26 Jun 2022 · 9 min read

The Tectonics of the Metaverse

Disclaimer: The Industry Talk section features insights by crypto industry players and is not a part of the editorial content of Cryptonews.com.

The dramatic evaporation of Luna is a vivid reminder that the emerging cryptonomy remains extremely volatile. Yet, the circumstances of this crash should not conceal one irrefutable fact : There’s no turning back!

Metaverses, DEFI, NFT, Gaming and Crypto-currencies will model our interactions in the upcoming decades. In fact, we’re witnessing a potential dislocation in the distribution of wealth.

Brand new streams of income are being created, offering unsuspected chances…in unexpected places. Those who are willing to learn, invest and earn (in this order!) - can aspire to pave their way to generational wealth.

Understanding the underlying dynamics of this terra incognita is an essential step to maximize success chances in what remains a perilous endeavor. We’ll be covering the 3 forces behind this singularity in the evolution of business : VIRTUALIZATION/ MONETIZATION / ADOPTION

This analysis is done by Olivier from the MetaMakerz project.

1. VIRTUALIZATION

I will be taking a very simplified route to explain the notion of virtualization:

The simplified compounding effect of technological evolution

Virtualization is the evolution layer on top of modernization and digitization where:

  • Modernization is what separates the
    • homo sapiens from the beginning of the Holocene (some 12 000 years ago) from
    • the same Homo sapiens in 1945.

From Caveman to Refrigerator man” through agriculture, domestication, urbanization and industrialization (told you this would be simplified..)

  • Digitalization was triggered by the transistor and subsequently gave birth to the web2.0 economy that culminates in social media, websites and apps.
  • Virtualization is the inevitable next separator, at the exact confluence of fun and operational efficiency.
From Holocene to Hologram -

Let’s start by the fun with a rhetorical question:

Would you have more fun playing Super Mario on your TV-console, or being Super Mario in a Virtual Reality?

I took an example that might sound dubious for hardcore Guild players…But yes! You got it, The  Gaming industry is a prominent supporter of virtualization with a contribution of 61% according to financeonline.

As far as operational efficiency is concerned, many companies in Health and Safety, Construction, mobility, Hazardous material management, Pharmaceuticals and Logistics…have already embraced virtual training.

  • Immerse, which specializes in VR training and VR content creation (with case studies with Shell, DHL and Accenture) claims that they can reduce accident risk by 76% while decreasing training time by 50%. Any manager or production supervisor willing to optimize their bottom line would be sensitive to that.
  • And if you’re not yet blown away, Microsoft recently partnered with Kawasaki to create the “industrial metaverse”. This is not a project; this is a reality showcased during the Hannover Fair last week!

The principle is quite advanced:  Create a fully Metaversed version of a production chain.

The digital twins give the flexibility to walk workers through a repair process without being physically present

Imagine an issue with mechanical arm X in line Y of factory Z in Taiwan at 2.00 am.

Add the complication that there’s no expert available and that it would take – in the best case scenario - 16 hours to get the other expert currently sitting in…Chicago.

No problem!

Source : Microsost/Hannover Messe

Our dear Chicago expert can quickly load the exact configuration before the default and then “pop-up” in the Meta-factory to assist his colleagues and solve the issue through the digital twin. You see, Metaverse is not only for Snoop Dogg and Justin Bieber’s shows. There are current applications revolutionizing the industry and saving millions of dollars.

You will also agree that the Covid Pandemic largely supported the shift to virtualization which will be further enhanced by the deployment of 5G. All the ingredients are present to support a spectacular growth.

And now, Time to share some predictions and stats.

Some words of wisdom though. The numbers are generally extrapolations. Important is to consider the overall trends and growth opportunities.

  • Technavio anticipates an annual CAGR of 46% between 2021 and 2025 for the global Augmented and Virtual Reality Market, with a nominal growth of approximately USD 163 billion. For reference, Hungary’s GDP in 2020 was…USD 155 billion as per WorldBank Database.
  • Oberlo aggregated a less extravagant 18% annual CAGR between 2021 and 2028 (Grand View Research) while Statista foresees USD 300 billion by 2024 (for AR and VR).

In conclusion :

  • The hyperbolic, trend is unanimously observed
  • Money is already being spent by frontliners across multiple segments,
  • The adoption rate in the industry is robust…

Ladies and Gentlemen, you don’t need to put your Virtual glasses on…we’re there!

Let’s now tackle how NEW money is being made in this fascinating ecosystem with

2. MONETIZATION

We could talk about how some Filipinos, Venezuelans, Brazilians and Ghanaians can really make a salary on Axie Infinity, but I recently found a very interesting concept in STEPN that will be easier to explain : “Run To Earn”.

You just read it. You get paid to either walk, jog or run. 

And what do you need to doso? Shoes! Or we’d rather say “tokenized shoes” which are NFT Sneakers.

 Once equipped with these sneakers you can earn GST (the Solana utility token) and Voilà!

The concept is augmented via gamified options (badges, trading, rental, mint..) but you get the gist. Average earning is around USD 20 a day.

Source : Stepn.| Lightpaper

STEPN raised USD 5 million in seed funding with a life-style and environment-oriented value proposition remunerated by a percentage on the in-game transactions.

The Launch in March was quite successful as GMT the (the governance token) soared to USD 4,11 on April 28th, from USD 0,16 on March 9, a 2468% increase. However, as you can read below, this upward trend has changed direction since, and GMT is now trying to get a support at around USD 1

Source : Coinmarketcap

The Moral of the story : When pretty much everything becomes monetizable, it’s difficult to predict if a new idea will go bang or bust and this particular project clearly epitomizes the multiple variables that shall be taken in consideration when assessing the long-term viability.

Here’s a non-exhaustive list of the critical factors. This short list applies for STEPN but can also be used for other initiatives.

  • Rules and Regulations:

STEPN’s Governance token (GMT) took a -25% hit when the project had to comply with the rules for its Chinese users by discontinuing GPS and IP location services.  One could argue that the bulk of the users are not in China. Touché! However, the news catalyzed the downtrend.

  • Sustainability of users’ influx

 Or simply put: “How long can the project keep bringing new users?”.

Activeplayer monitors the evolution of the Axie Infinity platform and clearly displays a peak in active daily players reached in January 2022.

Since January; the monthly gain/loss averaged -9.3% - which causes concerns.

To top it all, the platform, as you may know, was tarnished by a hack in March that volatilized 173,600 ETH and around USDC 25.5 million. This did not help users’ declining earnings. (By the way, this digital robbery amounts to USD 615 million, comparable to what the United Kingdom is planned to collect in custom duties for the full year 2022!!) 

Hence, on top of an hermetic security system, profitable platforms are expected to offer more functionalities; more gameplay and more earnings. A difficult equation when the development cycles are very short and a critical mass must be permanently sustained and entertained.

  • The actual value.

As of June 4th, 2022, the Top 10 NFTs (as per Opensea) represent a volume of approximately 3,37 million ETH, the equivalent of USD 6 billion. This is more than the budget of a country like France for Food and Agriculture!

Source : Opensea

This ranking helps us cluster these high performing NFTs in 3 categories

  • Fully land/parcel experience-oriented NFTs a la Decentraland and The Sandbox
  • Art-focused NFT with Art Block Curated
  • Community-centered organizations where CryptoPunks have been paving the way since 2017 and Otherdeed extended the concept to metaRPG.

There are some nuances in terms of depth of network, exclusivity and licensing of course. However one relevant trait is that CryptoPunks is now owned by the BAYC creator, Yuga Labs. So NFT market concentration is also an additional parameter to factor when assessing your future investment.

The top 10 NFTs (in Volume) exhibit the capacity to :

▪       Communicate and consistently deliver a sense of exclusivity. The average sale price of a Punk,  104.85 ETH (USD 184,360.33) will not contradict this statement.

▪       Further expand with world-class connections. AIP created by 4 time Grammy award winner Timbaland will propel Bored Apes in the Metaverse.

▪       Consistently mesmerize their community with technologically advanced novelties, and ground-breaking events supported by a coherent storyline. RTFKT [Clonex], pioneering at the intersection of NFT, blockchain, VR and manufacturing developed an interesting value proposition.

At that point, we’ve covered the technical and financial aspects. They’re still a fundamental question, though.

How far humanity is willing to go with this ?

Which leads us to the last segment: 

3. ADOPTION : HOMO- METAVERSUS?

  • In their November 2021 report; Grayscale indicated that :The market opportunity for bringing the Metaverse to life may be worth over USD 1 trillion in annual revenue and may compete with Web 2.0 companies worth ~USD 15 trillion in market value today”.
  • Surprisingly, Morning Consult’s survey on a panel of 4420 US adults carried out in March 2022 revealed that 40% of the target group knew nothing at all about the Metaverse!
  • Klaviyo had published a similar trend in February (over a sample of 1000 US citizens) with 49% of the respondents who did not know the Metaverse.
  • Based on Morning Consult’s analysis, the picture, from the Millennials’ point of view is slightly different with 55% of the representative sample interested in the Metaverse.

So : Is Metaverse a hype?

I don’t think so.

We saw earlier that industries are already migrating into the Metaverse. To further elaborate on the analysis, I borrowed this nice graph from Newbreedrevenue that gives us insight on a typical adoption cycle.

You will not miss to notice that we’re obviously before the chasm between early adopters and early majority.

Source: newbreedrevenue.com

But that’s not all.

Another important dimension to get more granularity on the phenomenon is the speed of technological adoption. Nicholas Felton (New York Time) clearly established that technological penetration cycles are undoubtedly decreasing. We can therefore expect a massive (sudden) shift in metaverse appropriation.

By the way, and to finish on a light note…If you don’t believe the Hype, Believe the Ape!

Have you noticed that the Crypto-sphere abounds with Hominoidea (that’s the scientific word for apes).

Bored Ape is only a tree in a wood teeming with Supreme Kongs, prime Kongs, Rumble Kongs, Alpha Kongs, Meta Kongs, Immutable Kongs, Kongo Kongs, Krazy Kongs…(I’ll stop there).Most of this projects might not resist the test of time.

However, this “APE-centric” approach is probably the reflection of how (decentralized) communities are just about to navigate and pervade the Metaverses, just like the very first tribes organized themselves in the physical world…thousands of years ago…

We’re just at the very beginning of a new chapter in Human evolution…Let’s catch-up in 10 years!

If this article helped you get a greater awareness about the ongoing digital and financial revolution, I highly encourage you to check our MetaMakerz project. Our ambition is to democratize access to Metaverse, NFT and GameFi projects. Join the movement today!

Olivier Malanda : Metaverse Enthusiast , contributor for MetaMakerz.