British unicorn Unlikely has sharpened its Metaverse focus with the creation of a new think tank.
Dubbed the Metaverse Society, the think tank will examine the social and economic impact of emerging technology. Improbable told TNW that it wants to develop use cases, clarify misconceptions, and reduce the risks associated with the metaverse.
“We want to help ensure the Metaverse delivers on its promise of being a network of meaning that unleashes creativity, social interaction, and economic opportunity, free of gatekeepers,” said Herman Narula, founder and CEO of Improbable.
“The convergence of AI, metaverse and blockchain technologies offers a unique moment to create a space where communities, content creators and brands can rethink engagement, loyalty and culture. We need to bring key players together and clear up the misconceptions surrounding the metaverse.”
Unlikely plans to present a detailed program Metaverse Society Activities at the end of June.
To start with, the company is contributing its own research portfolio to the think tank. These include studies on potential Metaverse sectors, a report on European regulation – and a new research memo offering clues to Improbable’s evolving strategy.
“Without blockchain-based solutions, the metaverse is not possible.
The new memo emphasizes the value of blockchain for the decentralization, interoperability, and monetization of the metaverse.
“The metaverse will be heavily dependent on blockchain technology, particularly for economic activity… Without blockchain-based solutions, the metaverse is not possible,” the authors write.
On the Blockchain
The think tank and memo were unveiled in the midst of a major strategic pivot for Improbable. The company has been developing virtual worlds for over a decade, but has recently focused exclusively on the commercial metaverse.
As part of the shift, the Softbank-backed company has abandoned plans to develop its own video games. In December, the company also shut down its US Defense division, which provided war game simulations to armed forces.
Former subsidiary president Caitlin Dohrman said Improbable made the decision to do so “Refocus on its commercial Metaverse business” as it “needs to accelerate the path to profitability.”
Instead of in-house games and defense, Improbable now focuses on the Metaverse infrastructure. A key component of this effort is blockchain technology.
In September, the Financial Times reported that Improbable was on the verge of a new €100 million funding round that would value the company at more than €3 billion. The round was led by Elrond, a blockchain company.
Improbable is also developing and collaborating with M2, a blockchain-enabled network of interoperable metaverses the company behind the Bored Ape NFTs on a virtual world project.
The transition to a blockchain-based metaverse aims to end Improbable’s operating losses. Narula says he expects the company to be profitable by 2023.