Welcome to the Montecito metaverse.
Photo-Illustration: by The Cut; Photos: Getty Images
Having already expanded their dominion into podcasts, streaming, and literature, there is only one final media frontier left for Meghan Markle and Prince Harry to conquer, and I will give you three hints as to what it might be. One: It’s buzzy, mostly if you’re a celebrity inclined to drink tech Kool-Aid. Two: It sounds similar to a scheme Mark Zuckerberg has been trying, and failing, to make happen for ages. Three: It runs on cryptocurrency. If you are sighing, Oh, God, not the metaverse, then I award you one non-fungible token: According to The Mirror, Meghan and Harry may be buying up acreage in a virtual reality and may even render themselves as avatars “in an effort to reach millions more fans.” Someone allegedly close to the couple explained their reasoning thus:
Both Meghan and Harry believe they will have an even greater ability to spread their message if they have a presence in the virtual world as well as the physical world. They’ve spoken to a variety of experts and the view is this is the next stage to take their brand truly global.
In my opinion? Absolutely not. In the tabloid’s opinion, however, the couple are in talks to launch a VR platform “dubbed the ‘Meg-averse’” — whether by The Mirror or the Sussexes, it’s not clear, though the latter would probably call it “Archeworld” or something — with a company called Pax.world, which sells “tiles” of buildable “land” to the “$PAXW”-holding public. “The new deal could take many forms,” the tabloid reports, “including gaming, online communities and business meetings,” presumably featuring Meghan and Harry as tiny digital versions of themselves. Keeping in mind the source of this rumor, I must urge caution and incredulity on everyone including myself, lest we get all worked up over nothing.
But for me, it’s not so much the thought of “Prince Harry as bitcoin bro” — that actually sits companionably alongside “chief impact officer at start-up” on his increasingly amorphous CV — that’s ominous, nor is it my ballooning suspicion that many of these celebrity-backed crypto-trends will wind up being scams. For me, it’s the mental image of little Zuckerberg-style Meghan and Harry cartoons hovering (legs are coming soon!) at the gates of their pixelated meta-Montecito community, beckoning me to “unleash the power of compassion to drive systemic cultural change.” Personally, I am hoping that, as has been the case with so many of their other giant deals, the Sussexes will take their sweet time getting this hypothetical unconfirmed project off the ground.