On Tuesday (February 15), J.P. Morgan revealed its interest in the metaverse by releasing a research report titled “Opportunities in the metaverse” and establishing a virtual presence in Ethereum-powered virtual world Decentraland.

J.P. Morgan’s 18-page report, which examines the “exciting opportunities” the metaverse “presents for consumers and brands”, was produced by its blockkchain division Onyx.

Here is how they explained what the metaverse is:

The metaverse is a seamless convergence of our physical and digital lives, creating a unified, virtual community where we can work, play, relax, transact and socialize. The metaverse is still early in its evolution, and there is no singular, all-encompassing definition to which people can turn. Themes of what the metaverse is and could be, however, are emerging.

A key point is that there is no one virtual world but many worlds, which are taking shape to enable people to deepen and extend social interactions digitally. This is done by adding an immersive, three-dimensional layer to the web, creating more authentic and natural experiences.

They then started talking about the economics of the metaverse or “metanomics”, which they say is “not a new term or concept”and that in fact “its origins lead back to 2007 when a Cornell professor, Rob Bloomfield, hosted a course on the subject in Second Life.” They also mention that “a key difference today is the ownership economy, driven by the advent of Web 3.0.”

Here are some numbers mentioned by the Onyx team to give everyone an idea of the opportunities the metaverse offers:

  • Transact — “Every year, $54 billion is spent on virtual goods, almost double the amount spent buying music
  • Socialize — “Approximately 60 billion messages are sent daily on Roblox
  • Create — “GDP for Second Life was about $650M in 2021 with nearly $80M USD paid to creators
  • Own — “Non-fungible tokens (NFTs) currently have a market cap of $41 billion
  • Experience — “200 strategic partnerships to date with The Sandbox, including Warner Music Group to launch a music-themed virtual world

Near the end of the report, they talk about their approach to the metaverse:

The success of building and scaling in the metaverse is dependent on having a robust and flexible financial ecosystem that will allow users to seamlessly connect between the physical and virtual worlds. Our approach to payments and financial infrastructure will allow that interoperability to grow.

We believe the existing virtual gaming landscape (each virtual world with its own population, GDP, in-game currency and digital assets) has elements that parallel the existing global economy. This is where our long-standing core competencies in crossborder payments, foreign exchange, financial assets creation, trading and safekeeping, in addition to our at-scale consumer foothold, can play a major role in the metaverse.

We are building and scaling new emerging technologies to modernize infrastructure and business models including but not limited to tokenization and digital identity, as we strive for perpetual innovation and better ways to organize financial transactions and payments in the decentralized web.

Yesterday, J.P. Morgan also announced that it had become the first major bank to enter the metaverse by establishing a virtual presence called “Onyx Louge” in Decentraland. As The Block reported, this location “features an image of bank CEO Jamie Dimon, which transforms into a jpeg image of Onyx’s Christine Moy.” Moy is Global Head of Liink, Crypto & Metaverse at Onyx.


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