Press release

31 Aug 2022 Zurich, CH

Experience the potential of the metaverse and NFTs

Zurich, 31 August 2022 – On Tuesday, the auditing and consulting firm EY welcomed 100 representatives from the Swiss economy to the event "The Metaverse and NFTs – Developments in Art and Beyond". Guests were able to experience an example of the art and the art market and find out how far-reaching the effects of digitization wer

  • In the foyer of the EY office in Zurich, the Swiss artist David Pflugi spoke to invited business representatives about the digitization of the art world and exhibited his works.
  • Maximilian Schmidt from EY Switzerland reported on the potential for companies in the metaverse and led attendees through an exhibition in a virtual environment.
  • David Coriat from Sotheby’s explained how the auction house uses new digital technologies.
  • Darko Stefanoski from EY Switzerland made it clear how important legal expertise was in virtual space and the legal stumbling blocks for companies that needed to be considered.
Zurich, 31 August 2022 – On Tuesday, the auditing and consulting firm EY welcomed 100 representatives from the Swiss economy to the event "The Metaverse and NFTs – Developments in Art and Beyond". Guests were able to experience an example of the art and the art market and find out how far-reaching the effects of digitization were.

In addition to specialist presentations and an interview with the Swiss artist David Pflugi, who reported on the new possibilities from an artist’s standpoint, the event was all about lively exchange and the practical application of new technologies.

David Pflugi led attendees through the works exhibited in the foyer of the EY office at Maagplatz in Zurich and reported on the digitization and tokenization of his art. Together with Maximilian Schmidt and Benjamin Banusch, Digital Strategy & Disruptive Technologies at EY Switzerland, those present experienced the sculptures, some of which were several meters high, in three dimensions in a virtual environment, including with VR glasses. The event was rounded off by an exchange with David Coriat from Sotheby’s, who gave an insight into the world of auctions and described the new possibilities which the metaverse and NFT digital technologies created for this industry.

The metaverse – digitization of the auction business and entrepreneurial potential

David Coriat kicked off the presentations, showing how the international auction house Sotheby’s was positioning itself in the digital age. The metaverse as a digital space was being used for exhibitions and encounters by avatars. "Online auctions have long since replaced physical events, with 28% of bids now being made by app," Coriat said. Regarding NFTs, Sotheby’s focused on curating NFT artists for exclusive collaboration and creating their own trusted marketplace in the metaverse for NFTs.

Maximilian Schmidt, from Digital Strategy & Disruptive Technologies at EY Switzerland, explained the new possibilities offered by the metaverse platforms not only for art, but also for entire industries and companies: "We assume that the global market volume of the metaverse will be over USD 800 billion by 2024." Based on the presence of EY in the metaverse, Schmidt showed clearly the opportunities that existed for companies in a wide variety of industries. For example, EY Switzerland had rent a plot of land in the "Decentraland" metaverse platform where it built the "Talent Tree". EY Switzerland was already recruiting in this virtual building.

The metaverse and NFTs from the artist’s standpoint and legal stumbling blocks

In an interview with André Bieri, Markets Leader Switzerland and Liechtenstein at EY Switzerland, David Pflugi revealed how he felt about the metaverse and NFTs as an artist and how he came to tokenize his works. "It was clear to me early on that the potential of this new technology would have a major impact on artistic creation and the art market," said Pflugi, who manufactures his objects, some of which are meters high, in his studio in Laufen BL. Some works from the Victory Works Collection, which he produces for the World Cup, were tokenized by the artist this summer. This makes it possible to acquire ownership shares in his works, which are then auctioned.

Darko Stefanoski, Law and Digital Law Leader for Financial Services at EY Switzerland, showed the business representatives present the legal risks from NFTs and the metaverse and, in doing so, made it clear that not only private individuals, but above all companies had to know how to behave in virtual space.

"Although it is virtual, the metaverse is by no means a lawless space. On the contrary, it is a very interesting playground – from a legal point of view – in which the question of which territorial law and jurisdiction applies in this virtual meta-world plays a central role," said Stefanoski.

Stefanoski dealt with various possible applications and manifestations of NFTs, which form one of the foundations of the metaverse, and emphasized the importance of a case-by-case approach to each NFT or project. He also dealt with such topics as financial market regulation, licensing, copyrights, money laundering and fraud, but also the security of one’s own biometric data and the monitoring possibilities within the metaverse.

Art exhibition for the public

The exhibition by Swiss artist David Pflugi is open from August 29 to September 16, 2022, 7:30 am to 5:45 pm. Location: EY Switzerland, Zurich. Admission free.


EY  |  Assurance | Tax | Strategy and Transactions | Consulting

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