Belgian virtual world ThreeDee focuses on business customers

ThreeDee World is a new Belgian virtual world, but different from what we are used to. It’s a photorealistic, avatar-free environment that appeals to many businesses, from food retailers to bookstores to law firms. Tax expert Michel Maus will soon also have his place there.

ThreeDee World comes from the world of digital events. In early 2020, before the pandemic measures came into force, businessman Diego Dupont started virtual job fairs in Belgium. “In March of that year, when the pandemic hit, exhibitors also asked us to organize virtual trade shows. That was a way to keep meeting customers and showcasing products,” says Dupont.

The essence

  • ThreeDee World is a virtual world that attracts business customers with its photorealism.
  • Virtual buildings are designed by architects. Embedded video can be used and products can be viewed and purchased.
  • Influencers offer, among other things, non-fungible tokens (NFTs). The leased plots are sold as NFTs to individuals and investment companies.

Dupont’s company, Fairtual Technologies, created a platform and organized its first event in August 2020. Fairtual has 15 employees. “We did a little over 80 events, good for 1 million unique visitors and a lot of interaction.”

Visually, it looks completely different than the blocky worlds of Roblox, The Sandbox, or Decentraland. Dupont uses photorealistic environments of stores, office buildings, and apartments. It is striking that avatars are not used. People appear in a circle with a profile picture. Click on that and a video window will open.



It is important that the visitor can simply visit the world in his browser and that normal WiFi is sufficient.

For Dupont it is important that the visitor can visit the world in his browser and that normal WiFi is sufficient. Optionally, the environment can also be experienced with a virtual reality headset. The world is not built by game creators, but by architects who design functional virtual buildings.

Dupont shows images of a virtual version of the Clean Sky exhibition on aviation and technology, an initiative of the European Commission. Users navigate with the arrow keys or move from panorama to panorama, like in Google Street View.

ThreeDee’s World

The virtual builds were brought together earlier this year in a virtual setting for the Benelux, ThreeDee World. Now it is expanding. The main square can already be visited, the buildings will not open until September. There is a neighborhood of apartments and penthouses for artists and influencers who want to offer non-fungible tokens (NFTs). NFTs are proprietary certificates that reside on a blockchain, a network of computers where data is stored.

Around the center there are sixty hexagons for companies and institutions. The hexagons focus on topics such as engineering or food and drink. The development, including the green areas, is inspired by the Dubai World Expo.

“You can do things effectively in buildings,” says Dupont. Letterland is a bookstore where you move using the arrow keys on your keyboard. You see books exposed as in a physical store. You can click on it to get information and read some pages. “There are also events with authors in store.” Importantly, the books can be purchased at ThreeDee.

35,000

plot of land

Investment companies buy a piece of land in ThreeDee for an average of 30,000 to 35,000 euros.

German food retailer Lekkerland has three buildings where new promotions can be viewed and ordered. “We have processed more than 4.5 million orders for Lekkerland in 500 days. That’s a big increase compared to the traditional web store.’ Currently the Lekkerland and Letterland buildings are used for events, later they can be visited permanently at ThreeDee World.

Even after the abolition or relaxation of the corona measures, the interest and use will continue to increase, says the CEO. Customers who opt for standard constructions pay a few thousand euros for this. A completely custom environment is also possible, but it will cost a few tens of thousands of euros. ‘But such a solution is reusable.’

virtual fashion shows

Apartments and penthouses are also functional. Dupont’s daughter is a model and holds fashion shows in her apartment, where clothes can also be sold. The penthouses have a meeting room with video and home cinema facilities to watch Netflix together. ‘That is a great success. We now have a network of around 600 European influencers,” says Dupont.



We now have a network of 600 European influencers.

diego dupont

CEO ThreeDee World

ThreeDee also built a virtual stadium for a major Belgian club, complete with an e-shop, additional advertising opportunities, a Mercedes event, and the sale of NFTs. ‘With those NFTs we think of digital panini stickers that you can collect. These are smaller amounts, but in France it is already working and we see that the average income of a rugby club with these cards is 178,000 euros.’

There is another use of NFTs. Once the virtual land is leased, it is put up for sale with an NFT. For 50 euros an individual can buy a plot and receive part of the rental income. Investment companies buy land for an average of 30,000 to 35,000 euros.

The interior of a house in ThreeDee World.
©The World of ThreeDee

The 600 lots in the central pavilion went on sale in February and quickly sold out. They are on a small blockchain, developed specifically for us. It is not a blockchain that anyone can join, because we want a 100 percent view of what is happening, for security.” In its own NFT market, prices are in euros and invoices are issued.



Not only will lawyers and their clients appear in the metaverse, it is also intended that students will be able to take lessons there.

Michel Maus

Professor of Taxation VUB

The ‘earth’ offered is finite. For the Benelux it is about 5,000 pitches, the rental has just started. Other countries will have their own environment, to account for different jurisdictions. France will follow the Benelux.

Dupont seeks fresh capital for ThreeDee World. ‘It’s not mandatory, but we want to be able to change quickly,’ says the CEO. Virtual activities were already profitable in 2020, the first year.

Lawyers

“In ThreeDee there will be a Law Land for law firms,” ​​says Dupont. VUB professor and lawyer, Michel Maus, confirms that the Bloom Law firm, of which he is a co-founder, will have a virtual presence on the platform from September. “We want to make it clear to our customers that we are also active in the metaverse,” says Maus. Metaverse generally refers to an interconnected set of digital environments. Not only will lawyers and their clients make an appearance there, it is also intended that students will be able to take classes there.

3 questions for Michel Maus

We asked tax expert and legal scholar Michel Maus for his take on the metaverse.

About 15 years ago, companies absolutely wanted to establish themselves in the virtual world of Second Life. What is different now?

“Second Life may have been too early and too visionary. Now I have the feeling that we are witnessing the beginning of a new internet. Many more players and big companies are involved.’

What legal issues do you see arising in the metaverse?

Think of an Irish man who tried to sell a Bored Ape-NFT on the OpenSea marketplace, but was hacked. What court has jurisdiction? Maybe the hacker is from another jurisdiction.”

‘There will also be discussions about working in the metaverse. Can an employee take his avatar with him when he leaves the company? Can the employer require someone to wear a white-skinned avatar if they have a different skin color?

Are there social problems?

‘What about the avatars of deceased people? Suppose that CD&V allows Jean-Luc Dehaene’s avatar to intervene in a debate. Technically it is possible, but what do we think of that as a society?’

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