The Roundhill Ball Metaverse ETF recently launched, so what do investors need to know? During a recent Public Live audio session, business journalist Nora Ali sat down to speak with Matthew Ball, Venture Capitalist and Founder of the Roundhill Ball Metaverse ETF, who says the metaverse is the successor to the current internet. Here’s a snapshot of the conversation.
Nora Ali: What is the metaverse?
Matthew Ball: It’s about accessing persistent virtual simulations such as VR and AR. People can interact, transact, work, and learn with each other. This is going to create new software and hardware in the industry, similar to Tinder changing dating and telehealth changing healthcare… The next step is the virtual experience, and the metaverse reflects the tech, hardware, and services required to deliver these experiences.
NA: What are the current limitations in infrastructure preventing real-time interactions in the metaverse?
MB: We’re discussing physics. Take the movie Ready Player One. We use these as a guide for what we want. A lot of these goals are not up to companies such as Roblox and Apple. It has to do with the broadband network, which wasn’t necessarily designed for maximum latency. Latency starts to get noticeable in 50 to 85 ms. At 110 ms to 150 ms, real-time experiences don’t work. Our sensitivity is higher in games than in movies… We’re shifting the goal of the internet from focusing on budget and info delivery to focusing on real-time experiences.
NA: Is a company like Facebook in danger of becoming a little bit archaic? Or are they positioned to be a leader [in the metaverse]?
MB: Zuckerburg did not use metaverse until recently, but the metaverse is now the centerpiece of the AR/VR strategy. Of the big tech companies… Facebook is the only one without an OS, meaning they don’t control the payment system, app distribution, or content distribution. Facebook sees this as an opportunity to displace some of its platforms. Facebook has 10,000 engineers working on AR and VR, and this is a critical opportunity to expand the company’s scope… you’ll see new forms of social networking.
NA: What does dating in the metaverse look like?
MB: Tinder is primarily a place to meet someone and then take the relationship offline, but Tinder is expanding into other services, such as video calling. These virtual platforms will facilitate human connection through virtual means. This will include dating experiences, which will be built into virtual simulations.
NA: PayPal and Square are in the fund, but why are they such a small exposure? What about crypto?
MB: The economy runs through payment rails that define and govern the flow of money from one entity to another. There are several rails including FedWire, chips, ACH, credit cards, peer to peer (Venmo). When we talk about the metaverse, there are no native rails yet. All payments into virtual space are being managed by PayPal, but the billing provider is Apple, PlayStation, etc. The virtual world is not really accessible through virtual payment platforms just yet… most of the dominant payment revenues are contained by the platforms in the virtual world themselves, not by a virtual payment provider. The majority of the revenue is not being generated by a virtual payment company.
NA: What does a truly interoperable metaverse look like?
MB: It requires change. Right now, the businesses in the virtual world operate independently of each other. Call of Duty and Fortnite are independent of each other; however, Roblox is interoperable. The virtual world should provide the interoperability of consumer assets. It’s about enabling entitlements to transfer… Call of Duty would recognize you have the right to own a visual and recreate your visual in their system…
NA: What does it mean for the metaverse to be the next great labor platform?
MB: It enables more and higher quality labor to occur remotely. Think about education: we can understand how it would be better in the metaverse, with teachers talking to kids and building a live recreation of historical events, such as Pompeii. Labor can be vocational, therapeutic, or [anything] into virtual environments and experiences that are easy to understand. It can disrupt industries that have not yet been disrupted. It can change labor.
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