eToro wants to bring its trading app to Apple Vision Pro and Meta Quest headsets

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An Apple Vision Pro mixed reality (XR) headset is seen at Apple store in New York, United States on Feb. 3, 2024.

Fatih Aktas | Anadolu | Getty Images

Online brokerage firm eToro is exploring ways to bring its retail trading app to augmented and virtual reality headsets from Apple and Meta, the company’s CEO Yoni Assia told CNBC exclusively.

EToro, which operates a trading platform on which users can buy and sell a range of assets ranging from stocks and exchange-traded funds to cryptocurrencies like bitcoin, is looking at ways of launching on Apple Vision Pro and Meta Quest.

If eToro succeeds in getting onto the Vision Pro and other VR devices, it would mark a rare step from a financial services firm to open up what is effectively a storefront in a virtual reality environment.

Assia said that artificial intelligence is a big focus for the firm and it is looking to integrate features that focus on giving users the ability to interact with the app via voice.

However, AR and VR are also a priority for the firm.

“We are planning to look at how we think about eToro with natural language, with voice, but actually also in the realm of AR VR, during 2024,” Assia told CNBC last week.

He didn’t provide a timeline for when eToro expects to launch an AR experience, and added that it remains an experiment the company is still exploring for the moment.

However, he suggested it will be a serious focus for the firm in 2024.

Financial firms such as JPMorgan and Citi have talked a big game about the “metaverse.” But this has been more in relation to desktop environments like Decentraland. And even then, hype surrounding digital real estate platforms like that has dropped off a cliff in the past couple years.

Limitations

It’s not yet fully fleshed out as a service.

But, on a simple level, eToro’s experience would allow users to pick stocks to buy and sell by touching digital screens within Apple’s Vision Pro and Meta’s Quest devices.

“You could actually now talk to the eToro app through the speaker [of your VR headset],” Assia said.

“I don’t think a lot of people are used to talking to their mobile phone asking questions, yet.” However, Assia expects this to become more mainstream.

Financial companies have refrained from taking big steps into virtual reality as the technology hasn’t proven its utility for something like banking or wealth management.

There are some technical limitations to consider.

While modern-day VR and AR headsets are getting better at tracking users’ eye movements, images can appear blurry if the display settings aren’t finetuned.

EToro said its augmented reality app would likely be a service that its more advanced traders will use, not necessarily casual retail traders or day traders.

“We’re starting to experiment with it,” Assia told CNBC in an exclusive interview. “Do I think it’s going to be hugely popular in 2024? Probably not probably, it’s still premature.”

“But I do think in the world of trading and investing, when we think of the vast amount of information, we’re trying to sort of constantly look at it to make smarter decisions,” he added.

The augmented reality experience would likely be enhanced with artificial intelligence, Assia noted, with a personal AI assistant helping users through the investing process.

“This is still in very initial discussions,” Assia noted, but added he thinks the firm could be ready to show off a prototype “in a couple of months.”

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