A new and grand vision of the internet is coming to the forefront of public consciousness. Dubbed 'the Metaverse', it is envisioned as an immersive web experience, a virtual world. In the words of Mark Zuckerberg, who recently rebranded Facebook as Meta, it will be "an embodied internet where you're in the experience, not just looking at it".
Now Mastercard has become the latest in a long line of companies looking to access this new online world. This week, they filed 15 non-fungible token (NFT) and metaverse trademark applications with the United States Patent and Trademark Office. The trademarks suggest future plans for an online marketplace within the Metaverse facilitating card payments, along with use of their slogan and logo within this virtual space.
This follows similar moves by Visa and American Express, who have also filed NFT and metaverse trademark applications.
It is not just the major fintech firms that are showing interest in the Metaverse. It was also reported this week that Sony and Lego have together made an investment totalling $2billion into Epic Games, the creator of popular game Fortnite. Their investment follows the two companies announcing a partnership to build a child-focused virtual world experience. In relation to the deal with Epic Games, the CEO behind Lego spoke about the company's "long-term focus toward the future metaverse".
Whilst it is still unclear exactly what the future of the internet will look like, the moves of major companies such as these demonstrate that, in their eyes at least, the Metaverse is going to be big business in the years to come.
"Mastercard joins Visa and American Express with moves into the Metaverse as it seeks to increase revenue streams and remain competitive in the virtual economy."