The metaverse refers to an amalgamation of digital and virtual worlds where people will be able to collaborate, socialize, shop, and even work and learn in 3D spaces. It’s billed as a more embodied or immersive way of experiencing life on the internet, and it’s tied to Web 3.0 — the next iteration of the world wide web.
The metaverse includes cryptocurrencies, video games, Web3 platforms, and much more. And with established tech companies creating countless new products and possibilities, you can even invest in the metaverse. True, the metaverse is an evolving state of technology + reality. It’s really just getting started. But for those who want to seize the moment and invest in the metaverse in its early stages, here’s what you need to know.
Birth of the Metaverse
The concept of the metaverse can be difficult to wrap your head around, and yet in many ways it’s already here. There are numerous aspects of modern life that can be considered a part of the metaverse, including virtual infrastructure, multi-player video games, non-fungible tokens (NFTs), cryptocurrencies, and more.
In fact, it’s easier to think of the metaverse in more established terms like cyberspace or Web 3.0, which describe how existing technologies are evolving in new directions. Cyberspace helped define the emergence of interconnected digital spaces and devices. And Web 3.0 is now emerging as the term of art for where the internet is headed: more experiential, decentralized, and open.
Recommended: Web 3.0 Guide for Beginners
History of the Metaverse
You could argue that the origins of the metaverse date back to the creation of the first three-dimensional image in the 1830s — a primitive system that helped pave the way for stereoscopes and even today’s VR headsets.
The idea of 3D images combined with sensory experiences led to the first virtual reality products in the 1950s. Decades later, many remember when Google unveiled “Google Glass,” which never took off, but could also be thought of as an attempt to bring the metaverse to the masses.
As a result of nearly a century of digital innovation — including science fiction stories and movies that inspired real life technologies — augmented and virtual reality technologies are now fairly common. And many companies are hard at work intertwining virtual worlds with the physical world. That’s helping to fuel new opportunities in the metaverse, and potentially a trillion-dollar market by the end of the decade.
As such, it’s easy to see why investors may be interested in exploring new opportunities in order to get in on the ground floor and invest in the metaverse now.
3 Ways to Invest in the Metaverse
If you’re ready to put your money to work and wondering, How can I invest in the metaverse?, there are a few avenues to consider — and they are similar to investing in any other industry:
1. Invest in companies or industries where business growth is related to the metaverse.
2. Invest in metaverse cryptocurrencies.
3. Invest in stocks and funds doing business in the metaverse.
For now, investors may want to consider investing in companies or industries that are focused on expanding or innovating products, technologies, and services that relate to the metaverse. In addition, there may be digital assets and currencies that will also grow as the metaverse expands.
Investors can also explore stocks of companies that are doing business in the metaverse as well as mutual funds and exchange-traded funds (ETFs) related to the metaverse,
Of course, the same caveats apply when you invest in the metaverse as when you invest in any other sector. It pays to do your research, to decide where metaverse investments fit into the rest of your financial portfolio, and to get expert guidance when needed.
Indeed, when you invest in the metaverse, even more caution may be required, given that these technologies and industries don’t have long track records.
Are There Metaverse ETFs?
Yes, there are a number of metaverse ETFs that are already available to investors.
Generally speaking, and as with many investments in the metaverse space, these ETFs offer exposure to companies working directly on technologies related to the metaverse, or in adjacent industries. Think: fintech, gaming, social media, tech giants, and similar companies.
Many of these ETFs are also being launched by established financial institutions, which can be a sign of a broader trend that investors may want to keep an eye on.
5 Metaverse Stocks to Watch For
If metaverse ETFs aren’t your preferred investment vehicle, you can buy some specific, individual metaverse stocks. Or, at least stocks that are metaverse related. Below are five of the biggest companies in the metaverse space. That doesn’t mean you should add them to your investment portfolio, but if you’re interested in the metaverse and the tech that powers it, you may want to keep an eye on these stocks:
With its new moniker “Meta,” the parent company of Facebook, Instagram, and Oculus is considered a leading metaverse-focused corporation. Meta (META) is dedicating a lot of resources to the metaverse, incorporating virtual reality, augmented reality, and more into its Oculus headsets and smart glasses. It even rolled out digital workrooms that allow users to participate in digital meetings using VR headsets. Meta is going all-in on the metaverse.
Microsoft (MSFT), the global software manufacturer, also has a large gaming division with its Xbox console and has become a leader in the metaverse. A big part of Microsoft’s activity in the metaverse space has to do with gaming and building virtual worlds, as it has been acquiring numerous video game studios (including Activision Blizzard and Bethesda, makers of popular IPs like “Call of Duty” and “Fallout,” among others) in recent years.
NVIDIA (NVDA), a semiconductor producer known for inventing the GPU, is creating what may be considered the backbone of the metaverse with its powerful processors and chips. Plus, NVIDIA also launched the NVIDIA Omniverse, which is a simulation and collaborative platform in the existing metaverse.
Autodesk (ADSK) makes software that’s used by engineers and architects to design buildings and real estate projects. Now, it’s being used to create similar digital projects in the metaverse.
Roblox (RBLX) is a video game ecosystem, where users can design their own characters, content, and games. In a sense, Roblox is a more established player in that it has already created a metaverse, with millions of people engaging in virtual experiences and creating their own virtual content. Thus may be appealing to investors in this space.
5 Metaverse Cryptocurrencies to Watch For
Similarly, here are some metaverse cryptocurrencies that may catch the eye of an enterprising metaverse investor. These are the largest metaverse cryptocurrencies by market cap, as of June 10, 2022:
1. Decentraland (MANA)
Decentraland is a popular metaverse project, and MANA is its native crypto token. Decentraland users can use MANA tokens to create and show off their NFTs, and it also allows users to buy virtual land and create other virtual assets.
2. The Sandbox (SAND)
SAND is the native token of The Sandbox platform, which is something of play-to-earn virtual game that is backed by gaming brands such as Atari. Participants can use SAND tokens to create NFTs on the platform, which is built on the Ethereum blockchain.
3. Theta Network (THETA)
The Theta Network aims to decentralize streaming services — it’s a unique blockchain that allows users to build apps for streaming, broadcasts, and more. For metaverse crypto investment outside of the Ethereum blockchain, Theta may be of interest to some investors.
4. Axie Infinity (AXS)
Axie Infinity is another play-to-earn metaverse game on the Ethereum blockchain which allows players to create little virtual creatures called Axies. They can also buy and exchange land plots, NFTs, and more in the game. AXS is the network’s native coin, which players can earn by playing.
5. Enjin Coin (ENJ)
Enjin Coin (ENJ) is a crypto that was created by Enjin, a software company that allows users to create and trade virtual goods like NFTs on the Ethereum blockchain. The coin, in effect, makes it easier to conduct in-game or in-virtual-world transactions, making it easy to see why it would be appealing to metaverse participants and investors.
The metaverse, with its rapidly expanding virtual worlds and digital assets and NBDB technologies, is just beginning to take off. Yet so many established tech companies are already in this space, there are numerous opportunities for investors to consider, including mutual funds, exchange traded funds (ETFs), stocks, cryptocurrencies, and more.
Still, investing in the metaverse has some very clear and obvious risks because this sector is so new. It’s difficult to predict which products, services, and virtual currencies might succeed, and where the inevitable hurdles for this nascent industry will arise.
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