Why investing in the Metaverse can pay off
The Metaverse, blockchain and NFTs (Non-Fungible Token) are no longer dreams of the future. What’s more these new technologies will shape the economy in the coming years. So, what developments can be expected and what do they mean for ultra-high net worth investors?
The Metaverse has huge potential
"The Metaverse is the future of the internet," says Dr. Martha Böckenfeld, Dean & Partner, Metaverse Academy, at the last Credit Suisse Thought Leadership Event. She defines it as an interactive and interoperable real-time platform that links digital and real worlds where people can socialize, work transact, play and create.
And why does it matter? Dr. Böckenfeld refers to the size of the Metaverse economy and the opportunities in the Metaverse. "The Metaverse has no structural ceiling, instead it is limited by the preference for digital versus physical experiences," she says, citing Matthew Ball, a venture capitalist, who has estimated the Metaverse economy at USD 10 to 30 trillion in the next decade and a half.
How does it impact society? According to her, "the developing use of blockchain, digital twins and digital identities will drive broader in socializing, entertainment, education, construction and real estate, as well as healthcare, with a new era emerging."
Metaverse offers new possibilities for collaboration
Marc Pollefeys, director of the Microsoft Mixed Reality and AI Lab in Zurich, spoke about the possibilities the Metaverse and digital worlds hold for the world of work. Mixed reality, he said, makes the boundaries between the physical and digital worlds disappear. "It facilitates interaction with people, places and things, enables communication and makes it possible to feel the presence of others, taking away the constraints of being in the same place."
This feeling of presence is also the key feature of this next phase of the internet for Paul Wiedmeier, Head of Industries at Meta Switzerland. Today, he says, people are always online via a 2D display. "Immersive 3D-based technology like avatars can give you the feeling that you are really there."
The Metaverse changes the entertainment and retail industries
"It will probably be one of the biggest disruptions in a lot of industries in the coming years," Paul Wiedmeier is convinced. He sees great opportunities in the entertainment sector in the near future, for example in 3D live events such as sporting events and concerts.
However, it also applies to the retail business, for example, with customers trying on clothes on their digital avatars before buying them. Or for furniture stores, where customers can place a new piece of furniture in their virtual living room before buying it. "It has the potential to create a totally new immersive experience for customers," says Paul Wiedmeier.
Improving the customer journey with NFTs
One example of how linking the physical world with the digital world is already working in practice is Breitling. The watchmaker links every watch it sells to an NFT. This is used to allow buyers to confirm ownership of their watch.
But not only that. "Most of our customers still buy from retailers," explains Antonio Carriero, Chief Digital and Technology Officer at Breitling SA. "Thanks to the watch NFT, Breitling can connect with the watch owners and engage them in the global journey with the brand anonymously." At the same time, Breitling is providing transparency and traceability through the NFTs and blockchain. For example, the transaction history of the watch or even the origin of the materials is stored and thus precisely traceable.
The future of Metaverse in banking
Banking is also facing changes as technologies evolve. In wealth management, clients are increasingly looking for a constant exchange with their bank, according to Joanne Hannaford, Chief Technology & Operations Officer at Credit Suisse AG. "The Metaverse is an opportunity for the wealth management business to embrace richer, multi-dimensional interface to our clients – it has the potential to create access to new investment products and create sustainable relationships with the relationship manager remotely." One example is that clients no longer just receive aggregated lists of prices but can interact with the data themselves.