“The metaverse is the next evolution of the Internet experience, which enables people to move beyond browsing the web towards participating in or even inhabiting a persistent shared experience that spans the spectrum of our real world to a fully virtual world and in between.” This is the definition for the metaverse, one of the key digital trends in recent months, put forward by consultancy firm Accenture in a report entitled “The ultimate guide to banking in the metaverse” by Michael Abbott and Jess Murray.
This new paradigm is being driven by technologies such as augmented reality, virtual reality and blockchain. They are all accelerating major shifts in the economy thanks to their potential to redefine society as we know it.
According to the report’s authors, banking is one of the sectors which should take a clear bid on the metaverse, in order to keep hold of their economic and social leadership and harness the vast potential it offers. “Banks cannot afford to stand by and watch it unfold; they need to start exploring its potential and getting ready to scale rapidly to create great new customer and employee experiences.”
Why should banks commit to the metaverse?
As journalist Steve Cocheo, Executive Editor at The Financial Brand, puts in his article Should You Follow Chase Bank Into the Metaverse? , “you may be skeptical about the metaverse — where avatars roam — but billions of dollars are pouring into this virtual world, and the biggest U.S. bank has joined the party”.
The biggest U.S. bank he’s referring to is J.P. Morgan Chase, which has already opened a branch in the metaverse, via Onyx the bank’s blockchain-based platform for making payments. And this isn’t the only bank exploring the opportunities this technology offers. According to the Accenture report, KB Kookmin Bank, one of South Korea’s largest banks, offers customers the opportunity to interact with financial advisors via virtual reality. HSBC is investing in a plot in the Sandvox metaverse, and Bank of America has already trained staff in using technology in a virtual environment.
The first fintech in Europe to have an active presence in the virtual world is imagin, the digital services and lifestyle platform launched by CaixaBank (one of our customers in Spain) which offers customers immersive experiences through imaginLAND.
These examples highlight how the metaverse is much more than a fad or passing trend. And it’s now backed up by research, such as studies by Goldman Sachs and Morgan Stanley, which estimate that the metaverse economy could be worth as much as $8 trillion.
The benefits of the metaverse for banks
Banks will play a key role in the metaverse just as in real life, providing the financial services we’ll need in this new environment – payments, insurance, loans and mortgages – diversifying their scope and getting access to more income. It also gives them the opportunity to come up with new products and services. But beyond these commercial activities, experts stress another key aspect the metaverse can help organisations transform and improve: the customer experience.
The metaverse represents an excellent opportunity to redefine commercial relationships and regain a more emotional connection between customers and banks, placing innovation at the service of customers. Similarly, it can also help to get the attention of younger consumers who may never have visited a bank branch for a face-to-face meeting, enticing them into a new virtual landscape brimming with potential. “The metaverse promises to eliminate the friction that exists between today’s many digital platforms and to reinvent how data moves and is used across digital experiences. It will radically change how banks interact with customers, what products and services they offer, how they make and distribute them, and how they operate their organizations”, concludes the Accenture report.
Latinia promotes innovation and disruption for an improved customer experience. As Oriol Ros, Director of Corporate Development at Latinia puts it, “Latinia Ventures makes it possible for financial startups to develop their projects, collaborating on the design of the banking of the future”.