Welcome To The Metaverse

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". There's a bit of built-in confusion in the way Mark Zuckerberg is using the term "Metaverse": he has said all of Facebook's current businesses, including Facebook itself, Instagram, and WhatsApp will be under the "Metaverse" umbrella, but "Metaverse" also has obvious virtual reality connotations, and Zuckerberg has been pushing his company's new virtual reality offerings. 

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. 

Disclaimer: The Portfolio Armor system is a potentially useful tool but like all tools, it is not designed to replace the services of a licensed financial advisor or your own independent ...

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William K. 1 year ago Member's comment

You can take a stinking pig and put on lipstick, eyshadow, and rough over a good base makeup, but when you are all done it is still a stinking pig. ( (This is an analogy, not actual advice, lest any be offended.)

Really, I would rather call it F-Book, which has a better and more accurate ring to it.

Adam Reynolds 1 year ago Member's comment

Lol, very true.  But virtual reality and other immersive interaction is the future.  The quesiton is if Facebook is the one to lead the way. 

Farah Kincaid 1 year ago Member's comment

Great article that has this exactly right!

David Pinsen 1 year ago Author's comment


Susan Miller 1 year ago Member's comment

Honestly, this scares me.  Thanks to the $FB whistlebower, we've already seen the dangers of people being fed an alternative reality on Facebook.  What happens when people actually start LIVING in an alternative reality?

David Pinsen 1 year ago Author's comment

Consider being a little more skeptical about the Facebook "whistleblower", or any so-called whistleblower who has the entire establishment backing her and is calling for more censorship. 

That woman had a verified account on Twitter the day after her 60 Minutes interview. She's no rebel. 

Bruce Powers 1 year ago Member's comment

Agreed. I enjoy watching dystopian movies, but have never seen one where the meta verse is a good thing.  But #Zuckerberg only cares about profit, not about what's good for his users.