Currently, the metaverse space is looking a bit different from what people thought it’d be from the onset. As it is, many organizations, including governments, are already giving it a try. For instance, Mastercard filed 15 metaverse and Crypto trademarks in April alone. Here’s a bit of other things you should know for this week.
Nedbank Enters the Metaverse
Well, it was thought that Africa would be the last to embrace the internet. Or worse still, that they’d never go anywhere near it. Nedbank seems to be changing the narrative as it becomes the first African bank to enter the metaverse. It didn’t just sneak in there but also bought 144 plots in yet-to-be-built Ubutuland to create a virtual financial services village. The goal is to provide bespoke services tailored to meet customers’ values. The financial village will contain numerous experiences ranging from virtual gaming to a sports lounge.
Ubutuland is fast becoming a major city in the metaverse African continent, having residents like MTN, World Data Lab, M&C Saatchi Abel, and most recently, Nedbank. Some other financial institutions, like DBS Bank, HSBC, JP Morgan, and Fidelity Investments, have long settled into the 3D space. In the words of Khensani Nobanda, Group Executive for Marketing and Corporate Affairs at Nedbank Group:
“Our entry into the metaverse is not merely about having a presence in this space, it’s about meeting the needs of our clients on platforms that resonate with them.”
European Union to Launch Global Metaverse Regulation Initiative in 2023
The European Union (EU) is planning to present an initiative to regulate activities and interactions within the metaverse. This should not be seen as a ‘hijack-and-control’ thing as the union is still consulting relevant stakeholders to ensure that the move is a win-win for all. The roll out is being planned for 2023, so there’s no need for panic yet. According to a letter authored by the President of the European Commission, the proposal will present several initiatives to clarify Europe’s rules and expectations for the metaverse.
The EU is not alone on this move. Many countries of the world are in the process of integrating and adapting their regulatory frameworks and infrastructure to support the activities that are already happening in the metaverse. The move is aimed at allowing people to thrive in the metaverse, hence the need for regulations that fit the uniqueness of each people. Von der Leyen stated that as part of their digital regulation strategy, they “will continue looking at new digital opportunities and trends, such as the metaverse.”
According to Thierry Breton, Commissioner for the Internal Market of the European Union, the organization will propose several structures to address perceived issues and will create a specific institution to develop standards and increase interoperability among the different metaverse worlds. In Breton’s words:
“Private metaverses should develop based on interoperable standards and no single private player should hold the key to the public square. We will not witness a new Wild West or new private monopolies. We will launch a comprehensive reflection and consultation on the vision and business model of the infrastructure that we need to carry the volumes of data and the instant and continuous interactions which will happen in the metaverses.”
Earlier on, a coalition – the Virtual and Augmented Reality Industrial Coalition – has been formed to structure the system for group providers of technologies on which the metaverse is based, including software, middleware, other platforms, and 5G. The European Union also recently presented a project to fight counterfeiting by using blockchain technologies and NFTs.
Simulation of UAE’s Mars 2117 City to be Built in the Metaverse
The United Arab Emirates (UAE), in a bid to create jobs and inspire youths to take up careers in science, technology, engineering and maths, is planning to build a settlement on the Red Planet by 2117. However, before 2117, they are planning to build a simulation of the Red Planet in the metaverse. This project will allow users to have a glimpse of life on the Red Planet. The space centre will share data and information on space and Mars to help create this simulation. In the words of Adnan Al Rais, Manager of the Mars 2117 programme:
“As we set our sights on ever more challenging destinations for exploration with humans and robots, innovative ideas and future thinking will be critical to helping us reach new milestones. Concepts like this will be supported by Mbrsc as we believe this will help us expand our scope of bigger possibilities.”
The space centre is also building a research facility in Dubai called the Mars Science City. The Dh500 million project will enable research on the Red Planet and help carry out analogue missions — field tests that replicate deep-space travel.
Amin Al Zarouni, chief executive of Bedu, added that the UAE was leading the way in space. In his words:
“We are excited to partner with Mbrsc and are honoured to capture this spellbinding adventure to the stars using the power of the latest and greatest technologies here on Earth. With 2117 we aspire to deliver a fully experience driven metaverse that focuses on creating endless opportunities for both individuals and organisations.”