Job creation has traditionally been engineered by politicians eager to get the country back to work and seen as stimulating the economy. From job creation programs during the Great Depression to President Barack Obama’s America Jobs Act, jobs programs have a long and tortuous history. Today, creating meaningful jobs for the masses remains as popular with policymakers as ever, yet the next great job creation program is unlikely to be issued as a top-down mandate.
Instead, it will come from a realm where most politicians have little to no domination and control: the metaverse. The virtual world that runs parallel to our physical world is not bound by national borders, nor is it the domain of social media companies cynically occupying their names.
The Metaverse consists of a series of interconnected virtual worlds in which humans can recreate, interact and trade. As an avatar, its users can move freely between games, meeting spaces and marketplaces, reenacting many of the tasks once confined to the meat space.
However, the Metaverse’s greatest hope isn’t that humans can don hideous skins and writhe as one in a virtual concert hall. Rather, it’s these people who get meaningful work across the metaverse worlds, domains, and spaces that will make up the beating heart of Web3.
Banking in Metaverse
Given the amorphous nature of the metaverse, it’s hard to imagine what a virtual world would look like in which millions of people clock in and out to earn their crust. However, as it happens, work is already being done in the fledgling metaverse of the (virtual) world.
In the “game to make money” (or “GameFi”) realm, virtual pets roam freely and are petted, dressed and trained by their human owners. But it’s not just entertainment: through their respective virtual worlds, players can collect tokens and other in-game assets, which are generated and exchanged for real money.
Workers from developing countries such as the Philippines perform these tasks on behalf of owners, using the creatures to collect tokens and earn about $30 a day. Owners, in turn, can earn money by renting out their virtual pets — without having to worry about the drudgery of collecting tokens all day.
It is a simple economy where all participants benefit according to their interests and financial expectations. How does this profit model apply to higher on-chain Metaverse participants?
Well, for celebrities and creators, professional platforms enable virtual experiences to be entertained in Metaverse. Fans can pay to interact with their favorite creators in a virtual world, whether they’re golfing with YouTube influencers or learning new skills through one-on-one sessions with thought leaders. This is yet another example of the huge potential the Metaverse has.
Meta-work for the masses
Not all work centered on the metaverse will take place in it. Much of this will involve connecting the nuts and bolts that keep turning — coders, designers, testers, and developers. However, for the millions of people currently working in offices and workshops around the world, with the rise of the Metaverse, their jobs will transition to a virtual world not too different from the virtual world they’re used to.
real estate: Virtual land has been sold for millions of dollars in virtual worlds like The Sandbox and Decentraland. The competition for the ideal virtual real estate is fierce – flipping pixels for profit is a professional role that will create plenty of jobs for those eyeing prime land. At the same time, real-world real estate will also transition into the virtual world, enabling potential buyers to “walk around” a beachfront condo on the other side of the world, or see a condo that’s still in spec. In a virtual world where anything is possible, “try before you buy” is the norm.
Fashion: From Louis Vuitton to Nike and Gucci, fashion brands clamor Capturing part of the Metaverse action, it’s easy to see why. Millions of people appear in this world as avatars, providing endless opportunities for clothing to shine. People are no longer limited by gender, size, or even imagination when it comes to dressing. In the Metaverse, you can assume any identity you want and use accessories that match it. Models will shine on virtual catwalks, and fashionistas will pay premium prices to dress their avatars in limited-edition threads from the hippest brands.
music: A boon for independent artists and major labels, Metaverse has shown its worth during global lockdown, with over 27 million fans tuned in Travis Scott’s 2020 Fortnite ConcertEnterprising artists have experimented with Web3 technologies such as non-fungible tokens (NFTs), using them to release limited edition and exclusive albums and foster intimate experiences. The advent of the fully immersive Metaverse will take this ability to the next level, offering endless ways to earn money and interact with fans.
Movie: Technology is a double-edged sword, creating new opportunities while destroying others. Actors who find their likenesses replaced by artificial intelligence and their intellectual property rights violated know this all too well. However, their lives in the metaverse can be enriched with the same technologies that threaten their livelihoods. Just imagine the ability for voice, TV and film actors to use their digital avatars to interact with fans and sell what the world presents as experiences that include one-on-one time — without the celebrity leaving the comfort of their Malibu mansion.
As the Metaverse comes to fruition and its promises become a reality, the jobs it offers will elevate everyone from mechanical Turks ($2 an hour of hard labor) to rich and famous. There are already Metaverse stores where you can take your avatar and order everything from fast food to medical marijuana — and have it delivered to your real-world front door. In the near future, many of the people who make money from the metaverse—such as delivery drivers and food producers—may be unaware that their livelihoods owe their lives to a world they haven’t yet discovered.
Not everyone will play and interact in the metaverse, but like the internet itself, we’re more prosperous because of it. The sooner the metaverse becomes a mass reality, the better off we will be.
This article does not contain investment advice or recommendations. Every investment and trading move involves risk and readers should do their own research when making a decision.
The views, thoughts and opinions expressed here are solely those of the author and do not necessarily reflect or represent the views and opinions of Cointelegraph.
Johnny Lu is the CEO of KuCoin, one of the largest cryptocurrency exchanges launched in 2017. Before joining KuCoin, he gained extensive experience in the e-commerce, automotive and luxury industries.