In 2010, Alessandro De Grandi, CEO and founder of The Nemesis, was playing Second Life, basically a rudimentary Web2 Metaverse, when he bought his first Bitcoin. Two of them actually. They cost less than a dollar each and he sold them for around $75 a few years later to his great satisfaction.
However, it was the sensation of buying Bitcoin in a metaverse that changed his thinking.
“It was a beautiful sensation. Something changed in my mind when I realised that we could make the metaverse into something that everyone could enjoy. While Web3 had not been invented, I just understood the internet was going to merge with the metaverse.”
De Grandi was not a hardcore gamer, preferring casual games, he instinctive understood that casual gaming would be the gateway drug to the metaverse. He also understood that people, and indeed brands, would need handholding to move from Web2 to Web3.
He and his co-founder Riccardo Zanini, together with The Nemesis’ CTO Andrea Bernasconi (who had several years of experience in 3D graphics and in the world of videogames) first began working on The Nemesis back in 2018. De Grandi stresses that over the past four years the team has not spent a penny on marketing but focussed all their time, money and energy on building the platform.
“Many projects in this space begin with the marketing and sales but we deliberately stuck to product development, working closely with our community to build something they wanted, not something that we wanted to sell.”
De Grandi recognises also that by taking this approach, The Nemesis lost out on running an ICO.
“However, since we worked on the platform we are not in beta, we are live. We are the first metaverse ready for cryptocurrency but also ready for socials. We recognise that there is a huge gap between the crypto market and the digital world. Many brands are also terrified of NFTs.
“Our vision is to move brands and communities from Web2 to Web3, from socials to Web3.”
In this approach, De Grandi recognises that many aspects of the crypto world are totally foreign to the Web2 players – wallets, pass phrases, storage are all things which can scare off potential participants.
“We begin with the digital and then move them to crypto: from ecommerce to crypto.”
The Nemesis has been live since April 2022 and as such has scored a lot of firsts, in particular in De Grandi’s native Italy. The Nemesis was the first to stream a serious football match (Milan – Fiorentina), first to stream a Formula One Grand Prix in Monte Carlo, first to stream the first Moto GP in the metaverse, in the occasion of Silverstone Grand Prix, the first to host a horse riding grand prix in the metaverse of the famous prix in Piazza di Siena (Rome), first to host a live concert for the Italian X Factor singer Marco Mengoni and first to live stream the top German DJ, Brina Knauss.
De Grandi differentiates streaming events on The Nemesis and for example Youtube.
“If you are just going to play an event in the form of a video you may as well just use YouTube. To make the event work in a metaverse, you need to create a different dynamic so that we host something before the event, during the event and then afterwards.
“We give the organiser of the event the tools to create a challenge and gamification within the metaverse.”
One example of providing gamification was for the Salone del Mobile in Milan which included a physical treasure hunt across the city, like PokemonGo. It’s important that we can link our metaverse to the real world.”
The Nemesis also protects peoples’ privacy allowing them to register as a guest to first explore the metaverse without revealing their identity. However, if the activity includes using an Oculus headset then an account has to be registered but that is a function of the hardware not the site.
The Nemesis has also developed a function that allows user to have a follow-me digital pet, called Companion, that can record metadata from the metaverse and act as an online help resource. Players can train their Companion so people can buy an advanced Companion instead of the entry level ones. Anyone owning a companion will also qualify for a 50% discount on the first land sales scheduled to be held next Halloween on the genesis planet.
The second planet will be released in March or April of next year and it will be possible to buy one of 1,000 secondary companions beforehand in order to reserve the land. The floor price of the companions is 0.05 ETH.
There is also a fully human customer support team in case of problems and to help the 1,500 players that interact on the platform on a daily basis.
The demographic of the players is 12 years to 25, with 75% males over females. They tend to be gamers.
“Most brands know that demographic is most important, the cohort that will spend inside the metaverse. Traditional media will not deliver this audience. Brands also know they need to act now to reach this valuable audience. This audience is the buyer of the future and they are available on The Nemesis.”
Another advantage for brands operating in the The Nemeis is that their goods, their NFTs are all genuine and there are no counterfeits. This is the first time brands won’t have to chase down fake goods – it’s on all chain.
The headcount at The Nemesis has grown since 2019 to now 43 people based in offices in Italy, Switzerland and Albania with plans to open offices in the UK and the US and later on in Asia.
De Grandi welcomes diversity in his workforce, realising it will be key to his success. As he points out, they were the first metaverse to offer virtual and augmented reality on laptop and mobile with a partnership with Oculus coming soon.
“We don’t want our metaverse to be dystopian which is why we are so keen to hire diverse people. We want to create a bond between the virtual and the real world. For example, the idea would be to buy a shirt in the real world and then a replica NFT in the metaverse and we are working with brands to do interesting stuff like that.”
De Grandi mentions the famous slogan for RedBull. “You can’t fly in the real world but what’s to stop you in the metaverse?”
Nothing it would appear, which is why the tagline for The Nemesis is so apt – Choose how to live it