Yuga Labs accelerates Otherside plan

Nonfungible token (NFT) conglomerate Yuga Labs has agreed to acquire the metaverse-building startup Roar Studios as Yuga looks to bolster its Otherside metaverse.

Yuga tweeted the news on July 31 saying the impending acquisition was to “execute our expansive vision” for Otherside.

An accompanying release said Roar Studios’ founder and chief Eric Reid will join Yuga as the general manager of Otherside, charged with leading the development and production of the metaverse.

Yuga is also nabbing audio, game and artificial intelligence engineers from Roar’s team which is 14 strong according to LinkedIn.

Otherside has only been glimpsed through a handful of early access demos which started in August 2022 alongside a more recent “vibe check.” It’s unknown when the project will officially launch.

In mid-July Yuga chief Daniel Alegre said it’s still hard at work building Otherside saying the project will take time as it’s “audacious.”

Yuga also scooped up the CryptoPunks and Meebits NFT collections in March 2022 and in November 2022 it acquired the Beeple-founded NFT game 10KTF.

Etihad NFTs to offer priority check-in, lounge access

Abu Dhabi-based airline Etihad will soon take off with an NFT staking loyalty program called “Horizon Club” and is expanding its current NFT collection.

On Aug. 1, 300 new NFTs will be added to Etihad’s EY-ZERO1 collection, which will offer benefits like priority check-in, lounge access in Abu Dhabi and the ability to stake the NFT to earn flight miles.

Etihad isn’t launching the NFT staking platform until September but a trailer for the product shows users will be able to stake multiple NFTs to earn flight miles which are redeemable for multiple perks such as flights, upgrades and hotels.

As for the new NFTs, they depict an Etihad aircraft wrapped in branding for the latest Mission: Impossible film which the airline has a promotional partnership with.

NFT service platform Arcube collaborated on the collection and is one of the Web3 partners for the airline.

Lufthansa and Eurowings, two European airlines, have also flirted with Web3 integrations and are seeing how it could apply to their business models.

NFT Now cuts staff as crypto winter bites

NFT-focused news outlet NFT Now is reducing its staff count and restructuring, citing the ongoing crypto market winter.

NFT Now president Alejandro Navia tweeted on July 31 that it over-hired during the bull market and changing market conditions are forcing it to restructure and make cuts.

“Our company experienced rapid growth during the bull run, and we hired to service that growth,” reads Navia’s note.

“However, as we are building the business for the long term, we must adapt to changing market conditions,” he added. “Given the current climate, it is clear that this pace of growth was unsustainable and we over-hired.”

Navia said he takes “full ownership of this mistake” in his role as president. He did not disclose how many staff were impacted by the decision.

Sorare adds fiat in bid to boost adoption

The sports gaming platform Sorare has added support for fiat currencies to purchase its NFT-based digital trading cards, removing the need for users to pay in Ether (ETH).

As part of an update to its wallet users can now use U.S. dollars, euros or British pounds to buy the NFT cards which Sorare said eliminates a barrier to entry, according to a VentureBeat report.

Related: Shanghai implements plan for blockchain digital infrastructure system by 2025

A Sorare-affiliated account tweeted on July 31 that the rollout of what it calls the “Cash Wallet” will progressively start on Aug. 1 with more fiat functionality coming in September.

Other Nifty News

Two U.S. lawmakers stung Apple chief Tim Cook with a letter asking for information on if its App Store’s guidelines are dampening the growth of blockchain and NFT technologies due to it limiting the functionality of Web3 apps.

A computer scientist and an archaeologist have developed a Web3-based verification-as-a-service model for recording the authenticity of cultural artifacts as NFTs.

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