The Metaverse Mall & Why It Matters

Shared virtual spaces will redefine how we shop and interact with people and businesses.

As malls flounder, metaverses — or the underpinnings of such — are flourishing.

Malls are meant to be social and a form of entertainment; now, virtual worlds are fulfilling these functions more than ever, spurred by the Covid-19 pandemic. Rather than shopping through a specific retailer’s website, imagine rendezvousing with a friend in a Minecraft-like world to hang out and shop at digital storefronts.

Though definitions vary, the metaverse generally refers to the idea of a shared, persistent virtual space, akin to a digital mirror of the real world — but without any of the constraints. Topics of debate around what a metaverse would eventually look like include the degree of interoperability, multiple metaverses vs. a singular one, consistent identity systems, and decentralization vs. monopolization (e.g. will it be owned by big tech or by users, à la Ethereum-based Decentraland?).

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