Financial giant Fidelity Investments launched a gamified financial education platform in the metaverse, to attract the next generation of clients. Launched in Decentraland, the platform comes on the heels of the launch by the brokerage firm of its Fidelity Metaverse exchange-traded fund (ETF), FMET.
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“Fidelity is always looking for ways to help people learn more about their finances. Bringing an immersive educational experience to the metaverse was a logical next step in our effort to reach the next generation everywhere they go,” David Dintenfass, CMO, head of emerging customers at Fidelity, told GOBankingRates.
Built in Decentraland, the Fidelity Stack is an eight-story open-plan building with no walls “to optimize views from inside and outside the space,” Kathryn Condon, Fidelity’s lead marketing channels and emerging platforms, told GOBankingRates. She added that there is a dance floor at the lobby and rooftop level where avatars can take a break and enjoy the fun of socializing with other avatars. As they travel from floor to floor, users come across educational sections explaining common financial topics. Some floors offer stairs, while others offer teleporters or elevators to experience the full potential of virtual travel in Decentraland.
In the Invest Quest at The Fidelity Stack, users navigate a multi-story virtual space as they collect glowing orbs and learn about stocks, mutual funds and ETFs, including the new Fidelity Metaverse ETF, Condon added.
“The purpose of the Invest Quest at The Fidelity Stack is to bring education about financial topics to life in new and unique ways. As users traverse the space, they come across educational elements focused on stocks, mutual funds, ETFs and the components of the new Fidelity Metaverse ETF,” Condon said.
Asked about the rationale for the idea, Condon said Fidelity has a legacy of innovation and that the company’s journey to the metaverse began earlier this year, with a live virtual discussion about cryptocurrencies and the metaverse.
Condon said they’ve added a “POAP” (Proof Of Attendance Protocol) station since launch where visitors can claim a badge for exploring The Fidelity Stack. Asked what further features will be added, Condon said that “we will continue to learn from how users interact with the space.”
Saro McKenna, co-founder of NFT metaverse game alien worldstold GOBankingRates that “it is telling that, after basically ignoring or completely rejecting the Web3 world and all its rapid development, established institutions like Fidelity are now entering the space with enormous amounts of energy.”
“We applaud this! It is clear that the Web2 world – the FAANGs, as they call them – has reached its peak when it comes to their traditional offerings, and new growth will be driven by Web3 innovation. By leveraging Web3, Fidelity can increase their exposure to new, high-growth asset classes,” said McKenna. “I suspect a huge aspect of these emerging metaverse worlds will be the financialization of everything, including games.”
According to McKenna, it’s still unclear how such games will evolve, or how their incentive structures will be able to attract millions of users, but the amount of creativity in the Web3 space – especially when it comes to earning games and NFTs – is just huge.
“The folks at Fidelity, to their credit, see this opportunity. So the potential for them to be leaders in this space is very high,” added McKenna.
The sentiment was shared by several experts, who view Fidelity’s move as a harbinger of things to come for the financial world.
In what many are calling “a virtual gold rush,” banking giant HSBC staked a stake in the metaverse in March by purchasing a swath of virtual land, becoming the first global financial services firm to enter The Sandbox. The move followed that of JPMorgan, which became the first bank to open a lounge in Decentraland in February, GOBankingRates previously reported.
Toni Caradonna, CTO of Through the agestold GOBankingRates that he is “giving Fidelity props to be a little more creative than most major corporations have been in their metaverse launches.”
“Gaming their metaverse location, at least to a degree, will make it more appealing,” he said. “One of the best things about the metaverse is that nothing ever has to be boring, not even learning about financial instruments. I suspect other brands will pick up on this and make their metaverse offerings more interesting and really take advantage of the fact that they being in a virtual world where anything is possible.”
As for the Metaverse ETF Fidelity, which launched on April 21, the company said it can help investors invest in the evolution and future of the Internet by providing access to companies that develop, manufacture, distribute or sell products or services related to establishing and enabling the metaverse, such as computer hardware and components, digital infrastructure, design and engineering software, gaming technology and software, web development and content services, and smartphone and wearable technology.
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Greg Friedman, head of ETF management and strategy, told GOBankingRates that “we are seeing interest in thematic investing from a wide range of investors, especially young investors, as they look for opportunities to match their investments to their personal interests. , beliefs and values.”
He added that this new passively managed ETF will have an expense ratio of 0.39%, the lowest available for an ETF of its kind.
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About the author
Yael Bizouati-Kennedy is a full-time financial journalist and has written for several publications, including: Dow Jones, The Financial Times Group, Bloomberg and Business Insider. She also worked as a vice president/senior content writer for major New York City financial firms, including New York Life and MSCI. Yael is now a freelancer and most recently co-authored the book “Blockchain for Medical Research: Accelerating Trust in Healthcare”, with Dr. Sean Manion. (CRC Press, April 2020) She holds two master’s degrees, including one in journalism from New York University and one in Russian studies from Université Toulouse-Jean Jaurès, France.