Advisory services. If your avatar could try on clothes, why couldn’t it visit the avatar of a financial advisor to vet credentials and ask questions? After some advisors start projecting themselves virtually, others will have to follow suit to compete and deal with this eventual impact of blockchain on the financial services industry, among many.

Tech stocks. As with many blockchain functions, VR shopping on blockchain (and VR itself) will require far more powerful personal computers than most peoples have at home today. If VR shopping develops enough allure, it could drive the market for new, more powerful PC models at higher prices that will eventually come down—as occurred in the PC market after the Internet first became accessible.

VR applications are virtually (pun intended) unlimited. For example, the current trend toward online learning presents potential inroads for VR classrooms, where students’ avatars could ask questions and take exams to get real degrees. And some analysts are projecting online virtual casinos. These virtual venues could spider out across the globe efficiently via blockchain.

There are some technical barriers to VR/blockchain convergence, including the current slow popular adoption of crypto-currency. Though crypto doesn’t have to be mainstream for VR shopping to catch fire, reluctance to use it could limit the market. Yet, in a scenario of the tail wagging the dog, the cool allure of VR shopping might increase crypto-currency adoption. Surveys show that millennials tend to distrust banks, inclining them toward crypto-currency.

And though bitcoin has had wild valuation swings, proponents point to its potential to go mainstream.  Further, a  VR blockchain startup, High Fidelity, recently launched a stable coin, High Fidelity Coin, pegged to the U.S. dollar—creating a crypto-currency with potential to alleviate concerns of virtual merchants and shoppers alike.  

Another hurdle to convergence is the limited transaction throughput of blockchain/crypto—a technical challenge being addressed through substantial venture capital flowing to development firms. Another obstacle is the projected inability of shoppers to travel virtually from one VR environment (or site) to another. A consortium of emerging platform entities has formed to seek ways for shoppers to do so.   

Generally, blockchain’s vast potential for connecting customers and vendors, and its natural fit in the VR context, represent such tremendous commercial potential that developers have incentive aplenty to devise solutions in a big hurry.

Thus, blockchain will likely be taking goods to the world via VR in the next decade. Then, like Sam Worthington’s and Zoe Saldana’s characters in “Avatar,” shoppers’ digital doppelgangers will amble around VR business districts. They’ll browse furniture, try on clothes and make purchases, and eventually, perhaps speak with advisors and other financial professionals, and maybe take in a show.

Humans won’t be able to tell whether a sweater worn by their avatars itches until it arrives (triggering a blockchain return), but unlike the human characters in “Avatar” who literally felt their avatars’ pain, flesh-and-blood shoppers won’t feel a thing when another avatar’s car hits them as they cross a virtual street. 

Eric C. Jansen, ChFC, is the founder, president, and chief investment officer of Westborough, Mass.-based Finivi Inc, an SEC-Registered Investment Advisor. He is the founder of, a blockchain technology media site.

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