In the era of digital transformation, traditional financial institutions are not only adapting but also innovating to stay relevant. This article explores how global entities like HSBC, JPMorgan, and others are venturing into the burgeoning metaverse – a virtual reality space where users can interact with a computer-generated environment and other users.
These companies have announced partnerships and plans to engage with their customers in unique ways, from hosting events in virtual stadiums to launching virtual versions of real-world locations. Additionally, crypto companies are also joining the race, leveraging the metaverse to enrich user experiences and expand their digital presence.
HSBC announced a partnership with The Sandbox, in which the financial institution will have a stadium that will be used for engaging with sports, esports and gaming fans.
Furthermore, the bank plans to bring the World Rugby Sevens Series into its metaverse experiment, as the bank is the official sponsor of the event.
JPMorgan has also joined the metaverse race but decided to open a lounge in Decentraland, the other top player in the metaverse sector.
The bank launched its blockchain unit, Onyx, which offers institutions and businesses an opportunity to enter the metaverse. JPMorgan’s lounge is located in the Metaiuku District, a virtual version of Tokyo’s Harajuku shopping district, where users can watch experts talk about the crypto and finance markets.
Corporate Marketing in the Metaverse
Launching metaverse-related initiatives in the financial sector has grown around the world, with institutions in other regions, such as Asia and Latin America, also entering this race.
The Industrial Bank of Korea (IBK) announced its plan to launch a virtual realm on the social media platform Cyworld Z, one of the most popular social media platforms in South Korea. The Company aims to set up an IBK Dotori Bank in the metaverse, which will launch financial products tailored for Cyworld Z (IBK’s platform) users.
NH NongHyup Bank also announced the launch of “NH Dokdo-verse,” a metaverse replica of Dokdo Island, a beautiful destination that is difficult to travel to in real life. It’s expected that users will be able to interact with one another by playing fishing games and buying land. This move came after the active promotion of the real island by the bank.
Interbank: In December 2022, the company was the first Peruvian bank to enter the metaverse. The company’s headquarters (the Interbank Tower), which is located on an important highway in Lima, arrived in Decentraland. The bank plans to engage more closely with its customers, expand its digital presence and interact with the bank’s content.
Crypto companies in the metaverse “race”
The metaverse race has also attracted the interest of different crypto companies trying to build their presence in this virtual realm with partnership announcements with leading The Sandbox, Decentraland or Bloktopia. The moves were an attempt to bring users to their virtual spaces and enrich their experiences.
Binance: One of the leading crypto companies acquired 4,012 LAND NFTs in The Sandbox world. A total of 1,859 land plots adjacent to Binance’s estates were sold to Binance users. The further development and use cases of the acquired land are still unknown.
Kraken: The U.S. exchange has partnered with Decentraland, with the company hosting virtual events, such as a Metaverse Music Festival. The event, which started in 2021, is a collaborative music festival that features over 500 artists in different virtual realms and stages in Decentraland. Although the event is open to the public, Kraken sends early-bird invitations to its user base, which can interact, listen to the lineups and collect NFT wearables.
Other companies: KuCoin, CoinMarketCap, Cointelegraph, and blockchain projects such as Solana, Chilliz, Chainlink and Polygon have partnered with Bloktopia, a Polygon-based metaverse. In those spaces, the companies and protocols are tenants of the virtual space, with some of them utilizing it as a virtual office or as a virtual branch of the company.
In summary, the financial sector is actively embracing the metaverse as a new frontier for customer engagement and marketing. Whether it’s HSBC’s stadium in The Sandbox or JPMorgan’s lounge in Decentraland, these initiatives demonstrate the sector’s commitment to innovation and customer-centricity. Moreover, the involvement of crypto companies like Binance and Kraken further validates the potential of the metaverse. As more institutions continue to explore this virtual realm, we can anticipate a paradigm shift in how businesses and customers interact, offering exciting opportunities and challenges alike. The future of finance, it seems, is not just digital, but also virtual.