Throughout the past crypto cycle, “metaverse” was a word that was thrown directly onto the radar of nearly every company with an online presence. Ultimately, the term “metaverse” will come to represent a type of multiverse in which many brands, creators, organizations, and individuals launch unique worlds with their own sets of rules and values. Though this digital network of galaxies is where we’re heading, there will be many iterations of the metaverse in its evolution toward maturity, starting with where we are now with Web3.
In its current form, Web3 is segmented and experimental, consisting of siloed experiences on unique blockchain networks that cannot easily interact with one another. But, given the inevitability of an ultimately interconnected digital future, brands and creators would be wise to develop a “metaverse strategy” for how to onboard their users into their unique “verse” and keep them engaged in the battle for user attention.
First, brands should gain an understanding of what the metaverse is. Here are some components I believe will shape the future of the metaverse:
The metaverse of the future will most likely be fully interoperable, enabling users to easily move their virtual selves and assets with them across borders into various worlds. However, this type of interoperability is predicated on Web3’s foundation for user ownership of their identity, data, and value. This revolutionary concept of user control is what differentiates Web3 from Web 2.0.
I believe there can be no metaverse without it being an open metaverse. An open metaverse is one without walls, where every asset is connected and interoperable. True disruption for centralized systems and companies that have been managing games and systems in a closed environment can happen if these conditions are met.
2. SMOOTH AND SIMPLE USER EXPERIENCE
I believe Web 2.0 platforms like Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram achieved such massive global user bases through their simple-to-use interfaces and easy-to-navigate capabilities. Additionally, users can easily share an Instagram post on Twitter or post a TikTok video to SnapChat without switching to an entirely different and incompatible network.
In the future, the Web3 metaverse should adopt seamless ease-of-use and intuitive navigation alongside the cross-chain interoperability that makes movement across different blockchain networks possible and, ideally, hassle-free. Some metaverses like Arcade.inc and the Otherside are already promising to provide a space for multiple other communities.
I believe a smooth U/X paired with easy cross-chain compatibility should be refined not only for Web3 and the metaverse to succeed, but for the crypto industry as well. Self-custody comes with a lot of responsibility and the ways we interact should become both more transparent and simple.
3. GAMIFIED EXPERIENCES
In spite of the earnings drop across play-to-earn blockchain games happening in concert with the crypto bear market, I believe the in-game mechanics that gamified a user’s time and actions are here to stay. Ideally, the metaverse will be a place where users taking part in various NFT ecosystems all go and have fun, but that doesn’t necessarily mean playing a game.
Monetizing and gamifying different everyday actions in the metaverse can open the door to countless engagement possibilities for brands and users. Do you have a Sotheby’s-worthy NFT collection? Create a gallery in the metaverse and showcase your assets. Even everyday activities like shopping for a new TV in Samsung’s hectic Times Square location can be replaced with a trip to its virtual model in Decentraland. These types of gamified elements give brands the opportunity to create memorable experiences out of usually mundane tasks, like shopping at the hardware store.
4. DIGITAL CURRENCIES
Cryptocurrencies have evolved into many different forms to serve different purposes since the inception of Bitcoin. I believe the rise of the metaverse will see the proliferation of cryptocurrencies and in-network utility tokens that endow the holder with certain capabilities or can be used as a means of payment of goods and services, or as a reward for performing tasks that benefit the network—the list goes on. These rewards and tokens can then be used to buy virtual goods which will be NFTs in the metaverse.
5. DECENTRALIZED AUTONOMOUS ORGANIZATIONS
I believe governance will play a key role in the ecosystem as most, if not all, metaverses utilize a DAO governance model using their respective governance tokens to cast votes. This means most brands that choose to explore the metaverse may eventually find themselves participating in DAOs. For example, now that Samsung offers users a Web3 experience in Decentraland, Samsung users are now members of the Decentraland DAO and have a voice in the ecosystem’s future.
Everything from transaction fees to future development efforts is put up for the users and owners of the community to decide. In order to provide the best Web3 experience for their customers, brands should understand how to navigate the basics of how a DAO works.
Community building is key to brand presence across Web 2.0 platforms, but I believe the level and type of engagement will evolve with the inception of DAOs and NFTs. Brands may want to shift toward a hybrid DAO model and take advantage of the benefits of letting customers have an amplified voice in the brand’s decisions without changing existing corporate structures. Allowing community members to decide on various design components, feature additions, product updates, or campaigns through a DAO governance structure can deepen brand loyalty and potentially enhance the products themselves.
One thing to keep in mind when discussing a fully-fledged metaverse is that no one truly knows exactly what is going to unfold. As the underlying technology that these experiences are built upon continues to develop, the possibilities multiply. By now, it’s not a matter of if Web3 and the metaverse become the norm, but when. The brands that are familiar with the tech and strategy needed to successfully navigate the metaverse stand to reap the benefits by offering memorable experiences and deepening relationships with their customers.
Yonathan Lapchik is CEO of Suku.