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Hosted by top 5 banking and fintech influencer, Jim Marous, Banking Transformed highlights the challenges facing the banking industry. Featuring some of the top minds in business, this podcast explores how financial institutions can prepare for the future of banking.

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Banking on the Metaverse

It’s been 30 years since the term Metaverse was coined, but big money and big hype is now making its way into daily conversations in banking and beyond.

With the convergence of hundreds of millions of people with computer capacity at their fingertips, high-speed and high-capacity internet capabilities, the introduction of modern and affordable AR, VR and MR devices, and new assets powered by Web3 technology, the Metaverse is being defined in real-time daily.

My guest on the Banking Transformed podcast is Ray Wang, Founder and Chairman of Constellation Research. Ray untangles the hype from the likely reality and provides a clearer view of where the potential value lies for financial services.

This episode of Banking Transformed is sponsored by mParticle.

mParticle believes that better decisions start with better data. Cleanse, visualize, and connect your customer data from any source or system to any API. Better data, better decisions, better outcomes. Visit mparticle.com for more.

Jim Marous:
Hello, and welcome to Banking Transformed, the number one banking podcast. I'm your host, Jim Marous, founder and CEO of the Digital Banking Report and co-publisher The Financial Brand. It's been 30 years since the term metaverse was coined. But big money and big height is now making the way into daily conversations in and outside of banking.

Jim Marous:
With the convergence of hundreds of millions of people with computer capacities at their fingertips and high speed and high capacity internet capabilities, the introduction of modern affordable MR, VR and AR devices and new assets powered by web 3 technology, the metaverse is being defined every day in real time. My guest on Banking Transformed Podcast today is Ray Wang, founder of Constellation Research.

Jim Marous:
Ray untangles the hype from the likely reality and provides a clearer view as to where financial institutions should go as they define their position in the metaverse. So welcome to the show, Ray. As with any emerging technology or innovation, any prediction of the future is going to be at least somewhat off base. But that's not keeping forward looking companies from experimenting with and investing in the potential of extended reality for their products, services, and operations.

Jim Marous:
Most recently we've seen JPMorgan Chase, Fidelity and CaixaBank all start to dabble in the metaverse. So Ray, with so much terminology in banking and marketing today, it'll probably make sense to define what your definition of the metaverse is before we dig into how finance institutions can potentially leverage this technology in the future of this. So what do you see is the definition of the metaverse?

Ray Wang:
Yeah, there's a lot going on, right? And when most people think about the metaverse, they're thinking about the goggles and the worlds, right? But the underpinnings are much bigger than that. We see five components of the metaverse. The first part is the interfaces, right? Today they're goggles, in the future, they're going to be gestures like Minority Report.

Ray Wang:
And then of course, one day you might just plug yourself in with your brain with a human API, right? Like Neuralink in terms of what Elon Musk is talking about. But that's just the beginning. There are going to be worlds like the way we have websites and those worlds today, I mean, it's in Roblox, we've seen banks kind of play a role in there. We see them in Unity and Epic, but every brand is going to have their own world, right?

Ray Wang:
They're going to have their own mall, they're going to have their own interfaces. And so you're going to see that sports entertainment, they're going to have their own worlds, brands are going to have their own worlds, every studio's going to do that. But that takes us just at the tip of the iceberg. Underpinnings include things like DAOs and that's a decentralized autonomous organization.

Ray Wang:
Think about it as the rules of the country club, the rules of a constitution, the membership rules of what required to, how you vote, how do you become a member, how do you exchange items of value? And then of course, we're going to go to the crypto and the blockchain tech that's behind that. And that's huge, right? That's our underpinnings of what value exchange is created, how money is actually transferred, how goods and services are exchanged.

Ray Wang:
And then underpinning all that, are series of new technologies that are basically going from web 2 to web 3, right? And that's the stack, right? That's just the technologies that are underpinning this. We've got creator economies interfacing what we call data driven digital networks, and that creates the overall market size of what we see as about 20.7 trillion by the end of the decade.

Jim Marous:
It's interesting Gartner recently predicted that by 2026, 25% of people will spend at least an hour of the day in the metaverse for work, shopping, education, social media, or entertainment. How do you see this playing out as far as the digital and physical world in banking? Do you think it's going to be that high or is banking maybe not going to only lag because of the fact that banking lags, but because maybe there's not as many leveraging points where metaverse plays into banking?

Ray Wang:
Actually, I think we have to look at it a different way. Like if it's traditionally, I'm going to a branch, I put on a headset, I take some transactions, I might get some coins for the worlds I'm in from a bank, I don't think it's going to work that way. So it's actually going to be a little bit more subtle and a little bit more ambient, is kind of the way we would look at this.

Ray Wang:
And so imagine like you walk in, you're making a transaction, you're in the metaverse, right? You can just blink your eye. You can just swipe. You can just use your digital signature and identity and you'll be doing transactions, right? But if you're getting into something more formal like I'm going to do peer to peer payments, I'm going to transfer money from the real world to the digital world, there might be more interfaces along the way.

Ray Wang:
Will we spend an hour doing banking a day? I hope not. I think it's just going to be so seamless, so frictionless in the backend that it's just going to happen. But keep in mind, a lot of people do get motion sick. So being in all those goggles and stuff might not last that long, you might be able to handle more than an hour in the metaverse today, but it will get better in the future.

Ray Wang:
But underpinning of every piece is really the value exchange mechanism. And so, for example, like how would you go from a simple thing like taking a cryptocurrency like Bitcoin and settling it through ACH? What happens? Is that a digital asset? Is that a security? Is that currency?

Ray Wang:
I mean, there's going to be some very interesting questions that have to be answered, but for now I think a lot of folks are just trying to pet a presence in the metaverse, get involved in the middle of the transactional aspects of it and then of course, we're going to see all those underlying banking as a service infrastructures, all the DeFi technologies are popping in already and the worlds and you and those interactions are never going to be the same again.

Jim Marous:
Well, speaking of the interactions, do you believe that the metaverse will prompt changes in consumption patterns or in maybe the competitive battle field overall?

Ray Wang:
Yeah, I think the consumption patterns are going to be more subtle. Everybody's going to have their wallets or wallet, and it's really the interaction with those wallets that's going to be out there. Keep in mind because the transactions are going to be more peer to peer, I don't think people understand the implications of not having an intermediary. Oops, I transferred $10,000 to the wrong person. Sorry. You're going to see things like that, right?

Ray Wang:
You're also going to see situations where how you treat currencies and value currencies, all the record keeping behind that, that actually has to come back at some point, right? Whether you are trading a security or an asset, whether it's actually currency, value exchange. Like how do you actually tell what goods were transacted? What was revenue, what gets taxed? Right? So a lot of things have yet to be figured out, but I'm sure we will get there.

Jim Marous:
It's interesting, moving from the world of traditional banking where we dealt with banking in physical structures to digital banking on the computer or mobile phones obviously significantly changed the customer journey and the customer experience. How do you see the metaverse altering the experience consumers will have in the future?

Ray Wang:
I think the biggest change they'll notice is that banking is seamless, right? It's more seamless than just flashing out a credit card with a chip. I mean, you basically can transact anywhere, anytime, any world. And I think that's the important piece. And so the ability to actually bring something from the physical world to the digital world, that's probably the first thing. I think the second thing is because it's so seamless.

Ray Wang:
That's probably the first thing. I think the second thing is because it's so seamless. Right? When things are that easy, you get lost in terms of figuring out, "Hey, how much did I spend?" I think we're going to have to insert some friction along the way to make sure people understand that a transaction has occurred and here are the consequences of that transaction. We don't have those in place today. We've made things so easy to pay and we will make things even easier to pay with that that's going to create some of that... People are going to have to build in some friction in the experiences just to make sure that, "Are you there? Do you feel anything?" Right? You're going to have to get some reality [inaudible 00:08:36].

Jim Marous:
When people talk about the metaverse, they look at it from a broader perspective. How do you see the integration of open banking and the potential of cross-industry marketplaces playing into the metaverse as it relates to the financial services industry?

Ray Wang:
Yeah, that's a great question. I think that a lot of the things that we've seen from banking as a service, other things that we've seen from the ability to actually do transactions at scale, the ability to actually take payments, all this is actually going to be seamless. Because it's seamless, our ability to actually do transactions is going to be, I'd say, a lot simpler. Right? We won't have the intermediaries in between. We won't have the challenges that we normally have with all the friction along with the regulation. But we're going to have to figure out, more importantly, which regulations are going to be important? What do we need in regulations? There's going to be a rethink in terms of what gets regulated, what gets centralized, and more importantly, what gets decentralized.

Jim Marous:
The future potential of the metaverse will not happen overnight, obviously for several reasons. That said, financial institutions can't wait for the future to happen. They must become more future ready. What do you suggest that financial institutions do in the short term to get ready for the metaverse?

Ray Wang:
Yeah, there are a couple things that they can get started with. One is actually having presence, and we do see that, right? We see different institutions in Roblox, in decentral land, in the worlds, right? That's just a presence aspect. But there's a second piece that can be done going forward, which is really making things easier for their customers. For example, the ability to actually maybe create an NFT for each individual, maybe create accounts sitting in the web 3-0 world that actually allow you to actually start those transaction processes, allow you to actually take identity and transact against that identity. Maybe some of the institutions will start by providing the ability to help someone actually get their coins out, get an NFT, figure out how to do a digital asset settlement. That's going to be one of the big pieces on the B2B world.

Ray Wang:
I just took Dogecoin and Bitcoin, how do I settle that into my books properly? I think that is going to be some of the basics. Payment engines are going to have to figure out what they do in terms of actually doing transactions, not only just in the crypto world, but more importantly, the metaverse is going to be transacted with tokens with exchanges. Of course, there'll be dollars and the other currencies that will be taken, but you can see predominantly the form of value exchange is going to be more in the crypto world.

Ray Wang:
I think the third thing that organizations can actually do along with that is also prove their value in the metaverse. There is value in some of the banking services and some of the regulations or some of the financial and consumer protections that might not be available in direct transactions. We'll see banks play a new role, but they're going to have to define, what's the important part that consumers are looking for and trading security for friction, less friction, and being able to trade privacy the way that we normally look at privacy and data really for more experiences and engagement.

Ray Wang:
I think people are going to find the right balance. We're not there yet. Right? Because not everyone is transacting yet. We figure that, at some point, we'll have about 80, 90 million people transacting in the metaverse this year. That's going to be a little bit more as we start to get to billions of people. This is going to be a very interesting proposition.

Jim Marous:
When you're working with financial institutions, consulting them, and we're talking about the beginning point, the dipping the toe in the water, so to speak, should financial institutions be focusing on improving the customer journeys or working on the customer journeys, or maybe working with specific products customized for the metaverse, maybe say a virtual real estate mortgage transaction or some combination of the two?

Ray Wang:
Jimmy, I think you're completely right. It's really about getting used to smart contracts. Right? How do you want to set up a smart contract? Is a title an NFT? If I'm going to do a mortgage in the metaverse, what does it mean? What are the rules? What's the governance that's required? Those are going to be the questions that people are going to ask. If I take insurance and title policy in the metaverse, is that an NFT? How is it minted? How do we take care of that? Those are definitely the questions that banks are going to play a role in maybe providing themselves as a Sherpa into the metaverse, a trusted partner that helps clients actually navigate what's happening in the metaverse, as opposed to the wild west that's actually happening today.

Jim Marous:
It's interesting, some institutions already are seeing the deployment of the metaverse related experiences similar to, let's say, 3D shopping. Some organizations are using the gamification of banking. Is this the way banking should be viewed in the future, or is this too limited or maybe too broad? To me, at least, I don't know, some of the ones that have already been deployed, say JP Morgan, Chase, or Fidelity, or even Cashaa Bank, some of the early interpretations, to me at least, seem to be more PR stunts than real applications somebody's going to actually do. What are your feelings about some of these early applications? Are they just testing the water? Is it more for PR purposes? Or do you see that basically this may be the way it goes?

Ray Wang:
It's actually all of the above. Everybody decided that it'd be cool to launch an NFT or be in the metaverse world this year, so their marketing budgets were focused on that. Everybody reached out to their digital agencies and said, "Hey, what can you do to put me in the metaverse?" That's great, right? That's kind of like, "Hey, I got a domain name and I have a website. Look at me." However, very few organizations have actually built a business model of how they want to take advantage of that metaverse economy in there.

Ray Wang:
It really starts with seven steps that we think about. First, think about your overall brand strategy. If you're a high-touch, luxury bank in that perspective with a lot more touch points, more private wealth management, then you're going to take that very different than if you're a high efficiency bank, really just looking at locations and being able to service with a level of efficiency and a level of convenience. So you start with your brand strategy, then you go and pick up one of the metaverse use cases. What am I trying to do here? Am I trying to improve the buying experience for my customers? Am I trying to reduce the clutter of the traditional loan application process? Right? Am I trying to make payments a lot more automated and easier between my cold wallet and my digital wallet and my actual banking? You start there.

Ray Wang:
You take one of those use cases, then we go out and we figure out, what do we have to do? What are the worlds? What are the technologies and skills that we have to figure out? We build and design an experience strategy and engagement strategy. Right? Where do we automate processes? When do we augment the system with humans? When do we augment the humans with more information? And when do we actually create friction, actually insert a human in the process? Right? Every single banking journey is going to require that, and you're going to have a rethink of how that's being delivered, and you're also along the way going to capture the analytics information so that you can get better at automating things, and more importantly, start building the knowledge graphs on the backend so that your prediction models get better. Then, at some point, we're going to use all this stuff to actually power these larger networks, because the data that's actually being collected in the metaverse is actually richer than anything you would imagine.

Ray Wang:
Data that's actually being collected in the metaverse is actually richer than anything you would imagine. Right? For example, I can track your eye blinking and your eye movements. I can, at some point I know what your pulse is. I know how quickly you're breathing. Right?

Ray Wang:
And so, all those things that weren't captured before are there. I get intonation in your voice, I can tell if you're angry or upset or happy or sad. Right?

Ray Wang:
So all that data's going to be piled together and put together. And I think this is how people are going to start entering that metaverse economy.

Jim Marous:
Well, it is a great example of, there's going to be a lot more data available, but it's also going to be incumbent upon the financial institution to make sure they give value exchange for the utilization of this data. Otherwise, those data options are going to be cut off by the consumer, because they're going to have the right to say no from a privacy or personalization standpoint, "I don't want those options."

Jim Marous:
So it's really going to hold the financial institution really responsible for making sure that this value exchange happens, that I get a truly better experience because of the data you're capturing on me.

Jim Marous:
So Ray, let's take a short break here and recognize the sponsor to this podcast. So Ray, more and more finance institutions are beginning to offer digital asset platforms. You know, as we move from short term to long term planning, should organizations consider developing their own virtual metaverse platform, integrated with existing technologies? Or is this an example where partnering with a third party entity might be a better way to go?

Ray Wang:
Everyone's going to be tempted to build their own. And that's just the natural tendency to do that. I think what we have to think about is how do we partner and how do we actually take advantage, reusable digital assets that can be applied into different worlds?

Ray Wang:
You know, there's so many worlds, right? You've got things that are powered by Unity or things that are powered by Epic. Or Decentraland or Sandbox or Roblox. Right? And that's just the beginning. And so you're going to need a strategy that allows you to have presence in these different worlds. And of course you're going to have your own presence.

Ray Wang:
So the partnership strategy is important. The ability to actually have reusability, that's going to be your guide to getting into different worlds and different experiences.

Ray Wang:
But more importantly, you will at some point stand up your own capability, where people come to you and actually experience what you have to offer. Whether it's a digital lobby, whether it's the ability to actually have face to face transactions, the ability to actually check in on account, do self-service. All that's going to happen in the same way that we looked at the web, we looked at mobile, and now the way we look at the metaverse.

Jim Marous:
So if we look to the future of the metaverse, who are the technology players and the financial services players you think organizations should watch? In other words, who's driving the metaverse today, at this point in the game?

Ray Wang:
Yeah, I think the major banks have done a good job of just trying to get some presence in there. And I think that's just the beginning. But what we're really looking at are companies that are doing things in the digital asset settlement area. And that's really going to be interesting.

Ray Wang:
So, interesting company is a company called Bitwave. They're helping people figure out how to do that digital asset settlement. You decided to take Bitcoin or Dogecoin, well, how does that work? Right? Can we actually go out and figure out how you settle that, how you treat the asset types in the right way or the financial types in the right way. And that's going to be important.

Ray Wang:
We also see the crypto exchanges and the wallets playing a role. So Coinbase and eToro. Right? And then of course brokerages in the world like FTX. I mean, they're kind of driving what's happening. And so you're going to see those organizations play a role in terms of shaping the infrastructure of what actually required for a transaction.

Ray Wang:
And then of course we see worlds, right? I mean, the worlds are actually going to set some of the standards in terms of how they actually do transactions, right? I mean, we see all what happened in Decentraland. We see what's happening in Roblox. And they play a role.

Ray Wang:
But we also see consulting firms that are out there doing things in the metaverse. Right? We see the likes of the Accentures of the world and Deloitte and TCS and IBM and Mphasis and WEBPRO, they're all doing things in the metaverse to really actually help their clients figure out what's the path, what's the journey, how do you build those experiences?

Ray Wang:
So I think we're just at the beginning, but there's also companies like Stripe and Block and more that are actually building out the payments infrastructure to be able to do that. You saw what PayPal did with NFTs and that's going to be just the beginning of being able to handle some of those digital assets.

Ray Wang:
And so we're going to see, there's a land grab for market share and mind share, in terms of what's going on for banking platforms, banking as a service, for transactions on the backend, for the ability to do simple things like even loan origination in the metaverse. How do we set up the smart contracts in the right way? So there is a battle for getting these services and offerings out the door.

Jim Marous:
You know, you recently published a report on the future of the metaverse, a great report by the way. And you spent time talking about how the metaverse will change the future of work as we know it. Can you discuss a little bit about how the metaverse can be used internally within an organization?

Ray Wang:
Yeah, it's a great point. We often focus on the commerce and the customer experience use cases, but there are a good number of use cases in future of work and employee experience. And those range from anything from collaboration to meetings, our ability to actually see transparent layers of computing, our ability to actually transact in these new worlds from 2D to 3D.

Ray Wang:
To simple things like recruiting. Imagine if we had no bias recruiting. And what do I mean by that? Well, when you talk to people, you normally can hear their voice in intonations. I can say, "Oh, that's a person from the East Coast." Or, "Wait, that's actually a person from the west of Pennsylvania because they're using the word 'pop' instead of 'soda.' Okay, I pulled that out. Wait, that's someone from New England." Right. And you can do that. And we do that around the world, Singaporean English versus American English versus British English versus Indian English or Canadian English or Australian English, or even American English. Right. We tell that, and that brings bias into the equation.

Ray Wang:
Imagine if my avatars intervene. [inaudible 00:22:12] avatar. We take away the intonations that you normally would hear, in that traditional sense. That can make a big difference. Right? You might take away just even the visual aspects of that interview and do kind of a no bias interview. So we definitely see that there.

Ray Wang:
There's onboarding. That's also very important. You're getting someone up to speed and making sure that all the things that they have are in place. And you might start with some training as well, just to make sure that people are safe. You put someone in a haptic suit, some gloves, right. And they say, "Hey, look, I used to work on oil rigs." And you're like, "Oh, okay, well, what's the safety protocol?" You get them out there. If they fall from an oil rig, at least in the virtual world, they'll never do it again in the real world. Right. So you build those kind of training mechanisms.

Ray Wang:
Or maybe you said you were skilled, a mechanic or electrician, and here's kind of what's going on. Or you're an expert in coding in a web 3.0 stack. Fine, let's go prove it. Let's test if you can really do that.

Ray Wang:
Imagine open heart surgeries that are being done, where you've got digital twins of the heart, digital twins of the surgeon that actually going at it. I mean, that could inform our ability to do robotic surgery or computerized surgery in the future. You could train more people, who've never seen that in the operating theater, in terms of being able to do that.

Ray Wang:
And so take the banking transaction. Like how do we actually do a scenario where we look at potential fraud, right? You could do a whole bunch of training simulations. You know, here's a person coming in, like, "What did you do for training? Did you do your KYC? Oh wait, hey, that's a transaction. That's actually worth $10,001 in Bitcoin. Hmm. Is that an AML trigger? What do we do?" Right. So you can actually put all those things into place.

Ray Wang:
And of course we're going to have internal comms and other things that actually pop into place, where we change the way we look at meetings, we change the way we look at internal types of events, team building, lots of things here.

Ray Wang:
So there's about 21 use cases that we looked at in the future of work and employee experience.

Jim Marous:
You know, you also, in the same report, talked about...

Ray Wang:
Experience.

Jim Marous:
You also, in the same report talked about marketing metaverse. How do you see marketing changing, and the sales process changing with the application of the metaverse?

Ray Wang:
Yeah. Imagine the launch of a brand new branch in the metaverse or the launch of a new financial product or offering, right, that's both in the physical world and the digital world, you can reach so many more people. Right? All they may have to do is actually just go into the app and actually change the way that the banking app is experienced. Get into maybe a metaverse world to kind of see what it's like, have a conversation with their private banker or the teller that they work with or they know. Right? So, we can actually launch new products and services there. We can create VIP experiences that normally wouldn't be there, that actually give people access to individuals they normally wouldn't have been able to talk to, or actually create brand new experiences for folks. So, the marketing is just the beginning of that.

Ray Wang:
The sales is actually interesting because you can now actually have true collaborative sales, right, the ability to actually get teams to actually work together on issues. One of the things that I always envision is that in the metaverse you're going to have these like big, like, just like the way we have like these big lead walls today, or you've got walls or like screens with all this data on it, you're going to have this in a 3D immersive environment. Like any kind of stat, any kind of intelligence that you need to get inside your organization, you're going to be able to see on the fly, and it will be kind of a metaverse experience where you throw things out, you bring things in, you close things, you touch, you share. I mean, all these gestures are going to be fun to watch.

Jim Marous:
At the end of the day, they always say, follow the money. So, what do you see as the commercial possibilities of the metaverse when we're talking about financial services?

Ray Wang:
I think it's going to be really in the APIs and the ability to actually embed, allowing the ability to actually expand a world from centralized to decentralized systems. That's really the ability to actually capture some value in all those transactions that are going to happen. Right? We started to see that with some of the virtual worlds, some of the payment models, and we've seen that in eSports. We've seen that in gaming, especially in terms of how people buy digital goods and services. I think that's going to be more streamlined. I think banks are going to get better at that, and I think banks and financial institutions play important role in the Web2 to Web3 transition and more importantly, in the 2D to 3D transition by making those services seamless, but providing the stability, the reliability, and more importantly, the scale that consumers expect in the physical world, that's got to happen as well in the metaverse world.

Jim Marous:
Okay. So, we keep on talking about the metaverse, and as you said, at the beginning of the conversation, we always talk about the device. We're talking about the glasses or the goggles, whatever it may be. Can the future of the metaverse actually happen without devices such as glasses or some other kind of 3D apparel? It seems to be a stretch to think that people want a universe that replicates the physical world, when we already have what we want in many cases in the digital world. How do you see that all transpiring and what kind of possible barrier does it present when we're talking about having to view this type of thing in a 3D or a virtual device?

Ray Wang:
No, it's a great question. Like you don't want to be encumbered by wearing those goggles. Today, the battery life when those goggles are probably less than two hour. Right? Plus, if you get motion sick, like I do, you can only be on these glasses for some period of time. So, yeah, it's not all going to be through those glasses. There may be immersive rooms that actually we sit in, but more importantly, we'll be able to get to the point, and we think in the next 18 months or less, we should be able to get to a point where all you need is the camera on your device, and you too can actually experience those 3D worlds without having to put on goggles. So, and that will reduce the barrier of entry and improve accessibility for those who might not necessarily be able to put themselves into a goggle. But we see that happening right now. It's not going to be hardware-dependent. I mean, in 24 months or less, it will not be hardware-dependent.

Jim Marous:
So, it's almost like Pokemon Go was. You can bring the virtual and the reality world together in a way that doesn't require a special device then?

Ray Wang:
It is. That's the thing, right? Our ability to seamlessly move from the physical world to the digital world and back, that's where we're going to see a lot of those types of experiences play a role. Ideally if my avatar interviewed your avatar on the show, we'd have to sync up later and figure out what we talked about. So, there's going to be things like that, that actually might pop up.

Jim Marous:
So, finally, financial institutions and the people that work in financial institutions certainly want to educate themselves on what is possible with the metaverse. How do you recommend they find out more about what is possible in the metaverse and where their planning should start?

Ray Wang:
I think one of the great places to start looking is really understanding what's happening in the crypto-world. That's going to, that's the model, in terms of how [inaudible 00:28:49] exchange going to occur in the metaverse. So, I'd start by understanding some of the basic DeFi crypto trends that are actually happening, and to do that, I mean, there's a number of publications that do a good job of covering those crypto markets. Most people know things like CoinTelegraphed, CoinDesk. Those are places that people have gone to be able to see what's happening. There are a lot of groups, and this is going to be, the adventurous part is there are a lot of discord groups. Discord is kind of like where all the school kids are at. So, it's not Facebook and it's not other types of social networks or employee networks like LinkedIn. The discord groups that are out there are large communities talking about these innovations that are occurring.

Ray Wang:
So, I'd actually look at some of the discord groups on the future of financial services in the metaverse. Right? So, the metaverse crypto kind of discord groups that are out there. I think the last place is really to start talking to some of the more advanced customers, and that are doing that. I mean, you're going to see them at conferences and events. I think this is an early burgeoning field. Everybody's really excited to talk to everyone. Most people are pretty open about sharing what they're doing, and how they're actually achieving that. I would definitely start there, and have those conversations at events. Right? Then read up on some of the vendors that are actually pushing in the space. Right? A lot of the system integrators are talking about how they're addressing each of the industry use cases within banking, financial services, and trying to understand like how there's going to be a role in terms of what's digital, what's physical, what's manual, what's automated, what's in the metaverse versus what's in the physical world.

Jim Marous:
It's going to be interesting to see where this goes. As you referenced, it'll be interesting to look back on this conversation and what is going on in the industry right now, to see where this finally lands. It'll never be a stopping point, so we're never going to know when it lands, but I think the potential is pretty extreme. It's interesting. The more I read, the more I understand, but the more questions that I ask. So, I really appreciate you being on the show today, Ray. You really have a finger on the pulse of what's going on the industry, even outside the industry. Your firm, Constellation, is doing just amazing research in the field, and in what's going on in all areas of the, what's going on in the future of digital and the metaverse.

Jim Marous:
So, I appreciate you being on the show again. It's great to have you back. Thanks for listening to Banking Transformed, winner of three international awards for podcast excellence. If you enjoyed today's show, please give our show a five-star review on your favorite podcast app. Also, be sure to catch my recent research on the digital bank report and the articles I'm writing for the Financial Brand. This has been the production of Evergreen Podcast. A special thank you to our producer, Leah Longbrake, audio engineer, Sean Rule-Hoffman and video producer Will Pritts. I'm your host, Jim Marous. Until next time, remember that people may not fully understand what the metaverse is today, the same way they didn't understand what online shopping was in 1995.

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