As the metaverse disrupts the existing technological landscape, Everdome and Metahero are on a journey to create something the world has not seen yet
Mark Zuckerberg once said, “Today, I think we look at the internet. But in the future, you are going to be in the experiences.”
The “experiences” that Zuckerberg refers to are realised in what we now call the ‘metaverse’, which sounds like an idea created by sci-fi writers. A network of 3D virtual worlds blur the lines between our physical and digital lives. The metaverse allows us, or for the moment promises to allow us to do everything that we do in real life, but in a virtual world.
These could include everyday activities such as visiting shopping malls and meeting friends to far more complex tasks such as purchasing property and undergoing a medical teleconsultation in ways that feel eerily similar to the real world.
For those who have been in Web3 for some time, the metaverse is not a new concept. However, until a few years ago, virtual worlds where characters roamed around as ‘avatars’ could be seen only in games and movies. The term metaverse was coined by Neal Stephenson in his 1992 science fiction novel, Snow Crash, in which humans interact parallelly with each other and with software agents in a 3D virtual universe. Fast forward to 2022, market research firm Statista predicts the metaverse concept will no longer be a fantastical one, but instead a universe of which revenues will surge to $678.8bn by 2030.
“I like to think of the metaverse as the next evolution of not only human communication, but of society as a whole,” says Rob Gryn, chief executive officer and founder of Everdome and Metahero. “It will play a role in redefining our entire relationship with the internet, especially as we move into the Web3 era. The metaverse brings together all aspects of our society from communications to brand experiences and marketing, economic transactions with cryptocurrencies and non-fungible tokens and everything between.”
A new dawn
Gryn has always been passionate about cryptocurrency and metaverse, even during his days in Codewise as chief executive officer. He noticed a clear shift happening in the world, which is everything moving towards being enabled by increasingly intelligent technology.
He chose to launch Everdome and Metahero on blockchain, as he saw the least amount of restriction, particularly in delivering the product and idea quickly to the market. “It also offered direct access to a community that provides immediate feedback, which is every executive team’s dream,” comments Gryn.
“It’s quite exhilarating to play a part in defining the natural evolution of how we communicate and engage with each other and the world around us. So, when the opportunity arose to venture into the world of crypto and metaverse, I took it,” he adds.
The Dubai-based company, Everdome, aims to leverage Metahero’s ultra-HD photogrammetric scanning technology to bridge the physical and digital worlds allowing people to replicate real-world objects in photo-realistic 3D. This provides a platform for the creation of NFTs.
“We can accurately recreate the real world with incredible realism and photo accuracy – which you’ll see in Everdome’s hyper-realistic environment – and that opens up countless possibilities for anything and anyone. There are practically no boundaries, which makes it so exciting.”
Bridging the physical and digital world
The metaverse is free of limitations, and people will be able to explore all corners of this virtual world. They may, for example, push the boundaries of things like marketing and sales by creating immersive customer experiences. Anything in the real world can be replicated in the metaverse, and the only limit will be someone’s imagination.
The Middle East, UAE and Saudi Arabia are heavily investing into this technology. Recently, Dubai Municipality announced that it will work with private sector companies and investors to create a futuristic, human-centred version of the city that capitalises on opportunities thrown up by the metaverse. Meanwhile, Saudi Arabia said that the kingdom will invest over $6.4bn in advanced technologies, including metaverse and blockchain.
“The Middle East has a culture of early adoption and innovation, especially in the UAE and Saudi Arabia. That’s why it’s so refreshing to be here and also why we chose Hatta, in Dubai, as the virtual launch site of the Everdome mission. The UAE’s got strong interests in Mars, which made it a natural fit – and Hatta’s mountains look amazing in our metaverse,” adds Gryn.
He believes there is massive scope in the region in terms of growth potential. “People here want to be part of the latest trends, especially when it comes to technology and gaming. When people are excited about something, brands get excited too, which means they will make a move to invest in their metaverse presence. That will fuel the Web3 economy, especially in light of the push cities like Dubai are making towards blockchain and digital finance.”
Diversified business model
Officially registered in Dubai, Everdome’s business model is based on business-to-business (B2B), business-to-consumer (B2C), and peer-to-peer (P2P). The firm offers a diverse range of metaverse-related services, including digital real estate, in-game and in-verse purchases, NFT collection drops, sales and trades, using the Dome crypto token that was launched in February. Token investment is the first driver in an open crypto project or economy.
However, there are several challenges any business model faces. Gryn highlights their primary challenge to be competition. “Competition is still, but it helps a sector to thrive and provides the opportunity to stand out. There are several metaverse projects out there, but none of them are quite like Everdome. We’re setting ourselves apart with hyper-realism.”
Other challenges pointed out by Gryn include mass crypto adoption, technological scaling, and education. “Each of these challenges has its own place in how we grow and evolve. They represent areas for a potential breakthrough, especially with the kind of tech and financial systems we work within.”
Making assets valuable
The process of land acquisition in the metaverse has grown in popularity of late, both in interest and prices, notably with recent entrants such as financial companies JP Morgan and HSBC buying plots of virtual lands. According to an analysis by the Centre for Finance, Technology, and Entrepreneurship (CFTE), 8,000 land parcels were sold every month between November 2021 and January 2022 at an average transaction price of 3.5 Ethereum (equivalent to approximately $13,000).
Gryn explains how virtual real estate is the product that people invest in and how they can develop the property that has evolved with the introduction of metaverse land sales.
“From the earliest days of the internet, people have invested in domain names, which are, essentially, your own little piece of the internet. You own it; you build on it; you sell it when you want to. So in principle, buying and developing a domain name in 2D internet is much the same as purchasing and building upon the land in a 3D internet,” he adds.
He further highlights the most significant difference of what people can do with their land in the metaverse. With advances in technology and the evolution of 3D visuals, owners of the land can create incredible things with very few restrictions that can potentially enhance the value of their land, which, of course, is very similar to what they can do with physical real estate, in the real world.
However, he goes on to say that the kind of people who invest in virtual land are very varied. “There are major supporters of blockchain technology, for example, and corporations that want to build out the companies’ capabilities for a metaverse-based future, so they are prepared for the next evolution of human communication and interaction. There are also individuals, just regular people, who recognise the opportunity and are keen to invest.”
Everdome, for example, is currently selling real estate. People can invest in a piece of their version of Mars, which they can then develop as they like – just as they would in the real world. The same applies to marketing. Brands can get creative with subtle product placements, or go for a more traditional approach adapted for the metaverse, with billboards on verse streets.
Shopping in the Metamall
Meanwhile, it appears that consumers have grown accustomed to, and even expect, retailers to innovate in the metaverse. As a result, many new firms have entered the metaverse in recent months to capture customers’ attention and surprise them with innovations.
Nike is one of the brands that has taken major strides into the metaverse. Rtfkt, an entity that specialises in creating NFTs, was bought by Nike through which it will be able to build its own digital footwear and clothing. Gucci also purchased a virtual land in the SandBox in order to extend its Gucci Vault, an online concept shop, and provide a more involved consumer experience. Furthermore, Walmart also intends to wade into the metaverse, with plans to launch its own cryptocurrency and NFT collection. The store has filed multiple new trademarks indicating its intention to manufacture and sell virtual items, such as electronics, home décor, toys, and personal care products.
Additionally, Walmart stated in a separate filing that it will give consumers virtual currency in addition to NFTs. Talking about the experience of shopping in the metaverse, Gryn says, “Imagine your shopping experience in the real world, and then take away limitations such as gravity, geographical location, even restrictions such as pandemic precautions. These things don’t exist in the metaverse, making everything more accessible whenever you want it.”
For retailers, this creates immense scope to showcase their products on an entirely new level. On platforms such as Everdome, customers will be able to experience the products they want to buy on and as close to a real-to-life level as is possible right now, whether that’s trying on new clothes, exploring a holiday destination or even investing in property.
While we can’t wait to discover and explore this virtual world, Everdome has even more exciting plans for the year ahead. The company has created a three-phased strategy to roll out its tech in increments throughout 2022. “This will allow people to get in early and be part of the development as we continue to build. As they say, Rome wasn’t built in a day, Everdome won’t be built in a day, either,” says Gryn tongue in cheek.
The virtual future
Gryn envisions a future where they can allow an entire generation to experience the growth of a digital settlement on another planet, which will be something truly remarkable to see unfold. “In terms of how we’ll appeal to Gen Z and Millennials, our hook is simple – deliver the highest quality possible in the shortest time. Yes, I know that may sound like a pipe dream, and we’re under no illusions that it will be a seamless process without any setbacks, but that’s how we like to learn. It keeps us on our toes and prompts rapid innovation.”
Over the coming months, the company will also announce new partnerships that it believes will enrich the metaverse experience for everyone, bringing things that people enjoy in the real world into our digital ecosystem.
He adds, “Our goal is to create a metaverse that blurs the boundaries between reality and in-game play, and these partnerships edge us a few more steps closer to that.”
The metaverse has evolved over the years, and the market looks ready to embrace the virtual world, despite growing competition. Everdome stands ready to innovate and compete. While the current metaverse concept is only just evolving, Everdome’s agenda has readied it for the next few years which is billed to be the metaverse’s golden decade of growth.