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KPMG is spending $30 million to train employees in the metaverse and other Web3 bets

June 28, 2022, 8:11 AM UTC
KPMG metaverse
Courtesy of KPMG

Good morning,

“Today, if you look at all of the revenue that the metaverse generates (which could reach $800 billion by 2024), most of that is in the gaming aspect of the metaverse,” Cliff Justice, KPMG U.S. leader of Enterprise Innovation, told me. “All the collaboration that has been developing, maturing and refined in the gaming space is extending into more serious business to business and business to consumer commerce.”

KPMG US and Canada are investing a combined $30 million over the next year in a focus on Web3 and metaverse capabilities, including a collaboration hub. “This is an investment in our people and new technologies,” Justice says. “We’ve created a center for excellence in the U.S., and Canada has done the same. We’re developing products and services. We have a studio incubator to test new ideas and new services around Web3 and the metaverse. And we have funds set aside to co-develop with clients.”

Think of the metaverse as “the evolution of the internet,” Justice says. Beyond the extended reality aspect of the metaverse, it is part of Web3 technologies, which is really enabled by decentralized blockchain technology, and “conceivably in the future provides a more immersive and trusted interactive internet,” he says.

Businesses want to capture a younger demographic and get their attention. “I’ve got a 14-year-old who plays Roblox, Fortnite, and Minecraft,” Justice says. The younger generation is used to collaborative platforms, he says. “It’s very natural to extend that gaming space into more business commerce,” Justice says. KPMG’s exploration of Web3 began pre-pandemic. Justice and a colleague wrote a paper published in 2019 on extended reality (real and virtual combined environments) beyond gaming, he says. The research came in handy at the onset of the pandemic to make a case for increasing investment in the area as the demand for more collaborative technology became necessary. 

Training is an “essential early-stage use case” for KPMG employees in the metaverse. “These are just more rich, engaging forms of training versus your typical online recorded training models that we’ve used for the last decade or longer,” Justice says. For example, employees will receive training for specialist-oriented skill sets that focus on finance, accounting, auditing, or risk or assurance for regulator matters. KPMG has purchased virtual reality headsets for employees to enter the metaverse, but they are not beholden to a particular vendor. “We’re agnostic to the platform and the hardware that we use,” Justice says. In the metaverse, KPMG clients can simulate a manufacturing location and bring expertise from different parts of the world to collaborate, he says.

KPMG in Canada has added Ethereum and Bitcoin to its corporate treasury. “The U.S. firm has not,” Justice says. “These are very volatile, emerging kinds of technologies. Big shakeouts are underway right now. That’s not high on our priority list. Neither firm has announced any type of material investments in any particular cryptocurrency.” The U.S. firm is more interested in the blockchain technologies that underpin cryptocurrencies as a way to exchange intellectual property and secure data.

It will take at least 10 years for the Web3 protocol to overtake the current Web2 protocol, Justice says. “There’s plenty of observable data points that are useful to a CFO from the early adopters of the metaverse,” he says. “Look at the fundamentals and the foundational technologies that improve business, the business results and profitability, the revenue potential and customer experience.”


See you tomorrow.

Sheryl Estrada
sheryl.estrada@fortune.com

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