BCG Henderson Institute

It isn’t easy to imagine today what the metaverses will turn out to be tomorrow, so gambling on the competing visions of them from Big Tech and Web 3.0 is risky. It’s more strategic for business to identify the triggers, or inflexion mechanisms, that will turn those visions into virtual reality, and track their evolution. We can see three triggers right away, each of which will take the metaverses in a different direction.

Crypto Fuel. One trigger is the evolution of crypto assets such as crypto currencies and non-fungible tokens (NFTs). Their penetration will fuel the rise of decentralized blockchain worlds, and catalyze the creation of novel business models. Several users have already paid large sums of crypto to own parts of virtual worlds such as The Sandbox and Decentraland, and the latter are using those revenues to fund their futures.

If decentralized virtual worlds end up dominating the metaverses, the players in them will have to become, at least partly, open and decentralized. Don’t forget, Roblox has had to unveil blockchain-based games in addition to those in its ecosystem, and last week, Meta (formerly Facebook) announced the introduction of NFTs in Instagram.


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