Metaverse has been talk of the town ever since Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg rebranded Facebook into Meta and shared with the world his aspirations and goals in this “metaverse”. But what exactly is metaverse? What does the future hold for us?
Anndy Lian, Chairman of BigONE Exchange gets into the nitty gritty of metaverse with Stashaway, an intelligent wealth management platform run by roboadvisors.
Metaverse, much like NFTs, is not something new in 2021. It has been talked about seriously since 2018 in a book that Anndy wrote – Blockchain Revolution 2030. Dating further back, ‘metaverse’ was known as a ‘virtual world’ and its origins are mostly credited to Author Neal Stephenson’s 1992 dystopic, sci-fi novel Snow Crash, and many see a more recent inspiration in Earnest Cline’s 2011 novel Ready Player One.
“Metaverse,”, says Anndy, “is more like a bridge between the virtual world and the real world.”. It is speculated that everything that can be done in the real world can be mimicked and reproduced in the metaverse – and maybe even more. It is not as minuscule as having meetings, or creating a cute profile or meme in the metaverse. Imagine what you can do in real life – work, earn your keep, enjoy entertainment – these are what the metaverse promises.
There is a hype around metaverse right now and with the help of Facebook and a few other big companies, people are looking at tech stocks and good crypto companies to invest in. It’s only been a couple of months since the topic of metaverse surfaced and many may argue that it is too early to start investing or paying attention to the market. One concern is that users who are into the metaverse are buying land – digital land – and keeping them. It is of no surprise that they will must have been quite hefty. “It may look like an investment now but you are really just gambling because there is no clear indication right now which metaverse is going to be the next big thing. There are a lot of things to uncover and discover,”, Anndy explains.
The media features news that are trending and people often just listen to them without doing their own research. It is imperative that these people understand that we are only in the beginning phase of metaverse. Taking Google and Yahoo as an example, in the past, everyone thought that Yahoo would be the biggest leader in search engine, but despite both of them being billion-dollar companies, Google clearly has the biggest advantage right now. “Whoever is the leader now may not be the leader at the end,”, emphasises Anndy. There a lot of building blocks that we have not seen and as we progress on, we will get a clearer investment perspective and that would be a better time to invest.
Decentraland (MANA) and The Sandbox (SAND) are the two biggest players in the metaverse right now and the competition has extended to its users – much like Apple versus Samsung. In terms of metaverse, Anndy believes that it is good for everyone to work together and unite such that there would be one metaverse for the whole world. “Ideally, I hope everyone can be united and do what’s needed to build the metaverse up,”, says Anndy.
It is a common misconception that the metaverse is all about cryptocurrency. It is without a doubt that cryptocurrency is one of the aspects of metaverse that connects everyone, however, looking at it from a deeper level, there is also a tech aspect. One of which is Web3.0 that will be coming to improve engagement and enhance safety. Apart from cryptocurrency, NFTs are definitely a part of the concept as well. We may have seen virtual galleries showcasing NFT artworks around the world – and this is only the beginning.
Another common misconception of the metaverse is that it is closely interlinked with virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR). Due to the portrayal of Ready Player One, many believe that we have to wear headsets or sit in a special chair to experience the metaverse in 5D. Thinking back to a conversation with a friend, Anndy brought up that we are all restricted by our physical bodies where we grow old and sick. “If it continues to be like that, how about connecting our mind into the metaverse?”, questions Anndy. This may not be too far-fetched an idea either. Greg Daniel’s 2020 sci-fi television series Upload portrayed Anndy’s thoughts perfectly. The premise of the series is that humans are able to “upload” themselves into a virtual afterlife of their choosing. Now isn’t it wonderful to be able to live even after death?
In a metaverse, there are a few foundational aspects needed to flourish. First and foremost is the ability to let people earn money. Many games such as Axie Infinity have been released where players can play to earn and this attracted the attention of billions of people. Secondly, is the formation of a strong community. With a community, bigger and more valuable things can be built upon as long as they play their part. The third and final point is that whatever is earned from within the metaverse can be brought out and utilised in the real world. “Great importance should be put on these 3 points. I’ve yet to see the 2nd point happen so I’m really looking forward to it,”, says Anndy.
We certainly hope that adoption of cryptocurrencies will be boosted in 2022 as it is a very good opportunity for things to mature. Due to COVID-19, things will definitely have to open up across borders and across different worlds. “As adoption increases, there’ll be new money and new people. The metaverse will be very very different,”, says Anndy. The metaverse that we all imagine should not be something that is too far away. In Anndy’s words, “Let’s shoutout to Elon Musk; maybe he could help to boost the development of the metaverse.”. Cheers to that!
Currently, he is appointed as the Chief Digital Advisor at Mongolia Productivity Organization, championing national digitization. Prior to his current appointments, he was the Chairman of BigONE Exchange, a global top 30 ranked crypto spot exchange and was also the Advisory Board Member for Hyundai DAC, the blockchain arm of South Korea’s largest car manufacturer Hyundai Motor Group. Lian played a pivotal role as the Blockchain Advisor for Asian Productivity Organisation (APO), an intergovernmental organization committed to improving productivity in the Asia-Pacific region.
An avid supporter of incubating start-ups, Anndy has also been a private investor for the past eight years. With a growth investment mindset, Anndy strategically demonstrates this in the companies he chooses to be involved with. He believes that what he is doing through blockchain technology currently will revolutionise and redefine traditional businesses. He also believes that the blockchain industry has to be “redecentralised”.