The economy of the metaverse is maturing very quickly.

“The research we carried out among highly skilled freelancers showed that a third are working on new skills”

While there were already rumors about the digital universe at the end of last year, tech experts hope that the metaverse will soon displace the Internet as we know it. We are already seeing the emergence of the characteristics of a new economy. This means that a large portion of freelancers is already focusing on the metaverse. Thirty percent of freelancers are currently learning skills to take advantage of opportunities in the metaverse. Nearly 1 in 3 expect to benefit from the rapidly growing NFT market.

1. Consolidation

Ask Zuckerberg: The virtual world is becoming dominant. Meeting friends, visiting an amusement park, and even playing sports: soon we’ll be doing it all from home, through augmented and virtual reality, in the metaverse. For that reason, Facebook recently changed the name of its parent company to Meta. While cynics argue that the rebranding was done to quell divided discussion, the $10 billion Zuckerberg earmarked for metaverse development is clear evidence that Meta wants to play a leadership role. Others go together. Microsoft, the maker of the Xbox, recently surprised friend and foe (Sony) by taking a major hit with its purchase of game developer Activision/Blizzard for sixty billion dollars. All the major tech and gaming companies have now woken up.

2. The service offer is growing

The metaverse is a digitally engineered world, which means designers, developers, sound engineers, artists, and data analysts have a whole new market to tailor their services to. But large companies are also taking advantage of the new online environment to better collaborate without having to travel. Salesforce already meets regularly in the metaverse. We are already seeing the economy of the metaverse mature to a great extent. Not only is the number of apps increasing rapidly, but there is also no shortage of providers. A recent survey we conducted of 1,000 highly-skilled Dutch freelancers showed that a third are learning new skills to take advantage of opportunities in the metaverse.

3. Scarcity and therefore market value

One of the fastest growing markets is that of NFTs. Non-fungible tokens are inextricably linked to the metaverse. An NFT is a unique and non-replaceable digital proof of ownership. The arts and fashion industries, in particular, are seeing tremendous growth in the use of NFTs, with department stores recreating themselves in the metaverse where visitors can purchase a digital jacket or pair of shoes online. And because NFTs are unique and therefore scarce, their value increases. The most well-known platform where NFTs are traded is called Opensea, and in the best month of last year, $3.5 billion worth of NFTs were traded through Opensea. On Fiverr alone, searches for the word “NFT” increased 875% in one year. The freelancer also sees opportunities in the metaverse. Nearly 1 in 3 expect to benefit from the fast-growing NFT market and see NFTs as a serious growth market.

4. Winners and Laggards

When a market matures, like the metaverse going through puberty, there are always winners and losers. And now. Not only are giants like Sony threatening to suddenly miss the boat at the meta level, at the micro level we also see laggards and early adopters. Our research data shows that a large group of freelancers see opportunity. On the other hand, one in three is also afraid of not being able to keep up with the changing market. Nearly 40 percent fear that their services will soon become outdated. Anyone who moves in now will be able to benefit from this for a long time to come. It will also be very interesting to see what it means for the earning capacity of the self-employed. In 2020, women earned an average of nine percent more than men on Fiverr, so digitization could be an explanation, but we don’t know for sure. With the metaverse, we’re going into digitization overdrive, so we’ll soon know if the real payoff to the metaverse economy is increased equality.

5. Critique

There are already plenty of opponents to the rapidly growing metaverse economy. Critics warn of a lack of oversight of transactions via blockchain, the decentralized technology that underlies the metaverse, and NFTs. National supervisors and banks are struggling to accept the new technology and bubbles are no stranger to the NFT market. In the coming period, there will be an increasingly vigorous debate about the pros and cons of the metaverse.

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