This week we saw JPMorgan set-up shop in Decentraland, opening 'The Onyx lounge'. The opening of the virtual facility was timed to support their new report on the Metaverse, the headline being that they see a $1 trillion market opportunity for virtual businesses. JPMorgan has had a blockchain team in-house for a little while so this virtual venue is an extension of these efforts.
Credit should be given to JPMorgan for activating their virtual world strategy although they're not the first bank to enter The Metaverse. Here's a few examples of what other banks have done...
Dutch banking group ABN Amro entered Second Life back in 2006. Their venue was designed to resemble the bank's real-life outlets and offered online citizens financial advice. The Second Life venues were also positioned as a way to build deeper relationships with their Dutch customers and they even had virtual investor meetings in-world.
BankInter from Spain opened a virtual branch inside kids virtual world Whyville in 2007. Their strategy was education-based, offering explanations of how bank accounts, credit cards, loans and other financial services worked. The bank also went as far as allowing Whyville residents the ability to deposit the virtual world (Clams) into a virtual account to earn interest. Speaking at the time, Bankinter General Manager Fernando Alfaro said “Opening a virtual bank in Whyville is absolutely a natural for our bank whose fundamental approach to business is based on the education of our customers. The financial services currently available in our branch in Whyville are just the first step in establishing a thoroughly modern and diverse set of financial services and instruments for Whyville’s citizens.”
Saxo Bank from Denmark opened a virtual office in 2007. Taking a slightly different approach to ABN Amro, Saxo allowed visitors to play virtual trading games, obtain trading strategies and receive other information.
French bank BNP Paribas used Second Life as a recruitment tool, targeting information technologists such as project managers, systems or network engineers, technical or application architects.
So, a few different types of use-cases for banks in The Metaverse. As shown in this post, JPMorgan wasn't the first bank to enter a virtual world but they'll not be the last.