Business & Legal Developments in Silicon Valley | December 2021

Friends,

This month, as a new variant of the coronavirus went viral called “omicron,” our universe has once again retreated into the metaverse, and we aren’t sure if anyone is ever coming back. “Metaverse” has taken over the much maligned and previously referenced “augmented reality” and “virtual reality” (or “AR/VR”) sectors, and now gaming headsets, niche industrial tools and science projects are back in vogue. Metaverse is now the next platform after smartphones to change the way we live, work and play. The movement out of the universe and into the metaverse was enabled by the pandemic-induced remote-everything, and we are starting to realize that there is no going back.

We saw another new paradigm go mainstream in 2021: web3. The web3 concept refers to a group of technologies that encompasses blockchain, cryptographic protocols, digital assets, decentralized finance and social platforms, NFTs, and DAOs. Essentially, it is the third generation of the internet. While these innovations are still very early in their evolution, they have emerged as the basis for new forms of economic and social interaction arising from platforms that allow people to collaborate, create, exchange, and take ownership of their digital identity and assets. But how can we make sense of it all, when cryptocurrency is not secret nor a currency, and Blockchain and distributed ledger technologies are not databases anymore? While first the web was just a place for users to read and publishers to make money, web2 was a place for users to create and networks to control and monetize users, and now web3 is the place for users to take control over the networks and monetize themselves. It is also a function of open source, which was initially free code creation and distribution without revenue, which then became centrally controlled and sold, and which is now open for distribution and execution with integrated revenue.

NFTs continued to be white-hot in 2021. The NYC.NFT conference took over New York in November and the NFT.BZL conference outshined Art Basel in Miami in December.

In other news, our team continues to work with some of the most prolific content creators, entrepreneurs and investors to create new platforms on these paradigms, and all over the world. Everything is evolving and changing. So…fast…

This edition of our newsletter highlights some of our team’s work in these areas, and explores legal issues that matter.

We are always available to help you brainstorm legal and business challenges, foster new introductions, and to help you build.

Your Legal Team at Foley & Lardner in Silicon Valley and San Francisco.