With a stream of big names revealing their intent to be a part of this upcoming digital world, the metaverse could be a $13 trillion industry by 2030, Citi Bank said in its report.
The concept of the metaverse has been around for decades now but only caught a major break in the tech world last year when Mark Zuckerberg decided to concentrate his company’s efforts and money on building one.
The result has been a sharp rise in real estate prices in the metaverse, a trend that is expected to continue in 2022. Earlier this year, JP Morgan Chase became the first bank to set up shop in the metaverse, which it saw as a $1 trillion opportunity.
Citi’s renewed estimates
Citi’s bullish estimates come more than a month after Morgan Chase’s and have been put together after consulting experts in the metaverse space. Calling the metaverse the next iteration of the internet, the Citi report states that it will be an “open” digital world that will be owned and governed by the community and the interoperable version will protect people’s privacy by design.
Apart from the use cases in retail, art, media, and advertising that we have already seen companies talk about, Citi thinks the metaverse will also find applications in social collaboration, as well as healthcare.
Even though today the metaverse needs a virtual reality (VR) headset to be experienced, the metaverse of the future will be device-agnostic. A shift to such a metaverse that is accessible via personal computers, smartphones, gaming consoles, and other such devices could connect more than five billion people globally and reach a market potential between $8 – $13 trillion by 2030.
A mammoth task ahead
The report also points toward the major gaps that need to be addressed if this potential is to be achieved, like the major hurdle that is computational efficiency. Citi cites the latency numbers that currently exist for online gaming and video calling and states that for a truly immersive metaverse experience, the latency has to be sub-12 seconds.
This requires improvements in computing, storage, network infrastructure, and consumer hardware, all of which need major investments. Meta pouring billions of dollars into the metaverse may not look that bad now.
Citi’s report also states that the metaverse will need blockchain technologies that can deliver interoperability and seamless exchange, but even fiat money, stablecoins, and central bank-issued digital currencies (CBDCs) will find their space in the metaverse.
With money pouring in and the user base expected to swell, the industry will also attract regulators and governments that will need to formulate new rules for this new world order.
There are some exciting times ahead.