The way we express social capital and identity has changed dramatically over the last 20 years. For hundreds of years, we were only in a physical world, and one’s home was the center of social capital and identity. A radius from the center of this circle might have been created by driving our car out of the driveway. Apple started working on what would become the iPhone in 2003, the same year the first Millennials graduated from college with fewer job prospects, more debt and a lower likelihood of buying a home. The iPhone, Facebook and Instagram launched us into a hybrid physical-digital world, in which one’s smartphone became the most important generator of social capital and identity. But it still required a trip to Machu Pichu to take that selfie! Now we are entering the metaverse, a digital-on-digital world that no longer depends on anything physical. We are merging onto the highway of behavior that is already happening because gamers have been buying, selling and trading digital assets for decades. NFTs are a new tool for all people in online communities to build social capital and identity in a way that most resembles the physical world – with property rights. The center of gravity will shift away from the smartphone and toward our (online) homes – a world full of cars pulling out of driveways, art on the walls and stylish wardrobes, and it will all feel a lot more natural than we might expect.

Art, Blockchain, Cryptocurrency, Culture, Entertainment, Video Games Angela Dalton is the CEO and Founder of Signum Growth Capital. SGC operates at the intersection of the emerging metaverse and peer to peer, blockchain enabled, online economies. Areas of expertise include video gaming, media and music – culture meets crypto. Signum Growth Capital acts as Lead Advisor to Web3 Foundation and ARK Invest. Prior to Signum Growth Capital, she served in Tech/Media leaderships roles and as a Managing Director at three traditional financial firms – Guggenheim Securities, Evercore Partners and UBS. Angela was an initial investor and Co-Founder of Evercore Partners Equities from 2010 to 2015. Ms. Dalton earned an M.B.A. from the University of Chicago and a B.A. and B.S. from the University of Kansas. Since 2018, SGC’s website has been titled “Into the Metaverse” with a goal of recruiting talent from every corner of the globe. This talk was given at a TEDx event using the TED conference format but independently organized by a local community. Learn more at