Exploring the Metaverse: Beyond the NFT Hype

As the Covid-19 pandemic accelerates the digital transformation of the economy, service providers are scrambling to introduce technology solutions to deliver new customer experiences and open up innovative online sales and marketing channels. Many companies have entered the virtual world to market in this new ecosystem where they can interact with customers and create new experiences and business opportunities.

In a recent webinar titled “Exploring the Metaverse: Beyond the NFT Hype” hosted by HKTDC Research, industry experts discussed how the emergence of the Metaverse can help traditional supply chains overcome real-world constraints, and how SMEs can Marketing and promoting in the Metaverse. The webinar is moderated by Simeon Woo, Economist (Global Research), HKTDC Research.

Immersive experience

Louis Chan, Chief Economist (Global Research), HKTDC Research, first introduced the concept of Metaverse and related business opportunities. Describing the Metaverse as a new ecosystem that brings new experiences to users and creators (especially immersive 3D internet experiences), Chan goes on to list five basic components of the Metaverse.

The first is content. Because the Metaverse is a decentralized ecosystem, most of its new content is created by users. The second is hardware and devices, such as VR (Virtual Reality) and AR (Augmented Reality) glasses, all of which require the support of a strong semiconductor industry. The third is infrastructure, including the Internet, servers, cloud-based systems, and 5G and 6G wireless networks, all of which help enhance the Internet experience and the development of the Metaverse ecosystem. The fourth is community – virtual collaboration across platforms, networks and applications that can generate new communities and new ways of communicating. The fifth is currency or settlement. New monetary systems, including virtual or cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin, can bring new ecosystems and environments to the Metaverse.

Non-Fungible Tokens (NFTs) are tools for accessing the Metaverse. They give new value to classic movies, classic comics, artwork, digital products and more. Therefore, the development of the Metaverse also involves new markets. One example Chan cited is a multi-million dollar NFT avatar (avatar) that will no longer be sold through online shopping platforms or common trading venues. Instead, it will be sold on one of the NFT marketplaces, the largest of which is OpenSea.

Exploring the Metaverse: Beyond the NFT Hype

In the virtual world, avatars can be created for use in the production of product photos or online movies. These avatars are not limited to use in games. They can also be used in other areas such as entertainment, sports, online shopping, fashion and social media; or as brand ambassadors and key opinion leaders (KOLs). In social media, avatars can also have followers.Some consumers also like to have their own avatar when shopping online to create a new shopping experience.

However, Chan warned viewers that participating in virtual worlds carries certain risks. According to the Hong Kong Computer Emergency Response Team Coordination Centre (HKCERT), when someone is immersed in a virtual world, they are likely to encounter an increasing number of cyber-attack threats, including phishing, bots and unwanted software.Therefore, businesses entering the Metaverse should consider purchasing virtual insurance for added protection.

From image to NFT

Roy Kwok, co-founder and business director of Vplus Studio Corporation Limited (Vplus), explained the relationship between the Metaverse and NFTs. He described the Metaverse as a second space outside of real space. When people wear VR/AR glasses, they enter another world where they can interact and share with the community inside, and even shop. The Metaverse offers different environments and settings, such as game scenes, animal spaces, and more.

NFTs are the easiest medium through which the public can access the Metaverse. It can start with a picture, such as a game club logo, a club membership card, or an artist’s drawing. Transactions of NFT images must be done using the blockchain, as the technology provides verifiable proof of NFT ownership. In fact, pictures are just a way of presentation, and NFTs represent the value of pictures. Currently, Solana and Ethereum are the two most popular blockchain platforms.The NFT image also gives the buyer the symbol of a community group with different mandates and rights. As such, the picture is not just an avatar, but a symbol of the buyer’s attachment to the community. As a member of the community, buyers can enjoy all the existing and future privileges the community has to offer. Buyers can also interact with other members of the community and even participate in decision-making.

Exploring the Metaverse: Beyond the NFT Hype

Bored Apes: One of the most traded NFT collectibles.

Kwok explained that NFTs are a different way to present things in the real world. For example, membership cards of various clubs can be traded in the blockchain world without any paperwork because there are smart contracts bound to various rules and regulations. Because NFTs are also an excellent promotion channel, artists can creatively promote their work through NFTs. Take the MERGE by Pak series as an example. The size of the spheres in this artwork varies according to the amount of public participation and enthusiasm for the associated auction. Therefore, each piece of the collection is unique.

Exploring the Metaverse: Beyond the NFT Hype

Pak’s NFT collection MERGE.

Combination of virtual and real

Tony Lau, co-founder and executive director of Vplus, explained how the company uses the Metaverse and NFTs for marketing and promotion. He said that NFTs are one of the components of the Metaverse. Through blockchain technology, NFT ownership can be defined and traded. The widespread use of the Internet of Things (IoT) and 6G has driven the creation of picture-perfect virtual worlds, allowing players from around the world to enter the same space to interact, accept challenges or exchange props, information and images. The promotion of virtual worlds also requires the support of artificial intelligence technologies, such as interacting with the public through machine learning and audience targeting.

Liu pointed out that the exchange technology involved in the Metaverse can help increase public participation and enhance the virtual experience. The recent launch of virtual sneakers by an athletic brand is a case in point. Customers who have purchased virtual shoes can judge which sneakers are best based on their walking speed. In addition, customers accumulate virtual coins according to their walking speed, which can be used not only in the virtual world, but also exchanged for cash on the trading platform. Brands and their customers can earn revenue through sports, as well as through participation in games or commerce. This model has spawned entirely new markets.

As the Metaverse expands, some brands are starting to host new Metaverse promotions. Earlier this year, for example, mobile giant Samsung bought a piece of land in the Metaverse world and asked a game designer to create a virtual flagship there in the image of one of its brick-and-mortar flagship stores in the United States. Afterwards, a virtual press conference was held, new products were released, and global reporters, fans, and gamers participated in real time. After the product launch, attendees went on virtual missions while being given virtual clothing and helmets that could be sold on the second-hand market.

Some brands have held virtual events, transferring participants to an internet interface to browse their official websites.These participants are then invited to buy NFTs and participate in future sports activities. In this way, they build virtual communities that can then be targeted for further marketing and promotion.

Exploring the Metaverse: Beyond the NFT Hype

Samsung has opened a virtual version of its flagship 837 brick-and-mortar store in Decentraland.

Posted by:CoinYuppie,Reprinted with attribution to:https://coinyuppie.com/exploring-the-metaverse-beyond-the-nft-hype/
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