Metaverse. It’s a term with the power to fascinate and frighten in equal measure, but also one that calls for the attention and understanding of today’s business leaders.
Perhaps you’ve come to the conclusion that the Metaverse is just marketing hype, or maybe you see it as the opportunity of a lifetime for your business – one that must be embraced now if you’re to succeed long term. The reality is somewhere in the middle.
Today’s enterprises really must first dig into the truly revolutionary aspects of decentralization, self-sovereignty and interoperability that surround any insightful understanding of the metaverse. Then, they should prepare their businesses for this change by harnessing these powerful technologies and the transformation they can enable.
To begin with, it’s important to understand some of the most important technologies in crypto today. First up, it’s blockchain and the distributed ledger – closely-related technologies that enable the establishment of a value exchange network, which can remain secure without having to rely on a centralized authority.
Cryptographic pioneers introduced this concept when they saw the need for a decentralized monetary network outside the control of governments and banks. It’s already being used for this purpose by businesses and individuals, but its reach has also extended to other fields in which centralized power has gone too far.
This is where smart contracts and their platforms become significant. The people who saw that decentralized networks could counter centralized control over money also saw how they could be used as platforms to rival big tech’s dominance of the internet.
Smart contracts are one of the main tools developers use to build decentralized applications that operate autonomously on decentralized networks. These powerful programmes are built to execute automatically when certain parameters are met, removing layers of bureaucracy from established processes in a trustless manner.
While smart contract risk does exist, it will gradually decrease over time. This is still a relatively new technology, and while the iteration process is far from over, it’s clear that many more enterprises will adopt the technology because of its efficiency.
Digital wallets are the final core element of the crypto toolkit, comprising the software tools that allow access to blockchain addresses where digital assets are stored. In this way, they provide non-custodial and self-sovereign ownership of all forms of digital assets.
Right now, we see wallets being used in conjunction with decentralized applications to transfer cryptocurrencies and purchase NFTs. We also see people using wallets and addresses to manage digital real estate in the form of avatars, just as web domains and websites became part of a businesses’ digital shop fronts in the web2 age. But in the Metaverse, all entities (including enterprises) will use wallets to own, store, and transfer multiple types of digital property.
As you’ve probably begun to realize, the metaverse is more than just the 3D virtual worlds and online games getting press coverage. The metaverse is fundamentally about the decentralized networks that enable these immersive user experiences to occur. For enterprises to navigate their way into the future of the metaverse, it’s crucial to understand these building blocks. Why? Because so many key business pillars are being quietly disrupted in ways that will lead to totally new ways of operating.
Decentralized Autonomous Organizations (DAOs) are a great example of something that exists today in nascent form, but will transform how organizations operate in future. A DAO is like a modern version of a community, a corporation, and a cooperative all wrapped up as one. Essentially, it’s a group of crypto-native participants who come together to coordinate their activities towards a common goal.
These interactions happen on blockchain networks via smart contracts, with DAOs able to coordinate capital via a shared treasury and collaborate with each other in accordance with their governance rules. Essentially, the structure of a DAO shares many characteristics with today’s Limited Liability Companies (LLCs), in that they work towards a common goal, allocating capital towards tasks that will achieve it, and incentivizing workers to complete those tasks in return for income.
It’s certainly early days for this new approach, but there are already signs of how powerful and effective DAOs will become. For example, the Uniswap DAO has over $7 billion in its treasury, which includes a liquid treasury of nearly $3 billion.
While MakerDAO is significantly smaller, with a liquid treasury of $245 million, it could also be described as more advanced, because it pays out $50 million per year via 18 core units designed to push the protocol forward.
And the reach of DAOs is expanding, too. Over the last month, we’ve seen these organizations play a part in real-world asset auctions, with Constitution DAO narrowly missing out on paying $47 million for a copy of the US constitution. Many believe that this is just the start, with some tipping 2023 to be the year that a DAO could purchase an established corporation.
The process of entities with capital to spend coming together to finance an organization with a vision of the future is similar to venture capitalists gambling on an early stage startup. And effectively reallocating capital to complete tasks designed to help an organization meet its vision? That’s the same as a startup executing successfully on its long-term goals.
So, we see how and why DAOs will compete with businesses in the future, and why enterprises should spend more time familiarizing themselves with these modern, crypto-native structures than the flashy visuals from tech giants with strategies designed to co-opt the metaverse narrative.
For enterprises thinking about the full ramifications of competing against globally distributed DAOs in a metaverse-enabled future, there’s another big issue that demands immediate consideration: workers.
Going back to smart contracts, we see how a combination of automated processes and task-oriented workers will completely change how businesses function, bringing increased efficiency to their operations and disintermediating layers of bureaucracy.
Smart contracts also open up the opportunity for machine-to-machine interactions, with one single-purpose smart contract executing when another one provides the data it requires. In the world of crypto, we’re already seeing this happen in the form of liquidity mining strategies and flashbots attempting to automatically maximize returns.
It might not sound like the most empowering situation for people to operate in, but the reality is that smart contracts will remove the burden of administration so individuals can use their skills more productively. The power dynamics between companies and employees will also shift as DAOs become more significant.
DAO participants and token holders are not the same as employees, but more like shareholders who own a piece of the blockchain network in which they operate. The incentives baked into these networks’ design mean people can work to improve network strength, increasing their tokens’ value, and potentially receiving additional ones in reward.
As a result, skilled workers have the opportunity to freely and openly direct their skills to any project they believe in – or think will provide the most income. Enterprises operating in a metaverse future will be competing for this talent alongside DAOs, which will use grants, bounties, and ‘governance mining’ to attract workers to meet their goals.
Enterprises that can master this process will be able to attract talent from around the world and harness previously unimaginable amounts of human capital to help achieve their aims. In doing so, they will interact with a totally new kind of workforce, made up of self-sovereign individuals who may choose to remain anonymous or pseudonymous, with little more than an NFT avatar and a wallet address to identify them.
At this point, it’s worth comparing how a tech-enabled business today might compare with a metaverse-native company tomorrow.
While some things won’t change – businesses will still have to fund cash flow, have missions they’re striving to achieve, and because of this, need sales, finance, operations, and HR functions – but they’ll all look very different. For example, a sales operation today could be mostly in-person, with a trusted individual heading up a new business team and using remote tools to operate globally.
In the metaverse, sales will be driven by whether a community decides the benefits and incentives built into a trustless protocol make it worthwhile to use. The finance function will be transformed – rather than using fiat currencies to pay bills and stick rigidly to the regulatory framework of a nation state, metaverse-native finance will use fully digital currencies that operate to global standards and are moved around the world by smart contracts.
Operations will change significantly. We’re already starting to see the first signs of this today, and office space will continue to fade away as remote working takes over and a globally distributed workforce starts to interact more in 3D virtual worlds.
This new way of working will also change how HR works, as businesses get increasingly used to coordinating anonymous, task-oriented individuals who work for them for a limited time. When you also consider the metaverse’s possibilities for learning, collaboration, research and innovation, it’s clear how exciting an opportunity like this is for enterprises.
As we mentioned earlier, though, to make the most of these opportunities, businesses need to embrace the crypto tools that will empower them in the future. From smart contracts and wallets to DAOs and incentives, this means getting a hold on the fundamental building blocks of the metaverse. It also means understanding the risks that come with these tools, and increasing the overall level of corporate knowledge to ensure protection against those risks.
For example, all digital property will flow through wallets and addresses, which criminals try to access all the time with phishing scams and manipulation. So, do enterprises understand enough about how they work, and how they can stay secure?
The same is true for all sorts of web3 elements – from bridging between networks to secure data storage – and that’s why we need to get used to both the benefits and the risks that open, permissionless networks bring.
The fact that big tech isn’t helping enterprises adapt to this new paradigm is just one reason why it won’t be at the forefront of the metaverse revolution – even though it so desperately wants to be.
You’d be forgiven for thinking that the above statement is wrong – how couldn’t it, with big tech making such a fuss about the metaverse, and already in pole position to make the most of it given its strong financial positioning? Isn’t Meta (Facebook’s demonstrative shift to Metaverse technology) going to dominate the future of web3?
Don’t forget, back 2000, everyone thought Cisco and AOL would be the big winners of the internet revolution. What this consensus ignores is the power that exists at the heart of technology subcultures, which are fast developing into unstoppable forces. From ham radio enthusiasts to programming clubs and now web3, there’s a momentum that the last decade of progress has shown us will not die.
And big tech is clearly worried. It’s seeing its brightest and best drop everything to dive headfirst into blockchain, crypto, and the metaverse. Big tech companies can see the power this community holds, and they don’t know what to do about it. If you’re still not convinced, just consider how some key elements of web3 have developed. What does that tell us about the strength of these communities?
First, there was Bitcoin and the idea of non-state money, a concept ridiculed for years but now more powerful than ever. Then, there were smart contracts, which might include some bug-ridden examples that lost investor funds, but also give us the battle-hardened systems that now transfer billions of dollars every day. Plus, we mustn’t forget the early NFTs that look like they were generated by a five-year-old, yet still fetch astronomical prices.
Now consider this: would anyone have accepted a global store of value, a buggy smart contract, or a pixelated profile picture if they had been released by Facebook?
All this is interesting when comparing the community forces driving DigiCorp and Facebook (or Meta, or whatever you want to call it). While the latter desperately wants to catch up, it hasn’t realized it’s too late. Because right now, the power to build a bright, metaverse-native future lies in the web3 community – and that’s a future that DigiCorp is leading.
Rather than following the big tech crowd, DigiCorp enables enterprises to access the community of web3 developers today, so they can accelerate their transformations to become metaverse-native organizations – ready to succeed tomorrow.
To do this, we’re abiding by the key principles of safety, security, and self-sovereignty, developing a foundation layer for the metaverse that aims to enable quantum-safe data storage and fast, scalable transactions. Known as the DigiMetaverse, this is the building block that enterprises need right now – an inherently secure, people-centric, value creation-focused web of tomorrow – and this is how DigiCorp empowers its customers to unlock a transparent future.
The metaverse represents a huge opportunity to develop and succeed away from the clutches of big tech. But to do so, we need to understand the fundamentals and look after the security of our data, first and foremost. DigiCorp’s mission to help enterprises and individuals enter the metaverse with confidence and self-sovereignty puts us at the forefront of this technological revolution.
The future is bright.