According to TrendForce research, the global Metaverse market reached US$38.6 billion in 2021, an increase of 17.9% compared to 2020. The global Metaverse market is expected to reach US$47.5 billion in 2022, with a growth rate of 18.7% and a CAGR (Compound Annual Growth Rate) from 2022 to 2030 of 39.4%. With the rapid expansion of the digital economy to the Metaverse and its total addressable market (TAM), total revenue of the global digital economy will account for 22.3% of total global GDP in 2028. Initial estimates reveal that the potential market opportunity of the Metaverse is approximately US$3.8 to US$12.5 trillion.
Due to the vague concept and definition of the Metaverse, specific actions and orientations are mainly based on games and NFTs (Non-Fungible Token, non-fungible tokens). Potential areas of development and feasible markets are also relatively vague, forcing companies into a mostly wait and see stance. In the second half of 2021, countries successively introduced relevant policies for the Metaverse, solidifying a clear development vision, and attracting the participation and speedy investment of Acer, HTC, Microsoft, Tencent, Take-Two, and Lenovo. At present, Adidas, Atari, Ferrari, Gap, Hulu, Nike, Verizon, and Walmart are entering the virtual world in different ways to witness the immersive experience of the digital universe.
Since the Metaverse’s digital asset transaction and exchange program involves three inseparable structures of legal currency, cryptocurrency, and NFTs, it also reeks of issues on many levels including ownership and intellectual property rights, digital asset transfer pricing, system encryption, supervision mechanisms, money laundering prevention, and combating terrorism, resulting in different degrees of openness to the Metaverse in different countries. Take the United States and China as examples.
The U.S. Treasury Department released the “Study of the Facilitation of Money Laundering and Terror Finance Through the Trade in Works of Art” in February 2022. The report pointed out that, due to limited evidence of money laundering, the government temporarily refrained from taking immediate intervention measures against the self-regulating global art industry (including digital assets). However, if the current situation persists, there will be lurking future risks to the US economy and national security, such as an increase in the risk of entities using the soaring value of the digital art market to bypassing global legal norms. Whether or not to intervene will need to be discussed further.
In contrast, China has adopted stricter policies, such as prohibiting the circulation of cryptocurrencies in the market and prohibiting cryptocurrency exchange. From this point of view, if China wants to develop the Metaverse, it will be limited in terms of expanding into new application fields. On the whole, the world has the same development vision in AR/VR, advanced infrastructure (including communication technology), and AI/ML. However, China’s restrictions on “cryptocurrency” and “game bans,” will pose both the greatest challenges and new market opportunities to participants in games and digital assets. Metaverse development plans proposed from various regions in China and the aforementioned legal digital currency show that the Chinese authorities already have a set of plans, development goals, and operation frameworks.