From e-wallets to e-handbags with decentralized branding

This week I’m inspired by Meta`s announcement to rebrand Facebook Pay to Meta Pay.

Does Meta Pay want to become like Apple Pay in the Metaverse?

In other words, does Meta Pay`s vision include holding your Metaverse digital identities in its wallet, securely managing payments in the Metaverse, and being able to hold digitally native currencies too. Of course, all these are aspirations much like Libra, DIEM, and the Novi wallet. Even though the Metaverse, won’t have to deal with established regulatory constraints for now, but MetaPay will surely be challenged by the other big tech competitors involved in payments.

MetaPay versus existing top digital wallets in Web2.0

According to FXC figures, MetaPay may look initially well positioned compared to its 3 non-Chinese payments competitors, as it is available in over 160 countries and can handle more than 55 currencies. Only Paypal is in more countries (200+) and only Apple Pay comes close to handling over 50 currencies.

As usual the devil is in the details. MetaPay is only available within its own empire (Facebook, Instagram, Messenger, WhatsApp) with the exception of last year`s announcement of an integration with Shopify. There has been no public update on the success of this integration and MetaPay`s availability within its empire is not even full scale. For example, MetaPay for Messenger and WhatsApp is not available in Europe. MetaPay for WhatsApp is only available in Brazil. MetaPay for Messenger is only available in the US, Thailand, and Malaysia.

ApplePay wallet has already the ability to hold a US identity (driver`s license), invoices for Tap-to-Pay merchants, and tickets. A speedy way for Meta to mimic these US ApplePay capabilities is to integrate the Novi Wallet tech stack and upgrade the MetaPay wallet to hold digital assets. Novi is being shut down (the deadline is Sep 2022) and I don’t think we will ever find out if it will be used because it won’t be publicized due to the tainted reputation of the 3-year saga. Even if they quickly upgrade the MetaPay wallet, they will need new regional licenses to hold fiat money, crypto or stablecoins. An upgraded MetaPay wallet could hold NFTs of all sorts because no licensing is required but it won’t scale fast enough unless it integrates some type of identity and payment method.

We have to expect that in the Metaverse, a successful digital wallet should include digital identities (including avatars and digital twins et), digital assets native to the Metaverse (e.g. clothes, art, land etc) via NFTs, digital assets for payments (e.g. cryptocurrencies, cards, stablecoins etc). A digital wallet in the Metaverse has to be much more than the digital wallet in Web 2.0 which is what we have now. For now, ApplePay is ahead of all the existing wallets.

Can MetaPay beat Apple Pay in the next 2 years in the foreseeable iteration of the Metaverse?

Payment methods in the Metaverse 1.0

The current version of the Metaverse is dominated by gaming (Roblox and the likes). The new virtual worlds (Decentraland and the likes) or the new Digital art sector (OpenSea NFTs and the likes) and the X to earn sector (Axie Infinity and the likes) have been dominated by native cryptocurrency wallets (Metamask and the likes).

I looked into the payment preferences in the gaming industry, which is the largest subsector, to get a sense of MetaPay`s current competitors.

In the US, PXP Financial reports that the top four payment methods used by gamers are VISA, Paypal, PayWithMyBank, and Mastertcard. PayWithMyBank is a US fintech that merged in 2019 with Swedish Trustly. They offer an alternative to card payments by providing the tech and licenses for merchants to accept online payments directly from consumers’ bank accounts, and for consumers to be able to pay in a fast, simple, and secure way.

There are dozens of niche payment providers for gaming and casinos.

Skrill is an example of a 20+ yr old Fintech and part of Paysafe that offers several secure payment options for gamers. Its Paysafecard is recognized by gamblers for its security (it is a prepaid card with vouchers that have a unique 16-number PIN code).

Of course, the gaming landscape is changing as we speak from a Web2.0 world to a Web3.0 world. Roblox and Epic Games will be shaping this world that is believed to be the upcoming social networking platforms. In April, Epic Games raised $2B to fund its own vision of the Metaverse. Unreal Engines 5, a free, low-code, powerful platform for real-time 3D rendering is the way Epic Games is enabling new immersive experiences for the Metaverse (check it out here).

It is impossible at this stage to foresee who will capture a large share of payments in the Metaverse which is at the convergence of AR/VR, social networks, entertainment, education, and pure software economic activity for our avatars and digital twins.

It makes sense that for the next 2–5yrs there will be different Metaverses overlapping slightly but with a different focus.

Those that think that the Metaverse can’t function without cryptocurrencies, should reconsider their beliefs. Tokens were originally designed by gaming companies to deal with software piracy issues when their business models were selling the games. They changed their business model and gave the software away for free and monetized via in-game tokens. Today, if you look at the payment methods available on Roblox, you see that it is the usual suspects that offer onramps from traditional bank accounts, wallets, and cards. Epic Games wallet is similar and with less payment options (e.g. Paypal works for Web Roblox but does not work for Epic Games wallet).

A big factor that will determine who grabs a large market share in payments in the Metaverse, will be `who can build the best onramps from the traditional world to the Metaverse economic activity and offer an e-wallet that can hold ANY KIND OF DIGITAL TOKEN` — from ID, Tokens of any sort, stablecoins, and cryptocurrencies.

When Baakt wallet was launched in 2020, I thought they would scale in that direction as their wallet was the first one positioned to hold cash, crypto, and in-game assets. But Bakkt never became the Kate Spade NY digital e-handbag I dreamt of.

MetaMask sometimes reminds me of the Venetian carnival. Wear a Mask and enter the Metaverse. We must admit that its name/branding was ahead of the times as it launched in 2016 when nobody was paying attention to the Metaverse.

I wonder if it is too crypto-native, to become my standard chic digital e-handbag that can hold all my digital assets.

Wallets are for payments and maybe an ID, but Handbags can hold much more.

I dream of an e-handbag that can hold it all with a personal logo. No more company logos for my Metaverse e-handbag. There has to be an e-handbag as a service offering so that I can personalize my e-handbag 100%. After all, it should be self-sovereign and Web3.0 should be more focused on empowering and branding digital communities. Its digital design could change automagically depending on its contents. No more company logos for our Metaverse e-handbags.

Why doesn’t Nike and Unstoppable Domains collaborate to create Metaverse e-handbags with personal branding? Or maybe Paypal or Mastercard should collaborate with AI Degens Studio to launch such an offering.

This is the time to disrupt the status quo. While Meta fights in courts for its brand name — New York-based virtual reality company launched in 2010 is suing Meta in Manhattan federal court. And MetaBank part of Meta Financial Group ($CASH) rebranded to Pathway which I am sure is part of the $60m 2021 deal that Facebook paid to them for the trademark (more here).

The Metaverse needs next-generation e-handbags. To be in alignment with Web3.0, these e-handbags should have no company logos. Decentralized naming and visual branding of the next generation of e-handbags is the way.

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№1 #Finance Global Woman Influencer by Refinitiv 2020 & 2019. Top Global #Fintech Influencer, Futurist, #AI, #Blockchain +: 30yrs FINANCE —

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Efi Pylarinou

Efi Pylarinou

№1 #Finance Global Woman Influencer by Refinitiv 2020 & 2019. Top Global #Fintech Influencer, Futurist, #AI, #Blockchain +: 30yrs FINANCE —