Money·5 min read

Future-Proofed: The Metaverse, "The Merge," and Pig Butchering

Woman in virtual reality headset
Design: theSkimm | Photo: iStock
Sep 18, 2022

Top Story

The Hottest Thing in Tech RN Is…

The metaverse, aka a 3D world that combines virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR) to create immersive experiences.

And…where is it exactly?

Online. Platforms like Decentraland and The Sandbox allow you to create an avatar (aka your digital mini-me) and explore the metaverse.

What can you do there?

You can shop, socialize, and play games. Think: Attend concerts, fashion shows, and more. But it’s not all fun and games. Meta’s Horizon Workrooms connects you with your co-workers to collab virtually. Think: WFH but with avatars and virtual conference rooms. 

Who's in the metaverse?

Mostly youths. Gaming platforms like Roblox, Fortnite, and Minecraft are drawing Gen Z and Gen Alpha into the virtual world. And they expect to spend a lottt of time there. One study estimates that people will spend an average of four hours a day in the metaverse within the next five years. And (spoiler) they’re not just spending their time there. They’re also spending $$$.

Real money?

Real money. As in $54 billion a year on virtual goods, according to one estimate. But since the metaverse isn’t technically fully up and running, any investment tied to it (think: buying metaverse real estate) is speculative. And aside from investing US dollars into companies building the metaverse (hint: Facebook became Meta for a reason), you’ll need crypto to buy things like virtual property.


An early version of the metaverse is here. And people are starting to spend more time and money there. But investing in the space can be risky. 

And Also…This

Who got a “Princess Diaries"-level makeover…

Ethereum. “The Merge,” aka the cryptocurrency platform’s transition to a proof-of-stake transaction model happened this week. Advocates say the move will reduce Ethereum’s energy consumption. Opponents say it could lead to the platform becoming more centralized and less secure. 

Who might be jumping on the bitcoin bandwagon…

Fidelity. The investment firm may launch bitcoin on its brokerage platform after adding crypto to its 401(k) offerings earlier this year. ICYMI, crypto can be a risky investment, so be sure to review your timelines, savings goals, and risk tolerance before making moves.

Who’s keeping an eye on crypto…

The White House. This week, the Biden admin issued its first-ever framework for what crypto regulation could look like. 

Leading the Way

We’re still in the very early days of the metaverse. But experts expect the market size will grow to nearly $700 billion by 2030. We know. We gasped, too. 

Some companies are already betting big. Private equity firms, VCs, and corporations invested over $120 billion in metaverse-related technologies just this year. Our friends at Nasdaq dug deep into those technologies — and the leaders who will help shape the metaverse’s future. Read up here.

Asking for a Friend

Design:theSkimm | Photo:Michelle Singeltary

Q: What advice would you give women wary of investing in crypto?

Michelle Singletary: Cryptocurrency is speculative. It’s new, it’s different, and it’s very volatile. Any money you invest should be money you can completely afford to lose. So you wouldn’t put all of your retirement money or every dime you have in savings into it. If it’s an area you’re interested in, you’ve done some research, and you’re thinking, ‘This is something I want to be in,’ it should be the same as saying, ‘I want to be invested in the healthcare industry.’ You have to treat it that same way. You shouldn’t go into it because it’s the newest, greatest thing. Because it being the newest, greatest thing is not a reason to invest. 

Michelle Singletary is an award-winning journalist and author of four personal finance books. Her nationally syndicated column “The Color of Money” is featured in The Washington Post. Her answer has been edited for length and clarity. 

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Things that feel intimidating, but shouldn’t be: Interpreting a ‘business casual’ dress code, singing karaoke in front of coworkers, aaand building an investment portfolio. We can’t help you with your office clothing requirements or music skills, but we got you covered when it comes to your money’s future. Join us starting tomorrow, September 19 for SkimmU Money, a series of courses on all things investing. *Dollar sign eyes.* Presented by Fidelity. Register now.

Thing to Know

Pig Butchering

Aka the latest trend in crypto scams. Basically, scammers send messages (usually via WhatsApp or Tinder) to unsuspecting victims. But instead of asking for $$$ right away, they gain their target’s trust. Once they have it, they convince their victims to send their crypto assets to bogus trading platforms or digital wallets controlled by the scammer. Until (spoiler) the scammer cuts them off and takes all their money.

Pop Quiz

Question: What percentage of women in the US have heard of NFTs?

  1. 77%

  2. 59%

  3. 38%

  4. 19%

Hot Off the Web

Pop Quiz

Answer: C. 38%, according to a recent study by Pew Research Center. If you’re reading this email, congrats — you’re one of them.

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