The Metaverse has been hailed as the next step in the evolution of the digital world. Championed by Facebook (now Meta), the Metaverse has given rise to a new dream: that of a digital world that may supersede our own.
It sounds a little far fetched, or maybe a little too good to be true, but with strong payments infrastructure, the Metaverse could well succeed the internet as the next great investment for business, and a new dimension of escapism for the digital age.
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How will we access the Metaverse?
Many cite the technology as the limiting factor in the development of the Metaverse. Current virtual reality technology such as the Oculus Quest allows users to immerse themselves in fully rendered 3D environments.
Owned by Meta, the product is at the forefront of VR technology today, and whilst certainly more streamlined than previous offerings in the VR space, one can’t help but think it is still wildly impractical and ungainly for mainstream adoption. Great for home use, but not in public.
Ultimately the technology will continue to improve, as interest and funding rise exponentially, but mainstream adoption will require a concerted effort to make the tech sexy.
The possibilities for business should this succeed are endless, and many companies are already spending tangible money buying up virtual land plots in a hypothetical universe, and this is where payments comes in.
Virtual currencies will rule the Metaverse, because of course, physical cash cannot be spent there. Blockchain will lead the way, with cryptocurrency-based technology dominating. Blockchain is proven to have the security to be able to power peer to peer payments (P2P) whilst being fully scalable to all forms of digital payments.
It is also instantaneous, something mandatory in a fast paced digital environment. Coins such as Decentraland and Sandbox, backed by Ethereum, have become Metaverse tokens of choice, and as such rapidly risen in value, as much as 330% in November. It is fair to say that the concept is popular, and not just as an extension of the in-app purchase systems many businesses in the gaming world have taken on.
The Metaverse contains as many possibilities for growth as can be imagined. If you can dream it you can do it… provided you have a good tech team behind you anyway. E-commerce is probably one of the biggest potential markets.
One of the greatest limitations in current digital shopping is the ability to interact with a product before you buy. Sure you can order a pair of shoes try them on and send them back, but many times that is far less convenient than going to the shops. Whilst logistics companies and the rise of BNPL have drastically reduced the risk and effort required on the part of the consumer, it is far from eliminated.
Equally, going to the shops to make purchases has become far less popular, despite shops reopening post-pandemic. The Pandemic directly boosted online spending by $183bn in the USA alone last year, with predictions of up to $1tn for 2022.
Convenience still reigns supreme then. So now imagine having the in person experience of visiting a store and actually handling a product, combined with the ease and efficiency of ordering from the comfort of your own home. This is where the Metaverse will take over, allowing anyone, anyone, anywhere, anytime to examine, purchase potentially even use or try on in the case of clothing, goods and services.
This sounds futuristic but the technology is already available. If we go back to the shoes, it could well be common in the future, for products to be 3D scanned into a computer, allowing the consumer to examine a pair of shoes for example from every possible angle, maybe even project them over the shoes they are currently wearing, the possibilities are almost limitless, and smart payments technology, will be at the heart of it all.
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