Leases SpaceX outside of the US

Metaverse Billboards: This German runs the world's largest crypto advertising network

Billboards - not the most obvious form of advertising when it comes to reaching digital nerds. But the 300 billboards operated by Sven Venzke-Caprarese are not just ordinary posters. The data protection officer from near Bremen is the ruler of the largest advertising network in the Metaverse. If you want to promote an NFT drop in the virtual world of cryptovoxels, Venzke-Caprarese provides the audience. OMR spoke to the “Ströer der Virtual Reality” about who books campaigns with him, why he doesn't believe in tracking, and why he still promises his customers minimal wastage.

"Lawyer, but also a nerd at heart"

Metaverse Billboards founder's journey into the NFT world began with cats. Four years ago he bought two crypto kitties. These digital pets can be used for breeding and traded by their owners in the game of the same name. Collectors now pay six-figure sums for special crypto kitties. “At the time, I didn't even know that it was an NFT.” He only wanted to look at the matter once and understand it - because that's his job. “In data protection you always see the latest technologies and have to evaluate them,” says Venzke-Caprarese, who works for a company for data protection and IT security and describes himself as a “lawyer, but also a nerd at heart”.

This is how he came across cryptovoxels. This is a virtual world that was launched in 2018 and is based on the Etherium blockchain and can be accessed via a web browser or VR headsets. At Cryptovoxels, players can purchase and cultivate land for cryptocurrency. Venzke-Caprarese was early - “Everything was still black and white and nothing going on” - and bought five parcels, then another seven. The prices rose. He sold a plot of land in a good location worth 10,000 euros and bought elsewhere. Venzke-Caprarese now owns more than 100 cryptovoxels properties.

Crytovoxels and chill

Somewhere on the way to becoming a large landowner in the Metaverse, he asked himself: “What do I do with it?” There are now buildings on most of his properties. "I feel relaxed when building plots," says Venzke-Caprarese. Over time, he also optimized his property so that his parcels would cover the world of cryptovoxels as evenly as possible. And because he has connected the properties with each other with portals, his visitors can virtually discover all the districts of the virtual world under his guidance.

Welcome to the Metaverse! One of Sven Venzke-Caprareses' billboards can be seen at the top left. To the right and below the portals through which his other plots and special places can be reached.

In other words: Venzke-Caprarese created a kind of subway through cryptovoxels. The next step was obvious, namely to set up and market advertising space at all “stops” - that is, next to the portals. "In the beginning it was like posting," says Venzke-Caprarese. He had to port himself to each of his billboards and manually exchange the graphics. It took 90 minutes to roll out a campaign. In the meantime, he has been able to convince the developers of Cryptovoxels to build a function with which files can be exchanged automatically on a daily basis. Venzke-Caprarese explains that his effort has been reduced to one click and two minutes of work. The creation of the invoice definitely takes longer.

Nerds and billionaires

As expected, the previous customers of Metaverse Billboards all come from the crypto scene. NFT impresario Metakovan, known for buying the $ 69 million NFT from artist Beeple, used the advertising space to advertise the opening of his virtual art museums. The auction platform Rarible has booked a whole package to promote different drops. Also on the customer list: A VC fund, a decentralized storage provider - and many artists to whom Venzke-Caprarese makes its space available at discounted prices.

Above all, however, he aims at corporate customers. The first HR campaign of a blockchain project is to be played out in his network soon. But in perspective, Venzke-Caprarese also wants to win customers from outside the crypto bubble. "My hope is that Nike will come up with the idea of ​​tokenize sneakers." Of course, the sporting goods giant would then play the topic broadly. “But you also have to be where the nerds are.” His posters give you access to a “highly specific target group”: developers, owners of Blockhain projects and “you might even run into a billionaire, who was at SpaceX early on got on. "

Motif from the campaign used by NFT collector Metakovan to advertise his Metapalooza art festival

Whereby Venzke-Caprarese cannot say who exactly sees his tables. Of course, his customers could track who lands on the websites that are linked to the billboards. But only very few would click the links at all. When you consider that the metaverse is being traded as the next evolutionary stage of the web, it is somewhat ironic that all the usual measuring instruments fail with the most common form of advertising there.

Like its competitor NFT Plaza, which operates kiosks in several metaverses, Venzke-Caprarese does not promise its customers reliable conversions. His product is more comparable to outdoor advertising. And when you compare it with poster advertising - "then it is actually still too cheap." The starting bid for booking all billboards for one week is one ether. At the current rate, that's around 2,200 euros.

"I want to grow with the world"

For Venzke-Caprarese there is currently a "black zero" in the end. In concrete terms, this means that the income will be enough to purchase one or two more Cryptovoxels plots a week in more remote locations or on new islands. “I want to grow with the world.” He has to, because his billboards are only attractive if he can make his customers plausible that they have an audience. It is therefore important that they are placed close to properties where events take place.

“It was mainly through luck that I managed to have such parcels as neighbors,” says Venzke-Caprarese. With Cryptovoxels that means that in the end a few dozen users are guests at the same time. But as with a vernissage, in the end it doesn't matter that the gallery is bursting at the seams as long as the two or three important people are there.

It is also becoming increasingly difficult to attract attention in the Metaverse: A poster from the NFT auction platform Rarible in the center of the picture

Venzke-Caprarese has already thought about expanding its network by integrating third-party parcels based on revenue shares, but soon discarded the idea. “I would have liked to have decentralized it, but that was too time-consuming.” On the one hand, because you don't want anyone to have to show the tax office your share of the income from renting out advertising space, which is offset in crypto money. On the other hand, because cryptovoxels parcels are often sold due to the rapid increase in value. He has already seen several times how all the buildings, including the portal and its billboard, were flattened. That is why Venzke-Caprarese is now relying on its own infrastructure and is hoping for attractive neighbors.

Neighborhood dispute in the Metaverse

However, the poster mogul had to find out that things are similar to them. On one of his lots, Venzke-Caprarese had placed the billboard in such a way that it blocked the view of the water for himself. So he put a chair in front of the wall to enjoy the view over the neighbour's property. For him it was obviously too much of a provocation. In revenge for the fact that his neighbor had planted one of his house-high billboards in his front yard, he built a wall on his part. Venzke-Caprarese could make it disappear - if he paid his neighbor 0.1 ether a day for it. And because Brian Armstrong, CEO of Coinbase, retweeted a tweet about it, Venzke-Caprarese gained some notoriety in the crypto community through this little metaverse drama.

Both parties have now chatted on Discord and settled their dispute. It was not a planned stunt, says Venzke-Caprarese. The neighbor had a joke, but also wanted to initiate a discussion about marketing in the Metaverse. Incidentally, the wall builder was Austrian, a crypto artist from Vienna - and an advertiser.