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It was bound to happen: Nasdaq opening bell rings in the metaverse for the first time

Journey, a design consultancy that works in both the physical and virtual world, partnered with Nasdaq and Core for a dual bell-ringing ceremony.

It was bound to happen: Nasdaq opening bell rings in the metaverse for the first time
[Source Photo: Getty]

Virtual currencies may be taking a beating as of late, but virtual worlds are alive and well—and even the stock markets are starting to take part.

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Today, the Nasdaq bell-ringing ceremony will occur both physically in Times Square (as usual) and, for the first time, in the metaverse. The team at Journey, a design consultancy that works in both the physical and virtual world, partnered with Nasdaq and metaverse platform Core to coordinate the dual bell-ringing ceremonies in celebration of the launch of its Metaverse Studio. It also announced the opening of “virtual offices” on several metaverse platforms, including the aforementioned Core Metaverse, Decentraland, The Sandbox, Roblox, and Fortnite Creative.

While there are a plethora of companies working in and around metaverses, bringing Nasdaq’s opening bell ceremony into a virtual world is the surest sign yet that investors will soon need to start paying serious attention to all things metaverse. Given that metaverses are expected to grow into a $500 billion market by 2028, businesses would be wise to prepare for it and explore how they can use it to their advantage, says Cathy Hackl, a cofounder and the chief metaverse officer at Journey.

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“A lot of the brands we’re working with are first-movers, and want to remain culturally relevant,” says Hackl, who will be present at both the physical bell-ringing ceremony in Times Square and virtually, as an avatar, in the Core Metaverse’s Nasdaq opening. And while terms like “metaverse” are becoming more common, many people still aren’t quite sure what it means—Hackl admits that it’s still an evolving concept.

“Metaverses, virtual worlds—everybody has their own terminology at this point,” she says. “The metaverse isn’t actually here yet. We’re building toward it,” she adds, saying that perhaps the easiest way to understand it, and what companies like Journey do, is to consider how numerous existing technologies will converge, incorporating not only the physical world but the virtual. You can think about the metaverse, and how we’ll interact with it, she says, by trying to imagine “what comes after the smartphone,” including wearables that allow for augmented and virtual reality, and more.

As for companies like Journey that are actively launching virtual offices in numerous metaverses, and those that will follow suit, it’s fair to wonder what benefit a non-physical workspace brings to the table. There isn’t a clear, exact answer. But Hackl does say that Journey’s “office” in the Fortnite Creative metaverse takes the form of a massive yacht. These workspaces can be anything and everything in the virtual space, allowing for boundless creativity.

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“There are no building codes or laws of physics,” Hackl says. “It’s all about having fun and being creative.”

A livestream of the ceremony will take place on Friday, June 17, at 9:20 a.m. on Nasdaq’s Twitter account.

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