2021 has made its mark with the explosive growth that Upland experienced over the year. While the influx of new players is good news for the metaverse and the underlying economy, this introduces a wealth of new technical and logistical challenges. The Upland team has put tremendous effort into upgrading the metaverse’s technical infrastructure in order to support current and future levels of activity; especially as it relates to mass-minting events such as city launches.
So far, these efforts have been paying off, and the recent launch of Chicago saw new records of >11 Property NFTs minted per second and >60 transactions per second (!) that were successfully pushed to the blockchain at peak times, all while maintaining a smooth user experience throughout the release.
Even as we’ve made remarkable progress, we also realize that additional growth-which is expected to be ramped up even further in 2021- requires us to constantly improve our systems to stay ahead of the curve.
As a result, the first part of 2021 has seen some delays in the new features that we originally expected to deliver but has also led to some exciting developments that we are prepared to share with the community.
The good news is that the tremendous growth of Upland has enabled us to scale the team across the board. This gives us the ability to execute on more deliverables in the remainder of the year and beyond.
Numerous major items from the 2021 roadmap have already been delivered. This includes the Spark Token, Property Development, The Structure NFT, Object Positioning on Properties, The NFT Asset Wallet, the Block Explorer NFT, and Staking Spark for other projects.
The following is an intermediary update to the 2021 agile roadmap:
Q2/Q3 Development Initiatives and Launch Objectives
Property to USD Open Beta
Property to USD is expected to go into open beta by the end of Q2. Please stay tuned for more information.
NFT Portal Beta
Development for the NFT portal is already in full gear with substantial milestones having been achieved. This includes the necessary smart contracts on both sides (EOS mainnet and WAX) to allow the first Upland Collectible cards to be uploaded directly into Upland.
We have high confidence that this feature will be launched in Q3.
Landmark construction is planned to be made available on the West Coast in the beginning of Q3. Respective models will be introduced in an order of production determined by the Upland team.
Originally planned to launch in Q2, Block Explorer Shops are scheduled to start development in June and should be expected to launch in Q3. Outdoor Decor shops are also expected to start development in Q3; we will have further updates with launch targets. The ability to assign multiple items on top of a single property will be delivered together with the launch of the decor shops
‘Meta’ Cars with Cryptomotors
We’re excited to announce that Upland is teaming up with Cryptomotors to design and launch a line of home-grown virtual cars series branded ‘Meta’ (not to be confused with Cryptomotor’s existing car NFTs). ‘Meta’ cars will be the first car NFTs introduced in Upland (via a new type of UNFT, native to Upland), and will live as 3D models on top of the Upland map. As a reminder, one of the first utilities for cars will be the ability to use them as means of travel between cities; similar to trains, buses, and airplanes.
Stay tuned for more information as we reveal the exciting designs of the models and announce the launch targets.
3rd Party Developer Tools
This year’s growth has highlighted the importance of empowering the Upland community with the right tools to craft experiences that complement the Upland metaverse. In Q3 we will begin working with 3rd party developers to define the first official read-only APIs meant for developers; deeper 3rd party integration options to come later.
The tools developed in the scope of this effort will be made available to any qualified party interested in becoming an Upland developer. Qualifications and details on how to apply for the program will be announced at a later date.
The number one priority for us will be ensuring player security and maintaining game fairness. This means that developers with access to the API will receive no gameplay advantage.
As mentioned in the 2021 roadmap:
‘The Upland team is actively working to get well-recognized partners and brands (from outside the blockchain or crypto-related market) to participate in the metaverse. 2021 may see the first fruits of these efforts.’
We are excited to announce that a major real-world brand, with millions of fans, is in the process of coming to the Upland metaverse. We will be unveiling a new suite of NFT products called Upland Legits that will serve this brand — among many more brands to come — as they engage with their fan audiences in the metaverse. Together with our partners, the development of Upland Legits is already underway, and it will continue through Q3. This is a major milestone for the Upland metaverse, as such, we have allocated significant resources for this project.
Working with brands is an essential part of Upland’s growth strategy. As more and more players join, Upland’s economy grows bigger and stronger, which facilitates more stakeholder interactions and drives overall market liquidity. In order to serve the large influx of new players as a result of these partnerships, we are prioritizing a more rapid release of additional cities as these brands are integrated into the metaverse.
We cannot wait to reveal more details on Upland Legits! A full roadmap update will be provided once we are able to announce our upcoming partnerships. Please stay tuned for the news!