Web 3.0 and open metaverse is the “natural next evolution of the internet,” and its growth has nowhere near peaked, the co-founder of a formerly ASX-listed leading metaverse and gaming company has told Australian Blockchain Week.

Animoca — the metaverse outlook

Animoca Brands executive chairman Yat Siu told the audience at Melbourne’s Marvel Stadium that there are 4.6 billion people online today, and less than 100 million of them own digital assets via web wallets like Metamask.

“I would say, we’re hardly done. Even though the results are very strong and the business is growing and everything else in web three is going so fantastic, people would assume that maybe we’ve reached a kind of peak — but from our perspective, we’re barely getting off the ground,” said Siu, speaking from Hong Kong via video link.

The Austrian-born entrepreneur told the audience that Animoca will continue its strategy of acquiring web 2.0 assets and game companies and turning them into “web 3.0 companies,” using another term for crypto or blockchain-based firms, as part of an effort to grow the space.

An ASX minnow worth $120 million when it was delisted from the local bourse in March 2020, the Animoca metaverse strategy has seen the company grow into a goliath valued at $2.2 billion with investments in over 150 different companies.

A case for urgency

“A lot of this is driven by how we accelerate adoption of web 3.0, because one of the bigger risks as we see it is if we don’t move into the space quickly enough, then inadvertently we will perhaps also create another kind of elite,” Siu said.

The quicker web 3.0 gains adoption, the more distributed its benefits will be across the population, Siu said.

“So that’s how we’re thinking about this, and frankly, why we’re in such a rush — it may appear that we’re always in haste making massive deals and doing lots of transactions, because we can’t get there fast enough from our perspective.”

Siu said that there are “very large, centralised organisations” that stand to be disrupted by the open metaverse because they make money from people’s data.

If the open metaverse takes off it will become like a “global trade framework” and closed ecosystems won’t be able to survive, Siu said.

“But if most of us decide to just exist in a closed metaverse or in a closed ecosystem entirely, then we live by their rules and it will be hard to break out because they end up sort of manipulating and controlling that network effect — as we have seen today with some of the large tech companies.”