Enterprise blockchain has come a long way since its inception in 2017. Enterprise blockchain was first a technology built on private and authorized networks, primarily used for supply chain management. As the blockchain matured over time, companies began to take advantage of unlicensed public networks like Ethereum to conduct their business.

Fast forward to 2021: Companies are now applying decentralized concepts to create more efficient workflows in the metaverse. William Herkelrath, business development manager at Chainlink Labs – a decentralized oracle network – told TBEN that while the metaverse is difficult to define, he believes it is a collection of ecosystems that develop naturally in from decentralized finance, or DeFi:

“Businesses have to interact with the outside world and will therefore be forced to have ecosystems in the metaverse. For example, consumers want to use loyalty programs outside of single platforms, so they will be more likely to choose brands that ensure the rewards can be used in other ecosystems. The metaverse allows data, physical assets, business and financial assets to be configured in a layer outside of a centralized environment.

The metaverse for businesses

While the concept may sound futuristic, a number of companies leveraging blockchain are starting to embrace the metaverse. This subject was discussed in depth last Wednesday during the European Blockchain Convention virtual conference, during a panel entitled “Building the Enterprise Multiverse”.

David Palmer, Blockchain Manager at Vodafone Business, mentioned during the discussion that he sees the metaverse as much more than a virtual world where digital experiences through games or social media networks can take place. According to Palmer, the Metaverse is now being applied to financial concepts powered by blockchain technology, such as central bank digital currencies, non-fungible tokens or NFT and DeFi.

Still, Palmer noted that the missing layer in the Metaverse is a way to transfer virtual transactions to the real world. Palmer noted that a mobile phone can link these two worlds together, acting like middleware. He further told TBEN that Vodafone Business relies on blockchain to create digital identities that can be applied both in the metaverse and in real life:

“Digital identity will transcend the digital and physical worlds. For example, a digital wallet will contain a bank account, mortgage information, tokens, NFTs, and more. But a decentralized identity will also have access to these credentials, allowing individuals to participate in the metaverse and the physical world. “

Palmer explained that Vodafone Business is working on creating wallets in mobile devices to host virtual identities. The notion of sovereign identity in a multiverse was also mentioned in the recent Greyscale Research report, titled “The Metaverse, Web 3.0 Virtual Cloud Economies”. The paper describes the self-sovereign identity as a “piece of Internet-native social reputation (designer pieces)”, noting that data from other platforms can be transferred into the metaverse and used for identity scoring. or credit.

Angel Garcia, head of global supply chain strategy and transformation at Telefonica, explained during the panel that a digital supply chain for the Metaverse could contribute to the efficiency of telecom operators. According to Garcia, Telefonica has taken the approach of building a blockchain network for use in a Metaverse ecosystem. He added that the company is currently in the process of collecting information to improve end-to-end processes. “The next step is to automate these business processes and centralize them for everyone,” he noted.

Rowan Fenn, co-founder of Rise X – an enterprise solution for businesses looking to create self-sustaining digital organizations – also mentioned that businesses can have a digital twin of their self-governing organization to govern, operate and control analog processes. : “These organizations will be able to interact and deal with each other in real time in a multiverse. It will also allow digital autonomous organizations to work together in an analog world. “

Fenn clarified that companies with a digital twin in a multiverse ecosystem will be able to produce more goods and services, while using fewer environmental resources. As such, he believes this economic model will allow the world to move from a finite economy to an infinite economy.

Companies are already using blockchain to operate in the metaverse

While companies are still exploring early use cases for applying business models within the metaverse, some industries are already taking advantage of these environments. For example, Herkelrath mentioned that blockchain networks operated in the insurance industry demonstrate a Metaverse business model.

Specifically, Herkelrath explained that hundreds of thousands of insurance contracts are offered to farmers around the world through virtual ecosystems. He added that smart contracts built on top of blockchain networks, as well as decentralized oracles like Chainlink, have helped solve transparency issues within the insurance industry. In addition, it has streamlined the entire insurance process to make it globally accessible to disenfranchised clients.

While it may appear that blockchain alone has enabled this, Herkelrath noted that smart contracts generated by insurance agencies require data that could not have been collected without the existence of a metaverse:

“This is made possible because you have a metaverse of companies whose data is verified by a larger network. The fact that this can happen in the metaverse demonstrates that business-to-consumer transactions can become inexpensive and accessible to anyone in the world.

How likely are companies to adopt the metaverse?

As some companies begin to develop and operate business models in the metaverse, understanding the technology could hamper rapid adoption. Rodolfo Quijano, head of blockchain at Henkel – a German chemicals and consumer goods company – mentioned during the roundtable that the biggest challenge for adoption now is understanding the value the metaverse can bring to companies:

“The technology is not a problem, but it will take longer for people to understand what blockchain does and how it compares to old-fashioned enterprise resource planning systems. Finding evangelists can be a big challenge for adoption in terms of applied blockchain in the metaverse.

Palmer added that scalability within a Metaverse enterprise environment is also an issue, as well as getting businesses to understand how to transition and engage with this new technology: “For a telecommunications company , the most important point to consider is how to connect people in the metaverse. People will have two identities, one virtual and one physical, so the question is whether we will have the bandwidth in terms of connectivity. ”

Additionally, Palmer believes companies will question the role blockchain plays when it comes to Metaverse’s business models. However, he believes technology is crucial for these use cases. “Blockchain is the layer of trust and exchange in a multiverse environment. It’s a huge opportunity, but it will be a challenge for businesses to make the transition.