- Prior to the explosion of intangible assets on the internet, individuals purchased goods and services in-person. Now, upcoming payment solutions are taking over.
- As more and more human interactions are digitized, payments will also become exclusively digital.
- To anticipate the technologies that will be deployed in a growing digital and metaverse-driven economy, one needs to consider the types of goods and services that customers will seek and purchase.
The metaverse is coming. Can you bring your wallet?
Already today, an increasing proportion of human decisions and actions occur in the digital realm. As the advancements of technology and processing power increases, our potential for more profound engagements within the digital world expands. The metaverse is inching closer to becoming a tangible reality, leading us to a stepwise change when new products similar to the new Apple augmented reality headsets enter the market.
As more and more human interactions are digitized, payments will also become exclusively digital. In a world already primed to think of digital currencies, it’s not hard to imagine how a plethora of new technology platforms, new business, and new consumer demands will shape differences in payments that would have been difficult to imagine only 20 years ago.
Evolution of payment methods
It’s important to take into account not only how people interact with a digital environment but also their spending habits. Prior to the explosion of intangible assets on the internet, individuals purchased goods and services in-person, predominantly using cash. When credit cards took over as the primary means of transaction in developed countries, on both retail and business levels, various technologies emerged enabling businesses that sell digital products and services to conduct more efficient online transactions.
Examples include: Stripe, which is most well-known for accepting online payments; Square, which has a point of sale system; Robinhood, which allows people to purchase securities and investment products; and even the Ant Group, which is a subsidiary of Alibaba and provides a wide range of financial services including multiple payments. All of these companies represent an evolution in how humans spend money in an increasingly digital world.
The use case for all of these payment solutions is still based on a relatively traditional model of buying and consuming physical goods. You’re online, you buy a pair of shoes, the Stripe API fires, you receive my shoes three to five business days later, and you wear them at the next barbecue you attend. When individuals invest their money in purchasing purely digital goods and services, distinct technology solutions emerge, enhancing the overall user experience. This is where terms popularized by Web3 and cryptocurrency companies, such as digital wallets and digital currencies, become more useful.
Customer preferences in a digital economy
To anticipate the technologies that will be deployed in a growing digital and metaverse-driven economy, one needs to consider the types of goods and services that customers will seek and purchase. The best example is currently found in the gaming community where tokens or cryptocurrencies or money purchased with a credit card, can be used to unlock levels or unlock digital experiences driven by the platform of the game. Play-to-earn mechanisms are also being implemented in blockchain-based games encouraging mainly young adults to participate in games, complete quests, and achieve certain milestones to earn tokens.
Another example can be when companies are buying intangible goods such as labor and entertainment. Some companies may opt to avoid government-backed security for political, legal, or volatility reasons. Others may have diversification strategies to spread risk and potentially achieve better returns, or may want to maintain a certain public image and investing in government-backed securities does not align with their branding.
One other intangible asset which people frequently consume is software code. While software code can function similarly to a service or entertainment, it also allows a person to be more productive on their computer.
Future of payment solutions
It’s not impossible to imagine a future where all Microsoft or Apple solutions are accessible through their respective digital wallets and ecosystems. Nevertheless, it’s crucial to collectively avoid using terms like “cryptocurrency” when discussing the evolution of payment solutions. Cryptocurrencies, including Bitcoin and ethereum, have a complex history with diverse use cases that extend far beyond mere payment platforms.
Still today, the majority of the global population invests in goods that quickly convert to a physical experience. Individuals are consistently seeking fresh and novel experiences which leads them to spend more time in the digital realm. Consequently, online payment platforms must adapt and compete to cater to these evolving customer expectations.