It all started with two best friends who serendipitously ended up in the same Innovation & Technopreneurship Course at Nanyang Technological University, Singapore. Max Giammario and Dary Lim doodled scrappy sketches and penned quick ideas on pieces of paper and passed them to each other in class; they joined a hackathon to validate a promising concept, where they also met their current Chief Technological Officer, Tony Song. Going on to win the hackathon boosted their confidence and certainty that this was going to work — but if it hadn’t been for a chance LinkedIn message from TechStars, MetaPals may not even be alive today.
The mass market isn’t interested in blockchain or, from a broader perspective, moving into the web3 space. Why should they, when there isn’t any urgent need to? As novel as decentralization may be, the notion of removing the middleman (think institutions, governments, or privatized firms…) and transitioning to peer-to-peer transactions in everyday life is more a value judgment from individuals than an economical revolution pushing society towards a new system. Not to mention the gargantuan amount of information required to research and understand before you can even begin to fathom the concept of blockchain. Simply put, centralized technologies for everyday users is like a cat occupying whatever space it can melt into: “if it fits, I sits.”
There is also hugely asymmetrical information on how most applications and services actually work in handling products near and dear to us. Finance is one prime example: most people don’t know the inner workings of financial institutions, and often times they don’t care enough to find out, so long as they can store their assets and money with little to no fear of losing them. Luckily for financial institutions, freak accidents seldom happen, and they’re thus able to retain the public’s trust in their efficiency and capabilities…until now.
Decentralized finance, or DeFi, is the new wave of empowerment for many reasons. People who previously did not qualify for bank accounts or financial services can now set up their own wallets online. You now control your own money, versus entrusting it to companies that run the risk of mismanaging your funds. Transactions now happen almost instantaneously without an intermediary to overlook and verify them, and neither do you need to provide personal identification to conduct financial activities. Perhaps most important of all, anyone who opts in to DeFi can look at and inspect the system, instead of remaining clueless or in the dark about how their assets are controlled or managed.
Now, try pitching this to 10 people who’s never heard of DeFi or cared enough to find out. How many do you think you’d convince to come onboard?
So it seems that the biggest issues in web3 adoption lie in two hurdles: education and relevancy. Like many other companies, Max and Daryl faced this seemingly insurmountable conundrum: how can the global population be enticed to join the blockchain space without resorting to mass bribery (cough play-to-earn cough) or countless dry infographics? Somehow, a passion for pets, both real and virtual alike, presented itself as a possible solution.
Both Max and Daryl loved Tamagotchi as kids and love pets, the latter which most of us can relate to because of their endearing, adorable natures. Delving deeper into the success of Tamagotchi and its mechanics, however, uncovered surprising findings: besides the target demographic of prepubescent teens, it also captured the hearts of Japanese middle-aged men. It turned out that these digital pets helped curb the immense feelings of loneliness and social isolation, and gave precious moments of delight while playing and caring for them.
The concept of husbandry through rearing digital pets was thus a strong angle, but it still didn’t answer the problem of educating the public on the world of blockchain. Luckily for our dynamic duo, gamification has been the age-old solution to getting people of all ages to learn about various topics while making the process enjoyable. Hence, MetaPals was born!
Inspired by Tamagotchi, MetaPals are virtual pets that eat, sleep, and play from our PC browser screens. Built first as a Chrome browser extension to complement the cryptocurrency ecosystem, it is at first glance a virtual pet game where players can now own a furry companion while working, studying, or browsing online. Eventually, these pets will also become their guides to all things blockchain while still ingame.
We also designed MetaPals with the aim of improving mental health in an age where the virtual world is becoming the new world. Owning pets is arguably one of the quickest and most effective ways to dramatically improve mental health and wellbeing, as well as reduce stress. If we’re able to translate that into a digital setting, we’ll create one of the best scalable ways of improving our overall wellbeing, on top of providing blockchain education to the masses. In a nutshell, MetaPals are made to be companions that bring joy, delight, and fun to everyday life; in caring for these little furbabies, pawrents will stand to gain not just emotional boosts, but also insight into the world of web3.
Wanna adopt your first browser pet? Download MetaPals here.
Curious to find out more about MetaPals? Visit our website here!
Follow our socials for mood boosts and LOLs, and to stay in the know for contests and events to join 🎁 Access our list of social media accounts here.
Join our Discord to meet other pawrents, and get up close and personal with the team here!