The Metaverse has been framed as the answer for whatever ails you or your company digitally. Today’s CXOs are being promised virtual worlds that may become the next great iteration of the internet, which will be capable of driving a new generation of unprecedented growth. The future looks so bright for the metaverse that we often must take a giant step forward and think about how this trend impacts other technologies like blockchain and what that means to our company’s future.
The reality for the technologists among us is that cutting-edge technology like the metaverse and blockchain are not stand-alone concepts that exist in their own new technology silo. In fact, just the opposite is true and most of these advanced technologies do not exist in isolation. Their true growth potential, especially in the enterprise space, is only unlocked when they are solutioned together and applied to your business challenges as a full answer vs. a technology trend to try out.
In the case of blockchain and the metaverse, there is a good deal of features and functionality that work together, in partnership, enabling you to use these technologies to converge in ways that make them more than the sum of their individual parts in your growth plan. Now of course the simplest answer (which is often the correct answer for those Occam’s Razor fans who are reading this) is that blockchain is all about the money.
Blockchains are the defacto standard for cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin, Litecoin, and Ether. Since the metaverse’s big promise is to open a virtual world that enables your customers to live work and play in new fully immersive virtual environments, without ever leaving their homes or offices, you can see where it would be difficult to plan to use standard currency or credit for this customer journey.
Let’s face it, there is no room to pack a bag with cash when a customer enters the metaverse. However, you will want them to be able to spend right? When your customers venture into these worlds, your business, which in many instances created or contributed to the virtual world, will want to ensure that your customers can participate in one of the most important activities you will want customers to do – shop, spend, and frankly buy things.
Today, as you read this, there are already cryptocurrency use cases in virtual real estate, virtual art, and gaming just to name a few. The reality is in a few short years anything you can buy in the real world you will be able to buy in a virtual world and there will actually be more to buy in the virtual world at some not too distant point in the future. But, just buying things, while an important use case for the metaverse, is just really the start of blockchain-based money in the metaverse. In fact, we see faster and more important use cases in the near term in the field of decentralized finance (De-Fi) which can operate in new ways in a virtual world offering things like metaverse-based lending, micro-time borrowing, investing, trading, and virtual crowdfunding.
These use cases begin to make things more interesting and in many cases, channel partners who are very versed in these areas of technology and finance are creating ecosystem plays that will enable a company to as an example crowd-fund their virtual product or even their virtual world, or to knit together multiple companies into one world. If you will these approaches could almost harken back to the days when malls or towns were built around “anchor” stores and then filled into best attract the right shopper or resident demographic.
Virtual worlds, built by these ecosystem players, can often present a more compelling virtual experience because they are not one brand or one experience but rather a multitude of experiences that are carefully curated for the specific target community. And the blockchain will matter in these virtual worlds to pay membership fees, conduct commerce, and run what can only be called community funding in a secure environment that protects the citizens and the firms participating in the metaverse.
Let’s think of another blockchain use case in this world to see the power of this technology in a metaverse first world – asset ownership and tracking. Today, in the physical world we have titles to real assets that are often difficult to track or obtain and can be tampered with creating financial risk. In a metaverse environment, using blockchain, you can instantly prove not only ownership but also track who owned the virtual asset. Tampering with that asset ownership is impossible, making it a secure investment.
Many ecosystem technology providers are starting to talk about a world where even physical assets would have a virtual matching asset that was the only proof and tracking of the physical asset to eliminate the risks inherent in the physical world. This could also apply to things like healthcare records where security and tracking are critical particularly for people with ongoing disease states that require multiple doctors for treatment. Ultimately, a metaverse powered by blockchain is almost unlimited in its ability to impact our world and our long-term health, wealth, and happiness.
The bottom line on these two technologies together? It’s time to get some partnership help and start crafting your ecosystem plan to capture the money, customer engagement, and long-term growth that will come from these two technologies working together to create a new future. Happy Partnering!
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