Published July 20, 2022
In what has been called Web 2.0, i.e. the Internet, financial services and banks have used these technologies mainly for employee training, to create customer or employee interaction spaces, “online banking” offers, as well as virtual investment advisory services. These offers and services are now quite mature and offered by all companies. But, in reality, this has not fundamentally changed theirs business model, which remained identical to that of the physical world. It’s like in an agency, but online. It’s like in a training course, but online, in front of your computer.
But all will be different with the Metaverse, which offers greater insights and can disrupt patterns in more profound ways.
We can already observe the pioneering initiatives, notably reported in this recent report (June 2022) by McKinsey which analyzes the current and potential impacts of the Metaverse by sector of activity.
In 2022 the initiatives have multiplied and can inspire others. This pertains to communities and payments in the metaverse.
In March 2022, HSBC bank announced a partnership with The Sandbox, to buy a virtual field there intended to build a community with e-sports enthusiasts.
The Marketing Director of HSBC Asia-Pacific said on this occasion:
“The metaverse is how people will experience Web3, the next generation of the internet, using immersive technologies such as augmented reality, virtual reality and extended reality. At HSBC, we see great potential for creating new experiences through emerging platforms, opening up a world of opportunity for our current and future customers and the communities we serve. Through our partnership with The Sandbox, we are venturing into the metaverse, enabling us to create innovative brand experiences for our current and future customers. We are thrilled to be working with our sports partners, our brand ambassadors and The Sandbox to co-create educational, inclusive and accessible experiences.”
London-based FinTech Sokin announced in February 2022 that it will launch its own metaverse community, designed to process full e-commerce transactions. Sokin’s metaverse world will host a 3D community of brands and retailers – from sports to fashion and beyond – and enable consumers to meet, communicate, transact, invest and buy in a global ecosystem and virtual economy. Consumers will purchase through the mobile app peer to peer accessible by Sokin within the metaverse.
Sokin’s metaverse world will thus host different brands and companies that visitors will be able to access (each room is dedicated to a brand, which the visitor can access for their purchases), for example a football club, an entertainment brand or fashionable.
The neobank Zelf, which wants to be the bank of the Metaverse, has launched a banking service for the Metaverse, the MetaPassaccessible via Discord messaging, for players (note the great site design!), notably allowing you to buy and trade NFTs as simply as buying bread in a bakery (but the players do they still go to pastry shops?).
The TerraZero bank has specialized in mortgage loans in the Metaverse, precisely to buy land or set up investment projects.
For financial services, an expansion of customer categories is planned, which will no longer be limited to players or to the interactions of specialized communities such as sports enthusiasts. The services offered will also expand.
McKinsey’s report specifically mentions:
- Marketing: Financial institutions are ready to set up branches digital in the Metaverse, to establish one’s brand there and establish one’s credibility, allowing the customer to interact with their bank in a hybrid way, both in the physical or digital world and in the world of the metaverse;
- Infrastructure: corresponds to digital identity services, digital payments, holding of NFTs, cryptocurrencies or other digital assets;
- New products and services associated with the Metaverse: for example, cyber insurance.
But the more uses and customers develop, the more new services will appear, which correspond to as many opportunities for financial services:
- Services for owners wallets in the metaverse, such as the multicash management,
- Mortgages and project financing deals for the metaverse,
- consumer credit services,
- Loyalty programs, deferred payment,
- The financialisation of everything, as more and more digital assets are created and have utilities in a metaverse context, such as being used as collateral for loans.
Of course, the rise of these services will depend on the increased uses and adoption of the metaverse by consumers of all kinds. And banks and financial services may decide not to care too much for now. But when the time comes, they will also need to be equipped with the necessary talents and skills to develop there and occupy an interesting post. It is worth anticipating a little in the HR departments.
Because even here it will not be blocked by technology, but by the human ability to adapt to it.
Enough to encourage the emergence of new startups and unicorns in the financial services market.
The hunt is on in the metaverse.