The Metaverse is Shaping The Future
What is the Metaverse?
While it’s still hard for experts to pin down an exact definition of the Metaverse, many describe its current state as an up-and-coming digital universe that parallels the real world. This immersive environment will contain, among other things, digital replicas of real-life locations and simulations like concerts and art galleries. Essentially, it’s a three-dimensional version of the internet where people can have a digital life aside from their real physical life. Users can log on to the Metaverse, create an avatar, and engage with other users in various environments and methods. This can include having virtual meetings, playing games, or attending virtual events such as concerts. As the Metaverse evolves over time, it is expected to develop more parallels with the real world in how users can interact with each other, such as trading goods and services or even having virtual relationships.
It is projected that the Metaverse will slowly start to appeal to businesses since it is immersive and hyper-realistic. By 2024 the Metaverse is projected to become an $800 billion market, with tech giants investing big money into making it a complete virtual reality. This includes the ability to hold and buy digital assets on the blockchain. This means the Metaverse offers opportunities for businesses to interact with clients digitally and increase exposure.
The Metaverse is made up of augmented reality (AR), virtual reality technology (VR), and brain-computer interfaces (BCI). This digital platform is made up of several virtual worlds. Currently, the primary virtual worlds that have made a name for themselves as the early parts of the Metaverse are Decentraland, Sandbox, CryptoVocels, and Somnium. These digital worlds contribute to the vision for the Metaverse as a 3-D version of the internet, although virtual worlds like these will only be a part of the puzzle.
Impact on Social Media and Social Marketing
How will social media be affected by the Metaverse? Well, the Metaverse is coined as the next evolution of social connection. Big brands like Apple and Nike are taking part in it, but the predominant leader is Facebook. Facebook and Instagram recently rebranded to Meta, which is short for the Metaverse.
As Facebook is a leader in social media, it rebranded to help build the Metaverse. In addition to this move, brands are starting to use the Metaverse for marketing purposes. For example, a user’s avatar can have t-shirts branded with specific clothing companies. Facebook’s virtual world, Horizon, is also a big part of this change. Marketers are predicting that Horizon will primarily focus on networking, investing, and retail.
Law Firms in the Metaverse
The Metaverse has more brands entering every day since they offer the same thing the internet did in the early days: the ability for early adopters to join quickly and easily. This serves as an opportunity for law firms and other businesses to increase exposure and reach clients they may not typically have access to. While there are some opportunities the Metaverse presents that are worth considering, there are still downsides to investing in this technology that firms will need to consider before making a decision.
Current Metaverse Opportunities
With the COVID-19 pandemic, the challenge of meeting clients and networking was a struggle for most firms. Many shifted to hybrid or remote working. Rather than using software like Google Meet or Zoom, the Metaverse offers another way to interact and access both a firm’s internal team and clients virtually. The Metaverse also provides improved privacy and confidentiality. Since each user in the Metaverse has a unique, self-designed avatar, it offers users more anonymity. Individuals seeking a criminal attorney, or who are nervous to reach out to any law firm, may be attracted to this aspect of the Metaverse.
Metaverse legal cases may also be a significant opportunity for law firms. The Metaverse is a virtual world that will come with virtual legal issues related to relationships, businesses, and property ownership that may also need to be handled virtually. As cases like this occur more frequently, law firms will need to operate in the Metaverse in order to have an understanding of the virtual legal issues. Some examples of legal issues those in the Metaverse might face are Metaverse marriage certificates, Metaverse divorces, property disputes, and trademark conflicts surrounding non-fungible tokens (NFTs). Of course, a firm can choose not to join the virtual space, but it’s beneficial to understand how it works if their client needs help in regard to it.
Current Metaverse Challenges
In addition to the upsides of entering the virtual world with your firm, there are many challenges that could make the decision to commit to a Metaverse office not right for you. One of the most notable challenges is not having the infrastructure to target new clients based on their physical location in the real world. If your practice is only able to serve clients in one state, you could have people from across the country or even other parts of the world filling up your intake systems and making it significantly harder to identify new clients you are legally able to serve.
Another notable challenge is that while the Metaverse is a hot topic right now and growing in its user base by the day, we are still in the early stages of this technology. This means that any individuals in the Metaverse are early adopters that may not be your target clientele. As the Metaverse continues to grow and take shape over the coming years, this will likely change. But until then, investing in being in the Metaverse can be a costly commitment with a potentially limited return on investment.
What’s to Come for the Metaverse?
Since the law tends to be a step behind technology, the Metaverse will have additional legal implications. Some are already known, and some have not been explored yet. With the digital world catching on in the legal industry, real-world law could apply in the Metaverse. For example, VR or AR could be used to hold court sessions or client meetings. There are still a few areas of the Metaverse that the law has to figure out, such as invasion of privacy, unregulated spaces, compromised data, and even fraudulent transactions.
While there isn’t much research on law firms and the Metaverse, the landscape is always evolving. Due to this expansion, there will be an increase in new legal issues, and clients in the Metaverse can benefit from having law firms to help. Although much is still unknown, firms should make their own decisions and gently start testing the waters with the Metaverse over the next few years.
Before jumping on the bandwagon, the biggest question to think about is are your clients there? Would they look for you on the Metaverse? If the answer is yes, then dive in.
What is the Metaverse?
In its current stage, the Metaverse can be defined as a virtual-reality space in which users can interact with a computer-generated environment and other users. However, a common misconception is the Metaverse is a single virtual world or place. Instead, the Metaverse is a catch-all term that refers to multiple virtual environments that allow users to interact with each other in a more immersive environment than existing mediums. At the moment, this mostly takes the shape of virtual worlds that resemble video games.
Is it personalized?
The Metaverse is a shared virtual world that users and investors can influence collectively. However, users do have personalization options when it comes to their digital assets such as avatars, virtual land, and other NFTs specific to a user.
Is there currency?
Each virtual world currently uses its own cryptocurrency. As the Metaverse evolves and existing virtual worlds become interconnected, there will likely become a universal cryptocurrency. For the time being, the currency is specific to the virtual world a user chooses to be involved in.
What is an NFT?
An NFT (non-fungible token) is a unique digital good that you own. For example, a plot of land, the avatars you use, and the branded materials you create.