Just over a year ago, we shared our vision for the metaverse: a new era of the internet built on immersive and integrated experiences. Since then, we have shared some additional early thoughts around the benefits the metaverse will bring, the importance of building it in a way that’s open and interoperable, and the vital need for collaboration between the private sector, lawmakers, civil society, academia and diverse groups of people who will experience it. We also worked with other organizations equally passionate about the potential of the metaverse to establish the Metaverse Standards Forum — an industry-wide effort to ensure the metaverse is built on a foundation of open standards.
Reflecting on all the ways our lives have been transformed over the last three decades by the digital revolution, it is clear that the metaverse presents a promising new arena of economic opportunity.
Early estimates indicate that the economic contribution of the global metaverse could be valued at more than $3 trillion by 2031. Already, places like Dubai, Seoul and Taiwan are advancing with plans to take advantage of the metaverse. And there are new opportunities emerging in a wide range of industries, from education, training, remote work and more; as well as opportunities for creators to make new forms of art and entertainment, build more direct and profitable relationships with their audiences and engage with more people in ways beyond the limits of today’s technology.
Importantly, the two key components for making the metaverse an economic success — interoperability and portability — will be powered by the further adoption of web3 technologies. Understandably, policymakers are giving considerable attention to the application of blockchain technology in financial services, whether in the form of stablecoins, cryptocurrencies or crypto exchanges, but it is important to recognize that blockchain also has extensive non-financial applications that can be foundational to the metaverse economy. For example, non-financial blockchain-based assets, like non-fungible tokens (NFTs), are well positioned to establish ownership of digital objects in the metaverse and enable people to navigate experiences and worlds in a way that platforms do not currently allow.
In order to responsibly build the metaverse economy and ensure its innovations benefit as many people, businesses and creators as possible, it’s important for policymakers to set fair rules for web3 technologies that keep people safe and promote innovation. At their core, these rules should:
- Adopt a technology-neutral approach that focuses on “same risks, same rules”;
- Recognize that decentralized systems have a role to play in unlocking new economic opportunities by fostering innovation, competition, interoperability and portability of
ownership and identity;
- Embrace greater collaboration between the public sector and industry as a critical foundation for any future regulatory frameworks.
These three principles are explored in more detail in our discussion paper. We look forward to continuing to work with industry partners and policymakers on building the metaverse, together.