The EIT Digital summer school lets you dive into the opportunities available in the Metaverse, the virtual universe of places and things. Along with gaining understanding of NFTs and virtual real estate, students will learn to start their own business.
The new summer course, Metaverse and Digital Asset Management, takes place in Madrid from 25-30 June. The team of academics, researchers and industry professionals delivering the course includes Prof. Ziba Habibi, an associate professor of Finance & FinTech at the Universidad Politécnica de Madrid.
The Metaverse is a growth area. We are already seeing significant investment in this space, with major tech companies like Facebook and Tencent dedicating resources to developing their Metaverse platforms. As more people adopt virtual and augmented reality technologies and become comfortable interacting with digital environments, the Metaverse will become an increasingly important part of our digital lives.
Prof. Ziba Habibi
Prof. Habibi delivered a summer school course for EIT Digital in FinTech last year. She says her FinTech expertise translates naturally into the Metaverse.
"FinTech is all about using technology to disrupt and improve traditional financial systems," she explains. "The Metaverse and NFTs are part of a new digital economy that is rapidly growing and disrupting conventional ways of creating and exchanging value."
The two fields also share a similarity in their reliance on blockchain technology.
"Blockchain is the underlying technology that enables cryptocurrencies, NFTs, and other digital assets to be created, stored and exchanged securely and transparently," Prof. Habibi says.
Doing business in the Metaverse
According to Prof. Habibi, the virtual world of the Metaverse opens up a host of new business opportunities. Students will investigate potential businesses in areas such as:
- Virtual Real Estate: "Companies like Decentraland and The Sandbox are creating virtual worlds, where users can buy and sell virtual land in, and create their own experiences for other users," she says. "Owners can monetise their virtual real estate by: building virtual structures that others use, hosting virtual events and leasing the land out as a background for an online game developer or any other use."
- Virtual Fashion: "Digital fashion brands like The Fabricant and Carlings are creating clothing designs that exist only in the digital realm," Prof. Habibi says. "The virtual fashion items can be sold as NFTs and used in virtual fashion shows or on social media."
- Gaming: "The gaming industry has already embraced virtual reality and is now starting to experiment with NFTs. Companies like Ubisoft are exploring how NFTs can be used to create unique in-game items that can be bought and sold on blockchain marketplaces."
- Art: With NFTs selling for millions, companies like Super Rare and Nifty Gateway are moving into the digital art marketplace.
- Advertising: "Brands can create virtual experiences and product placements within virtual worlds, providing a new way to connect with consumers," Prof. Habibi says.
- Psychology: Virtual reality and the Metaverse enable immersive therapy and treatment programmes with the potential to revolutionise the field of psychology by enhancing therapy and making it more widely available.
- FinTech: "The Metaverse and NFTs are already being used in finance, creating virtual assets and marketplaces for buying and selling digital goods," Prof. Habibi says. "As these technologies evolve, we can expect to see even more."
What students will learn
"The training programme strongly emphasises developing entrepreneurial skills among the participants," according to Prof. Habibi. "Participants will be encouraged to apply the skills and knowledge gained in the programme to create their entrepreneurial ventures or to join start-ups."
The entrepreneurial aspect of all EIT Digital training is what sets these programmes apart. In the case of the Metaverse programme, it will involve participants in workshops focused on developing business plans, pitching and networking.
Meanwhile, skill-based training will focus on the particulars of the Metaverse and related fields such as:
- UX: Immersing users in a realistic virtual world requires expertise in user experience (UX).
- Computer science: "The Metaverse is driving advances in computer graphics, network infrastructure, and other vital technologies," Prof. Habibi says. "This has the potential to impact the entire computer science and technology field."
- Cybersecurity: As with any new technology, security and privacy of users' data is important to companies operating in the Metaverse.
Students taking the summer programme will engage in "lectures, case studies, and interactions with mentors" to develop skills in these areas and learn about specialty Metaverse companies, Web3, and the open economy, according to Prof. Habibi.
"Moreover, they will have the opportunity to meet with successful entrepreneurs and investors during the programme, providing them with valuable insights and potential networking opportunities," she says.