Welcome to the first edition of the Metaverse Guide. In this series of three articles, we want to explain in simple terms what the metaverse is and what your company should do to avoid getting lost among the trendy buzzwords of the moment.
A year ago, as I ventured into launching my own technology and strategy consulting firm, everyone was talking about the same thing: the metaverse and its impact on society. When asked about it, I needed to provide a critical and consolidated opinion on the matter, which was hard to learn from the internet. So, I decided to embark on my journey to the metaverse with my backpack on.
Here’s what I learned along the way:
- What is the metaverse exactly?
The metaverse is a shared virtual space where people can interact with each other through objects, exchanging experiences and ideas, where the only limitation is the imagination of the creators. There is not just one metaverse; there are hundreds of them! To put it simply, you could think of it as the next generation of social networks with very particular characteristics. Let’s see what these characteristics are.
- What are the characteristics of the metaverse?
Decentralized decision-making: This is what is known as a DAO (Decentralized Autonomous Organization), closely related to the concept of web3. The leadership or governance of the metaverse does not belong to an organization; instead, decisions are made democratically through a voting and open proposal system that gives more weight based on the number of tokens you have on the platform. These tokens can be obtained on the platform itself or exchanged for real money (see here the governance system of Decentraland).
- Internal economy: Users can buy and sell with tokens (or coins) that have a value associated with the dollar value at any given moment. This is known as cryptocurrencies, and being a decentralized entity, there is no “central bank.” Instead, they use blockchain technology to manage it with security and transparency guarantees (Here you can read about what blockchain is and how the Inter-American Development Bank uses it to support countries).
The value of the coins varies like any other value in the market. On Coingecko, you can see the values and trends of the main metaverse currencies. This concept allows for the creation of an internal economy where creators, including brands, designers, and all kinds of artists, can buy and sell different products or services. These items can range from, for example, the artistic image of a punky monkey, a new garment from the “Gucci” brand for my avatar, a vehicle that allows me to move faster through the virtual world, or even life insurance for the real world.
- High social component: If Facebook introduced the concept of web2, allowing users to interact bi-directionally between individuals and create interest groups, the metaverse continues this trend of creating communities around ideologies, tastes, or social groups. Just as there is LinkedIn for professional relationships, Facebook for friendships, or Tinder for romantic relationships, there will also be a metaverse for each purpose. Nowadays, it is still being defined which metaverse stands out in each area, but we can start to see Horizon (by Meta) with a more general audience, Roblox focused on entertainment for a young audience, or Koonstel for a more professional and technological profile.
- Immersive experience: It is very common to confuse the metaverse with Virtual Reality. It’s essential to understand that Virtual Reality is just one more way to consume a metaverse, but the metaverse can also be experienced from a computer, a mobile phone, or a tablet. They are usually designed in 3D, which provides a much more realistic and immersive experience, but you don’t necessarily need virtual reality glasses to enter the metaverse. One of the most well-known examples of a metaverse consumable from a computer is The Sandbox, but it is still 3D, which makes the experience more complete and immersive.
These characteristics are the most common in metaverses, although it is not necessary for a metaverse to have all of them to be called as such. As of today, I don’t know of any that fulfills 100% of all the characteristics, but that’s a topic for other posts…
- Should my company be in the metaverse?
The metaverse is a trend that is certainly attracting millions of users and industries worldwide. There are more and more organizations (including companies, governments, and others) developing initiatives in these virtual spaces.
If your company or organization has a forward-thinking vision, or you want it to have one, you should definitely know what is being done in your industry, carry out proof of concept tests, and train your leadership team in innovation to always stay ahead.
If you believe that Mottum can help you with this, do not hesitate to contact us.