Business: why are brands and artists rushing into the metaverse?

Decoding the Metaverse, Episode 2. If mere mortals struggle to project themselves into the Metaverse, art and marketing circles are quickly positioning themselves in this booming sector, and their way of appropriating this nascent web3 gives us clues to understanding the economic issues surrounding it.

FROMIf the word “metaverse” is just beginning to be familiar to us, then for others, its concept has long been at the heart of all speculation: according to Citi Bank’s latest estimate, the metaverse may well represent a market of 13,000 billion dollars a year. 2030. Who will win? Firstly, in the marketing sector, since the metaverse will allow the commodification of the virtual space. Thus, for brands, the challenge will be to promote their aesthetic and symbolic value in addition to offering their products and services.

And the various sectors did not wait to position themselves already in this emerging market: “There are many, first: the world of games. There is also the world of art and luxury, that is, in fact, fashion. But real estate, and the world of e-sports, and the world of sports are also more and more penetrating there, in particular, entertainment with music. There are also markets that do not yet exist, such as the industrial sector because there is still a misunderstanding of the interests of the metaverse, but which will appear because the issue of brand image will be at stake,” Nolwenn explains. Germain, CEO of Haido and an expert in the world of technology and innovation.

Metaverse Economy: Blockchain, Cryptocurrencies and NFTs

But what might the economy of the virtual world look like? What are the tools to run it? Here’s where it gets tricky, vocabulary level. Metaverses are based on interconnected digital technologies: blockchain, cryptocurrencies and NFTs. Simply put, the metaverse is based on the blockchain, a technology in which Germain Nolwenn is an expert:

“It’s literally a blockchain. It’s like a ledger where you write down action A which goes into action B. The person will be mining – encrypting – this action, so secure it so it’s in the block. The action will go from one IP address to another IP address, bypassing the bank. Blockchain is a decentralized system. This book is duplicated everywhere, so you can’t hack its contents.”

Cryptocurrency or virtual currency is the first blockchain-based reaction. In the metaverses, all transactions will be carried out in cryptocurrencies through this blockchain. There are thousands of them – the most famous of them are bitcoin and ethereum – and for each of them the unit of measure is a token (or token).

These cryptocurrencies will allow you to buy other types of digital tokens, especially in the metaverse: these are NFTs (or non-fungible tokens). These non-fungible tokens are used to purchase intangible goods (such as tweets, memes, digital works, etc.) and function as certificates of authenticity: they guarantee that you are the sole owner of that virtual good. Currently, Opensea is the reference platform for buying NFTs.

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These technologies are synonymous with new horizons for brands and individuals alike. According to Nolwenn Germain, NFTs, made possible by blockchain and cryptocurrencies, are pushing the boundaries of personalization for users in the metaverse, which increases the creativity of brands:

“NFT buys in the metaverse: if you want Nike Air Jordans with a dragon logo, you do it yourself in the Nike store in the metaverse. You buy them, you become the owner of this NFT, and suddenly your avatar has these shoes on his feet in the metaverse. We are at the epicenter of personalization challenges. If Nike releases these shoes for the general public tomorrow, the person who owns the design will be the one who designed it in the metaverse, not a Nike employee: that’s the point. This means that we will allow people who do not work in companies to develop things so that the company has the potential to be a hit tomorrow. This increases the degree of creativity of companies, which is especially true in the fashion world.”

Art market among the most positioned sectors

But brands are not the only players that can benefit from these technologies. Gaël Dupré was the first artist in France and Europe whose work was certified via blockchain in 2016, an initiative that allowed him to position himself in a very competitive world of photography: “I needed to communicate differently in my market, it is a very closed market. The NFT certification of my work was critical to the sale of my art reproductions because it reassured the buyer who said to himself: This photographer has a rating and his rating is certified.” This new era also has the benefit of technology-enabled democratization of copyright: certification via the blockchain allowed it to receive its 10% royalty, a legal obligation that is rarely respected, and became automatic like the blockchain. But be careful, creating an NFT according to the rules of technology takes time:

For everything to be correct, we put a photo, name, description of the project, all the properties of the description, not counting the hidden content, since each NFT can have content that will be visible only to those who are going to purchase the NFT. So, there is an archival side to the photo library, but also a marketing strategy: what kind of hidden content do I add to my photos? So it takes me a good half an hour to make an NFT. I always put myself in the place of the buyer: the more information you give him, the more he wants to buy a photo. It’s part of the NFT’s marketing logic.”

But are marketing and creativity really compatible? For Gael Dupre, there is no doubt. He very quickly figured out how to promote his NFT-sold creations by creating his first metaverse through his Grendizer project: “This creates a completely different customer experience, to the point where I will be using the metaverse and all of the technologies associated with it in my future projects. My professional site, I am in the process of developing it in the metaverse, and tomorrow my meetings, my interviews, the training that I will offer, I will do in my metaverse. I feel the influence of the metaverse on my creativity, because it not only allows me to consider expanding on my existing projects, but also inspires me to start 100% NFT projects.” A confident approach that is not shared by everyone, faced with an emerging market where the balance of risk/opportunity is still opaque.

To read the rest of our investigation, see you next Thursday!
Read the previous episode of the transcript: Did you understand anything about the metaverse? We will explain everything to you!

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