Tuesday, February 1, 2022

Neo project wins second place in Metaverse Alliance hackathon with 3D world platform


Neo community developer Robert Oschler has won second place in the SocialFi category of the Metaverse Alliance hackathon. Oschler's project, Neo3D Live, is a 3D metaverse world that allows users to interact with one another's avatars and participate in events like real-time auctions.

Oschler developed Neo3D Live so that anyone in any part of the world can access the 3D world, regardless of their ability to purchase powerful equipment. Neo3D Live was designed for most of the world's internet users – those without VR headsets or high-end equipment. He said:

Let Metaverse residents form meaningful connections in a virtual world that will run on common hardware, including the millions of smartphones that may be the only link to the Metaverse a citizen in an economically disadvantaged region has. This is a link that has the true power to uplift the millions, if not billions of hard-working, intelligent, decent human beings who have the misfortune of being born in a region that is not economically gifted like other parts of the world.

The platform leverages the ThreeJS graphics library, a graphics engine that is widely accessible. Neo3D Live runs on almost any browser and device, so there is no need for high-powered computer setups.

The platform's beta version allows users to congregate in a digital 3D environment. Real-time video conferencing is embedded into the moveable characters, so participants can see those they're communicating with via live video feed. Oschler said, "By combining true video conferencing where participants can see each other's faces as they talk to one another and move about a fun virtual world, people can once again feel the natural human joy of forming groups based on both social and spatial relationships like they would at a party or a shopping mall."

Oschler also incorporated other elements to make the space feel more natural and interactive. In Neo3D Live, intelligent objects are embedded in the virtual world, responding to an avatar's presence. For example, walking up to a wall with an embedded YouTube video will trigger the video to begin playing. And to create a more real-life experience, a user can hear the sounds of their movements and that of others around them.

NFT Showcase
The first demo of Neo3D Live included the NFT Showcase, a custom room where an individual can purchase an NFT on auction. A demonstration of the live auction can be found below:

The NFT designer can determine who can participate in the Showcase by whitelisting public wallet addresses on Neo N3.

The Neo3D Live smart contract supports derivative commissions, so collectors can earn profits when they sell an artist's NFTs if the artist grants them that right. Further, Oschler intends the NFTs bought and sold through Neo3D Live to be viewable and transferable via third-party marketplaces (i.e., Sky Hut, GhostMarket).

Looking forward, he aims to develop and release a drag-and-drop toolkit (that doesn't require coding ability), so anyone can build a virtual world.

India Proposes 30% Tax on Crypto Income — Finance Minister Cites 'Phenomenal Increase' in Crypto Transactions


The Indian government has proposed taxing income from cryptocurrencies and other digital assets at 30%. India's finance minister, Nirmala Sitharaman, said: "There's been a phenomenal increase in transaction in virtual digital assets … The magnitude and frequency of these transactions have made it imperative to provide for a specific tax regime."

30% on Crypto Income
Indian Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman proposed taxing income from cryptocurrencies and other digital assets at 30% while presenting the federal budget Tuesday. She said:

I propose to provide that any income from transfer of any virtual digital asset shall be taxed at the rate of 30%. No deduction in respect of any expenditure or allowance shall be allowed while computing such income, except the cost of acquisition.

"There's been a phenomenal increase in transaction in virtual digital assets," the finance minister added. "The magnitude and frequency of these transactions have made it imperative to provide for a specific tax regime."

The tax proposal puts cryptocurrencies and non-fungible tokens (NFTs) in India's highest tax band.

Harish Prasad, head of banking, India, FIS, was quoted as saying: "This has been a much awaited announcement in the context of the interest and growth in investments into these assets. The uncertainty and concerns on the legal, regulatory and taxation status of cryptocurrencies are addressed to a reasonable extent by virtue of this announcement."

Avinash Shekhar, the CEO of crypto exchange Zebpay, commented:

Thirty percent tax on income from virtual digital assets, while high, is a positive step as it legitimizes crypto and hints at an optimistic sentiment towards further acceptance of crypto and NFTs.

Nischal Shetty, the CEO of crypto exchange Wazirx, commented: "We also hope this development removes any ambiguity for banks and they can provide financial services to the crypto industry."

However, tax consultants warned that individuals could end up paying more than 30% of their crypto profits in tax and other charges. Amit Maheshwari, partner at tax consulting firm AKM Global, told Reuters: "If you made a profit of 100 rupees then including the 30% tax bracket, plus surcharge and cess the total tax outgo will be around 42 rupee."

Another announcement the Indian finance minister made Tuesday was about the launch of the country's central bank digital currency (CBDC), the digital rupee. She said the central bank, the Reserve Bank of India (RBI), will introduce a digital currency starting in the financial year 2022-23, stating:

The introduction of a central bank digital currency will give a big boost to the digital economy. Digital currency will also lead to a more efficient and cheaper currency management system."