What is Web 3.0?
In simple terms, Web 3 (or Web 3.0 as it's commonly referred to) is the latest era of the internet.
If web 1.0 can be seen as text based content published on websites, web 2.0 was very much about rich media content creation and distribution on social media platforms. The latest iteration of the internet is therefore web 3.0 and focused on the decentralisation of the data to build a better, more transparent internet with power shared between users rather than large corporations.
In order to achieve decentralisation, Web 3.0 leverages existing technology such as the Blockchain, AI, Augmented Reality and Virtual Reality together with Cryptocurrency to facilitate community-driven engagement, interactions and transactions.
The Role of Blockchain in Web 3.0
The Blockchain is the foundation of Web 3.0 and the digitalisation and ownership of assets in the new iteration of the internet.
The Blockchain is an independent technology that securely stores a permanent ledger of online transactions that safeguards the ownership rights of those who transact using this technology. The Blockchain offers enhanced security and privacy and is the reason as to why cryptocurrencies have risen in popularity as a way of investing outside of governmental restrictions and infrastructure.
Web 3.0 & NFTs
Widely misunderstood, Non-Fungible Tokens or NFTs play an important role in the Web 3.0 world providing access to communities using ownership of tokens as the entry or admissions point for this.
NFTs are digital assets that should be unique in nature, are minted (much in the way traditional currency is) and either given away or sold by creators. Collectors of NFTs therefore own the digital asset and have the ability to store the NFT using digital wallets, trade NFTs with others (typically using the Ethereum cryptocurrency), with all transactions recorded on the Blockchain.
NFTs will have an ever-increasing role in Web 3.0 and those companies that understand the power of NFTs both in terms of community accessibility and how NFTs can assist in either fundraising or revenue generation will flourish.
What is the metaverse?
The metaverse is a broad term that encompasses a virtual world. It is an immersive space where you are an active participant online, instead of just being a viewer. The metaverse is where people, places, and things have digital clones. In terms of people, you’ll have an avatar that can interact with others and move in these spaces online.
When you enter the metaverse, you’ll not only be able to interact with others in spaces, you’ll also be able to build the new environments that exist there. There are already people purchasing land and other digital assets for this virtual world. This also ties in with cryptocurrency and blockchain technology, both of which are technologies used in the metaverse.
It can be said that the metaverse is a more multi-dimensional experience of digital content. It takes the current ways we use the internet (by sampling visiting websites as an outsider) and takes it that next step forward, which is why it has been dubbed ‘the future of the internet.’
What can you expect in the metaverse?
Expect immersive cyberspace with 3D iterations that make the virtual world seem very real. VR and AR technologies will be incorporated into this. The metaverse is also linked to the already growing digital economy. In the simplest of terms, the metaverse is a virtual universe. Accessing it requires a device (usually a computer as some platforms require a certain degree of processing power) and, of course, an internet connection. To buy and sell items in the metaverse, you’ll need a cryptocurrency wallet as the digital assets in this virtual world are repented by NFTs.
In the metaverse, social places will exist where avatars interact with each other. Avatars can be people or bots and essentially hang out and do things together, whether it's working or engaging in the next generation of social media. Researchers believe that this will improve online communication since there is a being to address, instead of just a name to text to. It will be the most realistic way of meeting and engaging with others - the next best thing to meeting in person.
What can you expect from the metaverse?
As people use the metaverse, they will be building this world by adding in their user-generated content. This includes digital assets like buildings, as well as personal stories, much like the ones shared on social media today. Avatars will be able to gather together in virtual spaces which will bridge the gap between distances. The metaverse is designed to be a digital clone of the real world and is not a fantasy land, although those spaces will certainly exist if you wish to visit them.
The metaverse is set to be a decentralized space, which poses both risks and opportunities. Since it is still in development, it is expected that big tech and mega-corporations that are actively building these spaces will have significant influence. It is yet to be seen how the concept of democracy, privacy, and freedom will be navigated.
Is the metaverse the same as virtual reality?
The metaverse is a shared space on the internet that is representative of limitless technology, and incorporates the internet with virtual reality and augmented reality. Virtual reality itself already exists, albeit on a much smaller scale in comparison to the metaverse which expands across the entire internet.
Virtual reality spaces also require headsets, whereas that won’t be a requirement for the metaverse (although VR accessories and functionality are expected to become more commonly used).
What is an omniverse?
An omniverse enables businesses to collaborate with third parties using different stacks. An example of this is Nvidia, which helps businesses bring together digital assets, despite their format or engine, into one virtual environment.
Why is the metaverse being created?
It encompasses the development and operation of immersive and digital simulations and environments where businesses can explore, create, socialize and participate in a variety of experiences. The metaverse is an interactive and immersive platform that is accessible from a variety of devices, and people will be able to learn, collaborate, build, perform, work, consume, and relax.
Things that can be done in the real world can be done in the metaverse in a way that hasn’t been possible for the masses in an online setting before. Businesses have the opportunity to expand in these virtual worlds by adding to their user experiences.
How has the metaverse become popular?
The metaverse is still relatively new, although the term itself was coined by Neal Stephenson’s 1992 sci-fi novel, Snow Crash. Essentially, people are excited to be a part of the next big thing.
The metaverse represents the converging of physical and digital worlds, which excites some as this will make the online world more interactive. They can move in these spaces in a more real sense since they have a digital body to do so in a lifelike online setting, which makes it more real.
The shift towards conducting business online has been exacerbated due to COVID-19, and thus people have shifted in their desire and need to move more of their lives to virtual spaces.
The metaverse allows for a variety of different activities, from entertainment (like watching a concert in a more immersive setting), socializing with others, gaming, and trading. This technology is expected to impact various parts of life as we know it, from education to using social media and watching sports.
Brands are also experimenting with this, and businesses are looking for opportunities to expand within the metaverse. In the same way, people are also looking to start and grow in these spaces. To a degree, it gives you a fresh start and allows you to make moves without needing to move in real life - you can go places from your couch.
How to enter the metaverse?
To enter the metaverse, you can sign up to join one of the metaverse platforms. Here, you’ll be able to create an avatar that is customized and begin exploring. You’ll be able to teleport to different locations, without having to stop at borders. You can visit anywhere you’d like, from a gaming room to a music concert. You’ll likely make some friends along the way with other avatars.
Platforms in the metaverse have been inspired by gaming where simulations are commonplace and computer-powered. Note that these platforms are only subsets of the virtual world. Virtual worlds can be connected to metaverse platforms and integrated with their services and technologies.
A metaverse platform requires technical creation and supportive services that operate within a multifaceted economy. There are various platforms on it now running on blockchain technology that allows for certain activities to take place. The goal is to create a seamless and unified universe, though at the moment there are separate platforms with enclosed systems on them.
Platforms in the metaverse
Here is a list of some of the platforms in the metaverse.
- Decentraland: This is one of the metaverse’s first platforms. It is an open-source 3D space that is powered by the Ethereum blockchain. It contains digital coordinates called LAND, with limited supply and a community mandate that dictates whether more land will be created. In Decentraland, users can place 3D models in the space, and professionals can generate interactive content. Essentially, models, apps, games, virtual buildings, and animations can be placed in Decentraland and anonymously owned. This platform has collaborated with the likes of Samsung and the Australian Open.
- Somnium Space: Somnium Space is a VR world with its own tokens in the metaverse, comprising 5,000 land parcels split into plots.
- The SandBox: Originally a game, SandBox uses a currency called SAND and works with multiple partners in the 3D landscape. It has partnered with entertainment, finance, gaming, real estate, and film industries to create a fully-fledged Mega City. The supply of land is limited and equal, though people can combine their plots to increase the size. Land on SandBox is sold at auction. Users can build, own and monetize gaming experiences here, and have recently partnered with Meta. SandBox’s other partnerships are with brands who have created vortex versions of their products for the virtual world.
- Roblox: Users play games from a selection of over 20 million which have been created by other users on Roblox. The avatars in these games have access to accessories from popular luxury brands. It is free to download and join.
Spatial: This is an AR/VR collaboration platform that turns rooms into 3D workspaces. A device and headset are required to move around on and internet with others in Spatial’s virtual rooms.
What is the Facebook metaverse, and what does it entail?
The metaverse is far bigger than a single company, though Meta (formerly Facebook) is one of the major developers. It is a space online that will be decentralized.
Facebook as a company has rebranded to become Meta. Founder Mark Zuckerberg is betting the future of this company on the metaverse, and while they’ve used part of the name as their own, they do not own the metaverse. They plan to expand into the metaverse in the next 5 years, reportedly creating 10,000 jobs in the EU during this transition. This means they’re shifting away from being solely a social media company.
Zuckerberg says that in the metaverse, you won’t need to physically be together to collaborate and feel close. Meta is looking to improve the design of headsets and smart glasses that will enable the likes of “infinite offices,” where you can essentially teleport and work anywhere without the baggage one has in real life.
As of now, users can embrace Meta's Metaverse using the Oculus Quest 2 headset, which is now widely available in the most countries around the world.
Read Meta’s announcement to learn more.
How does the metaverse affect your business?
Matthew Ball, author of several essays on the metaverse says in his article Framework for the Metaverse: “Personally, I’m tracking the emergence of the Metaverse around eight core categories, which can be thought of as a stack,” namely hardware, compute, networking, virtual platforms, interchange tools and standards, payment services, content services & assets, and user behavior.
The framework above showcases how expansive the metaverse could be. At present, there is a lot of talk about how this will change the remote working experience. If you have remote workers, your company may well be able to interact with your employees in an immersive setting, even though you’re physically distanced in the real world.
It is worth noting that the metaverse is still in the early stages of development and will likely become prevalent in the next decade or so.
Top business opportunities the metaverse offers
Since the metaverse is still in its early days, it will require more users and engagement to bring in more investments. This will help it to further develop and really open up the spaces for businesses. Since the metaverse is an online world, businesses utilizing the internet to improve their systems and become digitalized are on the right track to opening themselves up to business opportunities.
The metaverse will also leave room for new brands to emerge, especially consumer-facing ones. Other industries that already have a clearer path in the metaverse include the entertainment industry and the education sector. It requires some creativity, but essentially there will be consumer needs to account for, from spending money on virtual assets to those involved in the cryptocurrencies and similarly jobs and services for the virtual world.
A great place to start with this would be the marketplaces for digital assets which already exist - think NFTs.In fact, social commerce will likely move to the metaverse in time, so be sure to get selling socially with virtual showrooms, fashion shows, and fitting rooms, as these will likely become more widely used before making the transition.
Matthew Ball explains “To build the Metaverse, businesses will need to produce (and thus invest in) many more virtual assets and more elaborate versions of them, too. And this is expensive.”
So, if you’re a business eager to get involved in the metaverse, we suggest saving up and reading up on the new developments is a great start.
Which companies are building the metaverse?
So far, we have seen a handful of brands entering into the metaverse. One example is Microsoft, which is positioning itself as a go-to with its Mesh platform and cloud services to enable avatars and immersive spaces to collaborate (in the metaverse version of Teams, for example).
Here’s a look at some of the key players building the metaverse:
- Microsoft: As mentioned above, Microsoft is building an enterprise metaverse, though it is also involved in the gaming side with Xbox and Minecraft. Their vision is to create a mixed-reality construct.
- Meta (formerly known as Facebook) is investing in AR and VR. It has its own VR environment called Horizon that operates using its Quest headsets.
- Snap: Snap Inc, owner of Snapchat, has moved from its filters and custom avatars to AR glasses for developers to use and experiment with when creating experiences.
- Epic Games: Parent company of the hugely successful Fortnite is expanding from gaming towards entertainment by creating virtual music concerts and dance parties. Their gaming engine, Unreal, is used to develop games and visual effects.
How can brands enter the metaverse?
To begin with, you’ll need to evaluate your target audience - are they in the metaverse yet? If so, how can you serve them, and if not, which market opportunities exist? Keeping your eye on competitors to see how they navigate this space is also important to note.
This is how some prominent brands have entered into the metaverse:
- Prada x Adidas: Prada and Adidas embarked on a collaboration in the metaverse which showcased over 3,000 images by creators in the fashion, crypto, and design industries. This resulted in a user-generated NFT, with proceeds from the sale being donated to a non-profit organization.
- Hyundai: Hyundai is making moves towards becoming a mobility company, with a vision that includes entering into the robotics space and metamobility.In other words, smart devices will enable access to virtual spaces, with robots acting as a medium to connect the virtual and real worlds. The company envisions its cars being transformed into various virtual spaces, allowing people to move freely between both the real world and virtual reality.
- Gucci: Gucci has dabbled in the metaverse before, with its most recent project being a collaboration with Superplastic. It involves a series of ten NFTs called the #SuperGucci collection. Superplastic is known for its artistic branding on its tokens and is no stranger to collaborations.
NFTs and their role in the metaverse
An NFT is a non-fungible token, which is a digital item associated with a token that uses the same blockchain technology as cryptocurrencies. They can be created online, and then bought and sold via marketplaces.
NFTs are expected to become the favored currencies within the metaverse since it helps with authentication and can be used among the various realms within this virtual universe (since each of these may have their own sets of rules and regulations). It is also valuable as it cannot be deleted, copied or destroyed since it is secured with a cryptographic key.
NFT-based projects in the are driving the possibilities of using this technology for the likes of property deeds. It also facilitates identification and community-based experiences. Essentially, NFTs can help with the purchasing of assets in this virtual space, as well as allowing accessibility into controlled spaces. They can also be used as a way of valuing digital assets, as well as authenticating ownership.
To sum it up, NFTs will be used to authenticate assets and identity. It is the solution to a secure and decentralized form of verification, which will be necessary for the metaverse to function as a society.
How the metaverse is affecting advertising and marketing?
The metaverse is an ever-active space that is accessed in real-time. As it continues to develop, it is imperative that marketers stay up to date on all new updates in this world, beyond the surface-level buzzword that it has become. Conducting preliminary research on your audience and how they’ll fit into these worlds is also key.
In terms of taking action with your marketing campaigns, consider venturing into more digitalized forms of marketing which include the likes of AR. Another prominent option among top-tier brands is product placement within games and virtual settings.
When it comes to advertising in the metaverse, remember that interactivity is key, so you’ll need to engage in very creative concepts to bring the audience in virtually. There are times when the metaverse and the real world will overlap in a dual experience and other instances where the entire buyer’s journey will occur in the metaverse. Finding the relevance of your brand in this virtual world and mapping out the customer experience is key to building a solid foundation.
Can you invest in the metaverse?
Yes. According to Bloomberg, the global metaverse market opportunity is expected to be around $800 billion by 2024. There are numerous avenues for investment into the metaverse. You can build a diverse portfolio that spans various aspects of this virtual world, from immersive hardware to 3D creation software, interactive platforms, connectivity, semiconductors, and security. There are also metaverse cryptocurrencies like Theta and Arweave.
Top metaverse stocks in 2022
Here are some of the most popular metaverse companies to invest in 2022, along with links to Market Watch where you can track the performance of these stocks and find a collection of stock market related resources.
- Unity Software (NYSE:U) is the frontrunner in the 3D software space, with its software creating about half of all 3D content around the world.
- Nvidia (NASDAQ:NVDA) is a newcomer to the market and is also in the 3D content space. Its Omniverse Enterprise product is used by thousands of content creators and the company’s high-quality graphics processing units (GPUs) are expected to be in high demand for the metaverse.
- Content delivery network (CDN) Cloudflare (NYSE:NET) is a speedy content delivery network that also offers cybersecurity and data- storage solutions.
Roblox (NYSE:RBLX) is already popular in the virtual world that could be an early-stage version of a metaverse platform, with musicians hosting virtual concerts on their platform.
How can Nexa help you?
Make no mistake, Web 3.0 and the Metaverse is here and the opportunities for first-movers is immense.
Nexa is here to help. We can assist with selecting the right strategy, facilitating the process to get started, and helping you to build within the metaverse using Web 3.0 technology.
As always, we’re also here for all your marketing and PR strategies within this new and exciting virtual world.
Speak with our team to find out more and get started.