A Quick Primer on the Metaverse

The Metaverse could be described as an interoperable network of shared experiences and applications. This includes products, items, devices, tools, and other infrastructure provided by many unique decentralized and centralized counterparties at the same time.

The Origins of the Metaverse in MMORPGs​

Historically, online multiplayer video games filled much of this void. Early experiences or “instances” have origins dating back to the early 1990s, with massively multiplayer online roleplaying games or “MMORPGS”. Early MMORPGs, such as Everquest, Second Life, World-of-Warcraft, and more recently Roblox and Minecraft, all shared one thing in common: ownership of game assets was permissioned via a centralized publisher or developer software. Game assets could be certain items such as outfits, weapons, or skins which are obtained by either playing the game or by purchasing items through permissioned software provided by the publisher or developer. As a result of this, the game publisher essentially cornered both the primary and secondary markets for these game assets. Users would log in directly to this software, using account-based systems implemented by the publishers.

Users and market speculators have long looked for ways to bypass this permissioned software, usually by offering third-party software of their own which would misuse user-to-user trade systems (which do not incur fees), providing useful utility but very poor OpSec (operational security) of user game assets. Publishers have historically been strict on game assets being traded outside their scope of control. In their defense, not only could it be a motive for profit – but a motive to prevent the game world from being unfair. A good example of this is buying World of Warcraft Gold from a third-party vendor online to purchase better gear for your character. However, not all game assets offer competitive advantages and are purely cosmetic – so is this just a potential power overreach?

World of Warcraft: ​

Use of the auction house is permitted, but people can't buy gold from third-party vendors as that violates the game’s Terms of Service. This is because everything needs to be earned by the user and not from any outside vendors.​

Source: Wowpedia as of April 25, 2022.

Counter-Strike:

Users can buy and sell cosmetic items through the Steam Community Market. These units are not intended to be redeemed for real dollar amounts. Money flows in, but not out easily. Third-party software can offer solutions for fiat off-ramps.

Source: Steam Community Market as of April 25, 2022.

The Origins of the Metaverse in MMORPGs​

Instead of your game asset (or item) working in just one instance, what if that same asset could be transferred, or even used simultaneously in multiple Metaverse instances at the same time?
This is where modern digital assets underpinned by public blockchains could have an advantage over early technological iterations. By using permissionless public blockchains, such as Ethereum, users have full control of their Metaverse assets (Non-Fungible Tokens or NFTs). These digital assets follow similar technology standards, such as ERC-721 (Ethereum NFTs) in the backend, while art is rendered in familiar 3D file formats such as 3D (.vox) files or other equivalents hosted on InterPlanetary File System(IPFS). Today, many NFT developers embrace “interoperability”, which is the art of making NFT assets work in multiple Metaverse instances at the same time.

Some good, modern examples of Metaverse instances, in our view, are Voxels and Decentraland. Like the early MMORPGs which came before them, each offers different communities, looks, and experiences; however, their back-ends are similar in the fact that they settle assets on Ethereum or Ethereum layer-2 solutions.

These instances can be accessed publicly by anyone; however, ownership of game assets is private and secured by the blockchain. Land and parcel sales have primary and secondary markets where users are free to buy and sell game assets between one another or from the developer directly. At the same time, both instances support ERC-721 (Ethereum NFTs) assets. This means that an owner of an NFT could display their assets from an Ethereum Web 3.0 wallet such as Metamask, at the same time, in both instances. Perhaps the NFT developer provides 3D files for their NFT assets, and possibly the instance developer offers support for those 3D files. Most Ethereum-based instances support the native 2D rendering of any NFT asset, while 3D is marginally more difficult to implement due to the sheer number of NFT existing assets.

Ownership Finality and Verifiable Scarcity

An added benefit of a blockchain-based Metaverse instance is ownership finality and verifiable scarcity. Historically, video game worlds have been accessed by accounts provided by the game developer – meaning the game developer has your password saved on one or more centralized servers somewhere, while also maintaining the power to revoke that account access at any time. In addition, that game developer is in theory unrestricted from multiplying your game assets and increasing its supply, putting pressure on its rarity or secondary market price. With Ethereum, we can verify that certain digital assets cannot have their supplies changed, nor can you have your permissions revoked from accessing that digital asset. Most assets used in Metaverse instances are bought and sold using ETH and other ERC-20 (Fungible Token) assets such as USDC or DAI.

These combined factors have led to a recent boom in Metaverse land sales, advertising, events, and more. Both Decentraland and Voxels have announced hard-capped supplies for parcels, adding an element of scarcity. Basic laws of economics explain that when there is capped supply and increasing demand, prices increase. One thing is certain, though – while certain Metaverse land can be capped, there is no theoretical cap of Metaverse instances. Even more recently, there has been a push from Web 2.0 giants, such as Facebook (now Meta) to create their instances.

Enterprise hardware dominance is an issue that should be addressed. For example, Meta owns Oculus (VR headsets) while Apple and Samsung lead in mobile cameras (AR). Most Metaverse instances rely heavily on 3D graphics processing, so Nvidia and AMD come to mind as well. Some instances are already mobile-ready and work directly in internet browsers with no software installation. Some experiences can immediately be deployed to hundreds of millions of existing users, like Snap’s Snapchat and Meta’s Facebook/Instagram products.

While it’s a shot in the dark, we place a low probability that these enterprises pursue public blockchain technology stacks for their Metaverse instances; although we could see them support certain digital assets and technologies (such as ERC-721) with limited functionalities in the future. It’s more likely, in our view, that these enterprises pursue their federated blockchains or sidechains for their Metaverse instances. Fiduciary duty entails supporting shareholders first, not community first – a staunch difference between the current Metaverse instances we see today.

Learn more about Metaverse below:

3iQ Metaverse HQ

3iQ Metaverse HQ Visit 3iQ at its Metaverse HQ in Voxels, one of the first virtual worlds built on the Ethereum blockchain. 3iQ is proud

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3iQ Corp. (“3iQ”) is a Canadian investment fund manager focused on providing investors with exposure to digital assets, disruptive technologies and the blockchain space. Units of certain 3iQ Funds are offered through prospectus and through prospectus exemptions. Please read the offering documents carefully before investing.

Jean Desgagne

DIRECTOR

Jean Desgagne is a Director of 3iQ Digital Holdings Inc. Jean brings deep C-suite and Board experience within large multinational financial institutions, exchanges & market infrastructures, including TD, TMX and The Canadian Depository for Securities. He is a current and past Board Member for regulated financial companies, government agencies, industry associations, universities and not-for-profit organizations. He is an advisor to several startups and is CEO of Canada Stablecorp Inc. He is currently Chair of the Board for CPA Ontario, and a Director at CAA Club Group, CAA Insurance, Echelon Insurance and Orion Insurance. He Chairs the Internal Audit Committee for the Province of Ontario, I&IT Section and is an Executive in Residence at the Telfer School of Management.

Chris Jouppi

DIRECTOR

Chris Jouppi is a Director of 3iQ Digital Holdings Inc. Chris is a senior executive with over 40 years of progressive experience in risk management, electrical power, automation, medical device and professional services. Chris’ experience includes hands on involvement in technology, global marketing and sales, manufacturing operations, supply chain management, quality, finance, technology licensing, customer support, strategic planning and M&A.

Chris holds an MBA from Wilfred Laurier University and a BSc in Electrical Engineering at the University of Waterloo.

Pascal St-Jean

PRESIDENT

Pascal St-Jean is the President of 3iQ Corp.

Throughout his career, Pascal has focused on the transformation and disruption of industries via rapid scaling of businesses under his leadership. Having successfully created and grown multiple business ventures, Pascal was recognized as one of the youngest recipients of Ottawa’s Forty Under 40 award.

Pascal is the co-founder of STAND Advisors where he served as Strategic Advisor and Fractional Executive to over 5% of the Globe and Mail’s 500 fastest growing companies in Canada.  He is also a founding partner of Futuring– an executive coaching business, and the Chair of TEC Canada.

Pascal’s experience in open-source technologies and distributed systems led him to invest in cryptocurrency in 2016, and act as an educational resource on digital asset investments to several organizations. In addition, Pascal has served as a strategic consultant to bitcoin mining start-ups such as Hydra Mining and founded Quasar Strategy, a private multi-strategy Bitcoin fund.

John Loeprich

EXECUTIVE VICE PRESIDENT, CHIEF FINANCIAL OFFICER, CHIEF OPERATING OFFICER & DIRECTOR

John Loeprich is the Executive Vice President, Chief Financial Officer, Chief Operating Officer and Director of 3iQ Corp. He is responsible for overseeing all aspects of operations, finance, and assisting with strategic planning.

John brings over 35 years of experience in the financial services industry, ranging from public accounting to finance and operations with multi-national corporations to finance and sales and marketing and strategic planning with a number of investment management firms.

John started his investment industry tenure at Fidelity Investments where he became Chief Financial Officer before starting his own business specializing in assisting companies launch themselves into the mutual fund market.

Prior to 3IQ, John was EVP & CFO at Qwest Investment Fund Management, helping grow the business into a profitable IFM/PM platform. Prior to Qwest, John was Senior Vice-President, Partner & head of the Private Client Division at Hillsdale Investment Management, responsible for Sale & Marketing to investment advisors and high net worth individuals. During his time at Hillsdale the firm’s assets grew from $12 million to over $500 million.

John is a Chartered Professional Accountant, Certified General Accountant and a graduate of the University of Waterloo (Bachelor of Mathematics).

Ashley Peters

Chief Compliance Officer

Ashley Peters is the Chief Compliance Officer at 3iQ Corp. Ms. Peters is an experienced Chief Compliance Officer and compliance consultant. Her experience in the Canadian investment industry has focused in compliance in IIROC, MFDA, exempt market dealer, investment fund manager and portfolio manager rules and regulations. Ms. Peters served as the Chief Compliance Officer for Solium Financial and Ross Smith Asset Management. As Chief Compliance Officer and Chief Anti-Money Laundering Officer, Ms. Peters oversaw the launch the Ross Smith Cryptocurrency Fund.

Ms. Peters is a past member of various IIAC and IIROC compliance committees and the IIROC Alberta District Council. Ashley has a background in finance and compliance.

Anthony Cox, CPA, ICD.D

EXECUTIVE VICE PRESIDENT & DIRECTOR

Tony Cox is the Executive Vice President and Director of 3iQ Corp. He is also a Director of 3iQ Digital Holdings Inc. Mr. Cox has more than 15 years of experience in Canada and the United Kingdom with major accounting firms and over 30 years of experience in the investment fund industry in Canada including eleven years as Chief Financial Officer of an investment fund manager subsidiary of Sun Life Assurance Company of Canada and eleven years with an investment fund manager subsidiary of National Bank Financial Inc.

Prior to joining 3iQ, Mr. Cox served as President of Canadian Fund Management Inc. and provided consulting and contract services to investment fund managers.

Mr. Cox has been very active in the investment fund industry, serving on many Investment Funds Institute of Canada committees and as a past director of Fundserv Inc.

Mr. Cox is currently a member of the Independent Review Committees of PIMCO Canada Funds, and Connor, Clark & Lunn Funds (chair). He is also a Board Member of The Duke of Edinburgh’s International Award – Ontario. He is a CPA, CA, and holds the ICD.D designation (ICD.D 2010).

Bruce Smith

DIRECTOR

Bruce Smith is a Director of 3iQ Digital Holdings Inc. Bruce is a Corporate Director and Senior Advisor for Strategic Initiatives at VanEck. Bruce joined VanEck back in 1983, and has been a director of various VanEck related entities such as the Van Eck Associates Corporation, Van Eck Securities Corporation, and the Van Eck Absolute Returns Advisers Corporation.

Prior to joining VanEck, Bruce served as a CPA at McGladrey & Pullen. He is a member of the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA) and the New State Society of Certified Public Accountants (NYSSCPA). He holds FINRA Series 7, 27 and 63 Licenses, and has received a Bachelor of Science in Accounting from Fordham University in 1977 and a CPA designation in 1980.

Thomas G. Staudt

Director

Tom Staudt is a Director of 3iQ Digital Holdings Inc. Tom has been with ARK Investment Management (New York) for almost 7 years, and currently serves as ARK’s Chief Operating Officer, managing and overseeing the strategic operations of the firm, screens financial markets for new opportunities, and evaluates and implements ARK’s product portfolio. Tom earned the asset management industry’s 2020 Rising Star Award recognition from Fund Intelligence.

Prior to joining ARK, Tom worked in a media sales and consulting role for WILX. Before WILX, Tom spent time with Fidelity Investments in their mutual fund department, and he has also consulted on Millennial investing behavior to TIAA-CREF.

Tom received his Bachelor of Business Administration, magna cum laude, in Finance and Economics from the University of Notre Dame, a Master of Arts in Telecommunications Policy from Michigan State University, a Master of Science in New Media Management from the Newhouse School at Syracuse University, and his Master of Business Administration from Cornell University.

Tom is also currently the President of the ARK ETF Trust.

Valerie Hull

VP, Finance

Valerie Hull is the VP, Finance at 3iQ Corp. Valerie brings over 20 years of experience in the financial services and investment industry, with roles ranging from public accounting, internal audit, fund administration and finance with a number of investment management and investment firms.

Valerie is a Chartered Professional Accountant, Chartered Accountant, and Certified Management Accountant and is a graduate of the University of Waterloo (Masters of Accounting).

Richard Strauss

Director

Richard Strauss is a Director of 3iQ Digital Holdings Inc. Richard has over 25 years of experience in the U.S. securities industry.  Most of his career was spent at Goldman Sachs where he was a Senior Financial Services Analyst in charge of Investment Management, Brokerage, Investment Banking and Money Center Bank research coverage.

While at Goldman, he also played an important role in marketing the Firm’s 1999 IPO to institutional investors worldwide.  After leaving Goldman, Richard was a Director at Deutsche Bank covering Financial Services.  Earlier, he had been at Salomon Brothers, covering superregional and regional banks.

Currently, he is President and managing member of Kensington Partners, a trading operation. Richard holds both an MBA and BA from Cornell University.

Alex McDougall

Managing Director

Alex McDougall is a Managing Director at 3iQ. Alex analyzes companies throughout the full lifecycle from early-stage to multi-national institutions. Starting his career as an investment banker at the Bank of Montreal, Alex led multiple projects and teams across BMO Capital Markets, including in Fintech, M&A, and Financial Institutions. Alex helped lead the charge on several of Capital Market’s early blockchain and fintech initiatives and was recognized as a leader within the Investment Bank.

Alex left BMO in early 2018 to co-found Bicameral Ventures, a platform focused on “Interconnected Investing” and building a portfolio of highly complementary projects working towards bringing new technology paradigms into reality. Bicameral’s themes generally include blockchain, interoperability, data and identity self-sovereignty, personalized AI, and Web 3.0. Alex joined the 3iQ team in Q1 2021 as Managing Director – Product Development.

Ross McKee

DIRECTOR

Ross McKee is a Director of 3iQ Digital Holdings Inc. Ross has more than 35 years of experience as a Canadian capital markets and securities regulatory lawyer, recently retired from Blake, Cassels & Graydon LLP. During his legal practice at Blakes, Mr. McKee advised Canadian and foreign issuers, dealers, advisers, custodians, depositaries, and marketplaces on capital markets regulation and compliance issues, for traditional and new securities. His securities law experience also includes advising special committees of independent directors, mergers and acquisitions, and project finance. Since 2013, he has advised developers, issuers, and brokers on cryptocurrencies and digital asset funds, token foundations and blockchain protocols. Since his retirement from Blakes in 2019, Mr. McKee has acted as a legal consultant on securities law compliance, venture capital and blockchain-related matters. Mr. McKee is a graduate of Trinity College, University of Toronto (BA) and Queen’s University (LLB), where he taught securities regulation for five years.

Meltem Demirors

DIRECTOR

Meltem Demirors is a Director of 3iQ Digital Holdings Inc. Meltem is the Chief Strategy Officer of CoinShares, a publicly listed ($CS.ST) digital asset investment firm that manages $5B in assets, and is a trusted partner to investors and entrepreneurs navigating the digital asset ecosystem. Meltem oversees the firm’s corporate strategy, investments, and growth efforts. An established veteran of digital asset investing, Meltem draws on her substantial experience and widespread influence to accelerate growth and acceptance of the asset class. Prior to joining CoinShares, Meltem helped build and grow Digital Currency Group, raising capital from the world’s largest corporations and managing a portfolio of 120 companies and 4 subsidiaries. Before she was bitten with the bitcoin bug, Meltem worked in the Oil & Gas industry in trading, corporate treasury, and M&A roles. Meltem has been recognized for her personal contributions to the industry and serves as an outspoken advocate. She is a founding member of the World Economic Forum Blockchain Council and testified before the House Financial Services Committee. Meltem teaches at MIT and Oxford, and is cochair of the WEF Cryptocurrency Council and actively involved in and passionate about bitcoin education and advocacy efforts as well as causes related to civil rights and freedom of speech.

Anoop Dogra

Managing Director

Anoop Dogra is a Managing Director at 3iQ, responsible for product development, syndication and legal matters.

Prior to 3iQ, Anoop was a Director at BMO Capital Markets where he was responsible for originating, structuring and distributing innovative financial products, including mutual funds, alternative funds and closed-end funds, and prior to that, Anoop was a Partner at Blake, Cassels & Graydon LLP, where he practiced securities and corporate law.

Anoop holds a Bachelor of Laws from Western University, a Master of Business Administration from Saint Mary’s University, and a Bachelor of Commerce from Guru Nanak Dev University (India), and is a member of the Law Society of Ontario.

Christopher Matta

PRESIDENT OF 3iQ DIGITAL ASSETS (US)

Chris is the President of 3iQ Digital Assets (US).

Chris also serves as the President and Founder of the Blockchain Association of New Jersey, which advocates for innovative regulatory leadership and enterprise collaboration for the cryptocurrency space.

Prior to joining 3iQ, Chris was the Co-Founder of Crescent Crypto, an asset management firm focused on creating innovative investment solutions to bring the cryptocurrency asset class to institutional and mainstream investors. Previously, Chris was a Vice President at Goldman Sachs where he managed assets for the Goldman Sachs Philanthropy Fund and Trust Company.

Kevin Jiang

Portfolio Manager and Head of Trading

Kevin Jiang is the Head of Trading and Operations at 3iQ Corp.

Kevin brings 10 years of experience in securities trading, investment, and asset management. Prior to joining 3iQ, Kevin was the Head of Fixed Income Department at Guosheng Securities Asset Management where he oversaw asset under management growth of over $1 billion. Previously Kevin was Head of Trading of Fixed Income Department at CITIC Securities.

Francois Dionne St-Arneault

Director of Product and Sales

François is the Director of Products and Sales for Canada at 3iQ Corp. Prior to joining 3iQ, François was the Co-Founder of sept24, a full-service communications & marketing agency based in Quebec. François has worked with innovative and forward-thinking companies in assisting to bring their products and services to market. François brings more than 15 years of experience in marketing and sales to 3iQ. François holds a Bachelor of Business Administration from the Université de Sherbrooke.

Connor Loewen

Cryptocurrency Analyst

Connor Loewen is 3iQ’s cryptocurrency analyst. Connor has been involved with bitcoin and other digital assets for over 5 years. Connor holds a Bachelor of Business Administration from Capilano University and has completed the Canadian Securities Course. During university, Connor served as the Director of Finance for the Capilano Finance Association for three years, where he led student investment workshops and lectured full-sized classes on managing equities, derivatives, and digital assets. Connor had previously worked in the TSX Venture industry, and at Toronto-Dominion Bank.

Louis LaValle

Managing Director, 3iQ Digital Assets (US)

Louis LaValle is Managing Director and co-head of Distribution for 3iQ Digital Assets (US) with over 17 years of financial industry experience. Prior to joining 3iQ, Louis held senior roles across the alternative investment industry at Neuberger Berman, BNY Mellon (EACM Advisors), Legg Mason (Permal Group) and SkyBridge Capital. Prior to this, he was an investment analyst at Morgan Stanley and Credit Suisse First Boston. He received a BA, cum laude, from New York University.

Kevin Aikman-Carter

MARKETING COORDINATOR

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Thomas Rose

Managing Director, 3iQ Digital Assets (US)

​Tom Rose is Managing Director and co-head of Distribution at 3iQ Digital Assets (US) with 25 years of business development and relationship manager experience including 18 years in the investment management industry. Prior to joining 3iQ, he was with Neuberger Berman responsible for building the intermediary business on the West Coast, engaging with RIAs and multi-family offices. Previously, he was with BlackRock and managed the institutional Core-West team covering foundations, endowments, and pension plans (both corporate and public) and was responsible for growing the institutional business across the BlackRock platform and developing talent. Before the acquisition of Barclays Global Investors (BGI) Tom was a senior member of the Client Connect team. Tom received a BA, from TCU and MBA from the University of San Francisco. Tom holds the CFA designation and sits on the Board for the Peter Pan Foundation.

Thomas G. Staudt

DIRECTOR

Tom Staudt is a Director of 3iQ Digital Holdings Inc. Tom has been with ARK Investment Management (New York) for almost 7 years, and currently serves as ARK’s Chief Operating Officer, managing and overseeing the strategic operations of the firm, screens financial markets for new opportunities, and evaluates and implements ARK’s product portfolio. Tom earned the asset management industry’s 2020 Rising Star Award recognition from Fund Intelligence.

Prior to joining ARK, Tom worked in a media sales and consulting role for WILX. Before WILX, Tom spent time with Fidelity Investments in their mutual fund department, and he has also consulted on Millennial investing behavior to TIAA-CREF.

Tom received his Bachelor of Business Administration, magna cum laude, in Finance and Economics from the University of Notre Dame, a Master of Arts in Telecommunications Policy from Michigan State University, a Master of Science in New Media Management from the Newhouse School at Syracuse University, and his Master of Business Administration from Cornell University.

Tom is also currently the President of the ARK ETF Trust.

Richard Strauss

DIRECTOR

Richard Strauss is a Director of 3iQ Digital Holdings Inc. Richard has over 25 years of experience in the U.S. securities industry.  Most of his career was spent at Goldman Sachs where he was a Senior Financial Services Analyst in charge of Investment Management, Brokerage, Investment Banking and Money Center Bank research coverage.

While at Goldman, he also played an important role in marketing the Firm’s 1999 IPO to institutional investors worldwide.  After leaving Goldman, Richard was a Director at Deutsche Bank covering Financial Services.  Earlier, he had been at Salomon Brothers, covering superregional and regional banks.

Currently, he is President and managing member of Kensington Partners, a trading operation. Richard holds both an MBA and BA from Cornell University.

Frederick T. Pye

CHAIRMAN, CHIEF EXECUTIVE OFFICER & DIRECTOR

Frederick T. Pye is the Chairman, Chief Executive Officer and Director of 3iQ Corp. He is also the Chairman and Director of 3iQ Digital Holdings Inc. Mr. Pye is recognized for creating and promoting creative and unique investment products for the investment industry.

Mr. Pye has managed private client portfolios with Landry Investment Management and various other investment dealers. Prior to this Mr. Pye was Founder, President & Chief Executive Officer of Argentum Management and Research Corporation, a company dedicated to managing and distributing quantitative investment portfolios including the first long-short mutual fund in Canada.

He was also Senior Vice-President and National Sales Manager of Fidelity Investments Canada and an integral part of the team that saw assets rise from $80 million to over $7.5 billion in assets under management during his tenure. He also held various positions with Guardian Trust Company, which listed the first Gold, Silver and Platinum Certificates on the Montreal Exchange.

Mr. Pye obtained a Masters in Business Administration from Concordia University.