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Telefonica says it has ‘immersed itself in Web3 and the metaverse’

Spanish MNO Telefonica has created a collection of NFT’s based on drawings by an artist called Ferran Adrià – a move which is says demonstrates its commitment to Web3 and metaverse.

The collection consists of 114 unique NFTs (Non Fungible Tokens) based on drawings by by Ferran Adrià (such as the one below), which are going for  0.1846 ETH (Ethereum) each, which is about €500. As is the custom, each NFT is accompanied by a digital certificate of authenticity registered in blockchain, which proves ownership.

Telefonica NFT

This is the first set of NFT’s Telefonica is delivering via TrustOS, something its quasi R&D division Telefonica Tech created ‘to make it easier for companies to interact with public and private blockchain networks.’ TrustOS apparently processes the digitised collection of images then uploads them to a decentralised storage system called IPFS, which is the crypto stuff that underpins the idea of NFT’s being unique and thus worth something.

And to further replicate the art collector experience, Telefonica has developed a ‘3D space’ where users can visit the collection, recreating a physical environment where the actual drawings will be exhibited in elBulli1846, a museum space in Spain. According to Telefonica this constitutes ‘an immersion in the metaverse’, though it’s accessible from any web browser without the need for glasses or other immersive devices, so we’re not sure what classifies it as part of the metaverse and not a website you can look at.

The art itself was created in 2013 and has been exhibited in galleries and art fairs in New York, Miami, Madrid and Buenos Aires. We are told that with them artist Ferran Adrià ‘develops the theory of culinary evolution, trying to capture the genealogy of the beginnings of gastronomy and to break with the usual story of the beginnings of humanity.’

“This project reaffirms the mutual commitment we established in 2010 with Telefonica as elBullifoundation’s technology partner, said Ferran Adrià. “The evolution of humanity is linked to the evolution of cuisine and technology and in this collection of NFTs we bring together all these elements to promote innovation as an element that transforms society”.

Yaiza Rubio, Chief Metaverse Officer at Telefonica added: “We are delighted to join Ferran Adrià in the first collection of NFTs from his personal drawing collection. Telefónica is committed to continue exploring use cases in the new technologies associated with NFTs, blockchain, Web3 and metaverse that represent an enormous business opportunity for different industries and sectors.”

Some might say it’s a peculiar thing for a mobile operator to be busying itself with – but Telefonica seems to be going in strong on the whole area, stating that it has ‘immersed itself in Web3 and the metaverse’, NFT’s being a part of that whole culture of extreme tech nicheness.

At MWC Telefonica announced a team up with Meta (the artist formally known as Facebook who really has bet the farm on this stuff) to create a ‘Metaverse Innovation Hub’ in Madrid which would facilitate network testing, infrastructure and technology innovation for startups and developers. It also launched Open2metaverse, another platform for startups tinkering with metaverse stuff.

There was plenty of VR goggles being waved around at MWC from all sorts of firms, but they largely felt like a reaching attempt to serve up a sexy consumer use case for 5G, as opposed to making Web3, the metaverse et all the guiding light of the business. An operator’s core business model would seem to be fairly well defined – the delivery of connectivity – even if many are looking to bolster their positions with extras.

The other thing to note with this particular set of NFTs is that Telefonica says ‘all proceeds will go to elBullifoundation, a foundation that helps to promote the gastronomic legacy created at elBulli throughout its history.’ Which doesn’t exactly make it sound like all this is a money spinner for the operator anyway.

How far a company like Telefonica can or will go ‘all in’ on Web 3, the metaverse, etc, will be an interesting one to watch. Or not, if you find that particular lane of fringe tech an irrelevance.

 

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