Crypto News
16 Feb 2022

JPMorgan: First Bank To Enter the Metaverse


On Tuesday, 15 February, the global investment banking company, JPMorgan Chase, opened a virtual lounge in the widespread Decentraland metaverse. The US’s largest bank will be the first bank to enter the alternate reality space, joining popular brands like Samsung, Nike, and the Barbados embassy.

Decentraland is a 3D virtual world based on blockchain technology where users can buy and sell virtual real estate as Non-Fungible Tokens (NFTs) using the native token MANA.

The Onyx Lounge, named after JPMorgan’s blockchain unit Onyx, has been set up at the Metajuku mall in Decentraland. According to news reports, visitors are welcomed by a tiger roaming around and a portrait of Jamie Dimon, the CEO of JPMorgan Chase.

(Onyx lounge in Decentraland. Image source: Bloomberg)

The multinational bank has been at the forefront of promoting blockchain technology. Earlier, in 2019, it launched its own cryptocurrency, JPM coin, for instantaneous payments.

Limitless Opportunities in the Metaverse

In addition to the launch of its virtual lounge, the bank has also recently come out with a report exploring the enormity of metaverse-related growth opportunities for businesses.

“The metaverse will likely infiltrate every sector in some way in the coming years, with the market opportunity estimated at over $1 trillion in yearly revenues,” the report said while pointing out that household names such as Walmart, PWC, Nike, Gap, Adidas, and Verizon are already entering the metaverse in different forms.

According to the report, virtual real estate is a growing market, and it could soon see the emergence of services like those in the physical world, from rental agreements to mortgages. The average price of virtual land on the four leading Web 3 metaverses—Decentraland, The Sandbox, Somnium Space, and Cryptovoxels—has doubled from $6,000 to $12,000 in a span of only six months in 2021.

Despite the possibilities, the report’s authors separate all the hype from reality. Critical areas like technology and commercial infrastructure need further improvement before actually realizing metaverse’s full potential, they argue.

JPMorgan’s Approach Toward Metaverse

Precautions aside, given that the virtual universes with their own population, GDP, in-game currency, and digital assets resemble the current global economy, JPMorgan says it sees itself being able to make a contribution to the metaverse.

“This is where our long-standing core competencies in cross-border payments, foreign exchange, financial assets creation, trading, and safekeeping, in addition to our at-scale consumer foothold, can play a major role in the metaverse,” the report noted.

Whether or not JPMorgan ultimately will have such a major role is yet to be seen, but a first step in the direction has surely been taken with the launch of the Onyx Lounge.

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