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HSBC, Fidelity wade into the metaverse with trademark applications

HSBC (NASDAQ: HBCYF) and Fidelity Investments have hinted at a desire to join the metaverse bandwagon by filing trademark applications with the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO).

The filings, confirmed by licensed trademark attorney Mike Kondoudis, are focused on non-fungible tokens (NFTs), metaverse, digital asset trading, and virtual lands. The filings are a departure from the traditional offerings of the financial firms but illustrate the general direction of their effort in the coming years.

Fidelity Investments filed three separate trademark filings with the USPTO bordering on creating an NFT marketplace and digital media. The investment conglomerate took things up a notch with the filing of an application to offer mutual fund investment services, financial planning, and electronic bill payment in the metaverse.

British banking giant HSBC filed its trademark on December 15, focused on “digital media backed by NFTs, virtual currency exchange and transfer, and virtual credit card processing. HSBC’s filing also covers the use of its name and logo in the metaverse, going further to cater to “hosting events and performance in the metaverse in the field of finance.”

The filings are not the first time both entities have interacted with blockchain technology. Fidelity Investments leveraged Decentraland to offer users an interactive experience and doubled down with the launch of the Fidelity Metaverse ETF.

On the other hand, HSBC struck a partnership with The Sandbox to explore the opportunities for virtual communities to interact with financial services firms in the metaverse.

The craze of the metaverse

The metaverse shot to popularity in 2021, riding the wave generated by the NFT craze as investors jostled for real estate in virtual worlds. Dozens of platforms sprang to cater to the growing interest in the ecosystem, including Decentraland and The Sandbox, with mainstream companies like Microsoft (NASDAQ: MSFT) and Meta (NASDAQ: META) exploring virtual worlds.

Although interest waned in 2022, a Citi report predicted that the metaverse will represent a $10 trillion economy by 2030. Countries like China and South Korea have adopted a national outlook in their metaverse development, earmarking millions of dollars for creator funds.

Despite the decline in 2022, the fundamentals are looking positive for the asset class, with pundits predicting more use cases for the industry, including brand promotions and the rise of metaverse-as-a-Service (MaaS) platforms. Enthusiasts have been told to expect a decline in new capital flowing into the sector. Rather, old VC investors will flex their muscles in 2023.

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