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The Metaverse – redefining our reality?



– Joel Skipper, D2 Legal Technology

It’s all well and good hearing that the metaverse is the next big thing, but just what is it? Rather than viewing the metaverse as some abstract land, it’s best to see it as the next evolution of the internet and how we will use it. In short, the metaverse is the internet in 3D.[1] Essentially, the purpose of the metaverse is to blur the lines between the digital and physical world through the adoption of augmented and virtual reality.

The platform is made up of four building blocks. First, the space which is to be a shared virtual world with multiple layers that people can access via the internet. Second, the interface itself, which utilises augmented and virtual reality through headsets (and once technology catches up, potentially mobile devices as well). Through this technology, the user is transported from the physical world into the digital. Third, the monetary infrastructure which looks to in-game tokens and cryptocurrencies allowing for digital payment methods. This is a vastly growing ecosphere and one that will play a fundamental roll in the metaverse.  Fourth, the ‘compute’ which refers to the enablement and supply of computing power.  That is to say, the compute is the software which brings objects into 3D.

The applications are near limitless.  If you’ve ever read Ernest Cline’s Ready Player One, or watched the Steven Spielberg adaptation thereof, you know what we mean. It paints a brilliant illustration.

Use cases of the metaverse include, but are not limited to:

–           Virtual advertising

–           Education

–           Healthcare

–           Social commerce

–           Digital events and concerts

–           Tourism

–           Public services

Microsoft has already begun its venture into the space through its ‘HoloLens’, which is the headset Microsoft designed to be used in the healthcare industry as a means of reducing costs and enabling face to face patient interaction – a feature which was particularly helpful during the pandemic.[2] Headsets also allow people to play sports, such as tennis against each other from anywhere in the world.[3]

The Investment Opportunity

The crypto space is one that is rapidly being adopted, to the extent that it is now comparable to the growth seen in the early days of the internet, from the 1990s, to early 2000s. Imagine, if you will, looking at Google’s stock in 2004, back when their IPO offered shares at $85, and fast forward five years and that same stock is worth $230. Ten years later it’s $573 per share. Now it trades at over $2000. Google’s expansion came alongside the growth of the internet: as more and more people adopted the technology, more and more users moved to Google. It is an incredibly fast-growing space, from 413 million users in the year 2000, to over 4.9 billion today.

Compare that to the metaverse. The metaverse represents an evolutionary, rather than revolutionary, step of the internet. The metaverse ecosystem encompasses various areas that are seeing massive growth with users increasing at a rate of over 100% a year.[4]  The metaverse has also been predicted to build an economy worth $8 to $13 trillion by 2030.[5] Of course, all of this depends on mass adoption which requires the requisite technology to be implemented.

The growing exposure of the metaverse makes its further expansion a near guarantee. But don’t just take our word for it, Epic Games has raised over $1bn in private capital funding to accelerate its building work in the area, and of course Microsoft has also spent near $70bn in its acquisition of Activision Blizzard.[6] Finally, Facebook, in October 2018, changed its name to Meta, making a statement of their intention to expand into the space. These tech giants are at the tip of the spear in developing the tools to build the metaverse.[7]

The Platform

So just how will this platform operate?  To understand this, one needs to understand ‘Web2’, a well-trusted and frequently used platform which would create a ‘closed’ metaverse.  Web2 is what the likes of Facebook, Google, Amazon and the like operate on. It allows for the operation of cookies and password sharing – the little things that make the internet experience that bit smoother.  But a key feature of Web2 is that these companies act as a central point for data to flow.

Evolving from this, Web3 represents the next iteration of the internet which moves away from these central data points.  The platform is built on the principle of decentralisation; it’s community owned and governed, interoperable and ensures privacy by design. This is important, and especially from a privacy standpoint. VR and AR technology has an ability to collate a great amount of data to an intrusive extent. For example, the VR technology may observe things like hunger cues and use that information to trigger food advertisements. In a Web2 metaverse, based primarily on privacy by policy, monetisation of data is far more likely to follow the same patterns of Web2 we see today, but on a platform that can allow for far more invasive methods.

Web3, on the other hand, would be decentralised. This means that there isn’t the same ability to monetise data. Web3 is blockchain-based, peer-to-peer and has sign-in wallet utilisation with decentralised storage. In simple terms, your data goes from A to B within a decentralised system.  In a centralised system, like in Web2, data moves from A to C who can store and monetise said data and then send it back out to B.


Regulation: Governments need to develop the regulatory structure to tackle the challenges that the metaverse will pose.

Points of focus will be regulating:

  • Harmful and illegal content
  • User privacy
  • Ownership
  • Competition and Antitrust

 Accessibility, Scale and Technological Shortcomings

There are a few issues that stand out.  Web3 is still in its infancy and thus lacks the required size and capabilities to build the metaverse. Currently 6.64bn people have access to a smartphone.[8] With such widespread adoption of the devices, it is likely mobile phones will be a gateway into the metaverse, although improvements need to be made before this can happen.  For example, widespread access to 5G is required to have the requisite speed needed to operate on the system. But with such vast numbers of people operating on a smartphone and adoption being a key consideration to stimulate cashflow, the portable device will more than likely have a role to play in the metaverse.

Additionally, latency is very low.  ‘Latency’ is the time it takes data to travel from point A to point B and back.  For the metaverse to provide a realistic experience, speeds need to increase from their current 170 milliseconds (ms) to 133ms for the average user, and 83ms for more demanding programs.[9]

Further, investments need to be made into hardware, networking, processing power and data to reach the capacity levels required to operate in the metaverse. Experts in the field, such as Raja Koduri mentioned that there needs to be a 1000x increase in computation efficiency from today’s state.[10]

The Takeaway

The metaverse has a variety of uses that are becoming more realistic and within reach as time goes on. However, there are still shortcomings and decisions that need to be made to allow the metaverse to come into fruition.  Many of these decisions will impact the development of the platform and our experience of it – or, dare I say, shape up what is reality.


[1] Deloitte, What is the Metaverse, 2022
[2] Microsoft, Enhance Patient Treatment, 2022,
[3] The University of Edinburgh Business School, The Power of Virtual Reality,
[4] Mail & Guardian, Crypto in 2022: From crypto adoption outpacing the internet, to which sectors are worth watching out for, and everything in between, 25 Jan 2022,,1%2Dbillion%20users%20by%202024
[5] Citi GPS, Metaverse and Money: Decrypting the Future, March 2022, pg. 4
[6] Microsoft New Center, Microsoft to acquire Activision Blizzard to bring the joy and community of gaming to everyone, across every device, Jan 18 2022,
[7] Other noteworthy companies include: Pixelynx, Crucible, Mythical, Hadean, Nvidia and Manticore
[8] Ash Turner, How many Smartphones are in the World?,world’s%20population%20owns%20a%20smartphone.
[9] Supra 5, Sri Iyer, CEO and Founder of game performance, pg. 65
[10] Supra 5, pg. 69


How app usage can help brands increase their online revenues and customer retention



Arunabh Madhur, Regional VP & Head Business EMEA at SHAREit Group


Brands are continuing to invest heavily in the e-commerce market despite current market and economic challenges – and they need to. Indeed, the current global e-commerce market is valued at around $5.5 trillion. Further to that, estimates show that online retail sales will reach $6.7 trillion by the end of 2023 – and e-commerce making up 22.3% of those sales.

So despite the economic and market climate, businesses must still plan for success and cater to customer demands to make the most of the global e-commerce opportunity.


Mobile apps are key

Mobile apps are now a fundamental component of retail, as they provide customers with a convenient and engaging way to shop from their phones. The past couple of years has been rocket fuel for digital transformation, providing an opportunity for the retail industry to innovate. Whilst global trends continue to point to the user growth of Facebook, TikTok and Instagram, the trends underneath the headlines highlight significant opportunities to drive new customer acquisition, which in turn demands a targeted customer retention strategy from companies.

According to research from Baymard Institute, 69.82% of online shopping carts are abandoned and with demand expected to continue, pressure is growing on retailers to expand current offerings and create personalised experiences to tackle this. One of the big challenges e-commerce companies face, though, is analysing and maximising the behaviour of users, and bringing down the cost of their marketing and engagement against how much is earned through a customer making a purchase.

To meet customer demand, mobile apps offer a variety of features such as push notifications, product recommendations, exclusive discounts and offers, and easy checkout processes, to make the shopping experience easier for customers. By leveraging the power of mobile technology, brands can create an immersive shopping experience tailored specifically to their customer’s needs, and this in turn helps increase customer loyalty, customer return rates, and maximise online revenue.


Re-targeting and re-engaging customers

Brands should focus on re-engaging with returning consumers through a personalised strategy as this can help increase the lifetime value of users, which in turn helps brands bring the cost of their marketing down knowing that brand loyalty has been achieved. According to research from Google and Storyline Strategies study, 72% of consumers are more likely to be loyal to a brand if they offer a personalised experience.

Optimising the online shopping experience is crucial in retaining customers. Today, consumers need a more ‘human’ touch, i.e., smart product suggestions based on buying history & behaviour that helps build a one-to-one relationship between brand and buyer. In particular, push notifications haven’t just enhanced personalisation but also increased app engagement by up to 88%. Push notifications have also proven to get disengaged users back, too, with 65% returning to an app within 30 days of the push notification.

Another strategy to consider is the option of adding buy now pay later (BNPL) options at checkouts for customers. Brands that add the option of financing at the checkout allow customers to spread the cost over time, which according to Klarna has resulted in a 30% increase in checkout conversation rates.

Publisher platforms allow brands to leverage their reach and sticky user base. Especially with open platforms such as SHAREit, which can help e-commerce brands create a strong revenue conversion with higher average order value with unique retargeting and user acquisition solutions. Because users are not just sharing product links, but also sharing e-commerce apps and deals among their community. Users of these publisher platforms are also encouraged to share products and apps through platform activities.


What the future of e-commerce holds for brands

E-commerce is positioning itself as a key facet in retail, and its future. With Advancements in technology, customers can access various products and services worldwide through their smartphones – making shopping more accessible than ever. Brands must put consumers at the heart of everything they do, like never before. Offering incentives and payment options, personalising customers’ experiences and re-engaging them, as well as targeting new customers, in an effective and un-intrusive way, are all ways in which they can influence purchasing decisions and improve retention figures.


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Does the middle market have a financial edge?  



Ilija Ugrinic, Commercial Solutions Director at Proactis


Companies tend to look up the ladder when searching for ways to improve efficiency and business performance. What are larger competitors, or others outside their industry, doing right that they can learn from and implement?

What smart technologies or bright ideas do they have that could create efficiencies for them, too?  

As we enter yet another likely volatile year for business, punctuated by recession, should businesses continue to only look up? And could the approach of a slightly smaller business offer more of a competitive edge? 

Large corporates tend to pioneer innovation in automation by simple virtue of the resources they have. Home to transformation directors and departments, with the ability to implement large overarching software systems, they pave the way for others and are often the first to digitise their source-to-pay cycle at pace. 

Ilija Ugrinic, Commercial Solutions Director at Proactis

While growing businesses understand the merits of full automation, implementing it is often too expensive and it doesn’t bring the rapid realisation of benefits that they need. They need to consider what will bring them the biggest return on investment – and the reality is that those in the middle market don’t necessarily need all the elements of an ‘all-doing’ piece of software. What’s more, without dedicated personnel to project manage a transition, they frequently lack the currency of time to be able to comfortably transform working practices, and take staff with them on the journey, without taking resource from other areas of the business.  

For SMEs, digital transformation has never been quite as seismic a shift. Instead, they tend to take a modular approach, employing digital solutions only for particular areas of their finance department, where they need them. This has never been a particularly strategic move. Rather, for a growing business that values quick results and watches their outgoings with greater scrutiny than their larger counterparts, it’s something that suits them better. A modular approach also comes with very little disruption and can be implemented relatively seamlessly into their existing organisational setups. 

But while growing businesses are opting for a modular approach because it’s the most cost and time effective option for them, the benefits go far beyond that. The beauty of a modular approach is that it is agile. The last three years – with pandemics, an increasingly challenging climate and shifting geopolitical tensions impacting our global economy – have only served to remind us of how suddenly, and drastically, a business landscape can change. The companies that have weathered the storm are those that have reacted and adapted quickly – those that have been capable of changing the way they do things with little impact on day-to-day operations. A modular approach can offer just that.  

Businesses using modular finance technology can integrate small solutions that sync up with the rest of their processes, quickly and seamlessly – and these systems can be integrated into their existing Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP), too. There’s no restriction of a monolithic or aging piece of software either – finance teams can add and update small solutions to their daily operations without the upheaval of having to replace or update large IT infrastructures or wider working practices within the business to accommodate the new software.

Unrestricted by entrenched and hard-to-change systems, the speed with which SMEs are able to react to market changes is miles ahead. A prompt software add-on to manage risk, or create a quick fix in response to a market shift, can be virtually a knee-jerk reaction. SME’s abilities to bend and flex to today’s world efficiently is seeing them reap the benefits of a modular approach. It’s lean, it’s fast and it’s facilitating their growth with a strong competitive edge. And as some of these companies’ growth propels them into the large corporate sphere, they’re choosing to keep a modular approach to finance.  It will certainly be interesting to watch those middle-sized companies which grow to the extent that they find themselves competing in the same space. With no financial remodelling to assume a large ‘all-doing’ piece of software, they’ll be competing against their counterparts with completely different tools in their arsenal.  

With technology, working life and business needs continuing to change day to day, we have another year ahead of us that will see companies running to keep pace with each other – and fast-growing companies’ approach to finance could be the silver bullet that enables them to catch up with, and even take on, big enterprises. It might just give them a competitive edge against large corporates in these turbulent times.

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