Blockchain-based firm IBF Net has begun work on building a metaverse, compliant with Shariah teachings, with a view of unveiling it before 2022 ends, IFN Fintech has learned.
The metaverse builds upon the Dublin-based company’s flagship project of developing and hosting blockchain platforms, use cases as well as build a miniature Islamic economy.
The initial phase of the metaverse will comprise of two pillars: a metaverse for learning and another as a marketplace. The project is being built on the Algorand and is fully backed by the Algorand Foundation by way of a grant and endorsement.
“The project involves the creation of a metaverse that gives due consideration to the uniqueness of the Southeast Asian region in terms of its faith, culture, regulatory, and policy environment. If we define metaverse as a three-dimensional virtual environment that would enable people to interact with each other, create assets, play games, work and collaborate with each other, then the factors outlined above would have a critical role in defining its shape in a given society,” explained IBF Net. “For instance, the Islamic faith is practiced by 1.8 billion people across the globe of which 240 million live in Southeast Asia alone. As such, the guiding principles of the faith, known as Shariah will have a perceptible influence on behavioral dimensions in the metaverse.”
IBF Net first began exploring the concept of a Shariah metaverse late 2021. This idea became the basis of the primary research agenda for the group’s center of excellence in Jakarta, launched in January.
“The project specifically has two clear disruptive goals: One, it aims to create an open and meta learning place for acquiring and sharing of knowledge anytime, anywhere; and two, it purports to create an open and meta marketplace for buying and selling with far higher levels of information and therefore, significantly higher consumer and investor protection. It will reconfigure and convert the present miniature Islamic economy developed by IBF Net, which is a centralized (closed) community-focused system to an open system with far superior features brought in by metaverse technology,” shared Mohammed Alim, CEO of IBF Net.
Future or fad?
While there is significant excitement for the metaverse from some quarters, the concept is still alien to most. And this invites confusion, apathy as well as fear. A March survey of over 2,500 adults in the US by Axios and market research survey firm Momentive found that 32% of the respondents are more scared than excited of the metaverse idea. Only 7% expressed their excitement for a metaverse future, while the lion share (58%) was on the fence.
To the skeptics, metaverses are a fad; but to the initiated, they are the future. Tech firms – big and small – have collectively invested billions of dollars into building virtual worlds. While some may take a wait-and-see approach, risk-takers such as Meta, Microsoft and Google are charging forward with their deep pockets to gain first-mover advantages. Entities like IBF Net too are paving the way for niche markets.
“The success of the project would be measured in terms of the acceptance factor of our metaverse among the average followers of Islamic faith, given that the notion still evokes mixed reaction. It plans to demonstrate how metaverse technology is beneficial for the Muslim societies by choosing specific use cases that enhance the degree of Shariah compliance,” according to IBF Net.
The Islamic fintech company intends to look beyond a meta-learning-place and a meta-marketplace that use a paradigm based on blockchains and their atomic units of account becoming the means that value is minted, stored, or transferred across other technologies as a form of wealth.
“Since digital wealth can be made programmable and represent an increasingly complex range of assets from in-game items and virtual land to loan agreements or other complex contracts, it will steadily move toward creating in aggregate an Islamic decentralized finance ecosystem,” it said.