Today in the Connected Economy: Lego, Sony Invest $2B in the Metaverse

connected economy

Today in the connected economy, Sony and Lego invest $1 billion each in Epic Games’ planned metaverse project. Plus, Square debuts Square Stand, its updated point-of-sale system and Banking-as-a-Service (BaaS) provider Contis joins forces with open banking tech firm Ecospend to launch a payment and withdrawal solution on the online gaming site

Metaverse Ambitions Raise Epic Games up to $31.5B Valuation

Fortnite maker Epic Games is now worth $31.5 billion after securing $2 billion in funding from Sony and the owner of the Lego Group.

The investment is intended to boost the metaverse partnership Epic had formed with Lego last week and arrives at a time when many Big Tech firms are working to carve out their own space in these virtual worlds.

Fortnite, Epic Games’ massive open-world survival game, has hundreds of millions of users and is already thought of as a metaverse launchpad. Last year, Epic announced it had raised $1 billion, money it said it would use to fuel its metaverse ambitions.

Square Unveils Square Stand, Upgraded POS System

Square has rolled out the latest version of its countertop device Square Stand, which turns iPads and other tablets into point-of-sale systems that can run a business.

Square Stand combines Square’s point-of-sale software and hardware, letting sellers take in-person payments, manage their eCommerce sales and deliveries, purchase online and pick up in-store orders. It also integrates contactless and chip card readers into the display.

“The way businesses and shoppers interact around the world has evolved exponentially in the time since we first launched our original Square Stand,” said Alyssa Henry, head of Square, in a company press release. “The new Stand was built with the future of commerce in mind. Square Stand offers sellers an integrated way to meet the purchasing preferences of today’s consumers.”

Contis Teams With Ecospend to Deliver Faster Payments to MrQ Gaming Site

Banking-as-a-Service (BaaS) provider Contis has teamed up with open banking technology firm Ecospend to launch a closed-loop, instant account-to-account payment and withdrawal solution on the online gaming site

The two firms’ solutions will let offer players an alternative deposit method, as well as instant withdrawals, using a closed-loop faster payments solution.

“The successful roll-out of our first open banking account to account payment closed loop payment solution with Ecospend is demonstrative of the powerful partnership we have established as we grow our proposition together,” Andy Lyons, managing director, head of banking solutions at Contis, said in a news release.

OneDegree Partners With Munich Re on OneInfinity Digital Asset Insurance

OneDegree Hong Kong Limited is collaborating with Munich Re in a three-year project to launch digital asset insurance platform OneInfinity.

The deal makes OneDegree the first licensed insurer in Asia to partner with a global leader in the reinsurance space to offer users protection for their digital assets, and will see Munich Re provide reinsurance capacity and support OneDegree’s technical underwriting.

“Digital asset insurance is set to be the gold standard serving the Web3 community,” Alvin Kwock, co-founder of OneDegree, said in the report. “Regulated insurance coverage is a strong signaling effect that supports trust and credibility of the insured entities. OneDegree is privileged to be Asia’s first insurer to contribute to the secure and compliant development of Web3.”