In our last blog, we discussed traditional financial services providers’ increasing interest in exploring the potential of new metaverse environments to deliver products and services to existing and new target markets.
Greengage is already a pioneer in digital innovation. We are building a robust digital platform to deliver merchant banking services aimed at two core audiences — digital asset companies and SMEs. Our goal is to deliver effective transactional solutions to the highest security and compliance standards. As financial markets participants, we also recognise that blockchain technology facilitates a new, virtual economy, built around different types of digital assets including NFTs (non-fungible tokens) and cryptocurrencies.
Today, crypto asset companies often struggle to access mainstream banking services, with only a small number of traditional banks actively supporting this sector; a situation that will not have been helped by recent events such as the collapse of FTX. SMEs can experience similar challenges: it is estimated that there is a £22 billion funding gap for SMEs in the UK alone, despite this segment generating annual revenues exceeding £2.5 trillion.
A key strand of Greengage’s overarching strategy to build a next generation merchant bank is to partner with best of breed technology and service providers (traditional and digital) to develop and deliver services that effectively bridge the gap between traditional finance (TradFi) and new, decentralised solutions (DeFi). The metaverse is a logical step in this development. According to Gartner research, by 2026, 25% of people will be spending at least one hour a day in a metaverse, whether for work, leisure, education, entertainment or simply engaging in a social community. This supports Morgan Stanley’s estimated global spend on metaverse technologies — virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR) — as in excess of $73 billion by 2024.
Ongoing developments in metaverse/Web 3.0 technologies can already deliver an increasingly ‘lifelike’ virtual experience to users, whether that be virtual shopping in Bond Street, enjoying Dubai’s tourist attractions without leaving the front room or, embedding finance into the metaverse experience such as the ability to visit virtual bank branches and ATMs to effect transactions.
Greengage’s metaverse strategy is focused on discovering and engaging digitally-native prospects and bringing them together within communities. We looked at many metaverses and spoke to myriad companies developing yet more before alighting on the Eldora proposition, “a metaverse where businesses and users (Eldorans) can come together as part of the Web 3.0 revolution”.
Eldora is focused on becoming a dedicated finance hub, rather than a broad-brush metaverse with financial service elements. It is building a highly-accessible environment in which companies like Greengage can network, learn and pioneer proprietary projects and service innovations. Further, unlike land and real-estate focused metaverses, land in Eldora is not available to buy directly for speculative investment purposes, it can be acquired only in the context of creating a business within it.
Supporting B2B and B2C user segments and providers, Eldora’s finance hub environment enables companies (builders) and customers (users) alike to benefit from very high spec 3D visualisation and ultra-realistic user experience. As a novice builder in this nascent metaverse space, Greengage is excited to explore the potential to develop and enhance our e-money services offering within Eldora, while at the same time reaching and leveraging the fast-growing Eldoran community.
Eldora is resolving the scale communications challenges within a metaverse, with respect to maintaining a coherent world in which growing numbers of users navigate within and engage with other users. To avoid overloading users’ browsers or generating huge amounts of network traffic, Eldora’s virtual world is split into ‘scenes’ which users can move between using virtual doors, mirroring users’ real-life experiences. (The users’ clients move between communication channels in the same way, ensuring that the number of concurrent users per channel is kept to a reasonable level, with no degradation in the quality of the experience or service interruption.)
Sean Kiernan, CEO, Greengage: “Eldora is an excellent fit with our own business model, not least because of our shared, high-end focus on the B2B segment. We are excited to leverage its very high spec VR and AR visuals and technologies to bring a bit of joy to users’ merchant banking experience and particularly, to think more creatively about delivering our services in a way that resonates with next generation, new technology-savvy entrepreneurs and business-owners.”
Greengage is committed to delivering a full-service digital banking experience to customers. Neo-banks like Starling and others have been around for quite a while and the notion of virtual banking (with no physical presence) is reasonably-well established at the B2C level. However, there are limitations to this approach, particularly with regards to web access to ‘real’ resources, and in the B2B environment particularly, communication with dedicated relationship managers with a handle on customers’ business activities, and associated banking services requirements.
The pace of technological change (and scale adoption) is accelerating. It took a mere 10 years from its invention for internet technology to evolve to embrace universal email, mobile, web and video streaming services. Beyond scaled up internet application and participation, the 1990s heralded the advent of more interactive and immersive gaming technologies (with significantly-enhanced VR graphics) along with increasingly ‘smart’ mobile phones and laptops. Since the birth of bitcoin in 2008 we have witnessed the rise of new, decentralised, digital asset and blockchain technologies as putative challengers to traditional financial models. Today, we are on the cusp of the Web 3 and 3D web graphics revolution.
Théophane Ramé, CEO & Founder of Eldora.do: “Eldora is a limitless environment in which participants can buy and build anything and everything, from businesses to community hangouts, conference centres to lavish homes. The faster technology evolves, the more complex it becomes. Our focused Web 3.0 finance hub takes care of the technological complexities to create an environment where businesses and audiences can come together to share data in a decentralized way, and explore endless new opportunities.”
What is exciting about the metaverse is that Greengage will not only be able to create virtual branches (and ATMs) in virtual high streets within specific meta lands and communities, we can go further still, with clients being able to hold face-to-face (actually, avatar-to-avatar) meetings with our Relationship Managers, the outcome of where meetings manifest in real life solutions such as opening an e-money account in the future offering.
High street banks continue to reduce their physical footprints in the name of operational efficiency, pushing customers to engage online. At the same time, pandemic lockdowns and wide-scale and continuing working from home policies have been instrumental in shifting mindsets to seeking out new and different solutions to business and personal banking and financing needs.
We must also recognise that younger generations, the Gen Xs and Alphas, have grown up in the digital world (Web 2.0 video streaming, social channels, interactive gaming, increasingly clever smart phones et al) and are completely au fait and comfortable engaging in this environment. They are also far less wedded to traditional banking constructs and more demanding of service providers in terms of how they expect to engage. This is a paradigm shift in terms of who holds the banking relationship reins.
Through leveraging limitless and borderless Web 3 technology — and collaborating with specialist financial services-focused providers like Eldora — we are aiming to deliver a truly immersive, full service, e-money experience, with none of today’s barriers to entry.