What is the Metaverse?
Technological innovations and developments are connecting distinct aspects of the financial, virtual, and physical worlds. We can access anything we want just within a few clicks on our devices. The crypto and blockchain ecosystem is a unique and disruptive space. Blockchain games, NFTs, and crypto payments all share in the development of what we call the “metaverse”. But what is the metaverse, and how does crypto fit into this concept? Let’s take a look.
Definition of Metaverse
The term “metaverse” is used to describe the future iteration of the internet. It is made up of persistent, shared, online 3D virtual spaces that are linked into a virtual universe. It connects multiple platforms, just like how the internet connects different websites in a single browser. Originally, the concept was developed in a science-fiction novel Snow Crash, written by Neal Stephenson. It used to be a fictional idea. But, with technological innovations, it could soon be a reality.
The metaverse concept is driven by augmented reality. Some of the aspects of the metaverse can be seen in virtual video games like Second Life, Fortnite, or work socialization tools like Gather.town. They bring together elements of our lives into the online world. These applications are not the metaverse, but they are related to it.
Metaverse has not fully come into existence, but we are starting to see the growth of what could be the foundation of a future metaverse reality. For example, in addition to gaming and social media, the virtual world connects economies, decentralized governance, and other applications. Valuable items and currencies can be created and developed in a single united virtual space. Sound familiar?
Virtual reality in video games
As the metaverse concept is related to 3D virtual reality, video games provide the closest virtual experience to the users, because they offer various features that can intersect with some aspects of our lives.
For instance, Roblox video games even hosts virtual meetings and virtual concerts. Besides playing the game itself, players can use it for other activities and parts of their lives in cyberspace. Consider that when the multiplayer game Fortnite conducted Travis Scott’s virtual in-game music tour, 12.3 million players took part in it.
How does crypto fit into the virtual world?
Video games provide a 3D aspect for the virtual world, but that doesn’t include everything needed to complete a metaverse. Other important aspects of the metaverse, like digital proof of ownership, transfer of value, accessibility, and governance, can be provided by crypto.
For metaverse to completely come into existence, we would need to work, socialize, and purchase virtual items within one ecosystem. We would need a secure way for displaying the ownership and transferring these items or money in virtual reality. If it becomes a large part of our lives, we will also want to play a role in the ecosystem’s governance and decision-making. Blockchain can provide a decentralized and transparent way of dealing with topics that would be critical to a metaverse:
Digital proof of ownership: You can instantly prove the ownership of your activities and assets by owning a digital wallet. A wallet is the most secure method for digital identities and ownership.
Digital collectibility: As the metaverse replicates real-life activities, it is important to show that an item is original and unique. With the help of NFTs, we can create 100% unique objects that cannot be copied. This concept can also be used to represent the ownership of physical items in the metaverse.
Transfer of value: A metaverse requires a safe method to transfer items and currencies. In most of today’s virtual reality platforms, in-game currencies are less secure when compared to the blockchain. If users earn money in the metaverse, they would need a secure and reliable way to send and receive currency.
Governance: In the real world, we have a voting system to elect leaders and governments. It is important to have the ability to control the rules of the interaction in the metaverse as well. With a decentralized architecture, blockchain provides a fairground to implement governance in metaverse. Blockchain has already proven to implement fair governance.
Interoperability: Blockchain technology improves the compatibility between different platforms. Crypto projects such as Polkadot (DOT) and Avalanche (AVAX) allow users to create interactive custom blockchains. Blockchain has the potential to create a single metaverse that can connect multiple virtual environments.
The future of the metaverse
One of the loudest voices in today’s generation that supports a unified metaverse is Facebook. CEO Mark Zuckerberg has revealed his plans to develop a metaverse project. The project will support remote work and improve financial opportunities for people in developing countries, combining aspects of social media, communication, and cryptocurrency. This would be supported by the platform’s developing stablecoin, Diem, which could prove to be the governing cryptocurrency in such an environment. Other big tech companies like Microsoft, Google, and Apple are also targeting the creation of metaverse.
The next step in a unified virtual space creation would be the integration of NFT marketplaces and 3D virtual worlds. While users can sell their goods on multiple NFT marketplaces like OpenSea, there isn’t currently a popular 3D platform. This could soon change; it is not impossible to develop metaverse-related applications for blockchain programmers.
Though it might take several years to establish a unified metaverse, we can already witness the developments that may lead to its creation. Video game platforms such as Fortnite and Roblox provide a virtual experience for users, while blockchain technology becomes increasingly interconnected with our everyday lives. These technologies will only continue to grow.