At the Economist Metaverse Summit event in CA, 2022, The Metaverse Insider had the opportunity to interview the Co-CEO of Upland, Dirk Lueth. As the largest virtual property strategy game
mapped to the real world, we were excited to learn more about Upland’s goals and its implications for the future of the Metaverse.
“Build, Sell and Earn” is a catchphrase many individuals in this industry would struggle to ignore – however, there is more to this prolific company than many would expect. It was clear that Dirk and his team at Upland are thought leaders in the industry – being in the perfect environment to educate the industry on what they do.
Having attended an array of Metaverse events globally, Dirk mentioned how there are currently different attitudes toward the industry between countries:
“When I talk to Europeans right now, there are lots of things going on. And on the macro level, you could feel there’s not that hunger, right? When I went to Dubai, people were curious, they want to talk, and they want to partner. I was at the museum of the future.”
Having met an abundance of people, Dirk emphasized his surprise when talking to some government officials from Dubai:
“Politicians, you know, they have to know a lot of things; they’re really crunched to scratch the surface. But when I spoke to them, I was surprised at how deep their knowledge was. That was a big takeaway for me there.”
This is not the case for many governments around the world. The integration of future technologies will inevitably lead to more established platforms, which in turn will draw a larger user base. Concerning this, we asked Dirk how working with regulators to help understand the industry could benefit society:
First of all, these decentralized maximalists say that we don’t need the regulation and so on. I don’t believe that is the case; you need regulation. People need to be protected. The obvious question is, how far should regulation go? Regulation can go too far and prevent innovation, but with little regulation, there are a lot of scams, right? There’s a good balance to find – and that’s the reason why you need to have the conversations with governments”.
The Metaverse Insider recently published an article on The White House – outlining the first-ever comprehensive framework for the responsible development of digital assets. This is a step in the right direction, yet many nations are far behind.
Regarding Upland’s roadmap, communication with governing bodies is clearly an area of interest. However, The Metaverse Insider was curious to further understand Upland’s objectives over the next few years and what its primary ambitions are.
Being inspired by the board game Monopoly, Upland is mostly known as a property trading game. Nevertheless, Dirk was excited to tell us how Upland is evolving – becoming “the lobby of the Metaverse.” With the recent introduction of their third-party developer platform, a whole new element to Upland has been born:
“We had hundreds of developers sign up for it three weeks ago when we launched it. We want to give developers the freedom to develop their own apps and experiences based on our plan, using our tokenomics and our assets. This gives a lot of auto web 2.0 companies the possibility to easily connect to web 3.0, using our connectivity.”
This evidently has great potential; by helping transition brands and companies into the Web 3.0 space, we can be certain that this will further help the mainstream adoption of the Metaverse and its associated concepts.
Furthermore, Dirk mentioned an upcoming Upland communications feature:
“We decided strategically that we will move away from discord where most of our communication is happening right now; we found out that two-thirds of our users are not on Discord. They are somehow communicating in a different way. So, we must give them a method to communicate with each other.”
“I also see that Upland is becoming more and more like a kind of social network. And we always say in our claim, ‘connect’, right? We want people to connect in Upland, but in a different way to what they have done in social media.”
As many individuals believe that the primary use cases for the Metaverse will be centered around social interactions, it is fascinating to see Upland integrate a type of social network into the general framework of the company. It was also evident that Upland is making this very accessible for the mainstream user; by utilizing a mobile app, Upland can overcome the challenge of helping different demographics understand the concept of the Metaverse.
To finalize our interview with Dirk, The Metaverse Insider felt it important to ask what Upland wish to achieve in the space – addressing the legacy they wish to have in the Metaverse:
“I dream that one day, people are completely in control of the identity of the data. They can wander around in the Metaverse between different platforms and can do whatever they want to do. But they are in control of it, right? So, they have a locker where all the data sits in, and they can really go and say what data they want to share with someone.”
“My biggest dream is when we actually achieve what I call the paradigm shift away from being platform-centric to a user-centric world. And hopefully, Upland plays a big part in it. And I would really hope that upland has generated hundreds, thousands, and millions of new opportunities for people to earn money, make new friends, or just share the fun with others.”
Upland clearly has a positive trajectory for the Metaverse space; by implementing aspects from entertainment, real estate, and social networking, there is certainly a lot to look forward to.