Island life in a luxury villa and riding around on ATVs is a world thousands are creating for themselves digitally through a game known as White Sands.
Started by Austin entrepreneur Adam Hollander, the venture adds to locals getting in on the metaverse, an early stage realm where developers are using virtual reality, augmented reality and other tools for virtual worlds.
According to KXAN, Hollander used $1.2 million of his money for the virtual space where users can take part in activities like hot air balloon rides, paintballing, stand up comedy and more.
GM...\n\nI LOVE my pink ATV! \n\nHere is me riding around @whitesandsgame \n\nENJOY.pic.twitter.com/BResPCpnU8— Blockchain Brown (@Blockchain Brown) 1648985235
Users can build on plots of land via Minecraft. Three thousand of those plots were granted to users through NFTs, or digital collectibles known as non-fungible tokens, and sold out quickly, with the value rising up 50%.
A couple of weeks ago, Hollander posted about how the initial land sale raked in 1,500 ETH, which is equivalent to $4 million.
KXAN also reports that White Sands raised millions without investor money and will put up luxury villas for sale, after which it expects to raise $4 million.
Gamification is a key feature of the metaverse, which Hollander knows well having served as Microsoft’s gamification director from 2015 to 2017. Before becoming co-founder of White Sands at the start of the year, Hollander was involved in other technology ventures, including Hungry Wolves, a collection of 6,000 randomly generated wolves prowling the Ethereum blockchain.
(White Sands Game/Twitter)
In a recent interview with FOX 32 Chicago, Hollander explained the value of this burgeoning real estate.
“One day you might be playing virtual golf, the next day you want to save a princess from a dragon, the next day you might hold a business meeting and at the end of the day, you’re going to need a place to come home to at the center of the heart of this ever-expanding, open and interconnected metaverse,” Hollander said.
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Despite a 2-0 deficit, there was a pot of gold for Austin FC after all as it celebrated its annual Pride Night with rainbows and a 2-2 comeback draw to FC Dallas Saturday night.
After three FC Dallas losses last season, the Dallas derby draw marks the first time Austin FC has tied against its Copa Texas rival. Austin continues to edge over FC Dallas as it sits at 3rd in the MLS West.
Here are the biggest takeaways from the match:
A somber start
Decked out in colorful hues for LBGTQ+ Pride, Verde fans started the match on a somber note as they held up banners to take a stand against gun violence before the match.
As the national anthem began, fans held up banners with the names of each child that was killed in the Uvalde school shooting and a plea to "end gun violence."
The supporters' section was also dotted with Pride flags and a "Bans off Our Bodies" banner in protest of the Supreme Court's decision to overturn Roe v. Wade.
FC Dallas earns a 2-0 lead
That sober tone continued onto the pitch. With midfielder Daniel Pereira's absence due to a red card, the Verde and Black lost two goals to FC Dallas by the 70th minute of play.
FC Dallas played it sneaky for the first half of the match, giving Austin FC plenty of room to hold possession as it waited to strike on a Verde error. That mentality proved dangerous for Austin as Dallas' Paul Arriola took advantage of Brad Stuver's deflection to score the first goal of the night in the 57th minute of play.
Dallas struck once more as Brandon Servant pushed past the Verde line to score the second goal of the match.
Austin FC strikes back
But energy quickly returned to Austin's favor thanks to Designated Player Sebastian Driussi, who scooted past several FC Dallas defenders alongside Moussa Djitte to snag an unlikely first goal for Austin.
A full Verde comeback
Austin's subs proved deadly as momentum returned to the home team toward the end of the match. A well-placed cross from Nick Lima—and a diving header from a fresh-legged Danny Hoesen—helped the team secure the draw with a second Verde goal in the 84th minute of play.
Hoesen, who was Austin's first starting striker last season, has now scored two goals with the team after a yearlong injury stuck him on the bench.
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Hours following the U.S. Supreme Court's ruling to overturn Roe v. Wade, the landmark ruling that guaranteed a constitutional right to an abortion, on Friday, about 1,000 people gathered in Republic Square with signs calling for change.
The rally, organized by the group Rise Up 4 Abortion Rights Texas, started at the federal courthouse on Republic Square on Friday at 5 p.m. before the crowd marched to the Texas Capitol. More protests are expected to ensue over the weekend.
People showed up with all types of signs like Mindy Moffa holding up, "Keep your filthy laws off my silky drawers."
Austin joined cities across the country that saw protests for a women's right to an abortion after the ruling.
According to a recent UT poll, 78% of Texas voters support abortion access in most cases.
Sabrina Talghade and Sofia Pellegrini held up signs directed at Texas laws. A Texas trigger law will ban all abortions from the moment of fertilization, starting 30 days after the ruling. When state legislators passed the trigger law last summer, it also passed laws for more protection of firearms, including the right to open carry without a permit.
Lili Enthal of Austin yells as around 1,000 Texans marched to the Texas Capitol.
From the Texas Capitol, Zoe Webb lets her voice be heard against the Supreme Court ruling.
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