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The Virtual Beings Summit online event is a place where real people talk about fake people. That is, they’re part of a society that is trying to create virtual beings — characters with AI brains that behave as if they were real.
And this year, blockchain culture has invaded the event. The Culture DAO (decentralized autonomous organization) is launching its social token, dubbed $CULTUR, at the event. And that may stir as much talk as the Virtual Beings Summit itself (the event takes place today and tomorrow). Social tokens take advantage of the blockchain, the transparent and secure digital ledger behind cryptocurrency and nonfungible tokens (NFTs). I should pause and explain a few things. DAOs are like companies without leaders. They’re a bunch of people who come together on a project and take ownership of it through control of tokens. The creators get so many tokens. But so do fans and investors and other who acquire tokens. And everybody gets to influence the fate of the project. Edward Saatchi, organizer of the Virtual Beings Summit, believes that these kinds of blockchain-inspired concepts will be intertwined with the success of virtual beings. A DAO, for instance, might create a character as complex as Hamlet and run that virtual being’s life, or it might collectively figure out how to create the next Pixar.
It so happens that the summit’s theme this year is Web3/Crypto and Virtual Beings. It is gathering together for the first time startups across Web3, decentralized metaverse, AI, virtual influencers, intelligent NFTs, and digital identity. It’s the brainchild of Saatchi, CEO of virtual beings company Fable Studio, and his friends Jenil Thakker of Coinvise and Anna Nevison.
If you get one of these $CULTUR tokens, you get to be in the Culture Guild, which is all about virtual beings, avatars, and metaverse identity. The hope is the $CULTUR can be mutually financially incentivized to help the industry overall, and all of the holders of the token will be able to vote on what to do with a treasury of millions of $CULTUR tokens.
A Web 3 Pixar
Imagine a Web3 Pixar — decentralized, with no single visionary creative director, tech stack, or CEO, and focused not only on movies, but on the metaverse, AI, and resonant characters that can live beyond any medium — virtual beings.
This guild believes that the resonant characters of the future aren’t being built by centralized studios but by innovative technologists and artists — and fans who are involved in co-creating story of the character NFTs they buy.
The Culture Guild is modeled on the guilds of the Renaissance (Van Eyck, Caravaggio, Vermeer and their studios), rethought for the metaverse age. The Renaissance portrait guilds of Caravaggio, Van Eyck and Vermeer provided the rapidly emerging, upstart trading class a way to announce one’s arrival into civic society.
The Culture guild is about the living, digital portraits that the rapidly emerging metaverse class will use to announce themselves and find community in digital societies. The Culture Guild’s role is to create and innovate around virtual beings and this metaverse transition.
$CULTUR powers the guild of artists, technicians and metaverse evangelists. The shared financial incentives driving innovation within the avatar and virtual being space; and creating new opportunities for more people to participate in the emerging metaverse and Web 3 economy. It’s going to be full of people who want to build out virtual beings and the economy that goes with them, Saatchi said.
The Virtual Beings Summit
I’m going to be one of the speakers at this very strange event. I spoke about virtual beings in a session with Saatchi as we were controlling avatars inside the world of Decentraland. As you can see in the video, many other people also did their talks inside virtual worlds using virtual characters.
The speakers include Jeff Zirlin, cofounder of Axie Infinity creator Sky Mavis; Sebastien Borget, cofounder of the Sandbox; Eugenia Kuyda, founder of Replika; Amy Wu, partner Lightspeed Venture Partners; Benoit Pagotto of RTFKT; Alex Zhang of Friends with Benefits DAO; Mickey Maher of Flow/Dapper Labs; Izzy Pollak of Genies; Jacob Navok, CEO of Genvid; Arif Khan, CEO of Alethea AI; Lucas Matney of TechCrunch; and Tom Sanocki of Roblox.
Attendees can buy summit tickets in fiat but also in cryptocurrency specifically with the $CULTUR social token. The holders of at least 10 $CULTUR can connect their wallets to attend, receive an exclusive tradable NFT for attendance, chat with attendees on the Discord and become a member of the Culture DAO for Season 1 (through January).
Membership of the Culture DAO and Discord is normally 25 $CULTUR (1 $CULTUR can be swapped for ETH at a rate of around $25 at time of writing) alongside an application process; membership provides access to a token gated Discord with other founders, engineers, academics, artists across the Virtual Beings space as well as the ability to earn through hunting bounties (theculturedao.com/bounties).
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