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Metaverse: the race to enter the virtual universe

Metaverse is very close to human life. Right now, government agencies, businesses and citizens need a way to be ready to adapt to a future world.

 

 

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In November 2021, Nike launched a virtual world modeled after the company's headquarters on the video game platform Roblox Corp, becoming one of the first major brands to participate in the Metaverse.

Nike said the Roblox vivid 3D space was developed to integrate sports and fun activities into the Metaverse lifestyle.

Later, Adidas launched the POAP (Proof of Attendance Protocol) on the Adidas Confirmed app. “This is the first step in our journey to empower future creators in the Metaverse reality, a place where anyone can express their original ideas and be their truest selves. If you're already here, show us the way. If you are new, come and join us. We can't wait to see what we can achieve together," Adidas said in its announcement.

Many luxury fashion brands such as Louis Vuitton, Burberry and Gucci have quickly embraced the trend and have launched game products that allow users to collect NFT (Non-Fungible Token) or create NFT accessories.

Dolce & Gabbana sold nine NFT products for $5.7 million, showing the huge potential of "virtual" luxury goods in coming years. Morgan Stanley forecasts that this sector will benefit from the introduction of Metaverse.

The government of Barbados has officially established a virtual embassy on Decentraland, an Ethereum-based digital environment, according to the Barbados Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade. In addition, the country is planning to expand diplomacy with a number of other virtual reality platforms including Somnium Space and SuperWorld.

The electronic embassy will be put into operation in January, officially making Barbados the first country in the world to have "digital sovereignty". Although still in the beta phase, the project is one of the country's forays into the digital realm, following the introduction of the Barbados cryptocurrency in 2016.

Meanwhile, Martin Lau, Chairman of Tencent, said at a recent technology event that the local government would support the development of metaverse technology as long as the user experience is reasonable and in accordance with rules.

New race

Metaverse, now a buzzword in the tech industry, is a shared virtual world where people participating as avatars can interact with others, enjoy concerts, and shop digitally. Metaverse is considered the next major technological turning point of mankind, after the Internet era.

Metaverse can be understood as a virtual space or a digital super universe created from the Internet and augmented virtual reality support tools (such as VR, AR or other technologies) to help users have the most authentic experiences.

The Internet and smartphones have created a flat world with 2D images. However, with Metaverse, everything will be transformed from 2D to 3D and life can freely be visualized and experienced in the Web3 world in a much more natural way.

Metaverse can offer users unlimited experiences and discoveries. Along with the development of technology, the boundaries and distinctions between real life and offline existence in Metaverse will fade, ushering in a new era in the Internet world, offering opportunities and differences compared to the previous era.

According to the Wall Street Journal, Metaverse is more than just a place for gaming and entertainment. This will be a world of the future, bringing innovation and technology to change the way we live and work in many areas such as education, the economy, facility management, and more.

As a virtual world in parallel to the real world, Metaverse will also have services aimed at users' life experiences. Users can go to a virtual store on Metaverse, measure and try out products before ordering them to take home in the real world.

According to research firm Strategy Analytics, the global Metaverse market is expected to reach $6.16 billion by 2021 and $41.62 billion by 2026.

Bill Gates, the billionaire founder of Microsoft, predicted that within the next 2-3 years, most of the meetings will be done on metaverse platforms.

As a land full of potential, Metaverse has lured many technology corporations in the world. Last month, Facebook (now renamed Meta) took the first steps to expand its operations into the virtual world. Other major tech companies are developing hardware and software products for Metaverse, or their own virtual worlds, including Nvidia Corp., Roblox Corp., Epic Games Inc., Microsoft Corp. and Facebook Inc.

SK Group, one of Korea's oldest and largest conglomerates in the traditional industry, expressed its ambition to enter Metaverse. CEO Huh Seok-joon said that SK Square, the investment arm of the SK group, split its shares last month, expecting company portfolios to include a metaverse presence.

The group has acquired a 35% stake in a cryptocurrency exchange, and an affiliate of SK Group is planning to issue a cryptocurrency for the SK Telecom-run metaverse platform named “ifland” in the first half of 2022.

In China, leading technology companies such as Tencent and Alibaba registered a series of trademarks related to this future trend. Tencent is the world's largest online game company by revenue and a leader in virtual world-related technologies in China. The group has filed for nearly 100 trademarks related to the metaverse.

Risks

According to experts, potential risks related to the metaverse include cybersecurity risks, proprietary technology, and control by technology giants.

Chinese researchers warn that when the virtual universe becomes an indispensable part of the future, it will profoundly affect many fields from politics to the economy to culture in many countries. These risks mean that governments need to issue clear regulations and guidelines to navigate the development of the metaverse.

The Metaverse may also raise new problems of social unrest. Users will have a vivid immersive feeling as if they are directly living in the virtual world, forgetting about reality. Young people can be adversely affected by being absorbed in the metaverse. In addition, many people can take advantage of this to produce addictive "digital banned substances".

Eric Schmidt, former President of Google, said that the virtual universe will soon be everywhere. “People will probably spend more time in the metaverse. But who sets the rules in that? The world will gradually become more digital than it really is, and that's not necessarily the best thing for human society.”

Louis Rosenberg, an expert with more than 30 years of AR technology development and CEO of Unanimous AI, said that AR glasses will be popular within the next 10 years, replacing mobile phones and becoming the main means of communication to interact with the digital world. That will be the time when the boundary between real and virtual is broken.

According to Insider, when living in the metaverse, people can be dominated by advertising and those who own the virtual world. Most of the news and images on social networks are sorted by algorithms to match previously collected data. This is amplified in the virtual world, where those in power can choose what people see on the street, at workplaces or in their own homes. Metaverse will make it much harder to identify fake news.

Metaverse is very close to human life. Right now, government agencies, businesses and citizens need a way to be ready to adapt to a future world.

Duy Anh

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