The idea of the Metaverse was once a world ruled by science fiction, but this year has been an explosion of interest with the idea of building new virtual environments online. They are more immersive than our current version of the internet. In these virtual worlds, people can walk around as an Avatar, attend virtual events and even own virtual possessions. Some people see the metaverse as the next stage of the evolution of the internet, but to others is just a tech bus driven by financial gains and natural speculation hype.
In this interview were present:
- Yat Siu – Chairman and Co-Founder of Animoca Brands
- Benoit Pagotto – Co-Founder of RTFKT
- Natalie Johnson – Founder & CEO of Neuno
- Sophie Goossens – Reed Smith LLP
Virtual Real State
The idea of owning and trading virtual possessions on the metaverse, last week, Reuters said that a piece of virtual land sold for $2.4M worth of cryptocurrency. But how do we explain what a virtual real state is, why are people paying real money for it, and what do people actually get? For Yat Siu is very clear. Buying virtually has the same meaning as in real life. It can be a sign of status, has a meaning, etc. The Virtual real state on the metaverse is not palpable but when you buy a plot of land virtually you can build, rent, mortgage, and is permitted by law. The Real state in the metaverse has real-life (RL) laws and even contracts.
Imagine in RL that you live in a government that is overthrown. The plot of land that you have might end up being taken, and you lose the land and the money you invested. On Virtual Real State, that doesn’t happen. It stays, increases value, and you will win money with it.
Metaverse as a Commercial opportunity
Big brands are seeking the metaverse to expand and sell their products virtually. Whilst many people want to deal with the “underdog” and want the authenticity of a piece, big brands are bringing the heritage they have and the experience from the RL to the Virtual life (VL).
As in RL, we like fashion to a point, so in VL we can buy skins, fashion, and much more they like in RL to transport in VL. RTFKT owner, Benoit, sells sneakers for thousands of dollars online and in RL, and treats VL customers as “colleagues”. He says that his sneakers are a well-known fashion statement in RL and in VL his products are a valuable piece of collectibles. Such as a piece of Art, collectibles are a way of creating money and will be more valuable with time. One of the biggest facts is that online, the clients can build their own pair of sneakers, and pay safely with crypto, and what happens is that most of them in RL order the same pair they use in VL to use in RL.
The Legal Headache
With the amount of NFT (Non-fungible token, meaning digital products linked to the blockchain aka crypto), in the legal area has been a huge nightmare, as Sophie Goossens states. The NFT headache is that legal ownership is starting monopolies suck as a legislator saying what can be owned or what cannot be owned; in RL you have the right to have a legal backup in case of theft, for example, in which you can go and report to authorities; in VL they are relying on the NFT to reinforce those rights. NFT rights are different from NFT to NFT.
The importance of Virtual Reality in the Metaverse
Since Facebook changed its name to Meta (for Metaverse) everyone started to change a different kind of step in probably our evolution as Humans. People started to be more involved and talking, sometimes creating an ideology or a conspiracy regarding something they don’t know. That is Fear itself, when people don’t know something they fear it. But picking up all of this, how important is Virtual Reality in the Metaverse?
Benoit responds that in the last 5 years, VR has been an incredible tool that has been perfected. Natalie Johnson says that in the fashion world, augmented reality is a big, easy, and more visual tool that is now found commonly everywhere; people won’t need to be a hardcore gamer to have all the technology around, it will become simpler and easier to use all around us. For Yat Siu, VR or Augmented reality can be part of the Metaverse but not be the changing point. He says that either Facebook starts a revolution on their Meta with proper environments or there will not be an evolution if they rely specifically on their VR goggles/glasses or Aug Reality.
Working on the Metaverse
Covid brought many new things to our daily life that will be here to stay since they open eyes to many people that haven’t dealt with it before, and this is talking about working remotely. For Digital Nomads like us, this didn’t bring many concerns, but what about the companies that had to go on furlough or even lose their physical office? Many companies started to realize that they would have a fully concentrated employee safe working at home, and the boom of Virtual Offices started to grow. They did exist before, but now companies are getting places virtually with staff, phone numbers in any part of the world, this is called BPO (business process outsourcing).
What is the Side Effect of Metaverse
Many people are concerned about the use of Metaverse. Many consider that this will create an interruption or a detachment of the real-life relationships, which is now interrupted by the pandemic. But for many cultural things, such as concerts, theatres any cultural event, the Metaverse will be the ideal venue with zero risks, making artists or the people involved maintain their jobs. For Natalie, this is a positive side of the Metaverse with even new friendships being born whilst miles away, and a business opportunity as well.
The Metaverse is not a new subject, it has been here for some decades. Mark Zuckerberg didn’t create anything new, but because of him, everyone is now talking about the Metaverse, and that will be a revolution with this high exposition. What are your thoughts about the Multiverse?