While the COVID-19 pandemic led to a dramatic loss of human life worldwide and presented an unprecedented challenge to public health, food systems, and the world of work, the economic and social disruption it caused is devastating. The pandemic has accelerated some cultural trends that need to be in place for the creation of the metaverse.
Kiran Dommeti, founder of Asgard DAO, says that while the adoption of the metaverse was inevitable, the pandemic sped up the timeline amid social, educational and economic opportunities. Asgard has launched a decentralised autonomous organisation (DAO) to bring the metaverse, decentralised finance (DeFi) and non-fungible tokens (NFTs) on one platform.
In an interview to Moneycontrol, Dommeti spoke about the future of metaverse, the rise of crypto and blockchain companies amid COVID-19, and the future of gamification. Edited excerpts:
Where do you see the metaverse going from here, especially in the post-pandemic world?
As the metaverse develops, it will erase the issue of geography for business interaction. We will see growing numbers of companies ‘getting on the metaverse train.’ I think more people will start to build their own little metaverses and it will start to become more of a reality. We are at the ground floor of the metaverse gravy train.
Although Facebook’s metaverse may well be one of the biggest when it launches, swathes of other big-name brands are joining the race to build their own. However, while the technology that will support individual metaverses is still under development, companies that can afford it are using existing online gaming platforms as a way in. Nike, for example, has already set up its own virtual world, or metaverse, called Nikeland within a platform called Roblox. Roblox is used by millions of (mostly young) people around the world who create an avatar and interact in a user-generated 3D world. Players can create their own games as well as buy, sell and create virtual items which can be used to decorate their avatar. If all this sounds intriguing, it really is. Sit back, relax and enjoy the journey – it has just begun!
Did the prolonged pandemic have something to do with the sudden rise of cryptocurrency and blockchain companies worldwide, or was it inevitable?
Adoption of the metaverse was inevitable, but the pandemic sped the timeline up by years. Social, educational, and economic opportunities are abundant. It just so happens that we have that power, of a sort, and our need to escape a pandemic-burdened world is propelling us forward into a disease-free alternative reality. Of course, I mean that we’re all headed into the metaverse to do almost anything imaginable, both exotic and routine. The pandemic has hastened the acceptance of the online concept, be it e-learning, online meets, online gaming, and even the metaverse. Travel restrictions have just about bumped up the metaverse ecosystem as we find new ways to travel, collaborate and conduct business.
There is no doubt that the metaverse as a mirror to real-life was inevitable, with friends and family constantly scattering to the winds as they chase better jobs, opportunities to own homes, and other goals. Social media is great for staying in touch, but it leaves a lot to be desired. A mirror world, where things are as real as you want them to be, was already the answer to that problem, but as long as it was safe and easy to travel, only a few people explored the metaverse as a social alternative.
It’s easy to see how the pandemic pushed the metaverse along on its adoption timeline, much like it did for other settled, but growing, tech revolutions, like e-commerce. The entire world is looking at ways to use metaverse platforms to fulfil social needs that have been neglected at home, work, and school. This spells a huge opportunity for anyone who makes smart investments in these brave new worlds.
Where do you see the gamification world headed from here?
The next few years promise huge advances in mobile technology, including the widespread availability of 5G in major urban areas. Retail apps, particularly those that have physical shops, will look for ways to use this cutting-edge tech to gamify their app offerings.
The benefits of augmented reality (AR) can be fully harnessed through 5G technology and opens up many exciting gamification opportunities. In one scenario, an AR screen overlay could be used in the style of PokemonGo! and guide shoppers through a physical store where they might search for hidden discounts or collect coupons. In another, fashion apps could use AR to give customers a virtual makeover and allow them to ‘try on’ outfits without ever having to enter a changing room.
The NFT intervention will add a new layer in collectibles and with the metaverse trend, all dovetail into a whole new world. Gamification, NFTs may be at a polarised juncture now, but all that’s changing – and rapidly so!
What are your views on India taxing crypto investments but not legalising it as a tender?
The understanding that India has proposed a tax on cryptocurrency proves its legitimisation, meaning that crypto is not just speculation but something people can use in their daily lives. Asgard DAO will honour the boundaries set by the government and operate within the rules and regulations. Moreover, talk about the new central bank digital currency (CBDC) for India will play a huge role in initiating the fourth industrial revolution.
The Asgard DAO launch is bringing the metaverse, decentralised finance and non-fungible tokens together under one roof. How will it help blockchain and crypto enthusiasts?
Asgard DAO is opening up avenues never seen before. A health buffet of NFTs, DeFi, and the metaverse (or should we say “MetaFI”) means more excitement. For blockchain and crypto enthusiasts, it opens up a new world of opportunities where we will be gamifying their liquidity needs. For the traditional gamer, we are liquefying their gaming needs.
Asgard exists as a synergy between the needs of different types of users. Whether they are investors, gamers, crypto enthusiasts, the DeFi community, or people looking to explore a new vertical of entertainment in their lives, Asgard is one platform for all.
Moreover, we are backed by Stablecoin, free from volatility even in a bear market. This ensures that users of Asgard can explore the new world of digitisation without any concerns related to volatility.
Tell us about the DAO launch, the vision behind it and why it is called Version 2?
Asgard was built with a vision of providing more sophisticated decentralised financial services… Asgard DAO aspires to enable financial freedom for the global community.
With the ever-growing crypto and DeFi space, Asgard has launched Version 2 of its protocol with enhanced features and functionalities. We released version 2 on February 13 and already received an amazing response from our global community.
How big a team do you have now? Any plans of hiring in the near future?
Our community is our team. The core developers, marketers and researchers are from across the world but since we aspire to be the biggest DAO, we consider each and every member of our community as our team.