NetworkNewsWire Editorial Coverage: Ever since it was introduced five years ago, virtual reality (VR) technology has been underwhelming due to the lack of content and the exuberant costs of headsets like Oculus. But this year, the VR market could grow by 25 percent, according to the Consumer Technology Association, thanks to new products announced by Google and others in the tech world. VR enthusiasts are also predicting that Steven Spielberg’s newest film, which depicts a futuristic VR universe, could push the technology into mainstream. However, the biggest boost to VR technology potentially comes from the integration of blockchain technology. This is where blockchain companies could bring the true potential of VR into life. Companies at the forefront of this technology include Victory Square Technologies, Inc. (OTC: VSQTF) (CSE: VST) (VSQTF Profile), 360 Blockchain, Inc. (CSE: CODE), Hashchain Technology, Inc. (TSX-V: KASH), BTCS, Inc. (OTC: BTCS), and Marathon Patent Group, Inc. (NASDAQ: MARA).
At the recent Game Developers Conference in San Francisco, tech giants such as Facebook, Sony and Google all advocated for VR technologies. According to Forbes (http://nnw.fm/RyP8D), the biggest takeaway from this conference is that there was less talk about experimental VR and more about commercial VR, such as in advertising. Clearly, the VR market is on a trajectory into a new era. Based on reports from Business Insider, it is estimated that the VR market will grow from $2 billion to $27 billion between 2016 and 2022 (http://nnw.fm/Fc44G).
Recognizing that VR could finally become a mainstream consumer technology, Victory Square Technologies landed a arrangement last week to acquire 49% (percent) of Flo Digital Inc., a VR advertising experience platform with access to over 200 million monthly viewers across North America. Flo Digital’s VR network already spans several platforms, including HTC VIVE, Google Cardboard, Google Daydream, IOS, Android and Web VR. One of its latest VR projects was a collaboration with Chrysler Canada, which allowed users to virtually test drive the all-new Challenger.
Blockchain Unlocks Unreal Potential in Advertising
In the realm of advertising, the promise of VR-based marketing like the Chrysler campaign and its potential integration with blockchain — an area in which Victory Square Technologies (OTC: VSQTF) (CSE: VST) is already an expert in — have unreal potential. The company has already invested and incubated numerous businesses in the blockchain tech space, but it also has an existing VR project in the fast-growing VR gaming industry, so it’s no stranger to either technology. Victory Square chose Flo Digital, because it’s currently building out the first-ever blockchain-based VR advertising technology platform.
According to experts, a VR-blockchain combination could spark a digital advertising revolution by solving many common problems encountered in this space such as data transparency, ad fraud and misuse of money spent on advertisements. A possible solution is for platforms to record and measure people’s interaction with VR ads and make payments to content owners accordingly. The whole process could be done on blockchain’s secure, accurate and transparent curation of data, saving money for all involved.
Procter & Gamble made headlines last year for threatening to pull $2.4 billion in ad spending because of ongoing ad fraud and transparency issues, even calling out its partner Facebook.
P&G’s chief brand officer Marc Pritchard stated at the time: “There is, we believe, at least 20 percent to 30 percent of waste in the media supply chain because of lack of “viewability,” non-transparent contracts, non-transparent measurement of inputs, fraud, and now even your ads showing up in unsafe places.” The solution to this is a combination of VR (better user experience) and blockchain (transparency).
Google is already encouraging developers to work with a VR prototype to replace traditional advertising, and so have Apple and Microsoft. This presents a big opportunity for companies such as Victory Square Technologies (OTC: VSQTF) (CSE: VST) with strong footprints in both VR and blockchain to make a technological breakthrough with its potentially first-of-its-kind Flo Digital platform.
Commenting on its newest VR-blockchain acquisition, Shafin Diamond Tejani, Victory Square CEO, said: "Flo Digital has a proven track record of providing cutting-edge and immersive VR/AR experiences to leading brands that include Chrysler Canada, Warner Bros. and Rogers Wireless, to name a few. It is this calibre of customers and execution that makes the entire team at Victory Square eager to work with Flo Digital on their next stage of growth.
"This represents another investment in the VR/AR industry and further illustrates our thesis that blockchain technology will disrupt the existing landscape in ad tech and ultimately change the way brands will connect with their customers," Tejani added.
Other Players in the Blockchain Space
360 Blockchain (CSE: CODE) is building an all-round blockchain ecosystem that includes cryptocurrencies, smart contracts and data management. In December, the company announced its intention to invest in Arcology, a platform that uses machine learning and pattern recognition technology to create hierarchical blockchain structures. Recently, 360 Blockchain completed its acquisition of a 60 percent stake in SV CryptoLab, a Silicon Valley-based crypto facility.
Hashchain Technology (TSX-V: KASH) is the first public cryptocurrency mining company to file a final prospectus in Canada supporting highly scalable and flexible mining operations across all major cryptocurrencies. Last month, the company completed the acquisition of NODE40 LLC, which comprises a team of experienced blockchain experts and software engineers.
BTCS (OTC: BTCS) is one of the first public companies in the United States to be involved with digital assets and blockchain technologies. The company plans to create a portfolio of digital assets including Bitcoin and other "protocol tokens." It has an agreement in place to merge with Blockchain Global Ltd., an Australian blockchain company.
Marathon (NASDAQ: MARA) is focused on acquiring patents and patent rights from individual owners and Fortune 500 companies. The company monetizes its portfolio by entering licensing deals. Earlier this year, Marathon entered a purchase agreement to acquire four patents related to the transmission and exchange of cryptocurrencies between buyers and sellers.
Spielberg’s New Film Could Ignite a VR Tech Fever
Although VR technology is still at an infancy stage, it is also about to receive a big lift in the real world thanks to Steven Spielberg’s highly anticipated ”Ready Player One” — centered around a utopian VR future — hitting theatres on March 29. Like previous Hollywood releases that have produced remarkable marketing results (i.e., The Blues Brothers was credited for boosting sunglasses sales in the 1980s), this film will give the audience a grandiose visualization of the infinite possibilities created by VR technology, which transcend real-life experiences, potentially helping to ignite a VR fever that already seems to be gaining traction.
This signals an ideal time for companies to delve deeper into this tech space, much like Victory Square Technologies has just done with the Flo Digital acquisition. Now that Spielberg’s next big release is set to become a big marketing campaign for VR, the next step is to realize the technology’s true potential in advertising through the help of blockchain.
Imagine a platform that charges advertisers solely on the amount of time consumers were immersed in the VR content and rewards content producers accordingly, with all transactions safely recorded on blockchain. A VR-blockchain integration could finally eliminate the 20 to 30 percent waste resulting from inefficient advertising, and Victory Square Technologies could be the one to bring that kind of platform into life.
For more information on Victory Square Technologies Inc. (OTC:VSQTF) (CSE:VST), please visit StreetSignals.com for a free research report.
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