CoinGecko's Bobby Ong on the Metaverse

An interview with the co-founder of CoinGecko, a leading crypto data aggregator, ahead of CoinDesk's "Metaverse: Gimmick or Distributed Innovation?" event.

AccessTimeIconFeb 18, 2022 at 2:47 a.m. UTC
Updated May 11, 2023 at 6:25 p.m. UTC
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Who or what will control the metaverse? And, what exactly is the metaverse anyway?

We caught up with with CoinGecko's Bobby Ong, who will appear at Crypto State by CoinDesk, our virtual community event tour, when it stops in Southeast Asia on Feb. 24. The discussion will explore the metaverse and its implications.

The tour is in partnership with Luno, like CoinDesk owned by Digital Currency Group. Register for "Metaverse: Gimmick or Distributed Innovation?" here.

CoinDesk: What does the word “metaverse” mean to you?

Bobby Ong: I like Matthew Bell’s definition as he has covered it very comprehensively. In his essay, he says the metaverse will be a) persistent, b) synchronous and live, c) without any cap to concurrent users, d) a fully functioning economy, e) an experience that spans both the digital and physical worlds, private and public networks/experiences, and open and closed platforms, and f) offer unprecedented interoperability of data, digital items, assets, content.

What’s the best way for investors to get exposure to the metaverse right now?

I think the simplest and most passive way for investors to get exposure to the metaverse today is to buy a metaverse-related index product. The one product that comes to my mind is the Metaverse Index (MVI) released by the Index Coop team. This product provides exposure as it holds a series of metaverse tokens such as illuvium (ILV), sandbox (SAND), axie infinity (AXS), decentraland (MANA) and more.

Describe the most important thing you do in three sentences.

I lead all the non-technical aspects of CoinGecko. This means that most of my time is spent leading our teams in operations, marketing, business development, research, finance and HR. I have frequent discussions with my team to put in place processes to scale CoinGecko, work on problem resolutions and recruitment.

What’s your favorite chart from CoinGecko at the moment?

The page that I look at most frequently on CoinGecko is my portfolio page. I use it as a watchlist to monitor the tokens that I find most interesting, get a good snapshot of the market, and determine good entry and exit positions for my crypto portfolio. Highly recommend you track your coins using our portfolio if you have not done so yet!

Do we need to worry about Meta (Facebook) controlling the metaverse?

What I think will happen in the next few years is that there will be many metaverses competing for users’ attention, one of which will be the metaverse built by Meta. I think Meta will have a tough time trying to gain metaverse market share if they are planning on building on a closed ecosystem. Eventually, I think Meta will be forced to embrace the open, decentralized future to garner users.

That said, Meta has a powerful asset in its hand as it owns the virtual reality hardware company, Oculus. It remains to be seen how Meta will leverage its control of the Oculus hardware devices to gain an edge in future metaverses.

(Kevin Ross)
(Kevin Ross)


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CoinDesk is an award-winning media outlet that covers the cryptocurrency industry. Its journalists abide by a strict set of editorial policies. In November 2023, CoinDesk was acquired by the Bullish group, owner of Bullish, a regulated, digital assets exchange. The Bullish group is majority-owned by; both companies have interests in a variety of blockchain and digital asset businesses and significant holdings of digital assets, including bitcoin. CoinDesk operates as an independent subsidiary with an editorial committee to protect journalistic independence. CoinDesk employees, including journalists, may receive options in the Bullish group as part of their compensation.

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