Metaverse And Web3 New Year's Predictions, With Flox Founder Jaie Genadt

As the New Year approaches, it’s important to ask where the metaverse and Web3 are headed.

To do so, MediaPost is sitting down with a variety of specialists over the next two weeks who understand the complexity of these emerging concepts, the technologies associated with them, and the brand implications as more consumers invest their time moving into 2023.

MediaPost spoke with Jaie Genadt, co-founder of Flox, an emerging metaverse events platform built to drive greater engagement in virtual and hybrid events.

Genadt says his company is striving to create life-life avatars and events that seamlessly host up to 100,000 people. So far, Flox has created experiential metaverse events for brands like Molson Coors.

This interview has been edited for clarity. 

MediaPost: Mark Zuckerberg made “Metaverse” a household term when he changed his company's name in 2021, yet consumers are not adopting his vision. Why?

Jaie Genadt: The full-fledged metaverse is already, and will continue to be, so much more than Mark Zuckerberg’s version.

For business-to-business (B2B), there are some much better product-market fits out there. We’re already seeing brands like Dolce & Gabbana take advantage of virtual events, for instance by launching the first-ever Metaverse Fashion Week, and continuing to push deeper into the world on the business-to-consumer (B2C) side with its DGFamily NFT community.

Metaverse “digital twins” are also rising in popularity. Forward-thinking universities in the U.S. and Hong Kong are among the first to build digital twins of their campuses. These are not just improved versions of a Google Street View campus tour, but can be lecture halls and lab spaces attended physically and virtually.

This "social software" has proven to be particularly useful for foreign or long-distance students, who long to be “present” alongside other students, in a way they simply can't be otherwise.

MP: Will Sam Bankman-Fried's alleged acts of fraud have a negative effect on the public adoption of Web3/Metaverse technologies?

Genadt: We've been here before with fraudsters. The biggest Ponzi scheme in history came from the banking sector, and reasonably recently, with Bernie Madoff. And we'll be here again with both tech and fraudsters in the future.

But the reality is, everything that can be digitized will be. Web3/metaverse technologies are already forging ahead and being embraced in an array of forms, from blockchain enabling supply-chain traceability to metaverse events driving the diversity and sustainability agenda.

Despite the looming recession, digital budgets remain resilient, and there are 600,000 unfilled digital jobs in this country alone.

MP: Which companies will be positive leaders in the Web3/metaverse space in 2023?

Genadt: While companies are working on developing unique metaverse projects, many examples like Roblox’s metaverse world show that the metaverse is already here.

It’s undeniable that Roblox has a lot of users who love it, with a whopping 47 million active users participating daily on the platform -- almost all of which are using Roblox crypto.

The platform’s popularity could be attributed to its Gen Z demographic or maybe even being one of the only platforms offering consumers easy access into the metaverse world. Whatever the reason, we see Roblox continuing to be a positive leader in 2023.

MP: Which Web3/metaverse experiences will have the best chance of succeeding in 2023?

Genadt: It's likely that projects offering unique and engaging experiences for users will have the best chance of succeeding.

This could include games, virtual land ownership, and other projects that allow users to interact with each other and with virtual environments in new and interesting ways.

Ultimately, the success of any project in the metaverse or Web3 will depend on a variety of factors, including the quality of the project, its level of innovation, the ability of the project team to execute their vision, to innovate quickly, and adapt to changing market conditions.

MP: Which projects and companies are most likely to suffer in the coming months?

Genadt: Decentralized exchanges (DEXes) are expected to experience a decline in user activity as other platforms become more popular.

Similarly, blockchain-based gaming projects may suffer from decreased demand as the novelty of their offerings fades over time.

With increasingly competitive markets and regulatory pressures, projects that rely on token sales or public funding may also find it difficult to sustain their operations due to the current economic climate and trust issues presented with the FTX collapse.

Ultimately, metaverse and Web3 projects that lack a sustainable competitive advantage or are unable to pivot their business models could suffer the most in the months ahead.

MP: Will decentralization continue to be the ethos and tagline of Web3?

Genadt: The answer lies in crypto's ability to create unstoppable, borderless applications and networks, regardless of whether or not crypto's value is rising or falling.

Decentralization will remain the cornerstone of crypto, and its true power lies in its ability to enable users to create, store, and access data without relying on any third-party intermediaries.

Decentralization also allows crypto applications to scale more quickly and access new markets faster than traditional centralized models.

The crypto world has seen this in action with platforms like Ethereum, which allow users to create, store, and access data on a blockchain.

MP: How will brands succeed in the Metaverse?

Genadt: From our own experience, we’ve been seeing a lot of success with B2B. We’ve seen a huge surge in demand from businesses needing virtual spaces for digitally enhanced events of up to 25,000 people that boost collaboration, encourage diversity and drive cost-savings and sustainability, with major global brands like Molson Coors pioneering the format with us.

Equally, popular brands like Gucci, Coca-Cola, and Nike’s own Nikeland have been successful in buying digital land and using the metaverse to sell all sorts -- from factory visits to clothes and accessories for avatars.

MediaPost: How crucial will XR and 3D technologies be in persuading the public to adopt metaverse and/or web3 technologies?

Jaie Genadt: I think in two to three years, most virtual meetings and events may make a more permanent move from two-dimensional square boxes to the metaverse. Even now, we are seeing keen demand for this.

By providing users with high-quality, realistic experiences, XR and 3D technologies can help to increase the appeal of metaverse technologies and make them more accessible to a wider audience.

My prediction is when mixed reality glasses are in a place that the technology can deliver on consumer’s expectations whilst becoming a fashion accessory is when we the metaverse will see an explosion of adoption.

MP: What will the Metaverse and/or Web3 look like in 2023?

Genadt: I think that in 2023 we will see a lot of metaverse and web3 progress and adoption in the corporate world.

With the rise of alternative working styles, there is more demand than ever for what the metaverse can offer such as providing platforms, tools, and entire virtual worlds where business can be done remotely, efficiently, and intelligently.

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