We now live in an era where the exact digital replicas of any physical object can be built using real-world data–all thanks to digital twin technology. Think of any object: a Bombardier, a Tesla, etc. Think of any building: the Empire State Building, the Taj Mahal, the Burj Khalifa, etc. With this powerful tool, you can now create their digital replicas. , a real estate technology platform, is committed to creating the digital twin token of its users' buildings in their real-world locations. Magma's CEO Matthieu Merchadou Melki offered valuable insights into Magma and digital twin technology in this interview with Olayimika Oyebanji. Magma Editor’s Note: The following interview has been edited for clarity and brevity. Can you tell us about yourself and your route to Web3 and virtual reality? So I am the current CEO of Magma. It's a platform for real estate. My background was primarily in finance. I was working in a bank at the age of 23 in Miami after finishing my law studies in France, and for about three years I managed securities. Web3 I took my series 7 on the New York Stock Exchange at 25 years old, and I managed NASDAQ securities with a senior broker. We were the first ones to do day trading in the Dot com era. So we saw the IPOs of Google and Amazon and AOL and all those dot coms stocks. I arrived in 1998 in Miami, so I was really on a roller coaster per se because when I arrived the NASDAQ was around 2,500. It went up to 6000 and down to 1800. So I really saw the bubble of the dot com era at the time, where I was really inside the bubble when it burst. And that's when I understood that trees don't go to the sky. So, I learned a lot about the new business models that the Internet was going to provide to the world. And this is kind of similar to what we see now in the blockchain era. https://youtu.be/t0lV-qXv-O4?si=pjyzGNwMeCabDLtY&embedable=true It's quite interesting to have gone through this period to analyze what's going on right now. I worked for three years for this bank, and then the bank was bought out by UBS Union Bank of Switzerland, so I joined the team in Paris as they were opening the Paris office. They proposed that I join to take care of the private banking for sports and entertainment people, celebrities, and sports people. I was in charge of the soccer team from France in 1998. The team that won the World Cup in 98. So there were all the players playing in England, Spain, Italy, and they were placing their funds mostly in real estate in France. That's how I got involved in real estate investing and I did a lot of the transactions with the bank, and then I left the bank and created my own structure in real estate, this time advising high net-worth individuals and small institutions for over ten years in Paris where we did a lot of transformation of Offices into residential and a lot of the transformation of real estate. What actually inspired you to go into digital twin technology? It's even one step further than the digital twin because it's the digital twin token. It's really the digital imprint of a building through the digital twin. What inspired us is with my actual partner, my current partner, Cooper Copetas, who is a parametric architect. That means he works with the digital twins, and he knows how to program computers and algorithms to run scenarios into these instruments. I met him a few years ago in Miami. I had a real estate fund, and we purchased a few buildings and I got involved with the City of Miami on a smart city project that we presented to the City of Miami. We did this for an individual who had bought 40 buildings downtown Miami in a specific district, in specific pockets, he had like forty buildings. They were almost adjacent to one another, and he asked us to reflect about the potential redevelopment of the portfolio in the frame of the city and how it could enhance the image and create the condition for Miami to be at the forefront of innovation. So, we immediately thought of the concept of smart cities and buildings being interconnected with one another, and the use of the resources for the entire portfolio would be managed through a single platform. And that was at the time when blockchain was really in fashion in the US, especially in Miami. Everybody was talking about Bitcoin and how blockchain was going to change the world. When I discovered that, I was really amazed, and I had sort of an epiphany where I said, well, for me, knowing the financial market and the state of the market as it is right now and knowing real estate and knowing what's happening, you know in the economy, I thought this is the transition that the world needs in order to achieve sustainability and more inclusivity and more sustainable business models where so we, immediately with my partner, saw the connection between the digital twins and blockchain because blockchain is a way to secure information, a way to ensure trust in data. And so the digital twin represents the building, and blockchain is the tool, the underlying technology that puts trust into the data that you collect in the digital twin. Our project, Miami Beta City, was presented in 2017 to the Miami-Dade Beacon Council, which is the economic development partnership of Miami, and we got awarded the keys of the County of Miami-Dade County in 2018 for the project. But it was very futuristic at the time. So they really liked it, and we had the community and everything, but the technology wasn't there. It was really Web3 before Web3. It was like a metaverse with real buildings. So, since then, we've been continuously working on those concepts, and we created Magma especially for that. So, Magma is really a tool to collect and verify information from a digital twin and to a digital twin because it's bidirectional. And the way also to incentivize stakeholders so people who work in buildings can collaborate with this new tool. Can you tell us about your partnership with Super World? So, first of all, we share the same vision with Hrish as that the virtual world needs to enhance the real world. They are not here to distract us from reality. I mean, they can be, of course. But for us, the real value added to Web3 and to this world is to enhance the real issues that we have in the real world. So, the partnership with Super World is very interesting. To sum up, what SuperWorld did is that they divided the entire world into 64 billion plots. Each plot corresponds to the actual address’s physical location on the map. Imagine a Google map, and you would buy a specific location of this one. Contrary to the Decentraland or Sandbox, which are imaginary models that don't correspond to physical locations. It changes a lot in our view because we are going to link a real building. And so with SuperWorld, they are going to add a build button on Super World that will connect you directly to Magma. What can you tell us about the founding of magma? So Magma allows us to connect real-world assets to blockchain basically to tokenize the elements of the building. What tokenize means is to create a certificate on blockchain that will contain the elements and the metadata of the buildings and the elements of the building. So, that means we divided the building into five index layers. Each index layer corresponds to elements of the building development. Level Zero is the Genesis--it is the birth of your building in blockchain, which means you need to prove the ownership of the building. Who owns it? The size of the building, net, gross, yield, rental income, insurance, and the conformity of use. Is it residential? Is it mixed use? Is it an office? And so you have like 15 or 16 crucial documents that prove the existence of your building, so you can apply this aspect of it and then all the compliance it proves. How we prove that is that we record proof of a document by uploading a document to the platform through a validation protocol. This document is validated. When it's a contract, you always have two or three parties in a contract. So one is the uploader, and the other party is going to say yes, this is our contract (the validator). So now you know that the document has been validated by 1-2 or three validators. Once it's validated, then you want to record that document in the blockchain in an immutable manner. It means you're going to timestamp it and say this document was signed between parties on such day, and it's been recorded on that server on such day. So, in blockchain, you are just going to keep the proof of that document (hash), and the document can stay in the server or in the magma server, but you can point at it when you need it. Can you take us on a tour of Magma itself? Yes, so I described the levels, and then you go on by levels. The first one is the structural levels. So, it's all that contributes to the stability of the building, such as the foundation and the supporting walls. You will use it when you want to gut your building. Every 10 or 15 years, you keep the structure. If you've gut it out completely, you have an instance where you have all the people responsible for the stability of the building. The structural engineer, the architect, and so on. And you have all the reglementation pertaining to these aspects of the building. Then you have the architectural level (level 2), then you have the wired level (level 3), which is basically MEP, mechanical, electrical, and plumbing, and then you have the furniture (level 4). Each time, you are going to record information about those items that you agree upon with your stakeholders in the building. So if I change a window, I'm going to put the invoice, and I'm going to put the insurance or the guarantee, and then elements regarding energy consumption, CO2 emissions, and well-being of the occupants are going to be measured. Each item of your building is sort of independent, and you can create a token with your air conditioning system, a token with a zone, even like a bathroom or kitchen, and this bathroom contains different objects. These objects have energy consumption and CO2 emissions, and the country sometimes influences the well-being or services, so you can create pockets of information that you can pick into and that you can run scenarios with. It's really an aggregation tool to verify information and use that information to perform tasks or to simply report, and you need to report your energy consumption or your emission. What are the opportunities for creators and investors in Magma? In Magma, everyone is a creator. We have eight types of stakeholders and about 40 categories of them, and each one of them can provide data. And there is a reward system in the platform that pays you tokens when you provide data. The better the data, the more efficient the data, and the more rewards you get. So, for creators, anyone, even a tenant, can provide information, or service providers can provide information. For the property manager, we will have easy reporting because we set the parameters of this data beforehand, so it facilitates the work for the property manager or the facility manager to gather data that is computable. It means we take PDFs and we allow our users to input this data in the format that can later be used by computers to pull information. How does Magma ensure an immersive user experience? Yes, so I know the users are looking for an immersive user experience right now the focus is to create the different levels of connection with the DTT, the digital twin token, and the 3D model. At first, we still need to continue developing the platform. Right now, we can offer the DTT at the level Genesis, and we are connecting it to the 3D model during the month of October. So, within two months, I would say the connection with the 3D model would be done in terms of immersive experience. You can have several uses. You can have an immersive experience for commercial purposes. You have a building, and you want to showcase an apartment or an art gallery. Eventually, we can also link this scan to a building information model where we can tag objects and explain what is there and the card that comes with the object, so that's the first one. The 2nd immersive experience would be for technical purposes. You have several contractors who want to work together in an immersive environment, and that's not what we do. We will just take information from there and record it in the digital twin token. This collaboration is done into the existing software of the user for collaboration in building information modeling, for example, and so the other one (immersive case) would be to create a digital copy of the building. But digitally, like in architectural software like SketchUp or Archi, CAD. It's a digital copy of the building. It's not a scan. Can you share your personal experience as CEO of Magma? My experience is really exciting because bringing these new tools to the industry is really what motivates me, especially the decentralization aspect of it where it's very important to get rid of centralized control of data and to give the data control back to the producer of the data and the customers and the service provider and so also, Magma is meant to be owned by its users. We want Magma to belong to the property managers, the asset managers, the service providers, and the tenants. I want them to be able to own a piece of this infrastructure, and they will be able to provide the experience, collect data, and build smart contracts of their own that can be used and deployed in several buildings around the world. What piece of advice do you have for entrepreneurs who would like to follow in your footsteps? I would say the first thing is to have commitment and dedication to your project. You need to know the regulations are the new technological advancements. You need to know the community. You need to be able to really live by your project. The second thing I would say is to build a team. You need a solid team because you will need a competence that you don't have, and you need to be surrounded by people who have the knowledge and the technicality that you need. So that's why I'm very fortunate with my partner Cooper. He is a parametric architect and is a brilliant programmer. My other partner, Jurgen Schouppe, has been in the digital asset business for many years. He has been a software architect advisor of the European Commission for the past 17 years. We also have a very good front-end designer because the UX UI is very important. So I would say commitment and dedication and a solid team are the two, you know, prerequisites for success.