Meta realm: Chennai finds its footing in the virtual world – The New Indian Express

Chennai News

Express News Service

CHENNAI:  As Web3, the new age of the internet emerges, governments, developer communities, artists and Chennai’s startups are dashing to develop products and services in the space. Entertainment is one of the first industries to tap the potential of Web3 as it offers a more immersive and interactive experience to consumers. Fans will feel they are standing next to their favourite celebrities in the metaverse, says Sriram Venkatesan, Founder and Chief Executive Officer of Rapogen, which hosted a concert on metaverse and claimed to have launched the first movie trailer in the metaverse.

 The startup is building custom universes in the metaverse for companies along with popularising the metaverse for the public. It hosts meta spaces for social media influencers free of cost, to bring influencers and their followers into the meta realm. The company aims to prepare a creator-driven Rapogen metaverse, where numerous creators will have their own space.  

Laya Mathikshara, a 15-year-old digital artist, who creates 3D animation and generative art, and mints non-fungible tokens (NFTs), opines the decentralised Web3 platforms would be beneficial for artists in terms of revenue sharing. NFTs are digital assets representing unique ownership. Her digital art has been sold for over a million US dollars. She said, while there is scepticism about the acceptance of digital art, she said that digital art can substitute physical art and could be more dynamic.  

While collectables-centric NFTs are popular in developed economies, many believe a product-based Web3 ecosystem will emerge in a country like India. The real-world use scenarios include tutoring people with learning and physical disabilities, and providing healthcare to those who are not able to access it otherwise. Taboo topics like reproductive treatment and sexual wellness are also finding their way into the metaverse.  

Another Chennai-based company Square Comp makes its own virtual reality (VR) headset and provides VR-based industrial safety training and corporate training. This will increase engagement and productivity according to PwC, said Srinivasan Yagnanarayanan, Founder of Square Comp. The startup team is building applications across farm training, information technology, banking, finance, and education. The opportunities are immense and it will reduce the time and cut the costs of the companies, Srinivasan said.  

Web3 Chennai, a web developer community in the city is coming together to build on the new tech. Started as a small group discussing possibilities and conducting meet-ups, they plan to develop 30 projects in under 30 days in January. Chaal Pritam, organiser of Web3 Chennai said the projects will focus on decentralised finance, NFT, and metaverse-based applications. The developers will mutually help each other in developing as it is new territory for them, he added.

Further, despite the global uncertainty around it, the crypto industry remains upbeat. Arjun Vijay, Co-Founder of Giottus says that with applications, people need crypto exchanges to swap their currencies with regard to lending, borrowing and investments. The blockchain-based decentralised finance is here to stay and will be a more democratic way of the economy, he said.  

Another Chennai-based decentralised finance aggregator Kana Labs Founder Karthik Subramanian says crypto trading and easy, cheap and superfast cross-border remittances are the important uses of Web3 as of now. Tamil Nadu government is playing its part by training students and setting up industry-academia collaborations to spur innovation in deep tech including blockchain. Speaking to TNIE, Information Technology Minister T Mano Thangaraj said the government is creating a Tamil virtual library in the metaverse. “The government is exploring various opportunities in the metaverse as well as taking efforts to attract Web3 industry to the state,” he said.

According to a Confederation of Indian Industries and KPMG report, the move towards rapid adoption of Web3 and metaverse capabilities will help propel Tamil Nadu’s Gross State Domestic Product (GSDP) as it is a leading player in IT, ITES services and electronic manufacturing among other areas. However, industry insiders feel that the state and central governments should bring out clear-cut policies supporting the Web3 ecosystem as done in Dubai, Japan, and South Korea. They call for incentivising Web3 players and removing tax burden to benefit from the opportunities Web3 brings to the table.

Changing the idea of universe
With metaverse spaces in Chennai, startups have emerged for social media influencers free of cost, to bring influencers and their followers into the meta realm.