Each month, a new survey seems to come out showing just how woefully unaware most Americans are when it comes to both personal finance and the stock market — most recently, 8 out of 10 adult respondents drew a blank when asked to explain what a bond is while seven in 10 faltered with the definition of a hedge fund despite confidently saying that they knew it in high numbers.
Amid such a widespread lack of financial and investing literacy, the internet has long been a primary place for many to educate themselves — according to the results of Investopedia’s annual Financial Literacy survey, Generation Z use increasingly use YouTube (45%) and TikTok (30%) to learn about investing while millennials go for internet searches (47%) and YouTube (40%).
In an effort to both educate the public and carve out its spot in an emerging platform, financial services giant Fidelity Investments (FBNDX) – Get Fidelity Investment Grade Bond Report is launching a platform for learning about personal finance in the metaverse. Frequently called the next iteration of the internet, the metaverse is a combination of video and augmented and virtual reality in which users move through avatars.
Built in the Decentraland platform, Fidelity Stack will have a virtual lobby, dance floor and rooftop sky garden for users to move through virtually.
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From exchange-traded funds to common investing misconceptions, each one will feature primers on the basics of personal finance. As they answer questions (it’ll start with something as basic as “what is a stock?” and gradually increase in complexity) correctly, users correct “orbs” that will guide them to the exit.
“As users traverse The Fidelity Stack and make their way up each floor of the building, they will encounter a series of educational experiences that provide information on common financial concepts, including stocks, mutual funds and ETFs,” Kathryn Condon, Fidelity’s head of marketing and emerging platforms, told TheStreet in an email. “Users also encounter information on Fidelity Metaverse ETF (FMET) and the industries that make up the investment universe for the fund.”
Fidelity is far from the only major company to try to get an early in on the metaverse. Everyone from Restaurant Brands International (QSR) – Get Restaurant Brands International Inc Report-owned Burger King to Nike (NKE) – Get Nike, Inc. Class B Report have all tried to launch platforms where they offer games and interactive experiences with their name stamped upon them.
As the metaverse is still limited in scope and far too abstract as a concept for most people, it is often little other than a form of marketing with a bit of educational knowledge (or, in the case of fast-food companies, some discounts or prizes) thrown in to draw users in.
But as more people sign up and get avatars (a process that could speed up significantly in the coming years or fizzle out like Google Glass once did around 2013), a company that gains early entry to this platform will be able to access an emerging demographic before competitors.
“It’s clear that consumers – particularly the next generation – have an appetite for immersive experiences, and the metaverse has an incredible amount of potential,” Condon said. “I think we will be seeing more people and organizations check it out in the future as we learn what potential it may hold for digital engagement.”