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Welcome To The Metaverse

Portfolio Armor's Photo
by Portfolio Armor
Sunday, Oct 31, 2021 - 8:36

Virtual reality as an escape from real world dystopia has a long tradition in science fiction. Is Mark Zuckerberg bringing it to life? 

Facebook Goes Meta

Last week's biggest news out of Silicon Valley was Facebook's (FB) announcement that it was rebranding as "Meta", as part of its corporate embrace of the "Metaverse". 

The Dystopian Playbook

The term Metaverse was coined by Neal Stephenson in his dystopian novel Snow Crash. Stephenson tweeted on Friday that he has no connection with Facebook/Meta otherwise. 

Mark Zuckerberg almost certainly has read Snow Crash; it's a favorite of tech types from Google co-founder Larry Page to Union Square Ventures partner Fred Wilson. And Neal Stephenson has been one of America's most prophetic novelists. Already two dystopian trends he predicted in Snow Crash have come true: people living in shipping containers, and mass illegal migration from the Global South to America (although in Stephenson's book, they came by sea, which was likely an homage to JeanRaspail's earlier novel, The Camp of the Saints; for an even earlier dystopian novel that has proven prescient, see our previous post, That Hideous Strength). 

In Snow Crash, the Metaverse is, among other things, a virtual reality escape from the actual reality of living in a shipping container. That idea was borrowed in a later dystopian novel, Ready Player One, which was made into Spielberg movie in 2018. 

A warren of shipping container homes in Ready Player One (2018). 

As The American Sun noted, the push for a virtual escape from dystopia suggests the powers that be aren't working to prevent a dystopia. 

Perhaps we shouldn't be surprised, then, that the "eat the bugs" folks at World Economic Forum have taken an interest in Meta. 

Investment Implications 

Dystopia or not, a lot money is going to be pouring into making the Metaverse a reality. Nathan Roth suggested some companies and crypto currencies that could benefit from it. 

A few of our recent top names are on that list. Nvidia (NVDA) and the Amplify Transformational Data Sharing ETF (BLOK) were both top names of ours last spring. 

Screen capture via Portfolio Armor on 4/29/2021.

NVDA was up nearly 67% since then, as of Friday's close, while BLOK lagged SPY. NVDA was a top ten name of ours again in October. 

Coinbase (COIN) was a top ten name of ours on Friday. 

Screen capture via Portfolio Armor on 10/29/2021. 

If we had top pick one of those Metaverse-related names to buy, we'd probably go with Nvidia, which has been a frequent Portfolio Armor top name since 2016. It also happens to be the top holding of the new Roundhill Ball Metaverse ETF (META). 

META's most recent top holdings. 

Safety First 

As always, we suggest you consider hedging if you buy potentially volatile names like Nvidia. You can use our website or our iPhone app to scan for the optimal hedge given your risk tolerance and time frame. 

Sunday Afternoon Update

Our Twitter correspondent Benjamin Braddock (whom you may remember from such posts as Corona Doom 2.0: Bait & Switch?) suggests that, rather than an escape from dystopian reality, the Metaverse may become an extension of it: 

This is consistent with a later novel by Neal Stephenson, Fall, in which hell becomes replicated in a digital afterlife, and people effectively stop fully living in reality. Spoiler-free thread on it below. 

Monday Morning Update

Should have included this tweet as well. Delicious Tacos' short story about Mark Zuckerberg and a Wisconsin farmer's daughter is brilliant. 

 

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