It’s hard to resist the vision that Meta (formerly Facebook) and other platforms in the virtual world offer. A digital utopia that can transform lives in countless ways – whether it’s how we socialize, work or even stay healthy – is hard to refuse.
This is especially true given that these platforms are described as the biggest technological disruption of human life and a multi-trillion-dollar opportunity for businesses. However, some are skeptical that this is too good to be true, at least for now.
The technological architecture that would allow this promised immersive experience to come to life is lacking. Take the example of live performances used in Facebook’s Metaverse video in October. The idea of experiencing these authentic real-world sensations through a headset seems far-fetched. What seems even more unlikely is that a virtual reality headset will become a daily basis.
Advanced VR equipment will most likely be needed to allow us to immerse ourselves in these virtual worlds. Yet customers have already shown resistance to buying VR headsets and other often expensive and bulky hardware. The first Oculus headset was launched over five years ago. It has not come close to the same common use as more compact and practical hardware, like the cell phone or laptop.
Expensive equipment is not a necessity for the foundation of the metaverse. Accessibility is crucial to start integrating users into any technological innovation.
Pokémon GO is the perfect case study. The augmented reality game brought users into the real world to collect the fictional creatures. It was successful not only because of the engaging gameplay, but also because of its availability – anyone with a mobile phone could participate.
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Use cases and metaverse
We’ve been looking at available metaverse platforms for a while now. Second Life was one of the first to be launched in 2003. But in its 19-year history, it has not come close to integrating the number of users that Meta envisions.
Decentraland is a newer platform and has gained momentum since Meta was announced. It captures the imagination of companies through the incorporation of economic and blockchain elements like NFTs and its MANA token.
As customers are confined to their homes by the global COVID-19 pandemic and the decline of physical stores, Decentraland gives brands a chance to revitalize audience engagement.
Instead of just filling a virtual shopping cart, companies have turned to these existing metaverse platforms with creativity in mind. JPMorgan bought virtual real estate and opened its own metaverse lounge. Suddenly, being able to set up a real bank account in a virtual world does not seem excessive.
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There are more subtle tactics to get users to talk about a brand. Take the drug giant Pfizer, which gave vaccinated players a blue badge for their avatar.
It’s not just the marketing team that gets dirty hands in these virtual worlds. There are many opportunities for salespeople to monetize content and profit from the meta verse.
Blockchain technology was waiting for this behind the scenes. NFTs provide real value to digital assets and are perfect for the meta-verse. Artists can trade virtual paintings, architects can sell digital property, engineers can auction Metaverse-based vehicles.
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Currently, fashion is the industry that arouses the most interest. If Metaverse becomes an integral part of modern life, users will want to look good. High fashion brands like Dolce & Gabbana, Gucci and Louis Vuitton sold NFTs and most achieved high prices.
E-commerce giants are also jumping on this trend, creating a healthy and competitive space. Nike bought the virtual shoe company RTFKT when it was trying to create a metaverse-focused brand.
Acquisitions can be crucial to the survival of large corporations in this rapidly changing virtual environment. Having a young, skilled and forward-thinking team can mean the difference between sinking or swimming.
Not without problems
Although the rules of the meta-verse have not yet been offered, let alone an agreement, some of the problems that have plagued the Internet have already begun to plague our shining new reality. The all-new Horizon Worlds is Meta’s first metaverse project for the Oculus VR headset. Currency.com has already reported on the sexual harassment taking place in this metavers, as well as the dangers lurking in the corners of other platforms.
Toxicity on social platforms is nothing new, but solving it in Metaverset will be crucial if it is to be a digital utopia. Businesses and, more importantly, users will find it difficult to commit to a future ruled by hostile virtual realities.
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Meta has already implemented a solution in the form of a “safe zone”, which can act as a protection bubble where no one can touch or talk to a user. This also makes blocking others as easy as possible.
While Meta has laid out these general plans for community moderation, it does not yet have detailed proposals for policing a large-scale metaverse. Regulation of hatred, harassment and freedom of speech can be its biggest stumbling block.
Horizon Worlds feels like an experiment testing the current possibilities of Metaverse. There is no public timeline for the release of the entire Metaverse of Meta or any other similar platform. So theoretically, it can take years or even decades for the meta-verse to become a part of everyday life.
It has not prevented companies from announcing metaverse projects or branching out to existing platforms, be it JPMorgan, Disney, Adidas, Coca-Cola or Gucci. But the unclear delivery times evoke comparisons with the dotcom bubble and its equally long sales figures. Without delivery, there is a good chance that this too will become a bubble with the attendant risk that it will eventually burst.
Related: Why are major global brands experimenting with Metaverse NFTs?
Since the dust of Facebook’s rebranding has not yet settled, it’s too early to call it quits. It is certainly plausible that there is a place for Metavers in the world, but it is still far from the immersive and idyllic vision sold to us by those who hope to benefit from it.
This article does not contain investment advice or recommendations. Every investment and trading move involves risk, and readers should conduct their own research when making a decision.
The views, thoughts and opinions expressed herein are those of the author alone and do not necessarily reflect or represent the views and opinions of the Cointelegraph.
Stéphane Gregoire is the US CEO of Currency.com, where he is responsible for developing and managing the platform’s growth strategy in the US and Canada. Currency.com is a high-growth cryptocurrency exchange that experienced a 343% growth in its customer base in 2021, making it one of the fastest growing cryptocurrency exchange platforms in the world. ‘Europe.