There’s no standardized definition of what exactly the Metaverse is, but everyone agrees that it’s the next version of the Internet.
The Metaverse uses artificial intelligence (AI), augmented reality (AR), virtual reality (VR), and machine learning (ML) to create a network of interactive, 3D, virtual, augmented, and mixed reality worlds accessed through a browser, VR headsets, AR glasses, mobile apps, or other technologies.
It’s essentially a 360-degree version of the Internet; one built around decentralized technology and virtual worlds. It’s a world of limitless, interconnected virtual places where people can socialize, work, travel, have fun, shop, and go on trips.
How Much Will the Metaverse Be Worth?
The metaverse economy is expected to be massive. According to Citi, the metaverse economy could be worth between $8 trillion and $13 trillion by 2030. If the metaverse was a country, it would be third largest economy in the world, trailing just the U.S. and China.
But Citi isn’t the only bank bullish on the metaverse. Goldman Sachs believes the metaverse will be a near-term $12.5 trillion opportunity. That’s why major brands like Gucci, Prada, and Nike have an established presence in the Metaverse and companies like Walmart, Verizon, and Hulu are preparing to enter the metaverse.
One study showed that 74% of all U.S. adults either want to join or would consider being part of the metaverse. Since we’re becoming an increasingly digital society, a growing number of people are excited about the possibilities of the metaverse.
How Are Businesses Preparing for the Metaverse in 2023?
Industry leaders and tech titans like Meta, Microsoft, Apple, and Google are investing heavily in making the metaverse a reality. From building AR/VR headsets to billion-dollar gaming acquisitions, to chips that support the software and hardware needed to build realistic virtual worlds, big tech is developing new products and backing immersive technologies to secure a foothold in the metaverse.
In early 2022, Microsoft announced it was buying gaming giant Activision Blizzard for $68.7 billion. Meanwhile, Meta is building its own chips for AR/VR headsets, and Nvidia’s semiconductors are being used for gaming, cloud-based visuals and computing, and building 3D designs and virtual worlds.
Qualcomm is using its hardware to target metaverse infrastructure. Its 5G infrastructure will mean a faster, more reliable Internet and improve the quality of immersive experiences tied to AR/VR. Most AR/VR headsets already run on Qualcomm chips. The company is also developing tools for motion detection, 3D mapping, and automatic object recognition.
The metaverse is also revolutionizing the healthcare industry to improve patient safety, lower costs, and improve outcomes.
Before COVID-19, 43% of healthcare facilities provided remote treatment. Today, that figure has increased to 95%. The popularity of telemedicine has soared, thanks to the adoption of VR technology which allows doctors to provide an end-to-end experience through diagnosis, assessment, treatment plan, notes and forms.
In the future, a digital twin, a virtual copy of a patient using real-world data, could be used to predict everything from how we will react to specific medicines to how we will recover from surgeries. You could also age a digital twin to see how the interventions are doing and affecting the twin. Thanks to the metaverse, a digital twin can help doctors peek into the future.
Real estate has become just as important in the metaverse as it is in the real world; it can be bought, sold, developed, or rented out.
Decentraland and The Sandbox are two of the top digital worlds in the metaverse. Sandbox has over 160,000 land plots, while Decentraland’s land plots are capped at around 90,000.
When Decentraland first launched in February 2020, each parcel of virtual real estate went for $20. It quickly sold out. In November 2021, a 116-parcel plot of digital land in Decentraland sold for a then record of $2.4 million in cryptocurrency. One month later, a piece of property on Sandlot sold for $4.3 million.
Just like in the real world, it’s all about location. Fans of Snoop Dogg paid $1.23 million to buy three parcels of virtual property next to the rapper’s mansion.
The future for virtual real estate and the resale market remains robust. In one survey, 45% of people said they would consider purchasing virtual real estate with 14% of respondents saying they have already purchased digital land.
Another emerging business opportunity in the metaverse is fashion. An avatar, which is a digital version of the user, is a critical part of their virtual identity. And fashion brands understand users will want to use the metaverse to express themselves.
Retailers are buying property and setting up shop, engaging with customers, and developing loyalty with early adopters. Popular brands embracing the metaverse include Adidas, Burberry, Hermes, Nike, Louis Vuitton, Dolce & Gabbana, and Gucci. You need money to shop in the metaverse, which is why banks like HSBC and JP Morgan are also on board.
To generate brand awareness, these retailers have to purchase real estate in the most popular areas. Both Decentraland and The Sandbox have fashion districts.
Shopping in the metaverse can have real-life applications. As an avatar you can drop into Gucci and buy an item that can only be worn in the metaverse or be sent to you in the real world.
In addition, the metaverse fashion industry is evolving. In Spring 2023, the second annual Metaverse Fashion Week will be held in Decentraland. The metaverse is a great way for brands and retailers to present their collections—whether real or virtual—to a larger audience worldwide.
Arts and Entertainment
The rise in popularity of digital art, through NFTs, digital assets, and blockchain technology has translated into the growth of virtual art galleries, with a market position of $2.4 billion. That number is expected to grow as more people use the metaverse and artists and digital creators exhibit their NTFs for collectors and art lovers.
Musicians such as The Foo Fighters, Justin Bieber, Marshmellow, and Lil Nas X have performed concerts in the metaverse with users attending the concerts from the comfort of their homes. Walt Disney Co announced it will be creating a virtual Disneyland where visitors and their avatars can enjoy rollercoaster rides, The Haunted Mansion, and hang out with their favourite Disney characters.
The real world might have boundaries and limits but the metaverse does not. And the growing sophistication of the metaverse means travelling abroad could be just as realistic as being there in person. Better still, a virtual visit to Venice allows you to explore all the places you might have missed, and on your own terms.
The virtual metaverse’s limitless travel opportunities will be a boon for the travel sector. Already, 53% of travel executives say the metaverse will have a positive impact on their businesses, with 25% predicting it will have a breakthrough or transformational impact.
Virtual travel isn’t just about playing games. The metaverse can help airlines streamline operations though immersive engineering, drive faster repairs, and run test simulations of a digital twin. Hotels could use the metaverse as a one-stop-shop for guests to purchase theater tickets through a virtual concierge, add room upgrades, and amenities.
What Is the Best Way to Invest in the Metaverse?
When it comes to metaverse investing, there are lots of ways that investors can choose from in order to take advantage of this lucrative industry. One way is to purchase stocks in individual metaverse companies, which could be expensive and time consuming. Another way to take an early, more diversified position in the metaverse is through a metaverse ETF.
Investing in the Metaverse with MESH ETF
Evolve Metaverse ETF (MESH ETF) is Canada’s first metaverse ETF. MESH ETF provides investors with an actively managed diversified portfolio of companies involved in the development of the metaverse. To learn more about MESH ETF, watch the video or click here for fund details: https://evolveetfs.com/mesh/
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