The trend of Metaverses encompasses virtual worlds that exist in parallel with physical reality in which users adopt avatars to experience and live their digital lives. Metaverses are 3D models of the internet where users can explore, gain knowledge, enjoy entertainment, interact with each other, and buy, sell, and consume assets and services.
First realized in online video games in the early 2000s, the metaverse concept has been positioned as the next stage of social connection and engagement after the internet. The metaverse differs from virtual reality (VR) in that VR primarily occurs in contained digital environments usually for targeted functionalities like employee training and is experienced only via VR headsets. In contrast, a metaverse is typically built on VR technology but consists of open, shared, and immersive worlds connected to the wider online ecosystem and it can be accessed with or without a VR headset.
Furthermore, mimicking the physical world, metaverses have intricate economies. One major activity in many, but not all, metaverse economies is the trade and sale of blockchain-supported non-fungible tokens (NFTs). On the front end, NFTs can take many forms, like digital artwork and representations of real-world objects such as clothes and cars; on the back end, they are digital non-interchangeable receipts that act as proofs of ownership of digital or physical assets. Together, the virtual and physical global metaverse market was valued at 41 billion USD in 2021 and is expected to quadruple to 1.6 trillion USD by 2030.
The trend of Metaverses is relatively distant in terms of realization and low in impact for the logistics industry. While metaverses currently exist, it is almost like the beginnings of the internet in the 1990s – many corporate leaders in logistics and other industries are unsure how metaverses will impact core business. However, here at DHL, we believe that within 10 years, the trend’s relevance to logistics and the supply chain will become better understood; the impact of this trend will clarify as metaverses develop further.