Esperanza Members Event: Happy Hour with Metaverse (20.04.2022)

Professor Pan Hui, Professor of Computational Media and Arts and Director of the Centre for Metaverse and Computational Creativity at Hong Kong University of Science and Technology led the discussion with:

  • Ms. Zaf Chow, Director of Digital Strategy and Partnerships at Animoca Brands 
  • Ms. Joyce Chung, Principal at Catholic Mission School
  • Ms. Peggy Cheung, Co-Founder of Articoin

Meaning and Value of Metaverse

Chow said true ownership of digital asset is the essence of Metaverse. Web 3.0 is all about decentralization. Digital ownership confers freedom to innovate and fosters creativity as people have the authority to do whatever they want with their digital assets without the need to seek permission from others. 

More immersive experience is developing underway now, for example, hosting concerts and music festivals in the Metaverse with extended reality technologies (AR and VR) where audiences can interact with the characters inside through their body movements on the avatar through the help of their mobile devices. 

A key challenge is for the general public to understand. NFT is a key aspect of metaverse and many people now associate NFT with money making or speculation. Animoca Brands is promoting play-to-earn experience by giving free NFT in designated games so as to attract genuine players and enhance the quality of the game. 

On the issue of connectivity and interoperability, it will be necessary to develop standards. The market is developing tools to bridge different things together. 

Beyond Digital Art and Gaming

  1. Achieving Carbon Reduction

Cheung shared the philosophy and work of the Articoin. It is a green NFT company which combines arts and technology to promote sustainable income for local artists as well as supporting different ESG causes.  They will only work with artists who share the same vision and support certain social or environmental issues. From an infrastructure level, Articoin built its own blockchain that uses an approach called ‘Proof-of-Capacity’.  It consumes 2,600 times less energy than any conventional Ethereum-based NFT marketplace. Articoin also bundles NFT with carbon credits. One can actually pay extra to buy carbon credits from CLP Power Hong Kong. It is planning to get more carbon reduction partners on board this year. In another carbon reduction project, it works with another blockchain partner Tree Chain. Buyers of NFTs on the Articoin platform can plant a physical tree in Africa or Asia,  track the growth of the tree in real time in the blockchain or even chat with the farmer that plants the tree or take a selfie with him/her.

  1. Supporting NGOs

In addition to helping artists, Articoin is also supporting the fund raising work of NGOs and help them build communities. Everything on blockchain can be traced and verified. This enhanced transparency and ease donors’ worries on where the proceeds go. NFT also offers a great opportunity for them to offer exclusive access to some kind of activities and for them to build their community structure around it.  

  1. Education

Chow pointed out that for future play-to-earn, the incentives need not be monetary. Game studios can also incorporate education content inside the games. The development of learn-to-earn is still in a very early stage. A key question is who will give away the incentives. As in other EdTech applications, it will be necessary to bring the government and the foundations.

In future the virtual world and the physical world will be increasingly blurred.  Animoca Brands is trying to organize some hackathons with universities.  The next generation needs to learn the value of a virtual economy and how they make good use of and contribute to its development. Chung believes that the metaverse will empower students, unleash their creativity, open up new possibilities and allow them to achieve self-actualisation. For some students in particular, it will be easier for them to express themselves through an avatar. The school is planning to roll out a virtual school in the metaverse. They have just conducted an NFT course for the students but she highlighted the need to equip students with the right values and attitude. The school therefore introduced in parallel bible studies, financial literacy and netizenship programmes before they step into the metaverse. It is also important to do teacher and parent education to help them understand the issues.