Mastercard announced partnerships that could allow reward points to be spent in the Metaverse. (Mastercard)

Mastercard Rewards in the Metaverse and Pico Punks Fans at GDC

Our eye on the charts, Biden roasts crypto while Desantis roasts CBDCs, Mastercard moves in on Web3, Pico punks fans while ByteDance is in court, VIVE announces a streaming service and upcoming trackers. Plus, news in brief from Sony, VeVe,, Terra Luna, Rokid, Snapchat, Immutable and Polygon.

An Eye on the Charts

Major crypto currencies had a good rise for a couple of days before taking a steep drop late in the week. Despite the drop, Bitcoin remains up around 15% on the week near $28k and Ethereum remains up about 10% on the week around $1.8k.

A number of other projects followed a similar trajectory, with many green lines. Sometimes, these gains are pretty significant. For example, XRP is up over 20%, Solana is near that benchmark, and Cardano, Chainlink, and Solana are all up around 15% on the week.

An Eye on the Fed

President Biden roasted cryptocurrencies in a recent report. He mentioned unrealized opportunities of the technology, which is likely the closest balance that someone can strike between denouncing cryptocurrencies and wanting to get their own un-backed made-up number money on blockchain. After all, the administration is still exploring a digital dollar — and a dollar is worth what exactly?

Speaking of the digital dollar, Florida Governor Ron Desantis said that the state “would not adopt” a central bank digital currency. Keeping in mind that a U.S. CBDC is likely pretty far out yet, it’s not likely that any governor could simply decide not to use it in the event that it is eventually rolled out by the federal government.

FedCoin Alternatives

The slow drifting toward a digital dollar has not prevented private financial companies from exploring similar opportunities. Mastercard announced partnerships that could allow reward points to be spent in virtual worlds and — perhaps more significantly — allow users to link crypto wallets to their Mastercard account to use like a debit card.

Pico Promises and ByteDance Battles

Pico made a hyped appearance at the Game Developers Conference. The fanfare led to renewed rumors that the VR company will roll out consumer support in the United States. Much to American disappointment (but probably not surprise) no such announcement has been made. The announcement was actually a new developer center for creating content with Unity, Unreal and other engines.

This publication has long speculated that U.S. consumer support from Pico is on a backburner during the courtroom drama playing out between the United States and TikTok owner ByteDance, which also owns Pico. This week, TikTok promised to delete U.S. user data from Chinese servers. This could prolong the video sharing app’s life in the U.S. and set a standard for how data handling could play out for Pico.

Hardware and Software from VIVE

VIVE made a bigger splash with less fanfare announcing an enterprise VR streaming solution. The company also announced an as-yet unnamed “self-tracking tracker” scheduled for release in Q3 of this year. The tracker is smaller and lighter than current VIVE trackers, and will be usable with other headsets or for tracking applications outside of virtual reality.

News in Brief