Superstar investor Cathie Wood says the metaverse is a multitrillion-dollar opportunity that will infiltrate every sector
Cathie Wood is no stranger to big calls – and she's just made another huge one.
The Ark Invest founder and CEO told CNBC Wednesday she thinks the metaverse will be a multitrillion-dollar opportunity that will impact every part of the economy.
"It's a big idea that will probably infiltrate — just like technology is, anyway — every sector in ways that we cannot even imagine right now," she told Sara Eisen in a CNBC Pro Talk.
The metaverse is capturing the attention of many investors right now. It's a catch-all term that refers to various virtual worlds, where users in the form of avatars can play games, work, and build things. In some worlds, people can earn cryptocurrency and trade crypto collectibles known as non-fungible tokens, or NFTs.
The most well-known iterations of the metaverse right now are games such as Fortnite and Roblox. Yet hype is building up around other projects: in The Sandbox metaverse, a parcel of land just sold for $4.3 million.
Facebook has renamed itself Meta and announced a focus on building virtual worlds, which it thinks will be the future of the internet.
Asked on CNBC whether she thinks the metaverse can become a multitrillion-dollar market, Wood said: "We do."
She added: "We're going to have our digital twins, and it's going to enable a lot of fun and a lot of efficiencies."
Yet the superstar investor said she thinks the metaverse will expand massively, away from the current focus on gaming and consumer goods such as so-called virtual skins in Fortnite.
She pointed to Trimble, which makes highly detailed digital infrastructural maps, as an example of a company that is simulating environments for the benefit of industries such as water utilities. "I think this is much more than just a consumer idea," she said.
Wood shot to investing stardom in 2020 by making big bets on Tesla and other fast-growing technology companies. Ark Invest's Innovation ETF rose more than 140% in 2020, when tech stocks soared as governments and central banks pumped cash into economies.
However, Wood's bets have been less successful in 2021, as investors have favored stocks that tend to do better when economic growth and inflation are stronger, such as energy companies and banks. The Ark Innovation ETF is down around 20% for the year, while the Ark Genomic Revolution ETF is down more than 35%.
Despite some investors' excitement about the metaverse, many are skeptical, pointing out that people have played games in virtual worlds for years, and so the idea is far from revolutionary.
Raj Gokal, co-founder of cryptocurrency network solana, tweeted last week: "I worry that the metaverse is overhyped (industry-wide). I haven't seen this much hype in mainstream media over an unreleased product or category of products, maybe ever."