I believe the metaverse will change our way of life, and we’re already seeing the first signs of it. However, we’re still in a spot of extreme hype and unclarity about how things could pan out.
I see the metaverse as a social change instead of just a technological one. As a serial entrepreneur with experience building tech startups, here are four predictions about the metaverse that I am confident will take place in the near future.
The next phase of the metaverse will be phygital.
One argument I’ve heard many times is that the metaverse will never work because it deals with fiction—it’s placed in an imaginary land where people play make-believe.
I know why it may seem that way as many of the visual representations of the metaverse are cartoonish characters that seem like they were created in the ’90s—but it’s not quite true. The metaverse isn’t just about putting on a bulky headset and going for a tour in a fictional land. Sure, that might be one part of it, but that’s specifically the gamification and entertainment side of things.
Imagine a consumer is out hiking and they see an advertisement to scan a code and join a giveaway campaign. When they scan the code, it offers a variety of possible engagements: They might redeem it for a dinner and night stay in a nearby motel or win a pair of hiking shoes. When you’re part of the metaverse, engagement becomes precision-guided and accurate.
This cross-dimensional experience introduced to human life will enrich interactions by adding locations, products and people in one plain. I believe this will revolutionize information management as well.
Take this for an example: Many authorities check background information and criminal records before offering a job, issuing loans, selling cars, houses, etc. In the future, I think all of that will be rendered redundant. All you’ll need to prove your identity and skills will be your wallet address (or another unique identifier). And since the whole system is decentralized, it can only be accessed by systems that actually (and legally) are authorized to access the data. So there’s no question of information theft or privacy invasion as well.
The metaverse will revamp the education system.
As someone who regularly interacts with young minds while guest lecturing at Stanford University and serving as faculty at UC Berkeley, I have always felt the need for education by sensation. For a long time, the foundation of education has largely been the same. For the most part, I’ve found the system hasn’t really been tweaked to ignite the flame of creativity in young minds. And that’s where the metaverse will have a larger role to play.
One of the barriers to education is the high cost of pursuing it in parts of the world. I think the metaverse will effectively democratize education by decentralizing the source to Web3 protocols.
Also, thanks to improving VR/ARAR technologies, lessons will become much more immersive. The concept of learn-to-earn that many Web3 learning hubs are deploying today will incentivize anyone to learn and polish their skills and knowledge. It will help create a culture of learning no matter your age or profession.
The workforce will move to the metaverse.
As life becomes more intertwined with the metaverse through phygital experiences, I believe the metaverse will start to employ a large percentage of the workforce. While in the beginning the number will likely be limited to tech professionals, very soon it’ll likely reach creative professions as well.
With education being the precondition to employment, learning in the metaverse will result in serving or building in the metaverse. From where I stand, professionals will continue to go independent and work for themselves. This could be personal brand building, contractual employment, freelancing or, further down the line, contributing to protocols to make a living.
Digital properties will have a greater impact on GDP.
Ten years ago, most digital goods were games, movies and books that were reproduced as digital items from their physical counterparts. Today, the digital goods economy is a $950 billion market. To put it simply, I predict everything physical that can be done in a digital version will be done digitally.
Now we have a way to actually verify and recognize the ownership of digital properties through the blockchain. This solves the last few problems of digital goods, making them truly personal property and not just another copy.
The massive plus point digital properties have over physical ones is unlimited production capability with the only limitation of hard-drive storage. I think that will lead digital properties to soon surpass the revenue generated by any product or services accumulated in the GDP.
How can businesses prepare?
Employ both short- and long-term strategies. The metaverse is a long-term game, but it doesn’t hurt to gather learnings via an experimentation mindset. Establish yourself as a brand that is exploring the metaverse and is ready to do some trial runs by owning digital properties, partnering up with popular metaverse names, etc. While this works as a great short-term strategy, start building a core team that is capable of adopting the metaverse model and laying the groundwork for the future.
Also, start creating a community. The core factor of the Web3 model is creating a community. Even if you don’t necessarily follow the Web3 model but still want to expand your business to the metaverse, building a community should be your very first step.
I think there is no question that the metaverse will change our lives—but probably not how most people think it will. There will still be a physical world, and I think it’ll be the prevalent one of the two. The change we’ll see will be much more subtle and encompassing, and I think most of it will be working to reduce frictions in human life and make it much more interactive.
If you want your business to survive and flourish in the metaverse, implement changes to create a robust system that eliminates frictions, includes the community in operations and solves problems effectively.