But what is the Vatican doing in NFTs and the metaverse?

The Holy See has made a surprising announcement to say the least: it is launching into NFTs and the metaverse.

The Vatican is not known to be one of the most modern institutions in the world. However, the Papal State made a rather surprising announcement May 2, 2022 : Humanity 2.0, a foundation overseen by the Vatican, has entered into an agreement with the company Sensorium, which specializes in the construction of metaverses. The goal ? Create a virtual gallery where the works of the Vatican will be exhibited in the form of NFT.

NFTs (non fungible tokens) have become a worldwide phenomenon in a very short time. They function as certificates of authenticity registered on a blockchain, which makes it possible to ensure that any files are truly unique. It is this feature that has allowed the technology to become extremely popular, and to create a real virtual art market in a very short time — and this art market is of interest to more and more people.

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Michelangelo’s NFTs?

The Vatican’s ambition is not to enter this art market or to participate in NFT sales: the Papal State’s ambition is to create a virtual museum. There are no plans at this time to create Pope tokens or The Creation of Adam, nor to put them on sale. Likewise, the Holy See has not announced any plans to create a blockchain, or to participate in the purchase of crypto-currencies.

The Vatican, soon accessible in the metaverse. // Source: Jae Park / Unsplash
The Vatican, soon accessible in the metaverse. // Source : Jae Park / Unsplash

The Vatican press release clarifies that Humanity 2.0 and Sensorium “ will work on the development of the very first NFT gallery accessible in VR “. This gallery will house the works of art owned by the Vatican, as well as its ” academic initiatives (we don’t really know what that means either).

In fact, the idea is quite good: the Vatican Museum is one of the richest and most visited in the world, and houses masterpieces by some of the greatest artists of all time, such as Michelangelo. , Marc Chagall, Salvador Dali and even Pablo Picasso.

The virtual Vatican Museum is to be located in the Sensorium metaverse, which the company is building. Called “Galaxy”, the metaverse is currently in beta and is to be officially launched ” later in the year “. ” In order to ensure an experience accessible to as many people as possible, this platform will be accessible through the most popular interfaces. “, also specifies the press release. ” Users will be able to use their VR headset to be completely immersed, or visit the museum on PC with an augmented reality experience. »

The press release also refers to a ” application “, which could be used for ” watch streams, build their own NPCs and communicate with them (it is not specified if the NPCs will only be of biblical origin or if a Batman avatar could eventually be created). In short, it is a very busy and rather ambitious program.

Museums are increasingly taking over NFTs

The announcement may seem surprising, and rightly so. The Vatican has never shown a particularly strong interest in new technologies, or even in cryptocurrencies and blockchain. It is therefore particularly interesting to see that one of the most conservative institutions in the world shows an interest in NFTs.

It is, however, increasingly common for museums to venture into non-exchangeable tokens: several large institutions, such as the British Museum in London, the Belvedere in Vienna or the Uffizi in Florence have already announced that they will be selling collections of NFTs. During his campaign, Emmanuel Macron also said he wanted the ” main cultural establishments develop a NFT policy », a sign that, decidedly, NFTs are now an integral part of the art world.

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But what is the Vatican doing in NFTs and the metaverse?


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