Imagine a world where people live, work, shop, play, talk, and interact with each other just from where they are. It is now possible as the connections between the virtual (digital) and real (physical) world become more intertwined. With the help of devices, we now have access to almost everything we need at the push of a button. AR and VR technology have further opened a door for a new space in technology called Metaverse.
Simply put, the metaverse is an online 3D virtual digital space that connects users in all aspects of their lives. These spaces are built on integrated digital platforms. It connects different platforms, just like the Internet, with a variety of websites that are accessible from a single server/source.
Metaverse was an interesting subject for making movies and stories, but now it is shaping into a new reality. With Mark Zuckerberg rebranding Facebook to Meta, it is now seen as a new frontier space. The Metaverse uses AR, where each user controls a character or avatar. For example, you can host a virtual meeting with a VR headset in your virtual office from your place itself with the help of a digital avatar. You can manage your cryptocurrency portfolio and finances within the Metaverse. The metaverse is a combination of every virtual thing that is built using blockchain technology. The metaverse is not one place; it is an aggregate of multiple digital spaces.
Metaverse has many other applications related to economics besides gaming and social media. It has digital identity features like avatars, governance, and other applications. All these features are offered by blockchain that gives potential to advance this future decentralized technology.
Who owns the metaverse?
No individual or organization has complete control over the metaverse. Rather, multiple stakeholders and developers are building the metaverse together. But currently, a few companies like NVIDIA, Roblox Corporation, Epic Games, Microsoft, and Unity Software are making their move for the Metaverse. The idea of decentralization is still at an early stage as only a few companies are leading in this space. Some platforms like Meta have announced their gateways to the Metaverse. Zuckerberg announced Occulus a few years back, which manages AR and VR technology.
However, there are different crypto projects that are building virtual gateways and places for Metaverse. Blockchain projects exist as virtual ecosystems where creators can create and curate their own sections. Each user can create them on the ecosystem inside the Metaverse. When an individual or business creates a fun place that people want to visit, they can monetize it and keep it profitable. Nike took its first steps into Metaverse last year by selling virtual apparel and Nike-branded shoes, which made them huge profits, making it one of the biggest movers inside Metaverse.
Some companies act as gatekeepers for a particular virtual world, but everyone owns that world. Blockchain technology gives users ownership of digital assets, avatars, virtual land, digital fashion items, etc. Many celebrities like Eminem and Snoop Dogg have made their entry into Metaverse doing live concerts for their fans virtually. All you need is a VR set, fast Internet, and a gateway into the ecosystem.
The Metaverse-based blockchain projects also have governance tokens that give their users decision-making power. Depending on how many tokens the user holds, it will have more or less impact on how the platform develops.
What can you do in the metaverse?
All metaverse platforms are different in some ways. Some are designed for gaming, while others focus on education. Some are designed for digital storefronts where businesses advertise and sell their products, while some are built for concerts and meetups.
You can attend conferences, fashion shows, work meetings, sports events, and chess tournaments in the metaverse. Many well-known Web 2 brands like Zara, Nike, etc. are opening their stores to support this technology and building their own metaverse-based stores.
One thing that all virtual worlds have in common is that they try to attract viewers. The best and optimal way to do this is entertainment. The next best way is to build products that the viewers can use and buy. So, Metaverse could be a fun and vibrant place where everyone can find their niche.
The possibilities are almost endless and the coming years will be an exciting time for people to test their shapes. For now, very few players are making and building things inside Metaverse. It still has a long way to go.
How does crypto fit into the metaverse?
Metaverse gives different aspects to social media and products, but it doesn’t cover everything you need in a virtual world that can cover every aspect of your life. For instance, several online games are now built on different crypto platforms that use their coins and token as mediums to navigate and run their ecosystems. In the future, we need a secure way to show ownership when we work, interact, and even buy virtual items in the Metaverse.
So, for this, we need NFT-based crypto projects that offer exclusivity to users and the ability to securely transfer these items and money over the Metaverse. For this, you need privacy-based crypto projects. Finally, when the Metaverse becomes a big part of our lives, we want to play a role in the decisions that are made in the Metaverse and that’s where governance-based crypto projects are needed.
Some video game developers are using cryptography and blockchain as better options. Blockchain provides a decentralized and transparent approach to the problem of developing games, as video game development is more centralized today. Blockchain developers are interested in the world of video games. Gamification on blockchain platforms is making progress in Defi and GameFi. In the future, there seems to be enough similarity for the two worlds to be further integrated. The areas where blockchain could help the Metaverse are:
1. Metaverse provides digital proof of ownership. If you own a wallet with access to your private key, you can prove that you own an asset on your blockchain. Ex- when you are at the workplace, you can your accurate record of transactions on the blockchain for accountability. Wallets like Metamask and Exodus are a few of the most secure and robust ways to create a digital ID and proof of ownership.
2. It gives you the option of digital collectability. Not only you can determine who owns something, but you can also verify its originality and uniqueness. This is required for the Metaverse, where you need to integrate more real-world activities. With NFTs, you can create collectibles that are unique and cannot be accurately copied. The blockchain and its underlying technology give ownership of physical objects.
3. Blockchain provides a governance system to users. The ability and power to control the rules of your personal interaction with the metaverse are also important for users. This can be done by voting, which the governance system provides on the blockchain. Just like in real life, you can vote and can elect leaders and governments. The metaverse also needs to implement fair governance, and blockchain is a proven way to do this.
4. It provides accessibility. A user can create his own personal wallet that is open to anyone in the world on a public blockchain. It is like a digital bank, unlike the traditional bank, where you have to deposit money or provide details for your accounts. You just have to enter minimum details and a password called seed phrase will be available to you. It is one of the most secure yet accessible ways to manage your financial and online digital accounts.
5. Blockchain provides interoperability. Blockchain technology has different projects and improves compatibility between different platforms. Projects such as Polkadot (DOT) and Quant (QNT) allow users to create custom blockchains that they can interact with. Users just need to connect to different projects in one metaverse, and blockchain already has a solution for that.
Why is the metaverse built on the blockchain?
Blockchain offers decentralization and, for a truly decentralized metaverse to exist, decentralization is required to some extent. Also, blockchain networks can validate what each individual owns, sells, buys, and trades. This is where blockchain is needed.
Blockchain is a distributed ledger of records that is not managed by a single entity and cannot be unilaterally rewritten by anyone independently. Blockchain is the foundation on which thousands of developers build all kinds of applications that make up the Metaverse, which further is used by users. The best thing about Metaverse is that you can integrate, merge and play in thousands of different virtual worlds with just one web3 wallet that represents your digital ID.
A unified metaverse is probably a long way off. We are still in the initial phase. We’re already seeing developments that could lead to its formation. This seems like another use case for blockchain technology and cryptocurrencies. We can already see projects like the Metaverse that integrate blockchain more and more into our daily lives. Only time will tell how far it can go.