BY Wesley Diphoko 3 MINUTE READ

Once in a lifetime, something comes up and initially everyone doubts and questions it and later wakes up very late. The metaverse is one such development. What’s interesting about the metaverse however is that it’s already here even in its basic form. A lab version of the Metaverse has been around now for more than 10 years. Second Life which is better known as a virtual world is the closest thing we’ve seen that resembles the Metaverse as envisaged by many Tech executives who are popularising the term, Metaverse. This however is not enough to turn around skeptics who still maintain that the Metaverse is just a dream.

Here’s why many need to wake up and accept the Metaverse as a reality.

Firstly it’s important to understand that the Metaverse is basically a creation of the world in virtual space. This means everything and even more than that will be created in the Metaverse. This means every business, person, government and organisation has to ask, how will we exist in the Metaverse and more importantly when.

Forward-thinking businesses and organisations are already creating a form of their existence in the Metaverse through Non Fungible Tokens (NFTs).

Nike recently announced the acquisition of RTFKT Studios, which it calls “a leading brand that leverages cutting edge innovation to deliver next-generation collectibles that merge culture and gaming.

In a statement, Nike said “This acquisition is another step that accelerates Nike’s digital transformation and allows us to serve athletes and creators at the intersection of sport, creativity, gaming and culture,” President and CEO of NIKE, Inc. “We’re acquiring a very talented team of creators with an authentic and connected brand. Our plan is to invest in the RTFKT brand, serve and grow their innovative and creative community and extend Nike’s digital footprint and capabilities.”

Microsoft spent billions ($75 billion) buying a company that will enable the tech giant to play and lead in the Metaverse sector. Metaverse company Republic Realm bought land (virtual) as part of a venture it intends to develop with games company Atari. Last year Republic Realm launched Fantasy Island, a development of 100 islands with villas that buyers can “visit”, remodel, use to show off their NFT artworks, and host friends in. Ownership also grants access to a members-only channel on the chat app Discord.

I’m sure you’re getting the picture by now. If you are not developing an NFT or some form of the digital asset you are being left behind. If you don’t act now you will wake up to a fully-fledged virtual world in which you do not exist.

This brings me to a very important aspect of this development, Africa.

There has never been a better time for the African continent to make its mark in the technological world. This is important for a number of reasons that include economic, cultural, and technological advancements.

In the Metaverse, there will be countries, products, businesses, places, monuments that exist in the physical world and they will exist in their virtual form. People from the physical world will be looking for what they are familiar within the virtual world. The question is, will they find your country, product, place, or even artwork?

Instead of dilly-dallying, I suggest you dedicate a day, a week or whatever period you prefer imagining, planning, and strategising about the Metaverse. Once you’ve done that, appoint someone or a group of people to create a version of your business, product, or whatever in the Metaverse.

It is inevitable that in the near future there will be what I would call double existence of everything including ourselves as individuals. If that’s true, what will you wear, where will you stay, how will you survive in the metaverse.

For the African continent, the question should about its existence in the metaverse in the form of technology, culture, and artifacts.

As individuals at some point in our lives the question in business was, what is your telephone, do you have a business card, what’s your website address, and lately people ask, what is your Twitter handle. Very soon the business question will be, how can I find you in the Metaverse? What will be your answer?

Whatever your answer is to that question make sure it’s not, I do not exist.