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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


Building towards an inclusive financial future



By Catharina Eklof, CCO of IDEX Biometrics


From the visually impaired to displaced migrants, the unbanked, and people living with dementia – a burgeoning financial gap exists across many areas of society. In fact, as of late 2021, almost one-third of adults around the world were reported as unbanked according to the World Bank Group. That’s around 1.7 billion people – with half coming from the poorest 40% of the world’s population. Being financially excluded in this way means not having access to common financial services including savings accounts, loans, a credit rating, or even a bank account. Those who are awaiting clearance to join a country’s financial ecosystem, such as migrants, are also finding themselves left behind by the modern financial infrastructure.

As societies reliance on digital and contactless transactions over cash continues to grow, this financial gap is only set to widen. In less than 10 years, the share of Americans not using cash for payments has increased by double digits, reaching 41%. By 2031, cash payments are expected to make up only 6% of all transactions.

Fortunately, biometric smart cards can bridge this gap for people in the Global South, migrant populations, as well as those with visual or cognitive disabilities worldwide, who deserve to feel secure, included, and independent.


The challenges surrounding passwords

 COVID accelerated the transition from cash to contactless payments and the use of digital wallets, creating a challenge for many. By 2024, it is expected that digital wallets and cards will account for 84.5% of all e-commerce spend.

Digital transactions traditionally rely on the use of PINs that can easily be forgotten, as studies have found that we manage 100 passwords on average across various sites and services. In the US alone, consumers report relationships with more than three financial institutions and have more than four accounts per household. The challenge of password recollection is only growing. To counter rising cybersecurity threats, several countries now mandate two-factor authentication for retailers and service providers, creating further complexity.
However, organizations are responding to financial exclusion. Card provider Mastercard introduced its contactless PayPass offering, as well its Touch Card developed alongside Amjan Bank which enables the visually impaired to distinguish between their cards. Both look to provide a better customer experience for people struggling with the digital changeover. For those living with dementia, Mastercard has also partnered with Sibstar and the Alzheimer’s Society to create a specific card where limits, transactions, top-ups and notifications can be viewed and managed via a complementing app. Likewise, Turkish neo bank Papara introduced a Bluetooth debit card that provides visually impaired users with audio prompts when making payments.


Protecting the visually impaired

There are at least 2.2 billion visually impaired people globally. In 2019, it was found that 89% of visually impaired have been victims of fraud or have made errors when paying for goods and services. This figure comes prior to the pandemic, and the proliferation of digital transactions, suggesting an even bigger concern today.

PINs present an obvious security issue for this demographic, with others able to oversee their inputs and then manipulate them. Contactless payments go some way to solving that problem but pose the risk of fraud as there is no PIN verification below the increasing threshold amount, now at £100 in the UK, where the average annual wage is £27,756. In India, where the average annual wage is 9,45,489 rupees (roughly £9000), contactless limits are set to 5000 rupees (£48). Many accounts also require visual-based inputs to prove identity, such as CAPTCHA, proving as a barrier for the visually impaired.

Enhancing awareness on a regulatory level is key for driving change and reassuring vulnerable groups. The EU Accessibility Act is an example of how payment service providers are obliged to comply with accessibility standards. This includes making interfaces perceivable, operable, understandable, and robust, to ensure that individuals with disabilities can effectively navigate payment interfaces.


Paving the way with biometrics

 Including braille on cards for easy identification is a crucial step for the visually impaired. This can also be used on biometrics smart cards, with sensor textures to confirm the user has selected the correct method of transacting. Not only do these cards provide convenience and inclusivity, but they also promote ultimate security by linking a person’s identity directly to their fingerprints. This data is encrypted within the card itself, reducing any concerns surrounding fraudulent behaviour or of data being lost via a centralized breach or large-scale hack.

In this context, biometrics can be used to serve the unbanked and those currently unrecognized within national infrastructures. South America is an example of an early adopter of biometrics, turning to the solution to cope with swelling population sizes, and the challenges associated with accessing proof of identity when setting up traditional bank accounts. Meanwhile in India, pension payment fraud has dropped by 47% thanks to bypassing the need for prior credit ratings or credentials.

Liveness detection, however, which ensures the biometric sensor is reading a true biometric source (rather than a false or recreated image of one), is vital to the success of financial aid programs globally. Securing remittances through biometric authentication ensures transparency and better fund control. Directing funds to cold wallets or biometrically authenticated cards can also improve program efficiency, safeguarding the interests of individuals and communities.

Overall, the biometrics market is expected to grow to US$87.4 billion by 2028, at a CAGR of 17%. Whilst its value as a simple and secure method of transacting is growing substantially, you can’t put a price on its impact on those who have so-far fallen through the gaps of finance’s digital revolution.

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Euro deep tech M&A deal value expected to reach $20bn+ in the next 15 months



Written by Oliver Warren, Associate at DAI Magister


Investment in European deep tech has mirrored the broader decline in the technology sector; it has halved since the peak of 2021’s boom, reflecting investor preferences for ventures with lower capital expenditures and associated risks. Start-ups within the following verticals: Health and Bio, Transportation, Energy, and SaaS and AI experienced the most significant drops.

However, Dealroom data shows stark differences in funding for deep tech start-ups at the early, breakout (Series B & C), and late stages. After experiencing a modest deceleration between 2021 and 2022, early-stage deep-tech fundraisings have been surprisingly healthy, bucking the market trend, due in part to the hype surrounding Generative-AI and in Q1 2023 they received the highest infusion of capital for over a year.

However, this positive trend conceals a sharp decline in B and C round fundraises, which have seen investment activity plummet to $1 billion in Q1 2023 from a peak of $3 billion in Q1 2022. Late-stage rounds (>$100M) have also experienced massive declines, falling almost 70% from $2 billion in Q1 2022 to $634 million in Q1 2023.


$20bn+ worth of deep tech M&A in the next 15 months alone

While venture capital continues to show interest in the sector, the retreat of growth investors and the genuine prospect of a prolonged down cycle ahead has left growth-stage deep tech companies needing to implement stringent cost-cutting strategies to curtail expenses and extend their runways. But even those fortunate enough to have secured inflated funding rounds during the exuberant market conditions of 2021 will soon need additional investment.

Deep tech companies typically have high burn rates due to their heavy focus on research and development, requiring funding approximately every two years on average. With dwindling access to VC cheques, a non-existent IPO market, and practical limits to self-sufficiency, M&A is already emerging as a valid route to realising substantial profits for investors and founders, even if it doesn’t deliver the lofty $1bn+ valuations seen in 2021.

We’re already seeing more companies take this route. European deep tech M&A activity has rebounded to levels not seen for years and across our focus verticals, spanning Advanced Materials, Space, AI & ML, Cybersecurity, and Robotics, European M&A transactions have already rebounded to surpass 2020 levels (183 this year, annualised versus 176 in 2020), with some notable exits such as InstaDeep’s sale to BioNTech and SLM Solutions metal 3D printing business being acquired by Nikon.

In 2024, we forecast 250+ M&A deals in European deep tech, with at least 20 above $100m, making it the strongest M&A year since 2016. A key driver of this resurgence is the substantial increase in established deep tech companies across Europe, with many more companies fielding 100+ employees and sizeable, valuable engineering teams. The funding-driven growth in the size of European deep tech companies now makes many more sizeable, more strategic targets for international acquirers.

Overall, we anticipate the remainder of 2023 and 2024 will be banner years for European deep tech M&A, with potential deal value reaching $20 billion or more in the next 15 months alone.



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