What Is the Metaverse?
The metaverse is a computer industry concept of the future of the Internet: a single, shared, immersive, permanent, 3D virtual place where people may experience life in ways they cannot in the physical world.
It refers to a wide range of augmented experiences varying from recreational online video games like Fortnite and online casinos like Lucky Block to developing virtual workplaces such as Microsoft’s Mesh or Meta’s Horizon Workrooms, as well as virtual dressing rooms and operating rooms.
People may cooperate and feel linked regardless of where they are in the actual world. Avatars – animated representations that function as human representatives – often roam around and interact with others in the metaverse.
How Are Banks Exploring the Metaverse?
Banks are exploring the Metaverse through strategic alliances and joint ventures with technology companies to help transform the platforms into genuine economic opportunity vehicles.
Candidates can use the metaverse technology to experience a day in the life of a specific job position to see whether the position is a suitable match. At a physical career fair, interested applicants may connect with hiring managers in several places around the U.S. by wearing VR headsets.
Below we review how some banks plan to incorporate the metaverse into their operations.
Kookmin Bank, one of South Korea’s most prominent financial organizations, has entered the virtual sphere by creating the KB Metaverse VR Branch Testbed. Customers can use a head-mounted VR device to access financial services in the metaverse.
VR content producer Sharebox built the virtual banking service, and a bank clerk may process transactions such as remittances. One-on-one discussions will also be allowed between consumer and employee avatars. The virtual bank has an entrance, VIP lounge, and main hall, where users can obtain personalized financial information. KB plans to use the virtual branch to educate young people on finance and train employees.
Jinsoo Yoon, Vice President of Tech Group at KB Kookmin Bank, said adaptation to the new technological era is a step that must be taken.
DBS BetterWorld, which supports environmental, social, and governance (ESG) activities, was launched on the Sandbox. The Sandbox is a decentralized virtual environment in which businesses and consumers buy plots of “land” to create a unique experience. DBS purchased nine virtual land units to create an interactive experience to promote a more sustainable future. It intends to work with the government, communities, companies, and technology.
With its attempt to give access to ESG investments and help clients live more sustainably, the bank intends to leverage the Metaverse to promote its ESG agenda across banking and business operations. DBS BetterWorld is the bank’s platform for furthering these causes through Sandbox visitors, who may learn about various ESG challenges, particularly business-related ones.
Furthermore, the bank used this platform to highlight social entrepreneurs and their creative business ideas.
Animoca Brands, the Hong Kong-based producer of the game environment The Sandbox, said that HSBC would purchase a block of virtual land in their environment. Land in The Sandbox is used by businesses to organize games and tournaments. According to the company, it has over 40 million downloads and 1.2 million active monthly users. HSBC will use its narrative to reach sports, esports, and gaming fans.
The metaverse is a way for users to learn about Web3, the next generation of the Internet, through augmented reality (AR), virtual reality (VR), and extended reality (XR), according to Suresh Balaji, Asia-Pacific chief marketing officer of the $3 trillion-asset HSBC.
JP Morgan has $2.6 trillion in assets and established a presence in Decentraland, a virtual environment where users can purchase digital property. According to Yahoo Finance, Decentraland has over 300,000 monthly active and 18,000 daily users.
When a person’s avatar enters the Onyx by JP Morgan lounge in Decentraland, they will discover an illuminated portrait of Jamie Dimon, a pacing tiger, and a few wall-mounted displays. When users click on one of the monitors, a video “demo” of how payments may be conducted in space using smart contracts begins. Another depicts a chronology of the bank’s blockchain initiatives.
The same JP Morgan Payments team constructed the virtual lounge that released a whitepaper about the commercial potential in the Metaverse last month. The virtual lounge and the paper are supposed to aid in beginning client interactions.
TD is delighted with the outcomes of its pilot program, which lasted from January to April 2023. According to Jennifer Sanders, associate vice president of global early talent and executive search at the bank, 92% of co-op students and interns polled thought the VR experience improved their co-op and intern experience.
Employees’ metaverse avatars can speak with their hands, walk around, blink, and move their mouths while speaking. However, significant obstacles remain; most notably, avatars only display the head, neck, upper shoulders, and chest, with disembodied hands moving around.
With client-adviser sessions, TD is also trying out a consumer experience in the Metaverse. Clients who cannot meet in person or choose not to utilize the bank’s Webex service may one day meet with an adviser in a safe, private location on a virtual platform to examine their portfolio.
Banks are preparing their financial advisers and wealth managers to provide Web3-based financial solutions, which include metaverse ETF and metaverse index products, driven by the expanding market capitalization of metaverse tokens and millennials, Gen X, and Gen Z clients’ trends to invest in digital assets.
Meanwhile, RBC is utilizing the Metaverse as part of its drive to teach financial literacy to children and teens in the places they visit.
According to Jason Storsley, RBC’s senior vice president of daily banking and leader of its youth and young adult client segment team, the bank mainly focuses on the online gaming platform Roblox.
Players could enter an RBC branch, engage with advisers, and participate in a treasure hunt in which they collected objects and searched for the RBC mascot Leo the Lion. Every interaction includes a lesson in financial literacy. The virtual RBC coins can be redeemed for in-game products or materials required to finish missions.
The immersive experience of the metaverse enables banks to exploit new methods of connecting with their next-generation clients while expanding their reach to decentralized platforms and communities.
Customers are encouraged to utilize AR/VR devices to check account balances, make payments, transfer money, and transact.
Throughout the customer journey, banks have the chance to reconnect with consumers and create meaningful connections. The younger, more tech-savvy generation is likely to be the predominant users of financial services.
Banks must begin to promote themselves as providers of financial knowledge, counselors, and customer communication experts.