Ouyang Rihui: Metaverse Technological Innovation and the Reverie of Future Finance
In 2021, the most popular, controversial, and most imaginative concept is the metaverse. Both the government and the market are highly concerned about the Metaverse. Shanghai, Hefei, and Wuhan have written the "Metaverse" into policy documents. The "Fintech Development Plan (2022-2025)" issued by the People's Bank of China In "Reengineering", it is proposed to "build a service channel for multi-dimensional integration", although the concept of "metaverse" is not used, but some technologies and scenarios involved in the metaverse are used. The market is becoming more and more rational, more and more people believe that the metaverse represents the future trend, platforms are beginning to explore the metaverse, and financial institutions are also trying.
The metaverse itself is not meant to replace reality, nor to escape reality, but to transcend reality. The question I think about is: what is the economic system of the metaverse? What is the finance of the metaverse world ? What impact does the metaverse have on financial development? How can we leverage metaverse technology to innovate financial development?
【Metaverse Technological Innovation and Finance】The economic system of the metaverse
In 2021, the "Metaverse" quickly became popular, and a series of events pushed the "Metaverse" into the "first year". There are two reasons for this: First, key technologies such as VR/AR hardware, artificial intelligence, digital twins, and cloud computing are gradually developing and iterating, and there is an urgent need for an application scenario that can progress together. The concept of the metaverse can be well summarized or Packaging the application of most technologies in the past few years; the second is the commercialization of 5G, which requires a heavyweight application model and innovative scenarios to solve the "input-output" imbalance of 5G private network at the R&D level, network level, and application level. condition.
What is the Metaverse? In fact, there is no unified concept at present, and the understanding of Internet giants is also different. The "metaverse" in Mark Zuckerberg's mouth is the combination of reality and virtuality, so that the world is no longer separated. NVIDIA's "metaverse" is to move the real world into the virtual world, and improve the planning and actual efficiency of the industry through complete replication. Roblox believes that the "metaverse" includes eight factors: identity, friends, immersion, low latency, diversity, anytime, anywhere, economic system, and civilization.
Currently, disagreements about the Metaverse focus on whether the Metaverse is the next generation of the Internet. More and more institutions and scholars agree that the Metaverse is the next-generation Internet, and the Metaverse is the third-generation Internet. The PC Internet is the 1.0 era, the mobile Internet is the 2.0 era, and the "metaverse" will be the Internet 3.0 era. Universe ), which can be literally understood as "another universe beyond the real universe", or as parallel universe (Parallel universe). At present, the most representative definition of "metaverse" is: the metaverse is a virtual space that is parallel to the real world and independent of the real world, an online virtual world that mirrors the real world, and an increasingly real digital virtual space. world.
【Metaverse Technological Innovation and Finance】
The "Metaverse" is a virtual world that is parallel to the real world and can be interconnected. The metaverse is a transcendence of the real world, a new type of Internet application and social form that integrates reality and reality. In this world: people can interact through virtual digital identities, and can create, share, co-govern, and even generate some economic activities. Therefore, the Metaverse is not only a game, but also a new high ground for global innovation and competition.
For example, the core of Alibaba's business lies in e-commerce. At present, Alibaba is gradually building its own metaverse platform around Taobao, Tmall and other e-commerce platforms and Alipay platforms. The metaverse created by Ali is divided into four layers: holographic construction, holographic simulation, virtual-real integration, and virtual-real linkage. Each level does not necessarily increase step by step, but can also develop in parallel. Ali's metaverse is a consumption scenario, which continues the consistent practice of the Internet, that is, the transfer of traffic from offline to online is essentially a channel transfer, which will impact the existing offline business model.
From the perspective of economics, there are five very important features in the virtual world of the metaverse: (1) Experience: an unprecedented sense of immersion and participation. (2) Rules: The metaverse forms independent social rules and social civilization. (3) Transcendence: The interactive experience has the opportunity to reach or surpass the interactive experience of people and people. People must be able to do some things in the metaverse that cannot be done in the real world, otherwise the metaverse will lose its existence. necessary. (4) Identity: The metaverse is a "digital" society, and all individuals entering the metaverse have digital identities. (5) Assets: Metaverse has an economic system, and digital assets circulate freely.
These features of the Metaverse are realized by its underlying technology. The six letters BIGANT represent the most important underlying technologies of the Metaverse: B (blockchain technology), I (interaction technology), G (electronic game technology) , A (Artificial Intelligence Technology), N (Network and Computing), T (Internet of Things Technology). It is precisely because of these various underlying technologies that the metaverse achieves the transcendence of the real world.
Games and social networking are the first application scenarios of the Metaverse, but the scenarios and worlds conceived in the Metaverse are far from that. In fact, the development of Metaverse technology is more likely to have a transformative impact on 2B business scenarios such as remote work, e-commerce, software development, industrial design, smart manufacturing, urban management, and digital agriculture. When discussing the Metaverse, we must stand at the height of the reshaping of the global competition pattern, at the height of the overall strategy of the great rejuvenation of the Chinese nation and the great changes in the world unseen in a century, based on the perspective of making my country's digital economy stronger, better and bigger, based on the network From the perspective of strengthening the country and developing the real economy, we will judge, interpret and develop the metaverse.
【Metaverse Technological Innovation and Finance】Finance in the Metaverse World
Since the metaverse is an economic system, then we have to examine what kind of economic world the world of the metaverse is from the perspective of economics. The Metaverse will inevitably have its own economic and financial system and logic to open up the liquidity of the entire Metaverse world, and this financial system should be interconnected with traditional finance.
There are many excellent projects in the Metaverse field. Investment, creation and games are the basic logic of project application scenarios and the way for users to participate in the Metaverse track. For example, Roblox has built a stable economic system based on sandbox games. With economic incentives, users' creations are stimulated, and the platform currently has more than 18 million game experiences. The reason why Roblox is called the first stock in the metaverse is not because of its technical level, but because the entire platform has created an efficient and fair economic cycle system. This kind of player-driven creation brings immersive experience and social scenes, and already has the prototype of the metaverse.
In the economic system, transactions are the basic economic activities. Of course, just like in the real world, currency-based transactions will become inevitable when the scale of transactions expands to a certain extent. So, what form will money take in the metaverse? In the metaverse, if there is money, it must itself exist in digital form. Building a currency system in the metaverse may be Zuckerberg's dream.
In June 2019, Facebook launched the cryptocurrency project Libra. Libra is a blockchain-based, low-volatility cryptocurrency and smart contract platform. Libra anchors a "basket of currencies" composed of multi-national fiat currencies, also known as "stable coins". Libra later changed its name to Diem and targeted the US dollar stablecoin and released the digital currency wallet project Novi. After changing its name to Meta, Facebook used its cryptocurrency project to lay the foundation for its Metaverse payment business.
Is the research and development of legal digital currency related to the development of the Metaverse? Don't know, but the time coincides with the development of the Metaverse. The payment of the metaverse will include the existence of legal currency and digital currency. What is certain is that there must be conflicts between virtual currency and the real financial system in the metaverse. At present, the central bank digital currency of most countries is still in the testing stage. my country's digital renminbi is at the leading level in the world, and a large-scale pilot test has been carried out. Based on my country's current regulatory policies for digital currencies such as Bitcoin, the contradiction between centralized currency and decentralized currency will continue in the Metaverse. How the digital renminbi in the Metaverse can function as a legal currency will be a new direction of exploration.
With the popularization of the Metaverse, the financial and payment needs in the virtual environment will gradually spread. The Metaverse is parallel to the real world, but it also communicates with the real world. There will be many possible problems in the financial field. Metaverse senior research expert Matthew Ball defines payment as, "the support of digital payment processes, platforms and operations, including fiat on-ramps, Coin-to-coin transaction financial services, and other blockchain technologies.” It seems that the finance of the Metaverse is still based on the real world, and cannot be separated from the financial system of the real world. In the metaverse, through auctions and other methods, the value of items can easily be anchored to the real world.
Many people believe that the mature DeFi ecosystem of blockchain can provide a complete set of efficient financial systems for the Metaverse. DeFi is decentralized finance, an ecosystem of financial applications built on a blockchain network. Specifically, DeFi creates an open source, permissionless and transparent financial services ecosystem. This ecosystem is open to everyone and operates without the authorization of any central authority . Users can fully control assets and interact with the ecosystem through peer-to-peer (P2P) and decentralized applications ( Dapp ), providing users with low-cost, low-threshold, and high-efficiency financial services, such as virtual asset mortgage lending, Securitization, insurance, etc. Users' virtual assets are like real assets, and they can enjoy financial services, which further strengthens the asset attributes of virtual items. Through the stability of virtual property rights and a rich financial ecology, the Metaverse economic system will have the adjustment function in the real world, and the virtual value created by the user's labor will be determined by the market.
MetaFi brings these DeFi principles to the wider metaverse through a mix of non-fungible and homogenized tokens, combined with novel forms of community governance such as DAOs . MetaFi , the decentralized financial tool of the Metaverse, allows users not only to be entertained, but also rewarded for their participation. Officially, MetaFi is an umbrella term referring to protocols, products or services that enable complex financial interactions between non-fungible and homogeneous tokens (and their derivatives). For example, with MetaFi , individuals can now use shards of NFTs as collateral for DeFi lending platforms. The combination of these different cryptographic primitives enables a full-fledged parallel economy, bringing hundreds of millions or even billions of users to the crypto ecosystem over the next decade.
The full name of NFT is "Non-Fungible Token", which means "non-fungible token". Both NFT and Bitcoin are powered by blockchain technology, but the difference is that NFT is not a currency, but a contract, a proof of ownership. NFT is the core element of the metaverse that transforms human life from real to virtual. In turn, the Metaverse completes NFTs. Metaverse has basically continued the consistent traffic flow of the Internet, and the direction has basically not changed, but the impact of technology is greater. Everything can be NFT. The essence of NFT is digital property rights, so it is also the key to open the door to the wonders of the metaverse. Technically speaking, the irreplaceability and uniqueness of NFT enables it to anchor specific values and become a bridge to connect scarce assets and services in the real and virtual worlds.
Some studies believe that the core value of NFT is reflected in three aspects. One is the assetization of digital content. The emergence of NFT has broadened the boundaries of digital assets. Digital assets no longer just refer to digital currency. All kinds of digital content (such as pictures, audio and video, game props, etc.) can be cast into NFT. , which improves the tradability of digital content; the second is to protect the ownership of buyers: assets exist permanently, will not disappear when the centralized platform stops operating, and improve the efficiency of asset transactions and price fairness; the third is to protect the creator's Intellectual property income: Through the smart contracts embedded in NFT , creators can obtain continuous royalty income from subsequent circulation.
In fact, the essence of NFT is to create differentiation and scarcity within the metaverse. In the metaverse, people can completely replicate digital creations indefinitely, and scarcity may not exist. With the help of NFT technology, each item can be marked with a unique label or given a special meaning to become a unique thing. In this way, scarcity is created. What is rare is precious, and when there is scarcity, it is valuable and can be traded. In this way, with transaction activities, the economic system of the metaverse is established. A lot of what people are doing right now is trying to build scarcity in the metaverse. For example, today's important technologies such as digital watermarking, digital rights management (Digital Rights Management, DRM), and non-fungible tokens (NFT) are actually designed to create scarce technologies.
All metaverse platforms have a common feature behind, that is, when it comes to virtual real estate or virtual item transactions, there is a contract, and this contract is NFT. For example, GameFi 's play to earn model allows players not only to experience the fun of the game itself, but also to earn money in the game. GameFi has become a part of the metaverse financial system through the integration of DeFi and NFT and presented in the form of games. At present, the NFT products launched by Alibaba and Tencent lack tradability and are not decentralized. For large platforms such as Alibaba and Tencent, the layout of NFT products at this stage is more meaningful in the direction of layout/early market occupation.
The metaverse is not a world of great unity, but a world composed of metaverses, and there is exchange and asset flow between different metaverses. As mentioned earlier, NFT is a contract, and a contract is a system. In fact, finance is a system. In the metaverse, there are still many financial problems that have not been clarified, which are essentially institutional problems. The cross-platform transfer of virtual assets involves the need for multi-party data mutual trust, cross-platform asset settlement, risks and their prevention. It is said that the blockchain can solve these problems, in fact, the system has to work. For example, what form will money take? How to effectively ensure the stability of value, and whether it can effectively achieve the purpose of saving transaction costs? Cryptocurrencies represented by Bitcoin may play the role of money? Develop separate tokens within each metaverse? How are the tokens inside the Metaverse directly linked to external assets? How are the "cross-universe" values exchanged? In what proportion should a person's wealth in universe A be converted to universe B? The financial problems of the metaverse are far more than these problems. These problems are very complex and require people to "learn by doing, learn by doing", develop norms in development, and develop in norms.
Thinking deeply, I think there are several points that cannot be crossed: First, in the metaverse, who is making these systems? Who will maintain the economic order? such as vacations. How to effectively curb fraud motives? How to ensure the stability of currency value within the metaverse? How to prevent arbitrage? Second, the use of blockchain is necessary, but cryptocurrencies are not. How to deal with two crossovers: how to crossovers between different metaverses? How do the metaverse and real-world finance connect? Solving these problems is very important to maintain the financial order of the metaverse, otherwise, it may lead to "cross-universe" financial risks if you are not careful, and the impact may be huge.
The Metaverse World of Finance
At present, improving the discovery functions such as advertising and content distribution, and upgrading the experience of games, social networking, video, shopping, etc. are two relatively clear industrial chains in the Metaverse. Games, social networking, office, exhibition, education, design and planning, medical care, industry, and government and public services probably constitute the staged transformation scenarios realized by the Metaverse. For example, in the fields of conference activities, office collaboration, etc., the functions are continuously upgraded, and people participate in them with their own avatars.
In the metaverse world of finance, there are two paths: the first one is how to infiltrate finance in reality in the metaverse world, to find new development space for finance. For example, following the development path of the Metaverse and supporting the development of the Metaverse. At present, the development path of the Metaverse is along the path of games, art, work, and life, and has also been explored in the fields of agriculture and industry. For example, Ali is in the field of agriculture, and NVIDIA is in the field of industry.
The second path, the knowledge concept of the metaverse (metaverse thinking) and technological innovation have an impact on financial development. Foreign banks' exploration of the "metaverse" is even more cutting-edge. In 2017, BNP Paribas launched a VR-based retail banking app that allows users to virtually access their account activity and transaction records. In June 2021, Kookmin Bank of Korea created a "virtual town" on the metaverse platform Gather, which includes a financial business center, a telecommuting center and a game field. In October 2021, Bank of America will fully use VR technology in its 4,300 financial service centers, and 50,000 employees in the group will learn to use VR headsets to develop professional skills, including deepening communication with customers, negotiating with customers to solve problems, Customer Q&A, etc. The bank's VR system has also embedded a real-time analysis function, and managers can provide targeted follow-up guidance to employees based on the real-time analysis, thereby further improving their professional skills.
my country's banking sector is also actively exploring, and three representatives have already proposed plans. China Merchants Union Consumer Finance: Inclusive service automation, full-realization of consumer experience, and customization of intelligent housekeepers. Baixin Bank: AI digital human, immersive experience, blockchain-based digital assets. Bank of Jiangsu: customer perception, customer connection, service presentation. For example, Baixin Bank is the first domestic banking institution to express its intention to "welcome the Metaverse". On November 18, 2021, on the occasion of the fourth anniversary of Baixin Bank, the bank released the industry's first NFT digital collection - "4 in love", and simultaneously launched the two-dimensional image of "AI virtual brand officer".
In the financial metaverse world, there are two questions worth exploring: Are financial institutions represented by banks currently doing the metaverse? Is the metaverse of finance a marketing gimmick or the future of finance?
Regarding these two issues, there are two voices: one view is that the concept of the metaverse is not yet mature, and financial institutions join the discussion at this time, "just a marketing gimmick"; another view is that the "metaverse" and financial institutions digitize It is related to the transformation, and believes that "the VR and AR software and hardware applications involved in the Metaverse will help banks provide customers with an immersive service experience and improve their marketing and customer acquisition efficiency".
In theory, the financial metaverse world includes: experience-free financial products, immersive financial customer company, real-time creation of financial products, digital marketing will be transformed and upgraded, and so on. In practice, my country's banking industry's exploration of the Metaverse mainly focuses on three aspects: first, to serve industries and enterprises related to the concept of the Metaverse; second, to sell precious metals based on AR/VR technology; third, to build VR business halls.
Taking precious metal sales as an example, Bank of China Shenzhen Branch has used technologies such as 3D virtual display and sensory interaction to combine the real-time virtual precious metals with real scenes through mobile terminals and present them 360 degrees to customers. At the same time, it supports full-process operations such as multi-dimensional viewing of product details, virtual try-on and placement, online payment and purchase, and sharing of Moments.
Financial institutions still have a long way to go to build their true "metaverse", and perhaps the metaverse is the end of the digital transformation of financial institutions such as banks. For Metaverse Finance, we still seek to live in the moment, without being disturbed by concepts, but accepting the metaverse thinking and utilizing the technology of the metaverse. Financial institutions pursue security, liquidity, and profitability, while financial consumers pursue maximization of investment and minimization of use costs. In fact, experience is not the highest pursuit of finance. After all, finance is not games and online shopping.
The inspiration of metaverse thinking for finance is to enhance the immersive experience of customers. In the future, VR, AR, etc. can further enrich the scope of online services, give customers a better experience, and increase customer stickiness. In the future, if the assets in the virtual world can be popularized and accepted by the public, the ownership of the assets will also need the support of financial technology, but it will take some time to realize such a dream.
The technology of the Metaverse plays a great role in the digital transformation and innovative development of finance. In recent years, with the continuous detonation of the concept of "metaverse", innovative technologies such as digital twins, artificial intelligence, Internet of Things, and big data have been continuously concerned and sought after by the market. Innovative technology service companies have been favored by the market as a whole in recent years.
For example, digital twin technology is gradually infiltrating and trying to be applied to financial digital transformation. New New Technology's "financial asset digital twin and digital asset visual management" is the first in the domestic financial industry to use digital twins, knowledge graphs, NLP, RPA and other innovative technology practices for the digital transformation management of financial assets. Realize the digital presentation of financial assets of financial institutions, and create a "digital source of financial assets" that conforms to the characteristics of financial industry assets.
In the future, Metaverse may have the following impacts on the traditional banking industry: First, it will bring challenges to the bank's risk control system, including identification and data security; second, it will affect the interaction mode and operation, and immersion can be realized online through virtual customer service. The third is the challenge of embedding new scenarios, involving the bank's service channels, service products, service models and other aspects.
In the future, bank customers are more likely to be immersed in the online applications of the Metaverse. The Metaverse may change banking business in terms of non-sensing experience of financial products, immersive financial customer companionship, and real-time creation of financial products . Banks can adapt to industrial digitization and the development of the Metaverse. The direction is to do scene financial extension, or to connect a wider customer base. From the current point of view, compared to the establishment and joining of the metaverse, financial technology and the metaverse are more like two parallel and adjacent tracks. With the improvement of the infrastructure of both, the expansion of the two tracks will eventually bring it together. The future can be expected, but it doesn't have to be the present.
The Future of Metaverse Finance
According to Gartner's technology maturity curve, the Metaverse is currently in a bubble period with a climax in the capital market and public discussions; most of the technical foundations it needs, such as brain-computer interfaces, edge computing, etc., are in the budding period and the bubble period. , VR/AR is making rapid progress and is in the recovery period.
The main challenges of the metaverse are mainly concentrated in three dimensions: First, there is still a long way to go in the innovation of basic technology, and there are still many breakthroughs in the technology of combining the physical world with the digital virtual world. Second, the business model and business model are still unclear and require a long period of exploration. The third is to ensure that metaverse technology positively empowers economic and social development and brings people a good experience, and the basic rules need to be customized.
Metaverse may realize the economic intercommunication between the digital world and the physical world, thus forming a complete closed-loop economic system that is highly digital and intelligent, and realizing the integration of the digital economy and the real economy. From this perspective, the metaverse will realize a higher-level digital economy, that is, the metaverse economy.
Whether it is Metaverse Economy or Metaverse Finance, only by serving the national strategy, the real economy, and the people's better life, the industry truly uses the Metaverse technology to create new application scenarios, new production methods and service models, and improve total factor productivity. , to promote the integration of digital technology and the real economy, the integration of the digital economy and the real economy, and the metaverse economic system established based on this is valuable.
Finance is a system, and Metaverse Finance must have a complete set of institutional arrangements. The metaverse will have a huge impact on future human beings and society, and relevant rules and ethics must be formulated. The metaverse is a world parallel to the real world, a combination of the digital world and the real world. It needs to transcend and reproduce the real world. It needs to establish a metaverse social operation logic and metaverse rules similar to the real world.
What are the financial rules of the Metaverse? Who will set the financial rules of the metaverse? How do the financial rules of the metaverse connect with the rules of the real world? In my opinion, we must rely on real-world governments, industry associations, or be recognized by real-world governments to establish cross-industry standards such as digital identity, payment systems, application compatibility, content interoperability, user privacy control, advertising regulation, and addiction control. The most feasible and effective is that some non-profit organizations, such as industry associations, should be vigorously supported to study and formulate these systems.
After the uproar, we should have a more rational understanding of the Metaverse Economy and Metaverse Finance. In general, the Metaverse is the 3.0 era of the Internet. With the blessing of new technologies, it will catalyze new industries, new models, and new finance. Financial investment, speculation and hype metaverse are not only important forces for the creation of the metaverse, but also a new round of bubbles caused by excessive speculation, and even bring risks such as financial fraud. Therefore, at present, it is necessary to support financial institutions to invest in Metaverse technology, and to prevent financial institutions from falling into technical traps.
"What we're showing today is just the beginning, and now the metaverse, a new platform, new applications, is the same as when we were talking about the web and websites in the early 1990s," said Microsoft CEO Satya. He is familiar with the history of technology. It is well known that many industry leaders, scientists, and economists have made wrong judgments many times when disruptive technologies emerge . The extent to which the Metaverse will develop requires our continued attention.
Chenlin Pua : "Alibaba's E-commerce Metaverse Layout", Zero One Finance, 2021-12-14.
Outlier Ventures: " MetaFi : The Rise of Metaverse Finance," Deep Tide TechFlow , 2021-12-27.
Chen Yongwei, Cheng Hua: "The Economics of the Metaverse: A Comparison with the Real Economy", "Research on Financial Issues", No. 1, 2022.
Feng Cuiting, Wen Hao: "Blockchain Special Report: Overview of NFT Industry, Value of Digital Right Confirmation of Culture and Social Networking", Tianfeng Securities, 2021-10-22.
Financial Research Center: "Frontiers of Finance: Concept Explanation and Development Path of Metaverse", Fudan Development Research Institute, 2021-12-20.
Jing Linbo: "Metaverse: Origin and Prospect", "Financial Think Tank", 2022, No. 1.
Lao Su, Xiaoping, Gao Shen: "Is the Metaverse a New Technology or a New Bubble? ", Ali Research Institute, 2022-01-14.
Li Jiashi: "Why does Microsoft pour cold water on the Metaverse?" China Electronics News, 2022-01-09.
Liu Yang: "The Banking Industry Can't Underestimate the Metaverse", China Banking Industry, 2022-01-13.
Mengqi Lu: "The Metaverse: Instead of sitting down and talking about the Tao, it is better to get up and do it", "China Electronics News" 2021-11-25.
Sun Yang and Geng Yitao: What are the impacts and opportunities of the concept of "Metaverse" on the modern financial industry? ", Suning Institute of Finance, 2022-01-11.
Wang Fangyuan: "Commercial Banks Enter the "Metaverse"! Will the financial services model be disrupted? ", China Securities Journal, 2022-01-15.
Yan Ziyou: "The First Home! Commercial banks are going to enter the metaverse, AI virtual brand, two-dimensional! Marketing gimmick or next strategic layout? ", Brokers China, 2021-11-25.
Zhao Zhihong: "Metaverse Bank - Virtual Bank 2.0", "Contemporary Financier", No. 12, 2021.
People's Bank of China: "Fintech Development Plan (2022-2025)" (Yin Fa [2021J No. 335), December 31, 2021.
Copyright statement: The content of this article is contributed by Alibaba Cloud's real-name registered users. The copyright belongs to the original author. The Alibaba Cloud developer community does not own the copyright and does not assume the corresponding legal responsibility. For specific rules, please refer to the " Alibaba Cloud Developer Community User Service Agreement " and " Alibaba Cloud Developer Community Intellectual Property Protection Guidelines ". If you find any content suspected of plagiarism in this community, fill out the infringement complaint form to report it. Once verified, this community will delete the allegedly infringing content immediately.
Knowledge Base Team
Knowledge Base Team
Knowledge Base Team
Knowledge Base Team
Explore More Special Offers
50,000 email package starts as low as USD 1.99, 120 short messages start at only USD 1.00