"Fortnite"/Epic Games
  • A new "metaverse" ETF is looking to court investors bullish on internet innovation.
  • The fund defines the metaverse broadly as the intersection of many virtual worlds and the physical world.
  • The fund's biggest holdings include household names like Microsoft and Amazon as well as Nvidia and Roblox.
  • For more stories go to www.BusinessInsider.co.za.

A new ETF listed on Wednesday is looking to court investors bullish on internet innovation with exposure to the future of the internet.

The Roundhill Ball Metaverse ETF, debuting today on the New York Stock Exchange, focuses on seven categories - including virtual platforms, cloud computing, and hardware - which collectively comprise the so-called metaverse.

The fund will track the Ball Metaverse Index, developed by the venture capitalist Matthew Ball.

The fund sees the metaverse, defined broadly as the intersection of many virtual worlds with the physical one, as a "quasi-successor state of the internet," akin to how smartphones reshaped earlier versions of the web. Growth in the metaverse will accelerate as new technologies like VR and blockchain gain mainstream adoption, according to an investor pitch deck.

The fund's biggest equity holdings include household names like Microsoft and Amazon as well as companies well known to gamers, such as Nvidia, Roblox, and Tencent - which owns the world's most-watched esport, League of Legends. The Chinese conglomerate also holds a 40% stake in Fortnite-maker Epic Games, which has invested heavily in the metaverse.

Ball has written extensively about the metaverse, arguing in one essay that it could "alter how we allocate and monetise modern resources." The essay points to "gold farming," referring to players performing in-game labour for real-world compensation, as an early example. Gold farming has already become commonplace in Venezuela, where some games' virtual money is more stable than the official bolívar, according to The Economist.

The ETF launched at $15 (R35) and was trading up 0.73% at 10:30 a.m. ET.

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