Roadmap To the Wider Endorsement Of the Metaverse

As Web3 goes mainstream, businesses are realizing the potential it offers, and its capability for creating worlds that bridge the virtual and real

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Metaverse is not just an abstract concept, it is poised to enhance the digital space that we see today. Every business around products and services will start to accept the new change, fueled by NFTs and Web3.

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As Web3 goes mainstream, businesses are realizing the potential it offers, and its capability for creating worlds that bridge the virtual and real. In the last several months, we have seen how brands are foraying into the metaverse, but many obstacles remain for average startups to access and utilize the full potential of the metaverse. These gaps make the metaverse slightly unreachable and impractical.

Gaps

The awareness of the concept of the metaverse is increasing, however, familiarity is not followed by understanding. Surveys have shown that very few respondents could explain the metaverse. And very few believe that the concept is life-altering.

Another major factor that's stopping the metaverse to flourish is NFTs that make things tradable in the metaverse. These tokens that work on something called a "smart contract' ensures rights to exclusive owners. However, the access to NFTs that was supposed to have been the driver of metaverse adoption has resulted in a price action that restricts the growth due to entry barriers and practical implementation.

Implementation of the correct technology is also a big burden for the wide adoption of the metaverse. Current technologies only offer an initial level of experience. Future technologies such as Web3, AI, ML, and AR/VR will help improve the actual immersive experience. Proper implementation of each of these in a true metaverse experience is still some time away.

Avatars play a huge role in the metaverse: wider adoption requires improvement in the performance of an avatar with respect to movements and rendering in different metaverse environments. This could come at higher hardware costs that have been prohibitive for wider VR adoption.

Not to forget the regulatory challenges that the whole Web3 space is entangling.

Crypto tax and accounting treatment of Web 3.0 digital real estate/property, and virtual world commercial transactions have also hindered the adoption of the metaverse in India.

Now, another thing which now worries people is that the metaverse is not safe for women and children with recent incidents revealing some disturbing stories.

And the most important of all is the closed economy model of metaverses. Most of metaverses are creating their own virtual world which is closed for movement of avatars and other owned movable asset NFTs.

Addressing gaps

The metaverse is still in a developing stage, which means several developments will be required time-to-time. It will be important for all the companies dealing in the metaverse to establish a shared code of conduct. This involves setting trust and safety policies to avoid doxxing or spying. A community should be authorized to enforce these policies. And eventually DAO's should be governing the development of the project and its related policies for the community.

Solutions and services that support virtual worlds should be made globally accessible, and adhere to local jurisdictional requirements and rules when it comes to commerce and payments in the metaverse.

The introduction of an avatar "boundary-bubble' could help in creating a personal boundary for an avatar. A more federated, "self-sovereign-identity' approach could be the best thing to prevent security lapses. Single ID Avatar NFTs, like BUDDY, could come to the rescue. Besides this, the Avatar itself should be login instrument to these Web 3.0 metaverses, rather than asking for personal information such as email ID, etc.

Things like organizing virtual events can boost adoption on the metaverse. Conducting more virtual events in the metaverse will break down the digital and physical divide.

And, each metaverses itself is part of one big metaverse world for the people to access and travel. And that is why there is a need for creation of open metaverses, where people can move their owned asset NFTs like Avatars, digital wearables, etc., to use in multiple metaverses of their choice. Interoperability of assets is the future every looks forward to, where the value of products also becomes high due to the possibility of their use in various metaverses on different chains.

Use cases

There are very few practical use cases of the metaverse in the current state of affairs. Practical uses of wearable NFTs need to be brought to the forefront.

One of the major use cases is wearable NFTs: it is the next thing to boom in the metaverse. As per a survey, it has been found that the most impactful industries currently are advertising, retail, fashion and finance.

Projects should be now focusing on building digital experiences which can help people to engage, socialize and work together with people who are sitting in far distant places. Metaverses major use cases and adoption will come when people can use it as alternative to existing limitations of the real world. Imagine how e-commerce took away the experience of going to stores because of limitation of time people had to go shopping. Now, metaverses can bring back those in store experiences and keeping the e-commerce convenience, where multiple people's Avatar are entering there and feel the real life like products and environment of stores. Similarly, we used to go to a friend's place to watch movies and games, and engage in. Now, the same friend might be in a different place, however this limitation can be solved in the metaverses, where you own/rent a place in metaverse to watch movies or games.

Education can become so immersive and interactive in metaverses. Being in your place, you can attend classes with your colleagues sitting in different country. Metaverses can make education accessible to underprivileged masses.

Business events will open up the global diaspora for industry events: physical events are limited due to expenses, geopolitical scenarios and lately the pandemic. Metaverse events would be immersive, and excessively cost-effective.

Even for smaller-scale events, such as conferences, the metaverse helps remove the remoteness from remote work.

Bottom line

Components of the metaverse are continuously evolving. It is difficult to base a business strategy on such a dynamic scenario.

While businesses will have to take care of initial costs and risks of early engagement. However, certain gaps call for consistent research and investments that will pave the way for bigger gains later.

These gaps cannot be reduced by a single entity. Tech providers, builders, projects, companies, policymakers, academia and members of civil society have to come together to fill these gaps.