OBSERVATIONS FROM THE FINTECH SNARK TANK
Claiming to be the first bank in the metaverse, JPMorgan announced the opening of a “lounge” in Decentraland. Upon entering the lounge—which was established by Onyx, the bank’s blockchain unit—visitors are greeted by a digital portrait of Jamie Dimon (which morphs into the image of the bank’s head of crypto) and a roaming tiger.
I didn’t find a lot to do in the lounge other than viewing a wall touting the bank’s blockchain accomplishments and watching a video of Chase’s eCommerce and Fintech Forum from June 2021. There’s an upstairs to the lounge, but all I found there was a female avatar that kept walking into my avatar.
It would be easy to write this off as a useless initiative from a bank that can afford to spend $12 billion on technology. As Cornerstone Advisors’ Director of Fintech Research Alex Johnson wrote in his Fintech Takes newsletter:
“At some point in the future, it’s possible that the digital worlds being built today will have aggregated sufficient user attention and engagement that financial services companies will need to invest in the metaverse as an acquisition and customer service channel. But we’re not there yet. Until the metaverse is a little less empty, resist the temptation to colonize it with branches and billboards.”
There are some that believe banks should establish bank branches in the metaverse, however. According to IBS Intelligence:
“Virtual branches are the next logical step for how financial institutions can utilize virtual reality. Imagine never having to take a break during working hours and wait in a line at the bank. Now imagine getting personalized banking service at the comfort of your home, when it’s convenient for you while enjoying a cup of coffee.”