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I visited the new JP Morgan branch… in the Metaverse

By:
on Feb 16, 2022
Updated: Feb 17, 2022
Listen
  • JP Morgan Chase becomes first bank to enter Metaverse.
  • Decentraland token jumps 17% on back of announcement.
  • We jump into the Metaverse to visit the branch ourselves.

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JP Morgan Chase CEO Jamie Dimon isn’t exactly a revered figure in the cryptocurrency space. Notoriously bearish on the nascent industry, he has declared Bitcoin a “fraud” in the past. Some of his most contentious quotes including the following:

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(Bitcoin is) worse than tulip bulbs. It won’t end well. Someone is going to get killed.

I will fire any employee trading Bitcoin for being stupid.

(Bitcoin is) just not a real thing. Eventually it will be closed.

How about we fast forward a few years? Yesterday, JP Morgan opened a new branch with a portrait of Dimon hanging on the wall in the lobby. Now, you may be wondering why this is newsworthy. Well, it is due to the location of said branch –because it’s in the metaverse. Yes, that’s right – JP Morgan have become the first bank to enter the metaverse.

To be fair, Dimon somewhat walked back the above quotes in time and he did acknowledge that the underlying blockchain technology of cryptocurrency could have potential. Further, the entry to the metaverse isn’t really anything to do with Bitcoin specifically. But all things considered, including JP Morgan strategists revising their long-term price target on Bitcoin to $150,000 (!) earlier in the week, it still presents as quite the juxtaposition against the dismissive stance previously taken by Dimon. The bank also launched their own digital currency, JPM Coin, in late 2020.

The virtual JP Morgan can be found within Decentraland and is named the “Onyx Lounge” (a reference to the bank’s suite of Ethereum services). Decentraland’s native token MANA closed up nearly 17% yesterday on the news, before giving back some gains today.

My avatar outside the JP Morgan branch in Metajuku Mall, Decentraland, The Metaverse

Naturally, I couldn’t resist jumping into Decentraland to check out the swanky new branch for myself. Donning a casual flannel shirt and black jeans, I headed for Metajuku Mall, a virtual version of Tokyo’s Harajuku, where the bank is located. As I navigated my character inside the mall, I was greeted by a tiger in the lobby. The beaming portrait of Dimon then swapped to that of a pixelated Christine Moy upon approach, the bank’s Head of Crypto & Metaverse – a nice touch. On the adjacent wall hung a timeline of the bank’s expansion into the crypto space; I did notice, however, the tangible absence of a few quotes by a certain Jamie Dimon…

My particularly stylish avatar posing in the JP Morgan Metaverse branch of Decentraland. No sign of Bitcoin being a “fraud” on the timeline!

Of more interest perhaps than my wanderings within the Metaverse was the accompanying report released by JP Morgan, where some notable numbers were thrown about.  

“The average price of a parcel of land doubled in a six-month window in 2021. It jumped from $6,000 in June to $12,000 by December across the four main Web 3.0 metaverses”, the report stated, highlighting the money that has poured into the space (the top four mentioned refer to The Sandbox, Decentraland, Cryptovoxels and Somnium Space). The below graph was presented too, a neat indicator of just what a boon to the top Web 3.0 cryptos that Facebook’s rebranding to “Meta” was in November.

But one statement jumped out to me above all the others. The claim that “the metaverse will likely infiltrate every sector in some way in the coming years, with the market opportunity estimated at over $1 trillion in yearly revenues”. That number is mucho grande (I am currently learning Spanish!), and comes from the Global X report in Sep-21 assessing the metaverse, a snapshot of which is below.

X, Pedro Palandrani, Sep-21

Quantifying in dollar terms a hypothetical eventuality of this scale is wishy washy, to say the least. But I guess all we can do is make our best forecasts, as abstract as they may be. And with that caveat laid out, playing around with these numbers at a high-level seems to suggest $1 trillion is not totally unrealistic. When you plot the current market cap of the leading Web 3.0 companies ($22 billion) against the market cap of Facebook ($584 billion) and the Gaming & eSports sector ($1.9 trillion), it shows just how much room there is to grow here, if even an iota of the potential is delivered upon. 

Of course, there is no degree of conviction here and the world has a habit of throwing up surprises (see: the year 2020, the year 2021). But no matter what you think of the $1 trillion figure, JP Morgan’s commitment (and trailblazing for other banks?) is undoubtedly another promising development for the burgeoning metaverse. And if the metaverse can achieve even half of what enthusiasts claim, then that $1 trillion is getting blown out of the water (for comparison, Grayscale had the market cap of Web 2.0 companies at $14.8T in Nov-21, now that’s a mucho mucho grande number).

MVIS Indices, Coingecko, Yahoo Finance

But hey Jamie, if you’re reading this – give me a shout. Because I’d love to dig further into your numbers and plan going forward, as well as get an updated opinion on Bitcoin. I’m hanging out in the JP Morgan bank in Decentraland and my username is JDimonFanboy…

Decentraland IOTA Jamie Dimon Crypto World