantial changes in mindset from Facebook. While it would create exponentially more economic opportunity, regulatory concerns, risk assessments, and Facebook’s historical attitude to consuming competitors rather than playing alongside them are likely to be significant blockers.

Related: As Patreon tests the waters, can crypto open doors for content creators?

The most likely outcome seems to be that Facebook will attempt to play with established centralized tech and finance firms to bring value into its metaverse. Microsoft has already announced its own foray into the metaverse, but perhaps not as a direct competitor to what Facebook is attempting to achieve. Microsoft’s metaverse is focused on enhancing the “Teams” experience in comparison to Facebook’s VR-centric approach.

But it seems more plausible that the two firms would offer some kind of integration between their metaverse platforms than either of them would rush to partner with decentralized, open-source competitors. After all, Facebook’s original attempt to launch Libra involved other big tech and finance firms.

Make hay while the sun shines

Just as Libra created a lot of hype, which ultimately became muted by regulators, it seems likely that the development of a Facebook metaverse can play out in the same way with regards to its impact on the cryptocurrency sector.

Regulators will limit Facebook’s ability to get involved with money or finance, and the company isn’t likely to develop a sudden desire for open-source, decentralized, solutions.

However, the one positive boost that Libra brought to crypto was publicity. Ntertsas believes that this, alone, is enough to provide a boost to the decentralized NFT sector, explaining:

“Meta's plans will enable a surge in utility for NFT issuers and minters. NFTs can then be used as metaverse goods — from wearables to art, to collectibles, and even status symbols — there is an infinite use case and utility to NFTs and what they can become in the ever-growing NFT ecosystem.”

In this respect, there are plenty of opportunities for decentralized metaverse projects to muscle into the limelight with their own offerings and showcase how decentralized solutions are already delivering what Facebook is still developing. Borget urges the community to seize the moment:

“Now is the time for us to double down on building our vision of the open, decentralized and user-driven metaverse. We also have to invest time and money in explaining the benefits of our vision over what the Facebooks of the world have offered thus far.”

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Economics

Boeing Jumps On First Positive Cash Flow Since 2019 Despite Another Huge 787 Charge

Boeing Jumps On First Positive Cash Flow Since 2019 Despite Another Huge 787 Charge

It was another painful quarter for Boeing, which reported revenue and earnings both of which missed expectation amid mounting 787 Dreamliner losses which…

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Boeing Jumps On First Positive Cash Flow Since 2019 Despite Another Huge 787 Charge

It was another painful quarter for Boeing, which reported revenue and earnings both of which missed expectation amid mounting 787 Dreamliner losses which amounted to another $3.5 billion in pre-tax non-cash charge s (focused on actions required to resume deliveries) however a surprise boost in 737 Max output from 19 to 26 per month was welcome news as was the unexpected end of the company's chronic cash burn as Boeing reported its first positive free cash flow since early 2019.

First, this is what Boeing reported for Q4:

  • Revenue $14.79 billion, -3.2% q/q, -3.3% y/y, missing estimates $16.67 billion (Bloomberg Consensus)
  • Core loss per share of ($7.69), on the continued Dreamliner charges, which was an "improvement" from the whopping ($15.25) reported but clearly missed estimates of (0.42).

If the massive Q4 charge was not enough, Boeing now sees 787-Related abnormal costs about $2B, above from the $1BN it had seen previously. The company said that it continues to perform rework on 787 in inventory and is focused on actions required to resume 787 deliveries.

Remarkably, as the following table from Boeing's earnings release shows, pretty much every Y/Y comparison is NM, which should tell you all you need to know about the company's headline financials.

And a prettier rendering:

Looking at revenue we get the following disappointing picture:

  • Commercial Airplanes revenue $4.75 billion, +0.5% y/y, missing estimates $5.50 billion
  • Defense, Space & Security revenue $5.86 billion, -14% y/y, missing estimate $6.85 billion
  • Global Services revenue $4.29 billion, +15% y/y, beating estimate $4.18 billion
  • Boeing Capital operating earnings $7 million, missing the estimate $24.4 million
  • Total commercial planes deliveries 99, +68% y/y, missing the estimate 102.36
  • Backlog $377 billion, +3.9% y/y

Adding insult to injury, the planemaker reported $5.5 billion in total costs to cover rising factory and customer expenses for the Dreamliner. Boeing took write-offs on the KC-46 aerial tanker and the global services division as well. As Bloomberg notes,
the 787 program’s profits have been wiped out as Boeing pays airlines for service they’ve lost because of delivery disruptions. The company hasn’t handed over any Dreamliners since June as it addresses structural imperfections on the roughly 100 aircraft in its system.

“This effort continues to impact our deliveries and our financial results -- but we are fully confident it is the right thing to do,” Calhoun’s memo said. “I view the financial impacts of this work as a long-term investment in a program that has significant runway ahead.”

It wasn't all bad news, however, as Boeing announced it is hiking the output of the 737 to 26 jets a month, up from 19 in October, Chief Executive Officer Dave Calhoun said in a note to employees. That was taken by the market as a sign the planemaker may be turning around its operations after burning through more than $31 billion during a nearly three-year-long slump marked by the Max’s grounding, the Covid-19 pandemic and a spate of quality lapses.

Looking ahead, Boeing said it still expects passenger traffic to return to 2019 levels in 2023 to 2024, and said that commercial recovery is broadening as regional dynamics continue to evolve driven by COVID-19. It also said says increasing 777/777X production rate to 3 per month in 2022.

But the biggest positive surprise was the company's announcement that in Q4, it generated $494 million in fourth-quarter free cash flow, up from a cash burn of over $4.2 billion a year ago; analysts had expected an outflow of about $1 billion.

This was the first positive FCF from Boeing since Q1 2019. It also meant that operating cash flow of $716 million as beat estimates of negative $429.0 million and was far above the negative $4.01 billion reported a year ago.

"2021 was a rebuilding year for us as we overcame hurdles and reached key milestones across our commercial, defense and services portfolios. We increased 737 MAX production and deliveries, and safely returned the 737 MAX to service in nearly all global markets. As the commercial market recovery gained traction, we also generated robust commercial orders, including record freighter sales. Demonstrating progress in our overall recovery, we also returned to generating positive cash flow in the fourth quarter," said David Calhoun, Boeing President and Chief Executive Officer.

"On the 787 program, we're progressing through a comprehensive effort to ensure every airplane in our production system conforms to our exacting specifications. While this continues to impact our near-term results, it is the right approach to building stability and predictability as demand returns for the long term. Across the enterprise, we remain focused on safety and quality as we deliver for our customers and invest in our people and in our sustainable future."

Also notably, the company which has been flirting with junk status for the past two years, managed to reduce its gross debt load again, even if its net debt remained unchanged as the entire reduction came at the expense of cash on hand.

Boeing shares ignored the latest huge 787 charge and operating loss and instead focused on the positive free cash flow and improvement in 737 MAX output, and rose 2% premarket. The shares gained 1.4% this year through Tuesday, while the Dow Jones Industrial Average dropped 5.6%.

Benchmark called Q4 a “kitchen sink” quarter, and noted that the Max production schedule was progressing, which is the main focus for analysts and investors. 

The company's Q4 investor presentation is below (pdf link)

Tyler Durden Wed, 01/26/2022 - 09:05

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Stocks

Trading Penny Stocks? Top Stock Market News for January 26th, 2022

Check these penny stocks out for your list on January 26th
The post Trading Penny Stocks? Top Stock Market News for January 26th, 2022 appeared first on Penny Stocks to Buy, Picks, News and Information | PennyStocks.com.

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Buying Penny Stocks Today? Here’s What You Need to Know 

Right now, we’re witnessing a potential renewed bullish sentiment for penny stocks and blue chips. While it may be too soon to say, stock futures are rebounding slightly as the market works to recoup its recent losses. And to understand why this is occurring, we have to take a closer look at what is going on in the stock market right now. 

What to Know About Trading Penny Stocks Today 

During morning trading, contracts on the S&P 500 managed to gain around 1%while contracts on the NASDAQ pushed up by around 2%. Additionally, shares of Microsoft (NASDAQ: MSFT) managed to reverse its previous day’s losses with better than expected Q2 revenue. 

[Read More] 4 Hot Penny Stocks To Buy Under $5 Right Now

One of the largest concerns in the stock market right now is the Federal Reserve monetary policy. With Fed Chair Jerome Powell speaking later today on this, many are gearing up for the Fed to work on lowering inflation. Currently, inflation is at a four-decade high, which makes sense given the massive amount of stimulus given out during the pandemic. However, it is still concerning for the stock market and investors alike. 

So, investors should continue to expect high volatility as we navigate these uncertain waters. In regard to this, David Bailin, the Chief Investment Officer at Citi, stated “If you think about what’s happened in the markets, it indicates the degree of sensitivity market participants have to what is going to be the new rate environment and the new liquidity environment.”

With the market moving the way it is right now, investors need to be certain about their strategies moving forward. Considering that, let’s take a look at three penny stocks that are climbing in premarket trading right now. 

3 Penny Stocks Climbing During Premarket Right Now 

  1. Vinco Ventures Inc. (NASDAQ: BBIG
  2. Dare Bioscience Inc. (NASDAQ: DARE
  3. Maverix Metals Inc. (NYSE: MMX

Vinco Ventures Inc. (NASDAQ: BBIG) 

One of the biggest gainers during premarket trading today is BBIG stock. By 9:30 AM EST, shares of BBIG had climbed by over 16% to $3.51 per share. This is a staggering gain, and brings Vinco Ventures up substantially considering its one-month gain of over 13%. Now, there is no company-specific news that is causing this rise, however, the company has several interesting moves in the works right now. 

[Read More] Trending Penny Stocks to Watch in February 2022

On one hand, the company has been working on its NFT marketplace for months now, following the purchase of a majority stake in Lomotif. Lomotif is a video-sharing app that the company states could rival TikTok. And now, the company plans to release its Cryptyde spinoff, which will invest in disruptive blockchain tech. Considering all of this, will BBIG be on your penny stocks watchlist?

Dare Bioscience Inc. (NASDAQ: DARE) 

Another sizable premarket mover is DARE stock. With higher than average volume right now, DARE stock remains up by around 6.7% in the past six months. While it has fallen significantly in the last month or so, we have begun to see a recent bullish turnaround. 

The most recent news from the company came a few weeks ago when it announced its participation in the H.C. Wainwright BIOCONNECT 2022 Conference. Since then however, the company has been relatively quiet. Despite this, Dare’s focus on advancing innovative products for the women’s health market, has helped to make it more popular in the past few months. Whether this makes it worth adding to your list of penny stocks to watch is up to you. 

Penny_Stocks_to_Watch_Dare

Maverix Metals Inc. (NYSE: MMX) 

MMX stock is another popular penny stock to watch during premarket trading right now. Today, shares of MMX stock managed to push up by a modest 1.1% or so during early morning trading. It’s hard to say why MMX stock’s volume is up right now however, we have seen a sizable amount of momentum in the mining industry recently. 

While Maverix is not a mining stock in the traditional sense, it is a gold-focused royalty and streaming company. Maverix also holds a portfolio of more than 100 assets, which offers investors a broad opportunity to capitalize on the gold market. In the past few days, we’ve seen the price of gold and subsequent interest in gold stocks push up substantially. So, does this make MMX stock a worthwhile addition to your watchlist or not?

Penny_Stocks_to_Watch_Maverix

Are Penny Stocks Worth Buying Right Now?

If you’re looking for the best penny stocks to buy, there are hundreds of options to choose from. And while it can be difficult to land on ones that will consistently make you money, there are ways to increase your chances.

[Read More] These Hot Penny Stocks Are Climbing While the Stock Market is Down

The best method is to have a thorough understanding of what is going on in the market and how to take advantage. Considering all of this, do you think that penny stocks are worth buying right now or not?


If you enjoyed this article and you’re interested in learning how to trade so you can have the best chance to profit consistently then you need to checkout this YouTube channel. CLICK HERE RIGHT NOW!


The post Trading Penny Stocks? Top Stock Market News for January 26th, 2022 appeared first on Penny Stocks to Buy, Picks, News and Information | PennyStocks.com.

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Crypto

Bitcoin Payroll Provider Bitwage Launches New Platform

The update brings a redesigned dashboard and new features for employers and workers seeking to pay and get paid in bitcoin.

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The update brings a redesigned dashboard and new features for employers and workers seeking to pay and get paid in bitcoin.

  • Bitcoin payroll provider Bitwage launched a new platform.
  • The update brings a redesigned dashboard and new features for workers and employers.
  • The launch comes after one year of work on the new platform, Bitwage said.

Bitwage, a provider of bitcoin payroll services since 2014, has launched its newest platform, featuring new additions to further facilitate the lives of companies and individuals seeking to pay and get paid in BTC.

“Bitwage's team of engineers worked for over a year to launch an entirely new platform for all users with a host of new features,” Bitwage said in a statement sent to Bitcoin Magazine. “They expect that these features will make the Bitwage experience more convenient for those who believe in leveraging their salaries into Bitcoin & cryptocurrencies.”

Bitwage said its bitcoin payroll services will look and feel different for both companies and individuals with the launch of the new platform.

Changes for companies include the ability to invite their employees more easily, check their onboarding status, and send out reminders to employees and contractors to complete setup; use invoicing features; have access to reports and analytics, and combine multiple invoices from contractors into a single transaction.

Individuals, on the other hand, will get a redesigned dashboard and an easier setup of cryptocurrency payroll distributions; the ability to generate and email legal invoices to clients; and better and more transparent receipt details.

Bitwage’s new dashboard for individuals. Source: Bitwage.

“These changes mark the beginning of a new era for Bitwage,” the company said in a statement.

In December, Bitwage became the first company to process a bitcoin payroll on Lightning after processing a salary payment entirely on Bitcoin’s layer 2 scaling solution for fast and cheap bitcoin payments.

Bitwage said it has processed over $125 million in transactions since 2014 and currently has 50,000 registered users and 2,000 registered companies. In 2021, the company’s business doubled in the U.S. and Latin American markets, amounting to a growth of 1,900% since the beginning of the pandemic in 2020.

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