VerseX is an XRPL-powered Metaverse shopping, social, and gaming platform. It features a virtual-reality mall and integrated play-to-earn activities.
The platform has two main tokens. $XVR is the platform’s native currency and governance token. And $XMEN (which definitely won’t ruffle feathers at Marvel) is the platform’s early investor token. Despite my repeated insistence on Twitter, the team has ignored the obvious use case for a token with the word sex in the name — think VR red light district.
Also, for some reason, a mall needs its own governance and currency token, but I’m sure they have a very good reason for this (money).
Tokens and Governance
“$XMEN is VerseX’s early investors token, that provides you with exclusive earning rights, founder characters & other tier rewards. “
The things I felt were missing from store-issued currencies like Canadian Tire Money and Walmart Reward Dollars were dividends, profit sharing, and property ownership. If you feel the same way, VerseX has you covered:
“By purchasing the XMEN token, you will gain exclusive access to VerseX. You’ll have the opportunity to earn extra income and unlock amazing abilities. You might be able to earn a dividend of VerseX’s earnings depending on your tier.”
When they say amazing abilities, I hope they mean laser beam eyes or adamantium claws. If that’s the case, sign me up! Besides mutant powers, holding $XMEN unlocks property rights at specific tiers:
The two smaller tiers aren’t bougie enough for me, so I’m going to focus on Gold and Baller. Nothing screams “good investment” like the word baller plastered on a financial product. My investment advisors told me that if you print the word baller on a barrel of oil, it increases the price by fifty dollars.
On the Sologenic DEX, 1 $XMEN costs 373 XRP (at $0.36). The Gold tier is unlocked at 16 $XMEN, which puts the price at around $3000. The baller tier runs for 40 $XMEN, which is worth around $8739.
So, for $8739 you get a large store in a virtual mall, a billboard, and some other NFT crap (whoops, I meant swag). Property owners rent these billboards to generate income, minus a large kickback to the DAO. “Currently, the ‘rent’ feature is available only to avatars of the BALLER tier. They will be able to claim 80% of the profit generated through the use of their billboards, whether they are rented or used for their own purposes. The remaining 20% will be invested in VerseX’s reinvestment fund. Gold Tier members are entitled to receive 70% of their Billboard income, with the remaining 30% reinvested into the VerseX fund.”
$XMEN also grants holders a percentage of the income generated on in-game land:
“Earn with VerseX, XMEN will be sent a % of profits generated in VerseX land, monthly.”
Future users will have to kick up a percentage of their profits to early adopters (not at all a red flag).
The white paper even has a nifty infographic that looks a little bit like the steps to a pyramid.
“VerseX maintains a fair community profit-sharing policy, according to which you will receive a specific percentage of the profits generated from most transactions that take place within the community (unless otherwise defined). This percentage will be based on your Tier status, with the remainder going to Development and Marketing. Currently, we believe that this is the best course of action in order to make this project as community-driven as possible. At a later date, the procedure can be voted out via the voting mechanism, but only for holders of $XMEN, and cannot be voted out again until the next annual review is conducted.”
Confusingly, both $XVR and $XMEN have governance roles: “Your voting power will be determined by the amount of $XMEN you own. (1-20)”
“$XVR is the in-game governance token that is issued on the XRPL blockchain. XVR will be widely used in VerseX as a way to pay for most items in our Metaverse. It will be used for spending in the marketplace, trading with other players, buying real-world goods, and much more.”
I don’t see the need for an exclusive in-game currency. We have many currencies, digital and not digital, which can be used to purchase NFTs. There’s no functional reason why $XVR needs to be a thing. Nevertheless, it is, and like $XMEN, holders are also granted bonuses ranging from Bronze to Baller:
Digital Property and Storefronts
VerseX has some interesting ideas as a shopping platform:
“Once a player has minted eight or more XMEN, he or she will be able to open up a metaverse store where they can sell or purchase real-life items. If the transaction can be fulfilled or replicated within the Metaverse, they may open any virtual store they wish, provided that they are able to ship internationally or provide remote services such as on-line shopping, personal training or remote consultation.”
Picture a virtual Amazon where consumers browse shelves before having goods shipped to them. The success of this project is dependent on how much the Metaverse takes off. If VR headsets cannot capture consumer attention, then a VR mall will be dead in the water.
A virtual mall also doesn’t need NFTs or cryptocurrencies to thrive. This idea arguably works better without a blockchain. Why would store owners want to share a percentage of profits when they could pay a company rent or a licensing fee? And since most big storefronts don’t have problems with traditional payment providers, why would they want the added cost and friction of the blockchain?
The development of normal games is already wildly expensive, and when you add a functional DAO, virtual reality, and NFT-based property rights, I can’t imagine it gets any cheaper. So, these NFT ecosystems turn to the public to crowdfund, often by minting their own in-game currency. The last two XRPL-powered projects I’ve looked at have opted for this route.
Spotting legitimate projects that are trying to integrate complex virtual-reality worlds with functional decentralized economies is difficult. If you’re going to invest in a project like this, be aware that there’s no guarantee that they’re going to pull this off.
Experienced game development studios fail at capturing consumer attention regularly. A VR game world created and run by a bunch of crypto bros is such a wild long shot that any investor should think twice before going all in. As a parting shot, consider Axie Infinity.
“The early pandemic-era victories of players like Convocar brought global news coverage and hundreds of thousands of new players into the game. But as the game’s popularity increased, observers pointed out that its economic structure was unsustainable: the value of SLP necessitated new players continually buying in, much like a Ponzi scheme. Sky Mavis’ team even acknowledged in its white paper that the game was “dependent on new entrants.”
“And Filipino scholars, who were told that blockchain games would bring radical economic change, are walking away confused and jaded. Several scholars TIME talked to said they owe hundreds or even thousands of dollars to friends or family who helped them pay the initial investment, only for their monsters to become worthless.”
The scariest thing about projects like this is that investor profit hinges on an intangible experience. The developer must create more than just an NFT ecosystem for the tokens and collectibles to maintain value. They must also capture lightning in a bottle by creating a virtual world that is engaging enough to hold consumer attention. Absent this, any NFT offered will be virtually worthless.