By D. Connie Garzon – M.B.A., C.B.A.
Remember those days before COVID when Zoom was a tool not many people used?
According to Forbes, by December 2019, Zoom had 10 million daily participants. However, by October 2020, the video conferencing platform had 300 million users who were logging in to this virtual platform of human communication while being isolated or quarantined in their homes because of the rapidly unfolding pandemic. Who would have thought the growth of this company would have exploded from such a tragic moment in history? After a such moment, we cannot take things for granted. As a business consultant, I feel the need to educate myself and our clients on emerging technologies that will affect the way we conduct business in the cyber world. There are a lot of technologies that are emerging that, like Zoom, will have a significant impact if an opportunity arises. Given that a third of my career has been in the banking system I would like to expand on Cryptocurrency and the Metaverse.
What is cryptocurrency? A cryptocurrency is a digital currency, which is an alternative form of payment created using encryption algorithms. As of March 2023, there are around 8,832 active cryptocurrencies and 300 million cryptocurrency users throughout the world.
What is the Metaverse? The metaverse is a combination of virtual reality with the digital economy. For instance, if you are a video game player and you need to have an avatar, the metaverse technology will allow you to dress the avatar with your favorite brands, like NIKE, Adidas, Lululemon, and more. You can even create an environment with accessories from famous brands like Home Decor or Bed Bath and Beyond. However, you cannot use those brand names without paying. You must pay! You pay for the right to use those brands using blockchain and crypto tokens.
Now, if you are a graphic designer and if you designed a piece of furniture or a filter for Facebook, Snapchat, or Instagram with virtual reality technology, you can record it on the Blockchain as a VR NFT – Virtual Reality Non-Fungible Token or an AR NFT which is a digital art that involves augmented reality tech. AR is a technology that projects virtual 2 or 3-dimensional onto physical objects. If you are reading this article and you are already lost due to so many new terms, I will explain to you what each one is.
Cryptocurrency and the Metaverse are the beginning of understanding what makes up the future of digital currency. Along with knowing this, you must understand the following terms as they add to the complete puzzle of digital assets.
What is Blockchain: A digital ledger of every transaction on networks like Bitcoin and Ethereum. There are four main types of blockchain networks: public blockchains, private blockchains, consortium blockchains, and hybrid blockchains. The network does not have any central point. Who owns it? According to TradeSmart, “nobody owns blockchain technology, and yet, everybody owns it. That is one of the unique features of blockchain tech, and this collective ownership and accountability are what makes blockchains very secure and immutable.”
What is Bitcoin: According to Investopedia, Bitcoin (BTC) is a virtual currency designed to act as money and a form of payment outside the control of any one person, group, or entity, thus removing the need for third-party involvement in financial transactions. It is rewarded to blockchain miners for the work done to verify transactions and can be purchased on several exchanges. Bitcoin is no longer the only virtual currency in circulation. Other leading virtual currencies include Tether, Ethereum, and Litecoin.
What is Ethereum: “Ethereum is a decentralized, open-source blockchain with smart contract functionality. Ether is the native cryptocurrency of the platform. Among cryptocurrencies, ether is second only to bitcoin in market capitalization. Ethereum was conceived in 2013 by programmer Vitalik Buterin. Wikipedia
What is NFT: A non-fungible token is a form of exclusive and unique digital asset, regularly described as “digital art.” NFT ownership is recorded on the blockchain. Example: digitized types of physical collectibles like baseball cards, images, games, etc.
What is AR: Augmented Reality is an interactive experience where real-world objects are enhanced by computer-generated information. AR influences tools like custom glasses computers, webcams, and cameras and links the virtual world with the real world.
If you are a business owner, you must educate yourself on these new technologies and start working on making your company accessible to the new generation who are trying to buy your products with Cryptocurrencies. According to the experts, in 2030, the Metaverse will add $5 trillion to the Global Economy.
I have been following this topic since its inception in late 2009, and now that I’m doing this research, I’ve been surprised with the number of Bitcoin which has increased to 19 million as of March 2023; however, as a former banker, I feel very reluctant due to the lack of regulations. I now know that Cryptocurrency is regulated by some governments but there’s still wiggle room that enables crypto businesses to experiment and grow quickly. The metaverse is very loosely governed which means that risky practices could lead to metaverse users becoming victims of fraud, so be careful.
I advise my clients to do their due diligence and research before making any decision for their business, so it is up to you to decide what action to take in this regard. As always, please hire an expert to understand this better. This article is for educational purposes.
The University of Central Florida Business Incubation Program is a community resource that provides early-stage companies with the tools, training, and infrastructure to become financially stable, high growth/impact enterprises. Since 1999, this award-winning program has provided vital business development resources resulting in over 300 local startup companies reaching their potential faster and graduating into the community where they continue to grow and positively impact the local economy.
With eight facilities throughout the region, the UCF Business Incubation Program is an economic development partnership between the University of Central Florida, the Corridor, Orange, Osceola, Seminole, and Volusia Counties, and the cities of Kissimmee, Orlando, and Winter Springs. For the 2017/2018 fiscal years, the activities of these participating firms have helped to sustain more than 6,725 local jobs and have had a cumulative impact of over $725 million on regional GDP and over $1.3 billion on regional sales. During the same period, the program has returned more than $12.00 in state and local taxes for every $1.00 invested in the program. In addition, for every $1.00 of public investment, the firms also produced $118 of additional regional GDP and $226 of regional sales. For more information, visit www.incubator.ucf.edu.