• Neil Martin

How the metaverse benefits companies and brands



Railsr co-founder and CEO Nigel Verdon has been featured in a major Rise Insights report from Barclays entitled The Power of Payments, talking about how the metaverse benefits companies and brands.


In a forward to the report Rob Cameron, CEO, Barclaycard Payments, pointed to rapid evolutions in the digital payments landscape over the last two years. This has created opportunities and challenges for merchants and payment providers alike.


He said: “These evolutions have changed not only what we buy and where we buy it, but also how we prefer to pay— and now those consumer behaviours are shaping the future of payments.”


Nigel’s contribution to the report centred on why the metaverse is good for those who participate with a coherent strategy.


He acknowledged that there were many deep discussions about the metaverse, but wondered if it is still too nebulous a concept for most companies and brands to embrace?


Nigel believes in the metaverse, but only as part of a bigger picture, a balanced approach that needs to be adopted by all players.


Companies and brands need to see it as a key component within their overall strategy, not just as a technology gimmick, or another communications channel.


The real excitement for Nigel lies with the communities that thrive in the metaverse. Take esports fans who extensively use the metaverse to compete in, or view online sports. There are expected to be almost 286 million such fans by 2024 which, to give this context, is over 86% of the US population.


They are out there, waiting to be engaged, asserts Nigel. They might have watched in the stadium, visited the race track, or watched on television, but now, in the virtual world, they have a greater sense of belonging than ever before. They are ready to relate and engage.


For Nigel, now is the right time for brands in the digital and real world to become aligned. There’s no reason why you can’t wear the same Adidas trainers in the virtual world, as you wear in the real world.


He said: “Brands must view the metaverse as an opportunity to create a unified and harmonious experience. They need to give people a physical experience (in a shop),

immerse them seamlessly in the metaverse and then lead them into a virtual in-house experience, as the retail brand Marks and Spencer are doing with their augmented reality wayfinding app.


“Your bridge ensures that commerce works, that payments work and that there's no reason you can’t have a great digital exchange within the metaverse, so that when physical goods, or even digital goods, get delivered there is a real money transaction at the back of it.”


Nigel also mentioned another thing to consider when talking about the metaverse is non-fungible tokens (NFTs), which currently have a market cap of some $41bn.


Using NFTs in the metaverse, means you can have a fractional ownership of

real works of art, with your name up there, and also experience them in the physical world.


“Payments are the key here. They provide a means of commercialising metaverse

opportunities in the real world. NFTs are not much use to you ‘on the outside’ unless you turn them into something physical. Payments —real money—are that key, the way to commercialise NFTs.”


Rise, founded by Barclays, includes Rise Connect, a global, virtual network of fintech leaders which are helping to shape the of financial services.