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Metaverse in 2022 and beyond: NFTs, interoperability, IP rights and more

At a Huobi Research Institute-organized webinar held Jan 26 2022, blockchain industry experts debated the hype surrounding NFTs and the future of the Metaverse.

The year 2021 saw a bull run of sorts in the blockchain market driven not just by cryptocurrency prices but DeFi, NFT and blockchain gaming. This was quite unlike the bull run of 2017 to 2018, which comprised fewer tangible elements.

These same elements that drove blockchain’s bullrun last year will likely also play important roles in the upcoming and oft-discussed metaverse.

What are the elements that make up the metaverse?

Co-chairman of the Singapore Blockchain Association Chia Hock Lai views the metaverse as comprising DeFi, NFT, Gamify and Virtual Reality (VR) technology.

Large firms have already signalled their intentions to join the metaverse fray — and in significant ways. Facebook has invested $10 billon on its metaverse division and expects to continue to increase its investment in the coming years. Microsoft’s acquisition of gaming giant Activision, to the tune of $68.7 billion, is also widely viewed as a bid to not only dominate the video games space but also the metaverse.

It’s not just tech firms who have expressed interest in the metaverse — fashion brands Adidas and Prada have partnered for a community-contributed NFT art project in the metaverse; and other similar projects are expected to be announced in the coming year.

Such significant investments into the metaverse will more likely than not accelerate its launch, and its potential for many industries, including entertainment, gaming and social media should not be ignored, said Chia, indicating the blockchain will serve as the metaverse’s economic layer.

NFTs, already a significant aspect of the blockchain industry, are expected to occupy an important role in the metaverse, although Senior Financial Analyst and Insights Lead at EmergentX Esme Pau recommended buyers exercise caution if considering NFTs as an investment avenue.

“There’s a major Fear of Missing Out (FOMO) sentiment around NFTs right now,” said Pau.

NFTs are gaining popularity for several reasons, said Flora Li, Director of the Huobi Research Institute and author of the institute’s annual report titled Global Crypto Industry Overview and Trends: 2021–2022.

“NFTs are unique because they satisfy all requirements for digital property rights, facilitating efficiently-run marketplaces,” said Li. “They also fulfill an important social function, that of an enabler for self-expression, creativity and ownership.”

The coming year will likely witness a ‘natural selection’ of sorts in the NFT space, with unsuccessful projects exiting the ecosystem and projects with stronger communities gaining a stronger foothold, said Pau.

“The metaverse will be about technology and communities,” says Pau, adding investments will likely be funneled toward developing technology for metaverse interoperability, enabling players to transfer in-game assets across different metaverses.

“It’s an interesting use case that can also bolster the notion of ownership with regard to NFTs,” stated Pau.

Current IP laws will also be insufficient for the upcoming metaverse and changes to existing laws will likely take place in the coming two years.

“As more deep-pocketed institutions enter, we’ll likely see tussles over IP rights in various jurisdictions. It’s an interesting space to watch,” Pau said.

Click here to download the Global Crypto Industry Overview and Trends: 2021–2022 report.

Click here for Part 1 — Blockchain in 2022 and beyond: Is the current crypto tumble a mirror of 2018?

Click here for Part 2 — CBDCs in 2022: Financial inclusion or another geopolitical tussle?

Click here for Part 3 — What causes meme coins to have their parabolic runs?

About us

Huobi Blockchain Application Research Institute (referred to as “Huobi Research Institute”) was established in April 2016. Since March 2018, it has been committed to comprehensively expanding the research and exploration of various fields of blockchain. As the research object, the research goal is to accelerate the research and development of blockchain technology, promote the application of blockchain industry, and promote the ecological optimization of the blockchain industry. The main research content includes industry trends, technology paths, application innovations in the blockchain field, model exploration, etc. Based on the principles of public welfare, rigor and innovation, Huobi Research Institute will carry out extensive and in-depth cooperation with governments, enterprises, universities and other institutions through various forms to build a research platform covering the complete industrial chain of the blockchain. Industry professionals provide a solid theoretical basis and trend judgments to promote the healthy and sustainable development of the entire blockchain industry.

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Twitter: @Huobi_Research



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Huobi Research

Huobi Research

Blockchain industry top think tank, affiliated to Huobi Group.