At the beginning of this year, Axa France announced the purchase of a virtual plot of land on the platform The Sandbox. A number of general agents are also said to be opening their branch in the metaversethis network of connected virtual environments that all digital players seem to be moving towards (social networks, video game publishers, etc.).
This new playground for internet users around the world could become a market worth more than $700 billion, in which the insurance sector wants to invest. But how? And with what ambitions? François-Xavier Combe, founder of Easyblue, a digital insurance platform, explains this new major challenge for us.
What do we mean by metaverse today? Is this already a reality?
Nowadays there are already several metaverses, for example think of sandbox, or other platforms. In this regard, gaming is the first launch pad, many start there. Online gaming and video games like fortnite, arouse tremendous and forerunner enthusiasm about what the metaverse tomorrow could be. For example, a few years ago a concert was organized on Fortnite, where players in the virtual world of the game went to. We’re still at the beginning of the story, but it’s going to accelerate quite a bit in certain areas. And when such a universe is structured, this is where the question of insurance begins to arise. To be complete about what we can imagine metaverses, we already see that the revolution will come from all platforms being interoperable and interconnected. This is already a bit of what we notice online today: when we play, we win rewards: outfits (skins), tokens (tokens), NFTs, and so forth. This won element can be used in other games or environments, especially as a medium of exchange. In this amazing virtual world, everything flows from one game to another as you build bridges with the real world. We can also soon go to an event in the Metaverse, go shopping there, connect with a sports coach which makes you jog in real life to collect virtual points or rewards.
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The first type of insurance that comes to mind is therefore the coverage of these virtual goods
We have to be clear, we are just at the beginning, it’s a bit like in the mid 90’s, after two decades of rather confidential development, the internet just started to exist. We said to each other “Great, we can send each other e-mails, but what does that fundamentally change? †† The questions about the metaverse are somewhat of the same spring, it’s hard to project. Currently, it seems that blockchain technology is likely to play a major role. For now, the data is almost exclusively from GAFAM, despite the GDPR, and these companies are making money from it. Thanks to blockchain, we can imagine that in the future we will own the data that belongs to us, the content we produce, our photos, etc. Everything will be certified as mine. This opens up a more decentralized world, where we no longer just go through the big players and/or institutions. All users become responsible for their “goods” virtual. As with the internet in its infancy, there will no doubt be an aspect “to the west” first, then regulations, in particular the protection of this property, especially through insurance.
“Some people are already buying land in the Metaverse, where virtual brokers are present. Imagine building your own universe from this terrain: material and intellectual property problems will arise. The emergence of an insurance principle is therefore necessary.”
Is it possible to have blockchain-secured data stolen?
The creation of the metaverse already leads to the creation of a market, i.e. a place to exchange cryptocurrencies, NFTs, etc. All this remains “flyable”† For example, despite an ultra-secure system, the principle of cryptography is based on the use of a private key. If I have it stolen, I will be exposed to a theft of my data. Likewise for trading platforms used to exchange cryptos: if there is a breakdown and I lose them, can I insure myself? This reflection can be extended to collections of NFTs. Some people are already buying land in the Metaverse, where virtual brokers are present. Imagine building your own universe on this terrain: material and intellectual property issues will arise. The emergence of an insurance principle is therefore necessary† Moreover, by protecting oneself virtually, one can imagine insurance applications in real life. I have my (real) vehicle with all the sensors it can have today, and its (virtual) avatar in the metaverse. My way of driving gives me benefits on my insurance contract: applications of the type “driving aids” True “pay how you drive” will use my data and earn me bonus points in the metaverse. We can also imagine many bridges between real and virtual life for mutuality: when I exercise in real life, I unlock rewards for my avatar in the metaverse, etc. Insurance will creep in on both sides: to protect value creations in the metaverse and to build bridges between real and virtual life.
Can one also imagine personal insurance?
Yes, I think we will join the kind of guarantees that we know in the real world, which apply to the virtual world: reputation damage, malicious intent, etc. Especially with layers of cyber insurance. It will definitely be one and the same set, if someone copies my avatar for example, how do I protect my identity? My intellectual property? All this will necessarily be insurable. For example, a photographer client creates unique prints: to secure his works and his clients, he has created NFTs that are still attached to the physical creation. As a collector, he wants to insure his collection of NFTs, of which he is the intellectual owner. We are already very interested in this emerging technology and the trends it will cause. We also just brought in the biggest French e-gaming team called Karmine Corp., and this symbolizes our desire to be pioneers in this universe. The idea is to assure the players: if e-gaming’s Cristiano Ronaldo breaks his hand, how can his team be compensated? We have to convince the risk takers that, despite a virtual application, it really matters.
Does NFT insurance already exist?
It is still very early, and then we will see what the final model will be. On the platforms, when you have cryptos and an account you can do this turn ofie keep them in a wallet and then bet higher or lower. Here too we can think of insurance in a FinTech dimension, as already exists in the financial world for insuring financial titles.
What is the horizon to see the metaverse you describe emerge?
I will say in five years† We are currently seeing a very strong acceleration, but there are still some technological hurdles. Interoperability is on the way, and it is essential that there is one real metaverse, to change the virtual space without disconnecting, as the current internet looks like.
What place do you want to occupy in this new market?
At Easyblue we want to be a player in innovation for our business customers, and leading the way in these issues† For example, I took part in one of the first international trade fairs in Dubai, where the progress we mentioned was inventoried. With our fundraising, we have developed our robot advisor and we want to digitize the entire insurance environment for managers: social protection, mutuality, precautionary insurance, etc. But we also have the ambition to turn to new professions, in particular employees, self-employed entrepreneurs or craftsmen , especially with a digital ten-year warranty formula.