The corporate blockchain has come a long way since its inception in 2017. Enterprise blockchain started out as a technology built on top of private, approved networks and used primarily for supply chain management. As the blockchain matured over time, companies began to use public, permissionless networks like Ethereum to do business.
Fast forward to 2021 – companies are now using decentralized concepts to create more efficient workflows in the Metaverse. William Herkelrath, director of business development at Chainlink Labs – a decentralized oracle network – told Cointelegraph that while the metaverse is difficult to define, he believes it is a collection of ecosystems that naturally emerged from the decentralized financial world or Growing out DeFi:
“Businesses need to interact with the outside world and will therefore be forced to have ecosystems in the metaverse. For example, consumers may want to take advantage of loyalty programs outside of individual platforms so they are more likely to choose brands that ensure that rewards can be used in other ecosystems. The Metaverse enables data, physical assets, commercial and financial assets to be set up in a layer outside of a centralized environment. “
The metaverse for companies
While the concept may sound futuristic, a number of companies using blockchain are starting to embrace the metaverse. This topic was discussed in detail last Wednesday at the virtual conference of the European Blockchain Convention as part of a panel entitled “Building the Enterprise Multiverse”.
David Palmer, Blockchain Lead at Vodafone Business, mentioned during the discussion that he sees the Metaverse as much more than a virtual world in which digital experiences can take place via games or social networks. According to Palmer, the metaverse is now being applied to financial concepts based on blockchain technology, such as central bank digital currencies, non-fungible tokens or NFTs and DeFi.
However, Palmer found that the layer missing in the metaverse is a way of bringing virtual transactions into the real world. Palmer found that a cell phone can connect these two worlds and act as middleware. He further told Cointelegraph that Vodafone Business uses blockchain to create digital identities that can be used in both the metaverse and real life:
“The digital identity will transcend the digital and the physical world. For example, a digital wallet contains a bank account, mortgage information, tokens, NFTs, and more. But a decentralized identity will also have access to these credentials so that individuals can participate in the metaverse and the physical world. “
Palmer announced that Vodafone Business is working on building wallets in mobile devices to host virtual identities. The notion of self-sovereign identity in a multiverse was also mentioned in the recent Greyscale Research report. titled “The Metaverse, Web 3.0 Virtual Cloud Economies.” The paper describes self-sovereign identity referred to as “Internet-native Social Reputation Coin (Creator Coins)”, whereby it should be noted that data from other platforms can be transferred to the Metaverse and used for identity or credit evaluations.
Angel Garcia, Head of Global Supply Chain Strategy and Transformation at Telefonica, further explained during the panel that a digital supply chain for the Metaverse could help improve efficiency for telecommunications companies. According to Garcia, Telefonica took the approach of creating a blockchain network to be used in a metaverse ecosystem. He added that the company is currently in the process of gathering information to improve end-to-end processes. “The next step is to automate these business processes and centralize them for everyone,” he noted.
Rowan Fenn, co-founder of Rise X – a business solution for companies that want to build digital autonomous organizations – also mentioned that companies can have a digital twin of their autonomous organization to control, operate and control analog processes: “These organizations will be able to interact with each other in real time in a multiverse and to carry out transactions. This will also enable the digitally autonomous organizations to work together in an analog world. “
Fenn stated that companies with a digital twin in a multiverse ecosystem will be able to produce more goods and services while using fewer environmental resources. Hence, he believes that this business model will allow the world to move from a finite to an infinite economy.
Companies are already using blockchain to operate in the Metaverse
While companies are still exploring early use cases for applying business models in the Metaverse, some sectors are already using these environments. For example, Herkelrath mentioned that blockchain networks used in the insurance industry demonstrate a metaverse business model.
In concrete terms, Herkelrath explained that farmers around the world are offered hundreds of thousands of insurance contracts via virtual ecosystems. He added that smart contracts built on top of blockchain networks, along with decentralized oracles like Chainlink, have made it possible to solve transparency challenges in the insurance industry. In addition, the entire insurance process has been streamlined so that it can also be accessed by undemanding customers around the world.
Although it might seem like the blockchain alone made this possible, Herkelrath noted that smart contracts generated by insurance agencies require data that would not have been collected without the existence of a metaverse:
“It does this because you have a metaverse of companies with inbound data that is being scrutinized by a wider network. The fact that this can happen in the Metaverse shows that business-to-consumer transactions can become inexpensive and accessible to anyone in the world. ”
How likely are companies to adopt the metaverse?
While some companies are beginning to develop and leverage business models in the Metaverse, understanding the technology could hinder rapid adoption. Rodolfo Quijano, Head of Blockchain at Henkel – a German chemical and consumer goods company – mentioned during the panel discussion that the biggest challenge with the introduction right now is to understand the value that the metaverse can offer companies:
“Technology is not an issue, but it will take longer to get people to grapple with what blockchain does and how it compares to old-fashioned enterprise resource planning systems. Finding evangelists can be a major challenge for adoption when it comes to applying blockchain in the Metaverse. ”
Palmer added that scalability within a Metaverse enterprise environment is also an issue, along with an understanding of how organizations are transitioning and engaging with this new technology: “For a telecommunications company, the most important point to consider is: how to connect people in the metaverse. People will have two identities, one virtual and one physical, so the question is whether we will have the bandwidth in terms of connectivity. ”
Additionally, Palmer believes companies will question the role of blockchain in relation to Metaverse business models. However, he believes the technology is critical for these use cases. “Blockchain is the layer of trust and exchange in a multiverse environment. It’s a huge opportunity, but it’s going to be a challenge for companies to make the transition. ”