• The play-to-earn trend is growing…
  • Capital is pouring into blockchain gaming…
  • This company is bringing AR to the metaverse…

Dear Reader,

To date, more than 4,800 exoplanets have been discovered in our universe. An exoplanet is simply a planet that is orbiting a star other than our own.

The rate of discovery has been growing exponentially. The number of known exoplanets has been doubling about every two years. It won’t be long before we will have identified 10,000 of them.

Yet this is just scratching the surface. It’s estimated that there are as many as 300 million habitable planets in the Milky Way galaxy alone. That’s just one galaxy – our own.

Advanced telescopes and astrophysics have helped us identify these new worlds. It’s remarkable considering the distances involved. Which is what makes our search for Planet Nine so peculiar…

Planet Nine has been theorized based on gravitational effects that have been noticed on objects in the Kuiper Belt, which sits beyond the orbit of Neptune. The size of the effects indicates that the planet would likely have a mass 10 times that of Earth.

And this is what is strange. If we can find almost 5,000 exoplanets scattered about the Milky Way, shouldn’t we be able to find a massive planet in our own solar system? One would think so, but it has proven to be very elusive… at least until now.

New research was recently published out of the Imperial College of London that indicates Planet Nine may have been found.

The Elusive Planet Nine?

Source: New Scientist

Indicated above, inside the green circle, is what may very well be our ninth planet. It’s not much to look at right now.

But the way it was discovered is surprising. A scientist went back through infrared images captured by the Infrared Astronomical Satellite (IRAS) back in the early ‘80s. And one object stood out.

It appears to orbit the Sun at a distance that is 225 times further from the Sun than the Earth’s own distance from it. And it appears to be on a very long orbit. The best guess is that it takes 10,000–20,000 years to make a single trip around the Sun.

It hasn’t yet been confirmed as the ninth planet, but it does show promise. And we don’t yet know if it was formed at the time of the birth of our own solar system, or if it is a captured object that came from somewhere else.

Either way, we’ll need to find out. After all, it sits in our backyard, so to speak.

Pluto lost its designation as a planet back in 2006, when the International Astronomical Union (IAU) changed the definition of a planet. We’ve been on the hunt for the “real” number nine since then.

We have so much to learn, even about our own solar system. And we’re about to take a giant step this month.

On December 22, the James Webb Telescope will be launched into space. It has been a decades-long project and will be a replacement for the Hubble Telescope. But to compare the two doesn’t feel right. This telescope will be something extraordinary.

The main mirror of the James Webb Telescope is 21 feet in diameter, and it comes with a massive solar shade the size of a tennis court. This will be used to block the Sun’s light to improve the performance.

More incredibly, the telescope will be placed at a point in space that is 1 million miles away from Earth at a location referred to as Lagrangian point 2 (L2). This point is significant, as it puts the telescope in a gravitationally stable orbit around the Sun that follows the Earth’s own orbit.

This will be optimal for the telescope, but it comes with one downside… It is out of range for any kind of servicing if something goes wrong.

This has never been done before. I’m incredibly excited about the launch – and nervous. A lot could go wrong.

But I hope to be writing to you in the new year about the successful commissioning of the James Webb Telescope and sharing some of its first images from space.

Fingers crossed. And who knows, maybe we’ll even be able to find and see Planet Nine.

Major gaming companies are getting in on the NFT trend…

Ubisoft just announced that it’s launching a non-fungible token (NFT) platform for in-game items. It’s called Quartz. This signals that the world’s largest gaming companies are jumping on the NFT trend and enabling their games to use blockchain technology.

We have talked about the NFT trend as it pertains to gaming quite a bit recently.

New blockchain-based (Web 3.0) games are allowing players to own land and items in the form of NFTs. These NFTs can then be sold for Ethereum (ETH), which can be converted into fiat currency. In this way, players have an economic incentive to play these games.

However, the new Web 3.0 games that we have seen tend to be rather simplistic compared to the most popular Web 2.0 games on the market today.

The blockchain industry has been largely focused on prioritizing blockchain technology and the crypto economics of the games – not so much the advanced graphics.

Ubisoft just changed that dynamic.

Ubisoft is one of the most successful gaming companies in the world. It’s known for famous game franchises like Assassin’s Creed and Prince of Persia.

By building out its own NFT platform, Ubisoft will bring the compelling “play-to-earn” game model featuring NFTs to popular games like Ghost Recon Breakpoint.

As for the specifics, Quartz is being built on the Tezos blockchain. This makes sense because Tezos is very fast and cheap to use. That makes it perfect for gaming applications.

And Tezos’ native token (XTZ) jumped 38% on this news. The implication is that these gaming NFTs will bring considerably more utilization to the blockchain. We’ll likely see XTZ surge even higher as Quartz expands within Ghost Recon and eventually to other Ubisoft games.

With this move, Ubisoft will likely force other major gaming companies like Activision Blizzard and Epic Games to follow suit. Players will no doubt favor games that have built-in economic incentives. This is also great for the gaming companies, as it means that gamers will spend even more time in their worlds.

So we can expect this to be a major trend as we move into 2022. The play-to-earn model will be a big story next year. And it won’t solely be the case with Web 3.0-native companies, but also in existing gaming franchises.

And if you’d like to make sure you receive all my top recommendations in this space, then please go right here to learn more…

This company is the bridge between Web 2.0 and Web 3.0 gaming…

Early stage company Forte just raised an incredible $725 million in its Series B venture capital (VC) round. And this came on the back of a big $185 million Series A raise back in May.

For context, a typical Series A round tends to be between $5–20 million. And a normal Series B round is often in the $30–60 million range.

Yet here we have Forte – a company very few people have even heard of – raising roughly 10 times those amounts in its early stage funding rounds. That should certainly catch our attention.

What makes Forte so attractive right now is its work in the blockchain gaming space. The company is working on technology that enables game developers to incorporate blockchain tech into their games.

Forte is a Web 3.0 play that helps Web 2.0 gaming companies migrate to the blockchain. And of course, it also provides the tools for Web 3.0 companies to build games.

This kind of technology will bring new life to the world of gaming due to the built-in economic incentives. Gaming, in general, will become even more pervasive than it is today.

This powerful dynamic is why Forte attracted so much early stage capital.

And if we look at the investors involved, we will see some big names. Andreessen Horowitz, Animoca Brands, Warner Music Group, and Tiger Global Management are among those companies that invested in Forte’s Series B round.

I can confidently say that these firms would not be pouring nearly $1 billion into Forte in a single year if they didn’t believe in this explosive trend.

We can expect to see some big announcements around major gaming companies deploying Forte’s technology over the next 12 months.

More evidence supporting my Niantic prediction from last week…

Last week, we talked about how gaming giant Niantic is gearing up for a major augmented reality (AR) launch in 2022.

And the company is taking the position that the true metaverse is not experienced in a virtual world. Instead, it will be an augmentation of our existing world through the use of augmented reality.

Well, Niantic just made another move that makes me even more confident about what will happen next year. It acquired an early stage company called Lowkey.

Lowkey is interesting. I view it as a Web 3.0 social gaming company. That’s because Lowkey’s app allows users to make short videos of their game experiences that post directly to popular social media platforms like TikTok and Instagram.

So I see this as a telling acquisition. Clearly, Niantic plans to incorporate Lowkey’s social gaming features into its AR launch next year. And this makes perfect sense.

It’s very popular among gamers right now to save clips and highlights of their in-game accomplishments to share with other gamers. Lowkey’s app makes this process quick and seamless.

And we saw a similar dynamic with legacy social media platforms as well. People seem to love posting small bits of their personal life on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, or TikTok. As we all know, most of the time the posts are just about real life. Pictures of pets, what someone ate for lunch or dinner, getting together with friends, etc.

So Niantic is going to apply these things that worked well for Web 2.0 social media companies to its AR-based metaverse. This will surely make it “stickier” for users as it creates an immersive social experience.

In a way, Niantic is pioneering the rise of augmented social media here. People will share their experiences in Niantic’s version of a metaverse as if it were real life… And in some ways, living in a metaverse will be real life, which is what makes this technology so powerful.

I see this as another brilliant move. And I expect it to drive even more adoption and engagement with Niantic’s AR launch next year. I can’t wait to see what the product looks like and to use it.

This is a trend we’ll continue to follow in the coming months. And if any readers would like to learn more about my top metaverse plays, then simply click here for more details.


Jeff Brown
Editor, The Bleeding Edge

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