Imagining µniverse: The B2C Metaverse (Part 13)

Diverse Opinions – 5

FT: “We should be careful which metaverse we choose to live in…A fully-realised parallel online world will take decades to appear but the possibilities are infinite.” More from FT: “It is not clear how real world laws will interact with virtual worlds, how intellectual property and brands are protected, and who will police against theft and fraud. Bad actors are already pumping and dumping the price of NFTs. How long will it be before regulators wish to intervene? A second obstacle is capitalism itself. The worlds that make up the metaverse have little financial incentive to create a utopia of shared goods, rather than promoting their own offerings. Why should a platform that has secured an exclusive virtual performance from one pop star allow people on other platforms to see it? Technology may enable an open metaverse, but the attraction of building mini empires will be hard to resist.”

Mike O’Sullivan: “It’s growth will highlight a number of new trends and sources of friction between the real and virtual worlds. This is often the case when new eco-systems grow, let alone new universes or ‘shared-worlds’. One area of contention is identity. In the real world our identities are largely set by factors like birth, geography, culture and education, and are largely known to the extent that they are captured by passports and id systems and by our interactions with other humans. In the MetaVerse, one can construct a new identity, which is free of geography and social ties (theoretically a more egalitarian setting), and potentially very different to the user’s real-world identity.”

Rahul Matthan wrote about the opportunity for India: “One of the key features of the metaverse will be its ability to replicate the physical world within its virtual environment. The creation of these mirror-worlds will call for mega-scans of our physical surroundings—enormous centimetre-resolution images of the physical world that we can render within the metaverse to faithfully recreate our physical environs in a virtual space. As part of India’s map reforms last year, domestic companies were given the exclusive right to map terrain at resolutions lower than one metre, giving them a significant advantage in creating mega-scans of the Indian landmass. As companies look to acquire megascan databases so that they can create mirror-worlds, this regulation will likely offer Indian companies a significant strategic advantage. Another element of the metaverse that is still being worked out is its payment rails. While cryptocurrencies are widely touted as the ideal payment system of the metaverse, it is unlikely that they will be able to operate at the velocity at which transactions are likely to occur in these virtual environments. India’s digital payments platforms, on the other hand, have demonstrated that they can operate at population scale—processing 10 billion transactions a month without breaking a sweat. Why should this not be our payments framework of the metaverse?”

Our final word comes from Neal Stephenson who coined the term “metaverse”. He spoke to Vanity Fair in 2017 about the metaverse, VR and AR: “I’m tempted to say that if it really existed, it would be less vulnerable to some social-bubble formation than what we have now where anybody can create their own Web site or social-media feed. The thing that’s not intuitive that makes social-media bubbles so deceptive is that you don’t see what you’re not seeing. So, it just invisibly, behind the scenes, filters out all the stuff that you’d rather not see, and you’re not aware that filtering is taking place. That’s the thing that causes bubbles. It’s not the filtering, it’s the fact that the filtering happens invisibly… The purpose of VR is to take you to a completely made-up place, and the purpose of AR is to change your experience of the place that you’re in. That pervades everything in terms of how you think about content, how you tell stories, what it is that you can actually do with these devices.”

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Rajesh Jain

An Entrepreneur based in Mumbai, India.