In our previous article, we tried to provide an overview of financial literacy and how blockchain-based, decentralized gaming protocols can help in that regard. And in doing so, we stumbled upon the idea (and reality) of invisible learning. It’s something we must discuss more, which is the purpose of this article. Let’s not approach the topic head-on, though, for we might get lost in an abstract labyrinth; instead, we can peek through the lenses of the metaverse.
Once a fancy of science-fiction nerds, metaverse has now become integral to ordinary lives, culture, vocabulary. So much so that now, Facebook and Microsoft want to jump onto the bandwagon, eyeing the domain’s tremendous potential for growth. But whereas corporations like these are mostly after the money, metaverse entails much for us — a primary enabler of invisible learning, as we shall soon see.
Nevertheless, it’s wholly undeniable that money matters. And on this note, consider Grayscale’s conviction that metaverses could become a trillion-dollar revenue opportunity, annually and globally. The process has already begun, in fact, with Sotheby’s and the Government of Barbados migrating to the metaverse. Therefore, the overall impetus to operate in virtual spaces is huge, and it’s against this backdrop that communities around the world can enhance their financial knowledge, learning skills invisibly. But before getting into that, it’s worthwhile to take a closer look at the concept of the metaverse.
Metaverse: The Concept in Brief
In 1992, Neal Stephenson wrote a science-fiction novel, Snow Crash, where he envisioned a virtual reality with people as digital avatars. Stephenson used the term ‘metaverse’ to refer to this online world where the customized avatars could visit virtual parks or access entertainment arenas. Three decades later, the conceptual metaverse has come closer to reality, expanding manifolds in meaning and scope.
In simple terms, though, the metaverse is a virtual world, ideally with an immersive experience; it represents a digital coming together of people and ideas and objects. Generally, every individual shall have a corresponding avatar, allowing them to interact with other avatars and aliases. And inside the metaverse, the possibilities are endless — from digital concerts to games, who knows what you can experience?
Essentially, crypto-based metaverses are similar to their traditional counterparts, but with a crucial difference. First, they are usually decentralized, with democratic and user-oriented governance structures. Second, they prioritize equitable and circular value distribution, leveraging blockchain-powered economic models that ensure verifiable provenance and real-world monetary implications for assets.
Learning Invisibly Through Metaverses
Over the years, several research endeavors have ratified the discovery that self-learning is the best way of grasping and internalizing new concepts. By putting the learner at the center of the process, this methodology ensures active learning instead of passive consumption of information. Moreover, the colorfulness of resources and playfulness of methods accentuates the quality of learning, mainly by piquing the learner’s interest. Basically, an active and curious learner is a good learner. The scope for interacting with supportive peers, as well as flexible schedules are also important factors that make invisible learning better than other methods. And all of these factors apply to the acquisition of financial literacy.
Having said that, we may now answer the central question — how can metaverse contribute to all this? The answer is complicated, indeed, as it has many dimensions. But to put it briefly, metaverse allows individuals to have highly embodied and interactive experiences of digital worlds. That is to say, metaverses can literally extend our sense of reality, leveraging cutting-edge technology and innovation.
Now, in the present context, this relates to how gamers can own in-game items and achievements for real, using them in diverse financial scenarios. Roaming around in the game-world, for example, they explore and access ways of generating passive income. They may even lend or borrow, learning the intricacies of interest calculation in the process. Not only do they learn the rudiments of economics and financial lives, but they also emerge as genuinely sovereign entities, with control over their possessions and income. And after all, what is education if not learning to think for ourselves?
Financial Literacy for ALL
In the context of financial literacy, metaverse-driven invisible learning has a lot of advantages; more than we can discuss in a single article. But apart from the enhanced quality of learning financial subjects, it’s the broad access that matters the most. Unlike its traditional counterparts, this education method is genuinely borderless.
Countries like India, Brazil, and China have massive unbanked populations, as we shall discuss in the next article. In addition, they also have severely fragile education systems, with little or no focus on the learner’s holistic development. Though the number of learners may be increasing in absolute, statistical terms, the quality of education is highly questionable. Disengagement is a serious peril, hindering the learner’s capacity for free and farsighted decision-making, financial or otherwise.
However, with 900 million people expected to get a new internet connection by 2025 and crypto adoption rates as high as 2,648%, the stage is set for empowering these communities with financial literacy. Now, it remains to be seen whether we, as innovators, can make good use of this opportunity.