The metaverse has a trust problem.

The concepts of ‘metaverse’ and ‘NFT’ are reaching a wide audience. But the metaverse is seen primarily as a form of entertainment with a trust issue, according to a Belgian study.

Roughly seven in ten Belgians (69%) say they understand what the metaverse is, according to Sortlist. That Belgian platform, which connects businesses with marketing, web, and creative agencies, surveyed 1,000 respondents over the age of 18 in Belgium, Germany, Spain, France, and the Netherlands about the metaverse. About 56 percent said “it’s a virtual world,” which the researchers interpreted as correct.

start the metaverse

What exactly is the metaverse? How will it change our lives and our work? In addition to attending exclusive parties, can you also invest, build and invest there? Who makes the rules in this new virtual world? Which Belgian companies have already discovered the opportunities of the metaverse? De Tijd guides you through the metaverse with articles and podcasts. Follow all in our ‘Home to metaverse’ archive.

Virtual world

What is the metaverse is not an easy question, because definitions vary. The metaverse is often equated with “a virtual world”, but in a broader definition it refers to a set of virtual environments, where users can easily travel from one world to another with their avatar and digital assets. There may also be a link to physical reality through applications where digital elements are mixed with that physical reality.

Also in Belgium, 13 percent saw a link between the metaverse and web3, meaning a decentralized web often based on blockchain technology. Think of non-fungible tokens (NFTs), certificates of ownership that sit on a blockchain. They are used in a number of virtual worlds. European respondents aged 54+ knew better that the metaverse was a virtual world (63%) than 25-34 year olds (59%).

Both in Belgium and throughout the region where the research was conducted, the largest percentage, 20 percent, believe that the metaverse is a way to escape from the real world. The global survey also shows high expectations: 17 percent see the metaverse as ‘the future’.


European respondents over the age of 54 knew better that the metaverse was a virtual world (63 percent) than younger users between the ages of 25 and 34 (59 percent).

But for that future, many obstacles must be overcome, including a lack of trust. The majority of surveyed users do not trust a virtual world. In Belgium, only a quarter of those surveyed indicated that they would trust a virtual world.

There is, however, a difference between the age groups. Among users aged 25 to 34, the majority would trust a virtual world. Among users over the age of 54, 88 percent are not confident. It is precisely this larger group that has a greater understanding of what the metaverse means, as Sortlist points out.


Three-quarters of Belgians surveyed indicated that they know what NFTs are. Belgium takes the cake with this.

There is also a surprising correlation between awareness and caution in NFTs. Three-quarters of Belgians surveyed indicated that they know what NFTs are. Belgium takes the cake with this. In the European survey, nearly 60 percent say they are aware, with men at 76 percent and women at 46 percent.

However, Belgian respondents also seemed to be the most cautious about NFTs. Only 17 percent of respondents think about investing in NFTs, 83 percent do not.

Sortlist also surveyed 200 brands in Europe and the United States that
they have already started investing in the metaverse. Those companies see virtual worlds as places that are geared primarily toward digitally savvy young men and big brands.

The essence

  • A European survey shows that the concepts of ‘metaverse’ and ‘NFT’ are permeated by a wide audience.
  • The largest percentage view the metaverse primarily as entertainment.
  • There is a lack of trust in virtual worlds, especially among older respondents.

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