By Oliver Smith on Thursday 17 February 2022
The buzz around the metaverse is growing, and clearly fintechs are paying attention.
One of the big questions—if Mark Zuckerberg’s vision for a persistent virtual world is ever realised—is how will we pay for stuff in this future?
Clearly, that discussion has come up at payments provider Sokin, which today came out with a preview of a “metaverse community designed to process full eCommerce transactions.”
The 60-second preview video consists of a ‘virtual store’ filled with Sokin’s existing partner brands, like AS Monaco Football Club, selling virtual and physical goods like football shirts or access to watch a match, all powered by Sokin’s payment app.
It’s a very ‘marketing concept’ video—with strong echos of how the video game Second Life in the early 2000s was supposed to trigger an eCommerce revolution—however Sokin is right that big retailers and brands are starting to experiment with VR and the metaverse concept.
High-street retailer PrettyLittleThing earlier this year launched its first ‘virtual model’ to show off its clothes, while Gucci last year opened the Gucci Garden in video game Roblox and sold a virtual bag for $4,000.
“We’ve seen campaigns by retailers in which an avatar models an item of clothing but then the experience abruptly stops there,” said Vroon Modgill, founder and CEO at Sokin
“So, we close the sales loop by ensuring a purchase can be made directly within the metaverse experience—this is never before seen innovation we are spearheading as we further bridge the gap between the metaverse and the physical world.”
The problem that Modgill and Sokin are describing is real, however the solution to payments in the metaverse very much depends on how the technology and experience develops.
Will the metaverse emerge as a ‘walled garden’ like Apple’s App Store where payments are controlled by the platform’s creator, or more like the payments free-for-all we’re used to on the internet?
For Sokin and many other payments providers like Stripe, Checkout.com and PayPal, they’ll be hoping for the latter, while metaverse platform creators like Mark Zuckerberg will undoubtedly be hoping for the former.