Did You Say $500,000 For A Virtual Plot Of Land? by@amymtom

Did You Say $500,000 For A Virtual Plot Of Land?

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A plot of land on the Decentraland platform was sold for $572,000. French influencers were offered €2,000 to claim that Pfizer is causing more deaths than AstraZeneca. Tesla's under some fire for a software update that reduced battery capacities and charging speeds in Norway. Will China's Digital Yuan enable more money laundering, or will it have the opposite effect as China's CBDC intends? Natasha Nel refuses to watch the Will Farrell Eurovision movie because "it's not okay"

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Amy Tom

Your Hacker Noon Editor & Pod Host. I'm also a...

About @amymtom
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Catch up with Hacker Noon's Editors This Week on Planet Internet — Amy Tom, Limarc Ambalina, and Natasha Nel are wrapping their head's around a delicious piece of news in the NFT world. A plot of land on the Decentraland platform was sold for $572,000 😱


  • Will China's Digital Yuan enable more money laundering, or will it have the opposite effect as China's CBDC intends? 💰 (00:45)
  • More vaccine dram 💉 French influencers were offered €2,000 to claim that Pfizer is causing more deaths than AstraZeneca. We're scared for the world 😅 (05:28)
  • Amy's research process for getting her COVID-19 vaccine was... admittedly less than thorough 😳 (07:03)
  • Over in Norway, Tesla's under some fire for a software update that reduced battery capacities and charging speeds... oh, btw they didn't even reply to the lawsuit. Okay, Elon 🙄 (10:43)
  • Okayyyyy, so what's the deal here? Is Europe just a lot better at regulating/punishing big tech than America is? Or is there something that Natasha is missing here? 🤔 (11:32)
  • So.. you're telling me that a piece of virtual real-estate sold for over $500,000 USD?! 🤯 (15:52)
  • Limarc helps Natasha and Amy cross The Bridge of Understanding (cue magical chime sounds) into the virtual world 🌈 but like... for real... why would I pay half a million for a plot of virtual land? (18:09)
  • Oh, and Natasha has strong feelings about Eurovision. She refuses to watch the Will Farrell Eurovision movie because "it's not okay" 😂 (21:04)

Read the tech stories talked about in this podcast:

Podcast Transcript (Machine Generated, Please Excuse The Errors)

Amy: [00:00:00] This week on planet internet, we are taking a flight across the world to the other side of the pond and going for some international tech news. what is going on with the digital Yuan? How are French influencers affecting the Pfizer vaccine rollout and what's happening in Norway with Tesla. 

This week on planet internet my name is Amy. Tom. I am your host for the hacker noon podcast

Natasha: [00:00:28] Hey everybody. My name is Natasha. I am the VP of editorial strategy at hack noon. 

Limarc: [00:00:34] Hey everyone. I am Limarc, and I'm the VP of growth at hacker noon and our gaming editor. 

Amy: [00:00:40] So let's get into it. The first article that I want to talk about today is the digital Yuan and that is China.

Biggest pushback against the global AML initiative. According to Hugh, who was one of our hacker noon contributors. So the premise of this article is that the digital Yuan is going to be the first major digital currency from a central bank. And this article is talking about how the simple truth and reality of the digital Yuan might be different than what it is intended to do. The intent is to promote decentralization and to limit the money laundering. So they've said that they are trying to reduce the quote unquote dirty funds in China by introducing this currency, this digital currency. But the contributor has said that The currency will enable the people who are using the dirty funds to continue to do that.

And even more so because of the lack of government control on the digital currency. Limarc, were you aware of the digital Yuan? 

Limarc: [00:01:54] I wasn't before preparing for this podcast, but Now that I've read more up about it and about this article as well.

I pretty much agree with what the writer is saying. I think the point of crypto is that there isn't a governing agency, especially a political governing agency. So I don't know if I could say that this is decentralized. I think that this is just a digitalized version of Fiat currency. I guess it'll other may problems I don't know, passing germs on bank notes and passing coins and stuff like that.

But otherwise I don't think you can call it crypto and especially I don't know. I don't want to get into politics here, but I'm coming from a government like China just feels like it could be another way to have more control, not just over the paper money, but also the digital currency space.

Amy: [00:02:40] Yeah, that's essentially what he was saying. So let me read you this quote. It says money-laundering remains a significant problem in China and theoretically the digital Yuan will enable a government crack down of such crimes. However, China's CBDC may instead serve as a money laundering tool, enabling entities to transact without fear of foreign sanctions taxes or other government intervention.

So essentially, yeah, they're saying that the it'll have the opposite effect, it'll enable these foreign transactions or dirty money to be thrown around. Natasha. What do you think about this? 

Natasha: [00:03:15] I think taking a step back to the larger sort of question around how things are intended to be used versus how they end up getting used.

It's something that I really liked talking about. What's a good example, language, right? Like now for example, a way that language is changing. And is that people are insisting on being referred to and different pronouns. And sometimes that means that they or their doesn't agree with the singular or plural Rest of the sentence, stress and people who are mad about English are freaking out about that.

There's a Israeli parliamentarian who is refusing to speak in male gendered language. And so anyway, all of that is to say that I was having a big debate about how language isn't. Isn't something that can be dictated up front and it's looking to be the same way with cryptocurrency, you can't with things of great power and things of great possibility you at the end of the day, contacted how they're going to be used.

You can't put too many controls over that. You have to let people. Take the tool that you've given them and use it the way that it's going to be used. And often we're overly optimistic about that in the beginning, we thought the internet was going to be used for good. And everyone was going to get a whole lot smarter, having so much access to information.

But yeah, this sounds like a, another one of those, my, my car. I 

Amy: [00:04:40] think in general, the internet is a good place for a lot of people to learn about things. I think there is a lot of good that comes with the internet as opposed to bad. So do you think then that the digital you want should be created or should it just not even be allowed to occur?

Because there, we can't trust the people to use it. 

Limarc: [00:05:02] I think If it's not decentralized, I really don't see the point because the problems that you're solving with digital currency has already been solved with Fiat currency in Japan. I can preload a contactless touch card and I can use that to pay on the train.

We can transfer money digitally, via PayPal, via whatever is the like major. Money transfer payment in your country. So those problems have already been solved. The whole point of cryptocurrency is to remove the governing agency of it. So if a government would be the one to roll out a digital currency, it defeats the purpose completely for me.

That's just my opinion. 

Amy: [00:05:39] Yeah. And when I said decentralized, even as I said it, I was like, oh, this doesn't even really make sense because yeah, you're right. It's The central bank is the centralization. Like it is the, it is centralization. It's like the opposite. So that's very interesting. 

All right. Let's take a little hop over to another continent. We've got an article from the connection, which I'm assuming like the act in French. I know I'm like the connection. Yeah. It was lit with the X instead of a T or we're speaking in English instead of French. But this article was written by Joanna York and it is about French influencers.

So the title is French influencers offered 2000 euros to claim Pfizer vaccine is dangerous, which I think is super interesting. So essentially this article is saying that an agency called Fonzie. Is targeting influencers based in France. And they are asking these influencers to publicly say that Pfizer is the vaccine is causing more deaths than AstraZeneca.

And They want it to stay completely anonymous. They were trying to target people with a lot of followers and offer them 2000 euros to tell their followers that Pfizer is not a good vaccine to get. Which I think is super interesting. So I think it really begs the question of like influencer power and control.

What do you think about this Natasha? 

Natasha: [00:07:06] Absolutely fascinating story. I love this. Russian content mills, content farms, existing on foreign soil is not in you concepts. We've had this Become a massive threat to, international intellectual culture I feel and cognitive space lately.

And I think it's so interesting. It's the equivalent of America's early sort of cultural colonization, the mcDonaldization of the world. It's getting us weird, hurts on social media from the people that we follow, giving us makeups tutorials. Who can you trust? How is big tech gonna reign this in gonna be accountable for the false information that's being spread on their platforms by people who are being paid too much to spread it?

Just such big questions and especially here, Amy has just been vaccinated, so maybe you can speak to. Your research process, I'd be interested to know prior to getting the vaccine. How did you obtain information that you trusted and decide to get the prick and the end as they call it? 

Amy: [00:08:12] That's such an interesting question.

Okay. So I got the Pfizer vaccine And now I almost feel embarrassed about this. I didn't do any research at all. I just walked up and they were like, here's your Pfizer? And I was like, cool, thanks. So the only thing that I knew that I  didn't want was AstraZeneca because of  the media reporting on it.

Like I have not gone in and done any research of my own to look at clinical studies or anything. But the media is telling me that AstraZeneca will give me a blood clot and so I don't want it. But that's literally the extent of my vaccine knowledge. I have not in Canada, they just Give you, whatever is available.

Like you don't really have a choice like you do. You do have a choice, but you don't have a choice. But it's not like I can walk up and be like, please give me Madonna. They just gave you Pfizer. So I guess that's also why I didn't really look into it, but I was thinking about this and thinking about how.

People who will target these French influencers specifically, who, still will have I don't know, a hundred thousand followers or whatever, how this is going to have an effect on the global scale. Limarc, what do you think about that? Do you think that if these, this organization successfully paid a few French influencers, that it would have an effect on the global scale?

Limarc: [00:09:26] I think the fact like if this is true, and if there was ever a confirmed case that they had that much money and they had a budget to spread this MIS misinformation, it's like double scary to me. And the reason I say that is because I think last year was it I fell for one of these misinformation campaigns and I'm somebody that spends.

I don't know, eight hours a day on the computer, on the internet. So I consider myself pretty like decently tech oriented. I'd hope so working at a hacker noon. So that like just woke me up to the fact that if I could fall for a misinformation campaign, like almost anyone can. And the one that I fell for, I pre I think it was called Washington lights out or something.

And it was about how when there were protesters at Washington, it was a fake campaign that said all the protesters were detained and like all of a sudden they were detained because they were protesting without the government explaining this and all of the news agencies covered it up. And what do you do when you see that first tweet?

So obviously that first tweet ASL was questionable. I was like, okay, this could just be BS. So you look to see if there's other tweets with a similar thing. And there are, then you go to look at the counts. Is this an account that was made a minute ago? Because then that's suspicious? No, all of these accounts are old accounts with varying follower numbers, varying posts.

So once you start to believe that I'm more skeptical. So I went outside of Twitter and I thought, okay, let's see if people are talking about this on other places, they were talking about this in other places. These misinformation campaigns. Aren't just oh, let's just call a few influencers and spread a few fake tweets.

No, they're super targeted. They're super planned. They're scheduled. They know the psychology of the person. Who's trying to figure out if this is fake or not. And they played all of those. So for me, I'm really scared if there's an agency out there that has thousands of euros and has money to put behind this thing, it's like double scary.

I don't think it can just be solved by the big tech people fixing their algorithms or small things like that. I think there has to be a major change and I don't really know what it is to be honest. 

Amy: [00:11:23] Yeah, that's a great point. Like I is a snowball effect for sure. As more people believe in the fake news Mo other more people will also believe in the fake news.

So it continues to build up on that. That's really interesting. All right. Cool. Let's. Take another flight over to Norway. So Norway, the news over here is that Norway finds Tesla for reducing battery capacities and charging speeds. This is a article that I'm reading by a, from in gadget, by Steve dent. And it essentially is saying that Tesla is.

Has been found guilty and it has been ordered to pay $16,000 to 30 different owners of a specific line of model S and this particular model S had dropped in range and charging capacity, following a software update. So Natasha, had you seen this news being someone who is coming from. Around that area or closer than I am, at least indeed. 

Natasha: [00:12:24] I saw this article and the question that came to my mind or when I saw the headline was is Europe just a lot better at regulating and or punishing big tech than the U S is? And if so, what can America learn from Europe about regulating big tech?

In terms of really facing up to. Big Tex anti-regulation pro collection of personal data, steady erosion of democracy. Europe really has been needing the way and sure America has had some very entertaining congressional hearings last year with the whole antitrust thing. But Europe's been busy with GDPR three years or ago already.

And anti-competitive legislation that came out at the end of last year, a big take care of faces, yearly checks as to how they're tackling harmful or illegal content on their platforms here now. According to the European commission and I, yeah, I feel like they have large fines for noncompliance, which is by the way, the European way.

Anecdotally, when we had locked down, we had a curfew of 9:00 PM and the way that they enforce these. And everything else in Europe is fines. I've noticed in South Africa, they threatened jail time and you feel secure in the fact that they're not going to want to process the arrest. It's too much of a mission.

There's not enough cops to arrest everybody here. It's just like an easy, fine handout process. And it's highly effective because they're expensive. And so it looks like they're just applying the same policy to big tick and handing out these massive funds. And really being swift on handing them out as well which is good.

So yeah, is you're better at regulation than the U S what would you say to mark? 

Limarc: [00:14:11] I'd definitely say so the GDPR is the only. Governing rule. I think that prevents big tech companies or not prevented, protects people's data from these big tech companies. I was looking into this quite a bit when I was writing for a AI company, because data's one of the things powering AI.

So that was like a really big deal in that industry. And the GDPR is like the only thing that scares some of these AI companies from farming data from European citizens. I think if the rest of the world were to adopt something like that, People would start following suit. Cause as, as soon as there is like a sueable mandate in place for data, then companies have to start paying attention.

But if it's just oh, we want to make everyone think we look good in the public eye. Like usually that isn't going to matter to most companies. I think like the company, especially companies that are already already established, yeah. 

Amy: [00:15:03] Yeah. I would say actually I feel like, oh, sorry, go ahead.

Limarc: [00:15:07] One small thing to know in this article though, was that the lawsuit, whether through, because desk Tesla didn't even reply. So I think the motion is going to be put forward. It says unless they appeal, which is just interesting to me that they didn't bother to make a stance on it. 

Amy: [00:15:21] 16,000 times 30 is not enough for them to 

Limarc: [00:15:25] that's like an hour of the revenue or whatever.

Amy: [00:15:28] Yeah. I was going to say, I think actually that. Data governance is. Maybe Europe is better, but there still is a lot of data governance in the states. We have a HIPAA, for example, which is the healthcare one. We have PCI which governs credit card information. There's the California version of GDPR, which I can't remember what exactly it's called.

And there's a similar version in New York as well. But when GDPR BR was introduced. Still made huge waves in America because any kind of European data has to be governed. Doesn't matter if you're an American company, you still have to pay attention to any data that is invol involving European citizens.

Still made huge waves in the data compliance industry. And yeah, I think it'll be interesting to see Compliance of standard of technology, this is data compliance, which we're talking about, like security, but what is the compliance for standard of technology in terms of in this case, like if Tesla does a software update and D and has the less battery capacity, right? Like who govern PSI in the states? I have no idea. Somebody must. 

Anyways, let's go over to a different universe. This is not a physical world, but a virtual world. And so I wanted to talk about this article that was written by Dan on hacker noon. It's called NFTs Mehta versus, and the virtual real estate.

Lee mark. I had no idea that virtual real estate was a thing. Now that I think about it and the rise of NFTs, I'm not surprised, but I had no idea that virtual real estate was a thing. And I think it really surprised me that in this article it says on March 16th, a piece of real estate on the some millennium space platform was purchased for 500,000 USD.

Another one on the decentral land platform was sold for five 70, 2000. Crazy. Did you know about this? 

Limarc: [00:17:29] I didn't know about these individual sales, but I've heard of decentral land sandbox. It's my first time hearing of som namespace, but I definitely have heard of this and I was as surprised as you were about the selling prices.

How much do you know about these metaverse lands so far? Not 

Amy: [00:17:45] too much. I so this is what I gather, especially from this article, which was a great article, by the way. It's like Minecraft meets NFT slash blockchain, right? Like you go into this world. It's virtual world.

And the purpose is just to live and interact with things. It's not like you win or anything. And this article talks about this particular investor, a Singaporean investor who bought like $69,000 worth of art an NFTs. And he has these plans to include a virtual space so that he can display his NFTs.

And that's how I envision it, like going into this virtual world and just like looking at things right. 

Limarc: [00:18:25] yeah, definitely. And when I looked into this a bit, because I thought the best way to figure this out is just to buy some and see what happens. And I looked at sandbox and on that day, everything was sold out.

And when I was looking at it, I noticed that a lot of the land wasn't bought by individuals, a lot of it was bought by companies. So I think like the. What you're betting on here when you buy this virtual real estate, basically th the end of this article, the guy talks about why buy virtual real estate.

And the main things he talks about is how the prices of virtual real estate have risen much like the prices of crypto asserting crypto has have risen or certain NFTs have risen. And while you can look at it from that way of just a purely financial standpoint, I think the bigger idea is what are you buying?

What you're actually buying is this small amounts of virtual space and this virtual land. So when you're paying that money you're betting on the growth of this platform. Because if this metaverse becomes the next Facebook, now this company owns this huge part of that social media network or whatever you want to call it, that millions of people go to every day.

So what that company could sell their products on that land, they could advertise on that land. So if you're betting that this thing blows up and as the next Facebook or as the next Twitter, then in a way, 500 K isn't that much imagine owning a piece of Facebook. Infinitely, yeah. 

Amy: [00:19:45] But here's what, I don't understand what stops de-central land from just making unlimited plots of land.

Limarc: [00:19:51] It depends like you'd probably have to read the white paper to see the rules, but to answer your question, I don't think anything stops them. I guess the ones that you would invest in depend on those certain rules that people create maybe much like crypto, how there's a cap on certain cryptocurrencies.

Hopefully there would be a cap on this land to keep the price down, but you never know they could remove that cap even if it does exist. 

Amy: [00:20:13] Yeah. Cause like why would I pay $500,000 to get a plot of land when there's also like a million different plots of land, if we were going to equivalate this equivalent, oh my God.

If we were going to compare this to Facebook, what if owning a plot of land is like the equivalent of owning a Facebook profile. Everybody's got that, why would I pay $500,000 for that? So I know I just don't really get it. Natasha. What do you think. 

Natasha: [00:20:38] Yeah, I've got to admit, I struggle set to wrap my head around it as well.

I would imagine that it's the same as the answer to the question of why don't they just print more money and that they do. I also thought that just speaking of virtual universes and across the ponder, it wouldn't really be A European podcast, if we didn't mention Euro vision. So I do want to talk about that as a general rule.

I feel like on this podcast and our listeners should let us know if this is something that they are into, but we should always just wrap it up. And, or I have a midway break because that is a pop culture kind of happy hour, minute situation where we check in on what we're watching, listening to reading Things like your, a vision song festival, which was huge.

Shout out to Essity any of our listeners, if you're in NCA, please tag us on Twitter and let us know that you heard this because while we were amazed by your nation's performance in the Eurovision song festival 2021, absolutely amazing. Where to go deconstruct one 

Limarc: [00:21:41] question. Absolutely. My image and understanding of your vision is a hundred percent.

The film will Farrell made. How accurate is the welfare of film depicting the Eurovision song contest. 

Natasha: [00:21:55] I refuse to watch it. I refuse to watch it. Why did they allow Americans to make a film about Eurovision song festival? I don't understand why that is allowed. Why who passed that? Who signed off on that?

I'm not sure they should be shot. It's not okay. It's not. Okay. So I think that what we need to do is rather just step back and understand that your vision is something that has been going since 1956. I am obviously opinion that voting is highly political and an amazing and dramatic reflection of whatever's going on in the world at the time.

For example, the UK gets no votes this year because Brexit's a city, you may have one because, they could use a win. Okay. They had a bit of a hot time, To make these jokes, but at the end of the day, it is just this incredibly expensive, massive show. You want to talk, take angle the show, the end results should last about nine hours.

It's held in Rotterdam, which is the greatest, biggest Haven in the whole world. It's I said Haven because the Dutch word is havin. But what I mean is port it's a huge Harbor.

Amy: [00:23:04] Like I studied 

Natasha: [00:23:07] for my exams. My integration exams. I'm nailing it anyways. So yeah the take was amazing. Big lights, big lasers, just hours now, entertainment. So yeah, I don't know to answer your question to you, mark. I haven't seen the movie. I hope to never cave and watch it. Is it good? Is it good?

Should I watch it? 

Limarc: [00:23:24] I like will Farrell. So I'm biased and I thought it was decent, but you can just tell me by saying are the costumes this crazy? Is this normal? This is not okay. 

Amy: [00:23:34] Aw. Oh, this movie, 

Natasha: [00:23:36] not even, yeah, a little bit odd. In fact, you, crane had one of the best and in fact no way had their song was called fallen angel and the guy won well, wings, much like that costume.

So no way a fallen angel, that performance was a certain credible. Isilon stole the show by getting some comedian guy to come on and read the points. It was really a really entertaining year. People were starved for us as well after last year being canceled, but it's definitely deserved a wins. So that's a that's pop culture.

Happy hour. The other thing I wanted to check in with you guys on this week was what products you're using and loving. The reason I'm asking is because I recently treated myself. To a new iPhone. And I've just got to say, you're only as good as your latest tech purchase. It's really, it's stuff, lifts, uplifts your life.

It opens your eyes. So talk to me about your guys' best tech purchases. 

Amy: [00:24:37] Okay. Mine is going to be my iPad air, which I got last year, almost even maybe two years ago at this point. But the reason I'm bringing up is because some of the members of the hacker noon team have recently just purchased a iPad air as well.

And we are, we've been discussing procreate, which is my favorite thing in the entire universe. It's the app on the iPad where you can draw things. Amazing. Love it. I love digital art. It's the best. 

Limarc: [00:25:06] My a tech related purchase is a item that's supposed to help me exercise in VR without the sweat running down my face.

Because as you can imagine, if you're going hard and there's something on your head, it's going to collect all the sweat and the contact area of the headset. It's like this it's around your eyes and your nose. So the way they solve that was to create a sweat absorbent, headband. But there's holes for your eyes and your nose.

But the result is that I look like a, want to be Batman. Like I'll send you guys the picture after, but it's, it looks pretty much like a Batman mask. So you look like you're robbing a store or something, but I'll have to hand it to them. It works like it does stop the sweat. So that has drastically improved my VR exercise.

Natasha: [00:25:53] Nice. All right. Great recommended 

Amy: [00:25:57] Shit you didn't know you need it. 

Limarc: [00:25:59] Yeah, exactly. 

 Amy: [00:26:01] All right. Amazing. Thank you guys for joining this week on planet internet. I am so excited that we got to take a little trip over to you and learn about some tech news from across the pond. If you like this episode of the hacker noon podcast, don't forget to like share and subscribe to the hacker news channels as always, you can find us at hacker noon on. Instagram, LinkedIn, Twitter and Facebook. And until next time stay weird. Goodbye.


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