Immersive businesses are the new trend when talking about experiences in the Metaverse, an environment where physical and digital meet through hybrid technologies. Games and entertainment industries are precursors of this new scenario, where users can interact with brands and buy products online.
What about the financial services industry? Despite the technology being already available, experts say it will take at least ten years for financial institutions to adapt and offer new customer experiences in the metaverse. Pismo attended two panels about the metaverse and the banking and payments industry during the Febraban Tech conference in São Paulo, Brazil, and brought some insights about this upcoming reality.
The end of physical interactions?
For those afraid of losing physical interactions when experimenting with the Metaverse, experts say it won’t happen. People will have lots of virtual environments where the immersion is the main feature. But real-life interactions will always be present too.
“The metaverse is an ecosystem, and we will not be experiencing the metaverse in its fullness before five to ten years. We believe it won’t replace physical contact. However, we will have better, closer, and more engaging experiences while we are physically distant,” says Duda Bastos, Business Director at Meta, the company that owns Facebook and Instagram.
When considering offering services in the metaverse, connectivity should not be the main concern for financial institutions. According to George Garrido, IT Head at F1rst Tecnologia, connecting worlds is not a problem. But we have to find practical use cases to improve customer experience.
“We are still experimenting in the metaverse. It’s an opportunity for people to take risks. The metaverse architect or engineer is the career of the future,” he says.
Thiago Dias, VP of Fintech & Enables for Latin America and the Caribbean at Mastercard, agrees with Garrido. He explains that although the metaverse is already a profitable market for transactions and payments within games, there’s still a lot to be made.
“Corporations are making inroads into experimentation and learning. But we still don’t have a concrete way of doing things, and we are not leveraging the full potential of the metaverse.”
Looking at the existing scenarios in the gaming industry, we can have an idea of how the metaverse will be designed for other services.
“The metaverse premise is that it’s not just an entertainment experience where you take on a character. Gaming has gone from entertainment and now becomes a tool for building experience and transparency in services for companies and brands. It’s a new business horizon,” says Felipe Hayashida, COO at the game company Afterverse.
Nicholas Sachhi, Head of Digital Assets Research at BTG Pactual, says that the opportunities for financial institutions are beyond building a virtual agency or booth in the metaverse.
“It’s not a physical connection, but we can call it a “face-to-face” interaction with your client. You can promote experiences you would not be able to have in the physical environment. The metaverse is a space of broad creativity where you can reinvent experiences and make them more pleasant,” he explains.
Dealing with security
Besides offering services in the metaverse, companies must consider how they will deal with security issues in this environment. Andréa Thomé, Director for Cybersecurity Solutions at NTT Data, says that financial institutions must hire professionals that can simulate risks in the metaverse and transform them into protective measures.
“In a world where we have cryptocurrency and people interacting, it is vital that we pay attention to creating processes with a built-in security mat,” she says.
Another issue is there’s still no regulation for financial transactions in the metaverse. “We’ll need to learn which laws will apply to the metaverse. We are also talking about a new culture, a new language. It’s a matter of discovery,” adds Garrido.
To Nicholas Sacchi, this is the biggest challenge to the financial services industry to succeed in this new business model of “phygital” behavior. “The regulatory framework is not ready to receive the metaverse,” he concludes.