The metaverse concept has emerged as a beacon of innovation, yet it is frequently misunderstood and prematurely eulogized. Contrary to the swirling rumors of its demise, the metaverse stands robust, pulsating with potential and promise.
When examined through the lens of global engagement and the evolution of digital property rights, the metaverse appears to be gaining momentum.
Yat Siu, Co-Founder at Animoca Brands, provided BeInCrypto with invaluable insights into why the metaverse is surviving and thriving. According to Siu, the metaverse transcends virtual escapism, embodying the next quantum leap in internet evolution — digital property rights.
This paradigm shift empowers users with ownership over their digital assets and contributions online, marking a significant departure from the traditional, passive consumption of digital content.
The metaverse’s growth is underpinned by substantial technological advancements and cultural shifts, particularly in how we perceive and interact with digital environments. Siu told BeInCrypto that embracing this technology means understanding it as a decentralized internet, or Web3, facilitating true digital ownership.
This revolutionary concept has already begun to reshape online interactions, granting them new depth, authenticity, and economic value.
“With the introduction of digital property rights in the metaverse, interactions gain purpose and meaning. Our digital assets and histories are becoming part of our social identities, allowing us to have interactions rooted in a verifiable shared history. This authenticity is something we’ve experienced in video games, but the metaverse promises to elevate it,” Siu said.
Moreover, the metaverse is not confined to the abstract or the purely digital. It intersects significantly with the physical world, particularly through initiatives that bridge virtual activities with real-world physical fitness.
“The assumption that digital activity must result in physical inactivity is not necessarily correct. For example, a report cited by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention shows that US adults were more physically active than they were two decades previously, during a period in which the world – including the US – fully embraced the digital lifestyle,” Siu added.
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According to Siu, companies like GOQii, Sweatcoin, and OliveX leverage blockchain technology to encourage health and activity. Subsequently debunking the myth that digital immersion equates to physical inactivity.
The World Is Becoming Digital
The economic implications of the metaverse are profound, with the global cryptocurrency market cap — a cornerstone of Web3 — standing at over $1.64 trillion. Indeed, this growing economy beckons businesses to look beyond conventional strategies and immerse themselves in the metaverse’s cultural and economic ecosystem. Such immersion necessitates a nuanced understanding of digital ownership, community building, and the value of virtual interactions.
However, Siu highlighted that the ethical dimension of the metaverse is also paramount. As the film and video game industries navigate ethical boundaries, the metaverse must establish guidelines. The goal is to ensure it remains a space for positive engagement, not a haven for harmful behaviors. However, the challenge lies in balancing freedom and creativity with responsibility and ethical standards.
“Context is crucial. Depictions of historical events, even those involving abhorrent figures or actions, can serve educational and narrative purposes. The inclusion of controversial content in the metaverse should be approached with the same degree of appropriateness and sensitivity as in other media,” Siu emphasized.
Cultural and economic dynamics within the metaverse are already influencing industries beyond technology. For instance, luxury brands like Gucci and Tiffany & Co. are pioneering the adoption of NFTs and digital assets. These developments highlight the metaverse’s role in redefining value, community, and identity in the digital age.
NFTs, serving as digital stores of culture, underscore the capacity to mirror the complexity and richness of physical ownership in the virtual world.
“Most youth spend significant time online, and their sense of value already incorporates digital. By entering the metaverse and owning NFTs or similar assets, brands can talk directly to their fans and loyal customers in a way that was impossible in the Web 2 era. This makes marketing more straightforward, efficient, and less expensive without a third-party platform,” Siu stated.
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Despite skepticism and the volatility inherent in emerging markets, the trajectory of the metaverse points towards growth and integration into the mainstream.
Siu “unequivocally” believes that the “metaverse is the future.” Such a conviction is backed by the impressive surge in NFT sales volumes and the strategic embrace of the metaverse by diverse industries. Therefore, it reinforces the notion that the world is witnessing the infancy of a transformative digital era.