High Fidelity pilots HFC and Ethereum trading

via High Fidelity

On Tuesday, January 8th, 2019, High Fidelity announced the start of a pilot programme that will allow High Fidelity users to trade between High Fidelity Coin s(HFC) and Ehterium Either (ETH).

Etherium is an open-source, public, blockchain based distributed computing platform / operating system featuring smart contract (scripting) functionality. It incorporates a cryptocurrency  – the Ether.

The latter functions in a similar manner to the Bitcoin, and its use has been boosted over the last two years by the  Enterprise Ethereum Alliance (EEA), an non-profit organisation of over 150 members, including national and global banks, technology companies such as Cisco and Microsoft, investment houses and research organisations, with the aim of driving the use of Ethereum blockchain technology as an open-standard across multiple market sectors.

via High Fidelity

Initially, High Fidelity will be allowing users to purchase HFC using ETH. However, over time, all High Fidelity users will be able to buy and sell their HFC for ETH, although an ETH wallet will be required.

Trades of HFC will be handled in fixed amounts of $25 or $50 (HFC 2,500 or 5,000), and will be handled via an in-world banker, through a process similar to that currently used to convert HFCs to USD. As the programme with ETH develops, High Fidelity plan to start offering an automated means of selling HFCs for ETH, and may eventually see the ability to sell HFCs directly for USD values discontinued.

An important point to note with trades is that HFC is a stablecoin pegged to the US dollar (100 HFC = US $1.00), while Ethereum varies against the Dollar. Thus, the exchange rate between HFC and ETH will fluctuate.

This is a further interesting move by High Fidelity, which High Fidelity see as being key to the future of buying / selling HFC:

Over time, we see this being our primary method for purchasing and selling HFC. It’s convenient, global, well-governed and broadly adopted. In future, we may enable trades to other cryptocurrencies or tokens, either directly or through third-party exchanges. We also hope that HFC will be used by other VR platforms or applications, making the transfer to Ethereum even more useful.

– High Fidelity blog post on HFC and ETH trading

You can read the full announcement here.

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High Fidelity announces FutVRe Lands

via High Fidelity

On Thursday, October 25th, 2018, High Fidelity announced FutVRe Lands, a one-day VR celebration featuring a host of activities and events to take place on VR Day, Saturday, November 17th, 2018.

Virtual Reality Day is a series of VR/AR events organized worldwide to help virtual and augmented reality become more mainstream. Any individual, company or organization can host a free public VR/AR event and become part of the Virtual Reality Day phenomenon. This is a completely voluntary and grassroots effort. It’s about bringing the energy and interests of the greater community together, and focusing that energy for the benefit of everyone on one special day.

– From the VR Day website

Billed as “a celebration of the communities developing in social VR. It’s an all-day binge of ground-breaking experiences”, the High Fidelity FutVRE Lands event will run from 12:00 noon through to 17:00 PST, and will include live music, performances. art, speakers, games and contests, ways to earn High Fidelity Coins (HFCs) and opportunities to win VR headsets.

Attendance is open to anyone with a home computer (via High Fidelity’s Desktop mode), VR headset or who uses Google Daydream. Attendance is free, but space is limited, so people are advised to reserve tickets sooner rather than later. Those in the San Francisco area can additionally register to attend the event in person.

via High Fidelity

Event Contests

Best Avatar Contest: show-off your best avatar creation and win US $1,000 (100,000 HFC), with two runners-up each receiving US $500 (50,000 HFC). Enter Here.

Favourite Domain Contest: do you know an amazing domain? Nominate it for the Favourite Domain Contest! The festival attendees will have an opportunity to visit it and vote for their favourite. The domain with the most votes will win US $700 (70,000HFC)  Nominate Here.

 

Be a High Fidelity helper and earn HFCs

A High Fidelity Load Test. Credit: High Fidelity

High Fidelity’s next concurrency load test is due to take place on Saturday, October 6th, 2018. These monthly events are designed to drive avatar load testing within in a single continuous space within High Fidelity, providing the platform with a rigorous test as avatars meet, mingle, play games and generally have fun. The load tests are also a small part of High Fidelity’s The Road to One Billion in VR programme – seeing 1 billion people in VR environments (not just HiFi).

As I’ve previously reported, the events offer participants rewards in the form of High Fidelity Coins (HFCs) or a gift card or an Amazon credit – or, as with the September test, even have their rewards donated to the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) as a fiat money contribution.

Rewards are offered on a sliding scale, based on the number of participants, with the minimum value being equivalent to US $10. However, with the Saturday October 6th, 2018 load test, High Fidelity are offering some 15 volunteers to earn up to 30,000 HFCs (equivalent to Us $30) if they are willing to offer a maximum of 2 hours of their time in helping manage the event, by ensuring people participating are properly checked-in, and the company explains:

High Fidelity needs help checking-in all the people who signed up for the Road to a Billion event on Oct 6th.

Your job will be to roam the crowd and ask people if they signed up for the event and if so, check to see that they have automatically been checked in.

If they have not been checked in, your job will be to give them instructions on how to retrieve their Eventbrite ticket number so that you can manually check them in. We will provide you with the app to do all of this. Also, you will be given an avatar or shirt that will designate you as an official helper so that you are easy to spot and easy for us to tell people to find you.

This job pays 1500HFC an hour, and we need you to work for two hours. We advise you use Desktop mode to make this job easier.

Applicants need a good network connection, confidence using the High Fidelity client and a great attitude as you will be meeting lots of people!

If you’re an experience High Fidelity user, you can volunteer to help with checking-in participants by completing this volunteer form.

Philip Rosedale at the August 2018 load test in High Fidelity

In the load tests thus far, High Fidelity have gone from 197 to 356 avatars all active within a single space, and the company is hoping to have more than 500 on-board on the October 6th, 2018. To encourage this, the event will include new games, plus a Best Avatar contest with a 30,000 HFC first prize.

Those wishing to join the fun can register via Eventbrite (separate registering to the check-in volunteers noted above), with the event officially kicking-off at 11:00 PDT (although people generally turn up earlier than that).

To find out more about these tests, read  High Fidelity CEO Philip Rosedale’s blog post on them.

High Fidelity sets new local concurrency record

via High Fidelity

Yesterday I gave slightly late (my bad, it slipped my mind!) notice of the September 7th 2018 High Fidelity avatar concurrency load test.

The aim of these events is to enough as many people as possible to sign-up / join-in with an event held in a single contiguous space within High Fidelity (no instancing or sharding) and see how the system stands up to the load. The programme is part of what High Fidelity refer to getting “one billion in VR”, and it was hoped that the September 7th event would break the company’s previous record of 256 avatars, set during the August load test.

As it turned out, the record wasn’t just broken – it was shattered.

From 256 to 262 – before the September 7th 2018 load test had officially started

People had been encouraged to register and turn up ahead of the official start of the event at 13:30 PDT on September 7th, and a few minutes before the official kick-off, High Fidelity were able to announce the August record had been superseded with 262 avatars in The Spot.

That wasn’t all, by the end of the event, some 356 avatars were in the event region, raising the August record by 100 – not bad for a Friday afternoon when large swathes of the USA are liable to be at work, and many in places like Europe might be out and about at the start of their weekends.

Goal achieved; time to level up at the next event!

Must of those attending had a good time; however, the event wasn’t all plain sailing.

Some people reported arriving and being unable to see any avatars at all.  Philip Rosedale acknowledged the problem was at High Fidelity’s end of things, and they are working to address the issue.

Oopsie to be fixed!

The One Billion in VR road tests are a monthly event with High Fidelity, and gift card / HFC rewards on offer to those attending. To help boost numbers, events from October onwards will be held on the first Saturday of the month.

This means the next load test will be on Saturday, October 6th, 2018 at 11:00 PDT, and those wishing to participate  can find the details and register via Eventbrite.

High Fidelity: help break concurrency record and earn a USD gift card

via High Fidelity

Updated September 8th: the record was broken, with a total of 356 avatars in the same contiguous space, as tweeted via the High Fidelity Twitter account. Read more here.

On Friday, September 7th, 2018 at 13:30 PDT, High Fidelity will be attempting to break their avatar concurrency record  – which currently stands at 256 avatars in the same virtual space. The load test is part of the company’s drive towards seeing “One Billion in VR”.

These tests are handled on a monthly basis, with the September event offering a couple of enticements for those wishing to join in: the chance to earn gift cards (or an Amazon credit), or have the equivalent USD amount donated to the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU).

People wishing to participate in the event will (obviously) have a High Fidelity account, and be in a position to log-in to the platform during the test period (commencing at 13:300 PDT, as noted). Registration is required, which is offered free-of-charge via Eventbrite. Registration, together with requirements for entry can be found on the Eventbrite website, with the nature of the US dollar rewards specified as:

Every registered attendee who checks-in at the event will receive at least $10 in Visa or Mastercard prepaid gift card, or Amazon credit, or you can redeem High Fidelity Coin (HFC) donate your rewards value to the ACLU.

The “at least” aspect of the reward value is due to the fact that High Fidelity is offering it on a sliding scale:

  • Up to 100 people // $10
  • 100+ people // $15
  • 200+ people // $20
  • 1000+ people // $25

As well as the gift card / credit / donation options, those who prefer can take their reward in High Fidelity Coins (HFCs).

On top of all this, all registered participants have the chance to win a custom avatar created by Doob3D, and quoted as having a value of US $550.

Philip Rosedale at the August 2018 Road to One Billion load test event in High Fidelity

Registrations will remain open to the start of the event, and new users are advised to go through the High Fidelity tutorial once logged-in, as this has a portal that will take users to the load test location, referred to as The Spot.

The event itself offers various activities and well as the means to meet other High Fidelity users, and is designed to be a fun activity with a serious edge. Following the August load test, High Fidelity published a short video of the event, which I’ve embedded below – note that it opens with a brief look at people checking-in to the event, which is required in order to gain the USD reward.

High Fidelity: earn and exchange HFC for USD

On August 23rd, Philip Rosedale announced High Fidelity users can now convert High Fidelity Coin (HFC) into U.S. dollars.

This is a major step for the blockchain based crypto-currency used by the platform, and for High Fidelity users. In the latter regard, Rosedale notes:

This opens the possibility for people to earn real money creating and selling virtual goods and services within High Fidelity. We see this as a vital step in the emergence of a thriving High Fidelity economy: the flywheel of innovation and creativity in any marketplace starts when creators have positive incentives to contribute to the growing body of content for sale. In time, we hope creators will be able to support themselves by selling items in the Marketplace, charging for the experiences they create, and offering useful in-world services to other creators and performers.

– Philip Rosedale, High Fidelity CEO

The move is one of three contained within the blog post, and represents the latest stage in High Fidelity’s development of a blockchain-based economy.

In  late 2017, the company provided a roadmap for the development of the company’s currency and for IP protection within High Fidelity. Since then, the company has been building steadily towards presenting an infrastructure to allow comprehensive economic activities to take place within High Fidelity, including a comprehensive means to track and protect original IP on content. As such, the ability for users to convert HFCs to fiat money (US dollars)  is part of this wider programme.

via High Fidelity

The HFC / USD exchange rate is fixed by High Fidelity at 100 HFC to the US dollar. The cashing-out process is currently a manual activity undertaken by High Fidelity in response to user requests made via a BankofHighFidelity appointment, as is explained in a FAQ included with the blog post. This FAQ also indicates:

  • It is not currently possible to purchase HFCs – but they can be obtained through the BankofHighFidelity once a user has set-up their Wallet, the focal-point for economic actions.
  • Those wishing to convert HFCs to USD can only do so for a minimum of 5000 HFCs per transaction, and must have a PayPal account.
  • HFCs cannot currently be converted into other crypto-currencies or tokens – although this (like the ability to directly purchase HFCs) is intended to be a part of the system in the future, again governed through the BankofHighFidelity.

The second part of the blog post is an announcement designed to encourage creators to get involved in wider content creation for High Fidelity:

Creators who have assets already developed, or who prefer to use go-to applications like SketchUp or Google Poly, can now import them into High Fidelity. We’re officially launching support for these applications and others alongside our trading services now that the entire workflow from creation to monetization is in place.

– Philip Rosedale, High Fidelity CEO

The high Fidelity website includes details on how to how to add content to the Marketplace. Supported file formats comprise: models – .FBX and .OBJ; images and textures – .JPG, .PNG, and .TGA; audio – .WAV (mono or stereo or ambisonic, 16-bit at 24 or 48 Khz).

The third announcement in the blog post is aimed at spurring the development of the platform as a whole through the launch the High Fidelity Development Fund. Initially comprising 1 million HFC, this Development Fund will be used to pay developers willing to help develop features and capabilities High Fidelity have defined for the platform.

Projects for these features are (and will be) listed in a public group on the cross-platform Telegram service. Developers interested in taking on a project can then indicate their interest via public chat with a proposed price and time-line for completion. Bids are reviewed by the High Fidelity team, and those gaining approval will receive a public notification of their acceptance. HFCs earned through the fund are eligible for cashing-out if the developer so wishes. Again, refer to the official blog post and FAQ for further details.

Taken together, these three moves represent further significant – and logical – steps in High Fidelity’s growing maturity as a platform, and which could see creators take renewed / further interest in developing for them platform. At the same time, the High Fidelity Development Fund further underlines the open approach the company is taking towards building-out the platform – which is itself becoming something of a signature element in Rosedale’s approach to developing tools and platforms.