The misty morning greeted me at this very rainy summer Davos. Yesterday, on my third day here, I jumped with both feet into the Metaverse.
I held a panel discussion at the LanSpace, started by hyperkinetic crypto investor Lan Tchirky, who has a vision of creating a year-round innovation space in the home, not just having something pop up for the week of the World Economic Forum.
I shared the stage with a former blockchain student, Nancy Fechnay, now a successful venture capitalist with Alumni Ventures and Gaingels, among others. We chatted with the founder of Neom Metaverse. Neom is the Saudi Arabian creation in the desert, a massively ambitious project to showcase the city of the future. This is fairly meta enterprise when you think about it: a virtual city based on a physical city.
One of the recurring themes I’ve been hearing this week revolves around the twin gods of regulatory gap and over regulation. For example, if you create an avatar in the Metaverse, and it starts a business that goes bankrupt, where does the legal liability rest?
Onwards! I managed to grab coffee at the Hotel Europe and catch up with Eva Kaili, chair of the European Parliament’s European Parliament's Science and Technology Options Assessment body and newly elected Vice President. A long time collaborator, Eva and I talked through some of the structural opportunities to ensure regulators and policymakers support innovation, while providing for consumer protection in a judicious manner.
Between all this, I’ve been juggling various investor and customer pitches; it’s never dull being a "pracademic". In fact, one of the VCs I pitched to, invited me to a private dinner at a chalet, where I was able to sit around the table with a number of very interesting folks from across the startup realm, as well as those of incumbent big tech and big finance.
The intersection of games, the Metaverse and education, was a recurring theme. I was once again able to banter with Michael Casey, the chairman of CoinDesk, who has been with me at several programmes this week. Over dinner, one of the CEOs I was talking to said that with his tech startup, he was very used to being the oldest person in the room. So, he found it very odd, inside the Congress Centre, to be the youngest person there.
Looking forward to my filming on CNBC later today, thanks to the good folks at WiseKey.