Into The Metaverse
EP.26: Samuel Huber (LandVault) - Why Virtual Land in the Metaverse Matters

EP.26: Samuel Huber (LandVault) - Why Virtual Land in the Metaverse Matters

Samuel Huber is the CEO of LandVault, a company that helps brands establish presence in Blockchain-based, metaverse-type platforms such as Sandbox and Decentraland. We cover in detail why virtual land matters in the metaverse and what are the challenges ahead for mass adoption.

Scroll down for the full transcript of the conversation.

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Our mission is to become the leading destination to learn about the Metaverse - what it is, why it’s important, how it will impact our lives, and what opportunities it unlocks. We are pursuing this mission by producing and publishing reliable, insightful and entertaining podcast shows that help make sense of the Metaverse.

Into The Metaverse covers companies, technologies and trends that are bringing this promise to life. Yonatan Raz-Fridman “Yon” (founder & CEO of Supersocial) interviews the brilliant minds building for, and investing in, the Metaverse.

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Full Episode Transcript

Welcome to episode 26 of Into the Metaverse, where we help make sense of the metaverse through deep interviews with the brilliant minds who build, create, for, and invest in the Metaverse.

I'm Yon, and joining me today is Sam Uber, CEO of LandVault, a company that helps brands establish presence on blockchain-based, metaverse-type platforms such as Sandbox and the Decentraland. The company, which was previously called Admix, rebranded after a merger to accelerate Admix’s entry into web3. Previously, Admix allowed content creators to monetize real estate within their games via product placements. Today, LandVolt raised over $37 million in funding from venture capital firms such as Elephant and Notion Capital among others.

Yon: Sam, virtual land is a hot topic. Super delighted to welcome you on the show.

Sam: Thanks so much for having me. I'm excited.

Yon: So Sam, let's dig in. As we continue to build an evolving consensus around what the Metaverse is, the first question I ask every guest on the show is, what is the metaverse for you? And actually also what it is not.

Sam: We have a pretty simple definition. We think that the Metaverse is no less than the next generation of the internet, which is born from the convergence of two huge forces, one of them being gaming technologies - Gaming is obviously $180 billion industry, most of the population that is connected to the internet games one way or another with 3 billion gamers every month. So that's a huge trend that is happening anyway. And then you have the blockchain, which is one of the fastest ever growing technologies.

Obviously we hear a lot about the crypto prices that are up and down but this is short term noise. The technology is there. It's used by a lot of Fortune 500 companies, and it has a trillion dollar market cap. And those two things are converging. And the convergence of these two things lead to what we believe is a moment in time where this technologies become mainstream and lead to the metaverse. And metaverse effectively is this new version of the internet, an immersive and decentralized version of the internet.

Yon: Amazing, great definition. What do you think it's not?

Sam: Everything else. I mean, what it's not, there's a few things that are commonly mistaken for the Metaverse. One of them is a device. So people ask Oh, but is the Metaverse VR? No, it’s like the internet, right? You have to use the right analogies. The internet you can consume on your phone, but also on your desktop, even on your TV. The device doesn't matter. The internet can be consumed on different devices and create different experiences. Right now you mainly consume it on your desktop. You will be able to consume it in VR, which will be by far the most immersive and exciting way to consume it. But you don't have to have VR and you'll also be able to consume it on your phone.

So that's one of the things that the Metaverse is not, it is not a device, it's device agnostic. Another thing would be that there's no multiple metaverses. That's another thing that is sometimes confusing. There's not multiple versions of the internet. There's the internet, and on the internet you have different websites or applications. It's the same in the metaverse. You have one metaverse which is this basically 3D version of the internet on this digital universe. Within that you have different walls. But there's only one metaverse. So I would say that this is probably the two things that people generally are not quite sure about.

Yon: I want to double click on the second point you said, because that's actually something I've heard before and to a large extent I personally agree with the notion that there's only one internet. There are no multiple internets, even though there are parallel internets if you think about China and the Chinese “wall”, but it's still pretty much the same internet. However, the internet was born in a different era when there's nothing else that was even resembled what the internet became. Today we live in a world where the internet is proliferated around the world and I think philosophically I definitely agree with that notion that you shared as well, which is there is no multiple internets and therefore there should not be multiple metaverses. Having said that, we have grown into a world where now on the internet there are multiple large scale platforms, and I definitely subscribe to the worldview that the metaverse needs to be fully interoperable.

People can carry their identity and their assets with them from one platform to another. However, it is a bit deterministic to think that this is just gonna happen and it might take time until it happens. And so my question to you is you, do you think there is a chance where that fully interoperable metaverse may not happen, and in which case, do wake up into a world where there are multiple metaverse type platforms where there might be elements of the metaverse that lives within those platform without necessarily the interoperable?

Sam: The answer is yes. That's what I think will happen. And if you think about the web2 equivalent, the internet is only one and you have standards like http, It's respected, you know, it's a standard that everyone built on top of. But if you think about where you spend your time, you would look at maybe, Google the Meta ecosystem with Facebook and Instagram and Amazon, and maybe a couple of other things. So while they are all interoperable, because you can click from one page to another, technically speaking, you still end up living in those silos, right? And your Google profile is not something you can export and reimport into your Facebook. So yes, there is an element of interoperability because of the standards and the hyperlink and all that stuff, but there's also things that are siloed, right? You can't exploit your Instagram data, which for a lot of people is a big part of their life and how they express themselves into Fortnite. And I think it's the exact same thing in web3 - we have a base for interoperability, which is the blockchain.

With the blockchain, you own your own assets. They're part of your wallet, they're not on the platform. So when you have your own NFTs and you log into sandbox, the NFTs are being imported into sandbox. Whether they can render in the sandbox or not, that's a different issue, which is more of a graphical issue. But technically your assets, you bring them with you on the blockchain. So there is an element of interoperability but as I said, there is a big difference between how graphics look on Sandbox and on the land, and therefore importing a pixelated sword into a more photo realistic environment just doesn't really make sense. So I think there are elements of interoperability but there are still challenges.

I think most of the challenges right now are around the user experience and the graphics that are just different between those platforms and therefore importing assets from one to another is difficult. Having said that, I also don't think that the metaverse needs to be fully interoperable to be successful. It would be amazing to be in one world and you can always go somewhere else and bring your assets with you. But again, web2 by its own standards has been very successful in terms of adoption and revenue but you can't import your Instagram profile into TikTok, so it's fine technically for the sake of the internet and for the sake of the metaverse.

Yon: Interoperability is not something that is absolutely necessary for the metaverse to succeed, at least not at the beginning. So there's a lot to unpack there and we'll get back to that later in the conversation. But for now, I want to switch gears and talk a bit about the work you guys are doing at LandVault. Would love if you can share with the listeners what is LandVault's mission; What is your vision and how do you believe it will impact businesses, creators, and consumers?

Sam: We are very passionate about web3. Generally we think that web3 gives the internet a chance to redistribute its wealth in a way that is more fair. web2 obviously has been a very successful platform and a lot of people have gotten rich and were able to find jobs and it's definitely working. But if you look at the amount of value generated, we're talking about trillions of dollars a year in commerce with a big fraction of that aggregates to only a few platforms. So it's definitely been a positive thing for the world, but the way that the resources have been split and shared, it's very much geared towards the big platforms who then build network effects and are just impossible not to compete with. I think that's been the case because those platform made the most of the rules so of course they leveraged the rules that were available to them and they did very well for themselves. But I think this would not change unless there is a revolution that happens and new rules for the internet. I think web3 is the promise of new rules because of the blockchain backend that essentially decentralizes the ownership of virtual goods. Meaning that if you create something, you can retain ownership or at least the right for future payment on this item, and that changes everything. If you think about it, in the current Internet, a lot of the platforms have been effectively fueled or built by the users, right? User generated content. That's the transition from web1 to web2. And this is when the web started to grow exponentially because everyone could become a creator. But the value still went to the platforms that hosted, not to the individual creators. So imagine if people could retain, not necessarily the whole thing, but a fraction of what they had created. I think instead of elevating a handful of companies from billion dollar status to trillion dollar status, we can elevate the internet population in a fairer way.

We see web3 as the very first time where that opportunity is finally available to redistribute the wealth of the Internet so our very long term vision is to contribute to that somehow. We think it would be a good thing for the world if the wealth that is generated on the Internet could be redistributed more fairly between many stakeholders. We think that the best way to do that is by accelerating the metaverse economy, which is basically our mission statement. And the reason for that is because in this new world, a lot of the interaction or what we call the application layer where users will interact with the world, we think it's gonna be the metaverse. So the metaverse is the user interface of web3. The way we see it, this is where the actual interactions will happen, which is where your NFT portfolio will come to life, where you'll have interactions. And so in order to get there, now we're getting to the what of what we do today.

We have a very simple solution, which is basically a one stop shop for users, for brands, for IP, for celebrities who want to enter the metaverse entering. There's an element of virtual land - in web3 you need to own land or lease land. So we provide that service as a step one. Then we build experiences on top of that land. We now have about 130 full-time designers, builders, voxel editors, game developers that can basically translate any idea into an experience. And then step three critically is how do you turn those experiences into a profitable business? Because if we want people to keep coming, if we want brands to keep investing, there's gonna need some kind of internal investments, right? Otherwise, it’s just gonna remain a marketing platform. But we want people to invest in the metaverse, just like they invest in an eCommerce website. This is not a marketing play. You're gonna make money from it. You're gonna sell product. The cost of building the sites are very quickly gonna be overtaken by the money that you're making. So we want the experience to become a profitable business for people who enter it. And this is why the Admix legacy technology, which is a product placement technology is one of our core products. We're building other products as well around eCommerce, around fractionalization of experiences, basically giving creators more tools to monetize the content that they have created. So this is the really critical piece here. There are a lot of people buying land. There's a lot of people building not as big as landfall, but there's a lot of creators. But the critical part is how do you monetize this experience, how do you turn this into a business? And not just for big brands, but for individuals, creators, or you could do your podcast there and monetize it in a different way by turning it into an NFT and selling individual clips. So there's a business model for everyone and these are the things that we're exploring and it's still very early, but to date, we've done over 200 builds so far. Big brands like Mastercard, Heineken, L'Oreal, but also web3 brands like World of Women. Our experience is about to go live in the Sandbox, a derivative of the Board Ape Yacht Club Mutant, Mega Mutant. So we've really been covering a wide range of brands and IP that wanted to enter the metaverse and providing a full solution for them.

Yon: There are a few things I want to double click on. When you think about the value chain of the reason why the metaverse is important and why what happened with web2 is challenging from the consumer side with web2 being the first time the consumer and creators essentially became one and the same, right? If it's on Facebook or if it's on TikTok and YouTube, right? A lot of the users actually also create content and they don't really monetize, especially on a platform like Facebook. We've been creating content probably for the last 15 years on the platform that ultimately didn't generate even a single cent for ourselves as effectively the content creators. So that's one issue that platforms like Facebook, although there are web2 platforms that provides monetization opportunities, sometimes primarily through advertising. But there's definitely the creator piece that web3 is potentially solving with regards to how can we enable creators to monetize in new ways beyond advertising that then impacts the overall experience. I want to hear your point of view on why web3 is important in the context of the metaverse for consumers? I think that's an important piece of what is really gonna be potentially the impact for people who create content or are looking to monetize content within the metaverse. Basically I’d like to hear your key takeaways on the ability to own and carry your identity with you to own and carry your assets with you. Why is that going to be important for normal users of the internet in the future?

Sam: I think it comes down to ownership right of digital goods and I don't mean that at the philosophical point of “I want to own my items” but literally there's a financial benefits to that. So, you know, individual users that will take part in a web3 experience could be rewarded for the actions that they're taking in that world, right? I think that the fundamental difference between web2 and web3 is we are shifting from an attention economy to an ownership economy. So in web2, on most websites, on most applications, the currency is attention. You attract traffic on your website or on your application, and then you figure out a way to monetize it. Sometimes it's through advertising, sometimes by converting people, but it all start with attention. You need people on that experience, on that application, and then you figure out a way to monetize that. And as a user, you don't get any part of that. I'm not a fundamentalist of web3 that says web2 is terrible. I mean, web2 works and it's great, and we have the internet. I see web3 as an improvement that is now made possible by the blockchain. What if in addition from being the product effectively on those social networks or those applications where effectively the platform makes money from your data, what if you could also get a financial upside as a user? And the more you use the platform, the more you get rewarded, which aligns your interest with the platform because suddenly you are incentivized to do more, which helps the platform as well, and everyone is pulling in the same direction. So I think what web3 creates is this alignment of incentives between the platforms that build the applications and the users in a way that we haven't seen before. Right now the problem is not that the revenue share isn’t big enough, the problem is that if the creator gets more, then the platform gets less. So there's already a conflict of interest there, and eventually the platform is gonna decrease their commission to the creators. They always do. They move from attraction to extraction. Now, in web3, because there's a concept of incentive through tokens, everyone has token. The platform holds tokens, they reward the users with tokens. And what everyone wants is the token to increase. So suddenly everyone is incentivized by the same thing, everyone is pulling in the same direction. And to me, in order to create long term value, you need to have this alignment of incentives between the different stakeholders.

But to come back to the question, so we are coming from an attention economy where basically our attention is sold to the highest bid and monetized by the platforms and in web3 we are moving that to an ownership economy, meaning that by contributing with your attention you get to own pieces of the platforms, the tokens, for example, but it could also be assets that you built or it could be land, whatever asset that is part of the platform. Now things that are open to the retail investor that you can buy. So the users are moving from being spectators to being shareholders of the platforms. So if the platform does well, if you own a few coins, a few tokens, or if you own a couple of assets, or if you own land, then you will do well as well. Again, alignment of incentives. When Facebook does well, unless you are a shareholder, which is limited to an accredited investors and all of that, it doesn't make a difference to you. So to me, that's the real difference for consumers is that it's gonna be a much easier entry point for them to be brought to the platforms that they like, that they support, that they create on, that they consume on, and therefore participate in the financial success on those platforms as well in a way that just wouldn't be possible without blockchain.

Yon: Philosophically, I agree with you. I think I have a slightly different point of view - I agree that for creators there is no doubt that the economic system needs to be different for creators to not only enjoy the financial upside from the emergence of popular platform, but actually be significant part in that economic upside. And I think web3 technologies definitely create potentially a technological infrastructure that allows that to happen. Having said that, on the consumer side, I think, and I might be wrong, but, and I think time will tell where it’s really heading. I think on the consumer side, I find it to be a bit more challenging because I think there is the behavioral thing where since the dawn of any medium, if it's radio or TV, our attention as consumers have been monetized forever, right? Through radio advertising, when we're watching TV. What is commercials on TV if not monetizing our eyeballs, right? However, creators don't get anything, right? I would love to see a TV network that actually gave a piece of the advertising revenue to the creators of the TV shows. That doesn't happen either. And so I believe that the low hanging fruit of web3 to your point, is really the economic incentives for creators, and that makes a lot of sense because creators wanna build businesses so the money matters to them. What I'm uncertain of, and I think the financialization of the internet makes it even more complex, is what does it mean for consumers? And do consumers are actually gonna care and think about how do they potentially make money from being a user or a platform participant. And I don't know the answer. Time will tell.

Sam: I don’t think that the metaverse and the immersive nature of it is gonna replace the traditional traditional internet. If you want to shop for groceries or if you want to do a bank transfer with your friends, you don't need a 3D decentralized interface for this, right? It's not everything, but there are things, mainly the experiential things, whether it's shopping or discovering product or watching videos or hanging out with friends. There are things that are just better in 3D that would just be better if it was a little bit more immersive. And all the creative task, whether it's creating content, text, video, images, 3D assets, all of this stuff could be done better if the creator had more incentives. So I think there's a big segment of the kind of creative class that is gonna move towards web three, and that's gonna attract an audience that is also gonna have this value exchange. Either they spend time on the traditional internet, or they spend time consuming great content in web3. So the audience will come because the content is great and as landlord, as the largest builders, we see a big responsibility for us to also build fun experiences, not just for brands, but something that actually appeals to people and that keeps them in the experience.

Yon: That's a great springboard to the next item I wanted to talk about, which is brands. It is clear that some of the metaverse-type platforms today that are running on blockchain to some extent, if it's Sandbox, Decentraland, and I know there are others as well, but I'm just calling out these kind of two examples. They're obviously at the very nascent stage of development, and so you guys are working very closely with a lot of brands. When brands come to you and having these conversations about building their presence in these platforms, what are they are looking for and what are the guidance that you're giving them with the understanding that this space is really at a very nascent stage?

Sam: Yeah, that's basically the first question we ask them. And that evolved quite a bit over time. Already at the beginning of this year, brands just wanted to be in it mainly because of FOMO, because they've seen a competitor. I would say now brands want to have a web3 strategy. They have a web3 working group so it's a lot more thoughtful in what they want to achieve. And the interesting thing is their motivations are not different from any other investment that they would make, which is, it's either about increasing awareness or it's about increasing engagement. So it's all the way from the top of the funnel all the way down which is what they should be doing. Nothing else really matters, right? At the end of the day, if you're a brand, if you're a shop, you need to increase awareness or increase sales. So I think what's interesting is that there are a few case studies whether it's the Adidas experience that sold $24 million of NFTs or the fashion week which generated also millions of dollars. That's what I think is exciting about a medium like the decentralized metaverse, as opposed to a TikTok and Instagram, which was very top funnel. There's no monetization directly integrated within the platform, you need to become popular. You need to work with influencers. Eventually you might sell product, but in the metaverse you have the financial engine, the blockchain is there, it's made to sell things directly from the experience. And those things also are NFTs that become part of the blockchain. So actually there is a tangible benefit for brands to do that today. And they see that this is not just about awareness or PR but there is a transactional backbone that is built in to the experience. So more and more brands are waking up to this and our view at LandVault is we're not building experiences, but we're building businesses because we have all these monetization tools. And so a lot of the KPIs are focused on tangible results.

Yon: One of the three items you mentioned around the business of LandVault is the land. There is a lot of conversation these days about virtual land and the speculative nature of the asset with some saying that it's utterly nonsense. And so let's put popular statements aside and focus on substance. More importantly, there are many who really just genuinely question the value and also the common sense of why would we have a scarce virtual land? Why would we limit the amount of land in the metaverse? Isn't the whole point would be to ensure that anyone at any point around the world can create for the next frontier of the internet?

Sam: Yeah, I think overall there are multiple platforms that have taken different strategies. I think for their own economic benefits. There is definitely an interesting model to reduce the supply because the way I think about, this concept of land being valuable or not, first of all, people always say, okay, it can be infinite, therefore it's not valuable. But I think that this argument just doesn't make much sense to me. Because if you look at the internet, the number of websites on the internet, it's a couple billions and it increased by 500,000 every day. So effectively, it's infinite, right? You can always create more websites. Does that make the main website like less valuable? No, of course not, because it's not about the number of websites. Just like it's not about the number of pieces of land. That's not the right KPI to look at. What matters is not the land, it's the audience that is on top of the land. That's what creates the value, right? Because once you have the audience, you can monetize with advertising, you can sell product, the experience becomes popular. An empty piece of land is useless. So I could recreate a version of Facebook tomorrow that it's not that difficult to build a social network. Technically what's difficult is to attract the audience. And if I build my own version of Facebook tomorrow, no one's gonna be there. It's not gonna be valuable. So again, it's not about replicating land. Of course you can replicate land, but what matters is what you build on top of that land that's gonna attract the audience. And the number of good builders is limited. The number of quality experiences that people are attracted about is limited. So there is scarcity built-in anyway, not by the number of pieces of land, but by the fact that people will aggregate around the best experiences anyway. So the argument that because land can be replicated it doesn't have value, that's the internet has proven that this is not the case. Otherwise, website will have no value. So that's one thing. And then the second point was about the fact that, for example, today, if I want to build on Decentraland as a brand, I need to get access to a land, right? And so I need to either lease the land or buy the land.

Yon: Wouldn't you imagine that actually to popularize the metaverse and allowing more people to come in versus limiting my ability as a brand to figure out where do I buy land. And there's some platforms where there's very few land owners essentially, and it's almost like becoming like the real world where you do have scarce land for a very good reason, by the way, because it’s finite. It's not infinite, but in the virtual realm, there's no reason why those land will be finite. And so do you imagine that some of the most important platforms will continue to be those with scarce land or do you believe, and I’m asking as a company builder in the space, that these should be open, there should not be any limitation because anyone should be able, just like with a website, to come in and try and build an incredible experience that will attract the highest number of users.

Sam: Yeah. I think the first thing you mentioned around earth being scarce, there's an interesting stat that you could put the whole of the world's population in New Zealand, all of them, if you assume a density similar to New York City. So actually there is a ton of space on the planet. Aggregation of people around the areas where they want to live. Because no one really wants to live there. There's just very few people that will move from New York to New Zealand, correct? Well, there's that, and also no one wants to live in the middle of the desert. Just like no one wants to be on the land in the metaverse where nothing happens. So there's always centers of interest. Right. Network effects form the cities are the ultimate network effects. They attract people which attract more people. So there's always those point of obligation that would happen no matter if it's infinite then I think the element of leaving it open for everyone or having the concept of land is not hugely different in the way that I see it. Of course, there is an upfront cost to acquire land and to build on top of it. I think that cost means that this is a way for the platform to maintain high quality builds because by having people to commit to buy the land or to run the land, you know that they're gonna develop, they're gonna be serious about developing it, because they've put an investment in it. It's not just it's a free piece of land. You can do whatever you want. So I think that was put in as a way to make sure that to curate the content and to really bring out the best content. That's one thing. I think the other thing also is that if you think about it, yes, right now on the internet or let's take the example of Instagram, you can have an infinite number of websites, an infinite number of Instagram pages. But the way that people consume it is that they only see the same profiles, the same people. You know, not every website, not every Instagram page get the same amount of eyeballs, and a lot of that is due to algorithms, whether it's Google on the Internet, whether it's Instagram itself recommending the most popular content. So in a way, the content that you consume is also limited to the top. We end up getting all the ad revenue and basically all the value from that huge audience. So in a sense, like what land is doing that upfront by saying we are only gonna have in the sandbox it's 166,000 plots, which is effectively the total consumable content. And then all the audience is gonna have to split between those different parcels. So, you know, per parcel, you end up getting a huge amount of attention and potentially a huge amount of engagement and sales as well. It's like in Instagram, we are only gonna have 160,000 accounts. And imagine how much people would pay to be one of those. Because on the other side you have billion people that are scrolling through those accounts. But that's exactly what's happening anyway with the algorithm. So I think it's just a different promotion mechanics that is more upfront and it's basically a pay to play for sure. But at the end of the day, I don't think it really drastically changes the results because I think the best creators, the most popular ones, the ones that people want to see, will end up on top of the algorithm anyway.

yon: And how do you envision, because we were talking about the notion of platforms providing economic incentive or economic participation to the network itself. And so if I'm a land owner in Decentraland and there is an experience that monetizes or multiple experiences that monetize inside a particular parcel that I own as a land owner. Yeah. In the metaverse, do you imagine that the economic upside from the rent from the project should be distributed across the creators, the participants? The users who are within that particular land or parcel, because in and of itself, that almost becomes like a nano platform within a bigger platform.

Sam: Totally. Yeah. Yeah. I mean, we are already doing that but I'm suspecting others are doing it as well. Right. You have the land, so the landowner, we own our own land, but we also work with other land owners. Then you have the creators that bring labor, they build the experience. And generally this is funded by a brand that comes up with an idea and some capital as well. So you have those different factors of production by economic theory, which is land, labor, capital and ideas. And with that, this is what you need to get a project off the ground. And all these different stakeholders, the one that contribute with the idea, the one that funded, the one that build it, the one that provide the land, should be rewarded. At the moment, this is basically an agreement that is done on a project by project basis but accelerating the metaverse economy that's basically what we're doing. We bring together the landowners, the creators, and the brands. These are the first three stakeholders in the metaverse, but right now, they don't talk to each other. I'm a one of the first landowner in Somnia Space and other platforms, and I know a lot of other landowners, they have no idea, they're just sitting on their land to benefit from the capital gains, but they're not monetizing it. So they don't know where to find brands. And then the creators, they know how to build, but they might not have land, and they certainly don't know how to sell to a big brand. So again, they're not in contact. So LandVault is really this bridge between the landowner, the creators, and the brand, putting them together and by creating the right tools to bridge the gap, this is how we actually start this economy and accelerate the economy of the metaverse.

Yon: Let's double click on the brands and experiences. One of the things, obviously as a builder in this space as well, or anyone who creates consumer experiences, it is critical to build things people want to engage with. And I think one of the things that is happening at the moment, or at least even over the last year and a half, two years with all the hype, people forgot that at the end of the day we're talking about people who actually need to engage, have fun, conncet, express themselves, but there needs to be some clear benefit that people would wanna come. What are some of the successful use cases that you have seen, either as a participant in the platforms in general, or as a builder in the space? What are some of the use cases of brand experiences or different type of games that you've seen being built on the platform that you feel. This is a good example of how things could be done right in this new frontier.

Sam: I think you're right that for some reason the consumer has been left out of the narrative for some reason, right? We're talking about brands that are building something and landowners, okay, that's great, but who is gonna go there and why would they go there in the first place? It comes back to the main point that the metaverse really is a game with a business model. So, at the core, you need an exciting. game or exciting gaming mechanics at least, which if it's done well, the gaming industry has proven that people would spend hours and hours engaging with the content. So it's really all about creating fun experiences that engage the users, that reward the users. There's been plenty of experiences of examples of that. I think the fashion week in the metaverse, which we participated in, you know, if you like fashion and you came here to discover digital fashion, this perfect place. This was not a mainstream event. But if that's where you were after 60 brands were there, they were at different times. There are keynotes, so you could learn from the best in the space. They were doing fashion shows as well where you could literally see digital fashion being created and being showcased in front of you, and then you could buy it and put it on top of your avatar. So it was the whole chain and the numbers were pretty staggering. 70% of people actually ended up buying a digital asset which was amazing. So if you came here with a purchase intent of digital fashion, this was an amazing event. There's plenty of other examples. I mean, the, to take our own activations. The world of women activation for example is something that you can basically consume that world to get more context about the collection world of women, which is a very famous NFT collection. And for a lot of NFT holders, seeing it in 2d is one thing, but actually diving in that world of an IP that you love and that you're connecting that just adds extra context and makes you love the brand more without necessarily giving you anything tangible in return. But it's just a fun experience of actually understanding more about that world. And it's about empowerment and things along those lines. So this was super successful, The Mastercard one, which was around pride. Mastercard is a long term supporter of Pride in New York, and they decided to extend that in the virtual world. So we built the whole pride plazas for them. We had influencers. We had, again, a lot of educational sessions, live events. Again, it's all centered around events. It's not everyone’s cup of tea necessarily but if you're interested in the space, if you wanna learn more, then this was a great event and this would not have been possible to do on a website. So I think it's all about bringing things that you cannot do outside of the metaverse, right? Being immersed in that crowd and dancing with other people and taking selfies of your digital self with your new fashion. Like you can't do that on the website. And I think that uniqueness is really what drives people to consume those experiences.

Yon: Sam, before we conclude this terrific conversation, what's the one thing you'd like the listeners to take away from our chat?

Sam: I think the metaverse is gonna happen anyway. A lot of people doubt that. I think it's like every technology revolution. There is an adoption curve. There is the hype cycle, of course, we saw what happened with crypto, for example. But again, it's a trend that will sustain for sure. So I think the key here is to really engage with it. It's to try to understand it. It doesn't mean that you have to spend your time in the metaverse right now, but a lot of people did not believe in the internet back in the nineties. And it took time for it to really take over. And now, 20 years later, everyone is online. I think the metaverse is a trend that is also gonna spread over the next couple of decades. And I think if you're a young person about to get your first job or if you're a creator, it's really something that you should look into because the upside of being early have been proven to be sable. So that's all. I guess the message is to remain open and not discard the technology based on a few bad actors, a few bad articles because the fundamentals, again, are very strong. Remain open, build, experiment, and let's create a future that we all get excited about.

Yon: Sam, thank you so much for joining me today.

Sam: It was awesome. Thanks for having me.

Into The Metaverse
Into The Metaverse is a multi-segment podcast show focused on deep coverage of the Metaverse through interviews with brilliant minds who build, create for, and invest in, the metaverse.