2021 has truly been the year of the metaverse. From relative obscurity into one of the fastest-growing, most exciting markets in the world, the rise of virtual worlds has been nothing short of extraordinary. Couple this with unprecedented adoption of NFT and record-smashing blockchain growth across the board and there’s perhaps no wonder why most crypto investors you ask will say they had one stellar year.

Best Metaverse Projects To Watch

Even as the year draws to a close, interest in the metaverse is showing no sign of tapering off. These projects have been outperforming other crypto assets all year, and many analysts believe the trend will continue into 2022 and beyond. So with Christmas just around the corner, we’re wrapping up the top three metaverse projects to put on your wish list this December.

1. Efinity

Metaverse pundits and NFT spectators alike have kept a close eye on Efinity. Enjin’s Polkadot-based solution is promising to bring NFTs and the metaverse to the DOT ecosystem, and their parachain auction has been turning some serious heads. They’re a strong competitor for winning Auction 5, and if not, Auction 6 seems all but guaranteed. They’re still accepting contributions to their crowdloan process, which can be found on their website

Regardless of which parachain slot Efinity eventually fills, their impact is certain to be significant. The team is promising to build a cross-chain ecosystem for NFTs powered by Polkadot’s fast, secure and low-cost infrastructure. Efinity’s parent company Enjin already boasts compatibility with just about any blockchain, so this deep integration with Polkadot will position them as leaders in multi-chain NFT offerings. And with the exorbitant gas fees and congestion on offer elsewhere, Efinity appears to be a no-brainer for people wanting to get the most out of their NFTs and the ever-expanding metaverse.

2. Hololoot

Partnering with major IDO launchpads Seedify, Synapse, and Enjinstarter in the lead-up to their TGE slated for December 13, Hololoot’s fresh name is making some big waves. Their Enjin-powered tech stack allows anyone to generate detailed and interactive Augmented Reality (AR) assets and mint them as NFTs quickly, easily, and affordably. In a year dominated by VR metaverse narratives, the emergence of a strong competitor from the AR segment is significant for several reasons.

First, there are more than one billion AR-compatible devices already in circulation. Just about any phone can be used with AR, making Hololoot’s solution much cheaper and more practical than bulky VR headsets. AR also has incredible utility, particularly in the age of online shopping. Imagine seeing products before you bought them—trying on AR clothes or placing virtual furniture where the real version will go. Gaming assets are also set to be transformed by AR technology. Hololoot is building a future where gamers—who currently generate hundreds of billions of dollars worth of revenue—can bring their hard-earned in-game items to life through Augmented Reality.

Hololoot’s first IDO on Seedify sold out its second stage in just 23 seconds, smashing launchpad records and confirming the importance of AR NFTs in the current market. Their subsequent IDOs attracted similar attention, setting them up for a strong decentralized listing on BSC’s PancakeSwap at 14.00 UTC on December 13. A strong team, an enormous addressable market, and backing from some of the biggest names in NFTs make Hololoot a must-watch heading into 2022.

3. The Sandbox

Anyone interested in the metaverse should be familiar with The Sandbox. Their native token SAND is a top-50 coin, and plots of their virtual in-game land are selling for more than land in the real world. And it’s little wonder why—with big names like Snoop Dogg and deadmau5 already in their ranks, The Sandbox is on the path towards true mainstream attention.

Throughout December, The Sandbox has been running alpha testing. The Alpha Passes – necessary to get early access to the game – sell between 1 and 2 ETH on secondary markets, and the in-game items players are collecting are also going for a pretty penny on marketplaces like OpenSea. Despite being in the earliest phase of public testing, The Sandbox is generating a serious amount of hype and is likely to remain the leader of the pack in expanding the decentralized metaverse.

A big end to a huge year

A year that started so strongly for crypto is finishing on an equally strong note, and the metaverse is arguably the loudest voice in the choir. With so many projects launching in such a short time it can be difficult to spot true quality amongst the passing fads, but even then there are always signs of staying power. While the three mentioned in this article have promising futures ahead, 2022 will likely be a year of surprises—and nobody knows where the metaverse will lead us next.