Several superpowers worldwide are into the metaverse. Think of Facebook, Fortnite, and Google. The step from the metaverse to blockchain and the world of crypto has been made quickly, but what is the metaverse actually? You can read this and more in this complete explanation for beginners.
What is metaverse?
The term metaverse dates back to 1992 because that is the year that Neal Stephenson’s book Snow Crash was published. This book has since become the bible of future versions of the internet, which is of course very special. Although for many the concept is still unknown and difficult to comprehend, I will take you through all the information about this futuristic phenomenon.
The metaverse is a virtual shared space, which is formed by the combination of the internet, augmented reality, and virtual reality. All existing and shared facets of existing shared and 3D virtual spaces come together in an all-encompassing virtual universe. In fact, it is a copy of the real world, but digitally.
What are recent developments in the metaverse?
say what? After the introductory words of this article, you may not have any idea what to imagine with that whole metaverse. That’s why I like to tell you about some recent developments so that you can better place them.
Decentraland launched the first decentralized VR platform. This new world is built on the Ethereum blockchain (ETH) and has a wide range of possibilities. You can create there, from challenges to works of art, and enjoy all the virtual experiences. If you have a little more experience, you Decentraland to develop and launch social games and applications.
On Decentraland Marketplace you can buy and sell land, real estate, and wearables. The virtual world is divided into lots, which you can buy and combine. Each plot has its own coordinates and each plot is linked to a LAND token on the Ethereum (ETH) blockchain. We are talking about the ERC-721 token, which is not replaceable and can therefore also be called an NFT.
You move in a virtual world on Decentraland, where you can also visit casinos, and museums or enjoy digital art. Futuristic and interesting right?
As a gamer or non-gamer you have probably heard of this because Fortnite is a very popular game. This gaming platform now has its own currency (VBUX), a gigantic community, and a million audience. For many people, it is a place to meet like-minded people, but also a kind of extension to contemporary society.
Travis Scott organized an ‘other-worldly experience’ in 2020 by giving a concert on Fortnite. Watch the show below on Youtube.
with the introduction of LoubiFuture. By combining augmented and mixed reality, they introduced the new spring collection for men last summer (June 2021).
The video below shows singer Julien Granel moving through Loubitown, while skyscrapers, wildlife, and a showroom pass by. It gives a colorful, futuristic impression, which is of course completely in line with this modern step for the big brand.
Mark Zuckerberg wouldn’t be Mark Zuckerberg if he didn’t want to benefit from these digital developments. He announced last year (August 2021) that Facebook will certainly respond to the entire Metaverse event.
With the launch of Facebook Horizon the first step has been taken on this platform. There is a virtual work environment, which is accessible to people with an Oculus Quest 2. It is currently still a beta environment, with the CEO himself already having some minor comments. During their consultation, the mouth did not move with Zuckerberg’s speech, forcing him to leave the meeting and return later. All beginnings are difficult, but of course, we all hope to enjoy the benefits of this new form of ‘working in the office’ soon.
“You can kind of think about it as an embodied internet that you’re inside of rather than just looking at,” Zuckerberg said during the call.
What are the characteristics of the metaverse?
It is still partly speculation because the realization is still largely in its infancy. However, if we look at the well-known article by Matthew Ball, we can cautiously draw some conclusions from it.
- It’s infinite. The virtual world cannot be paused, like a meeting or a game. In that respect you can compare it to your own daily life, because – unfortunately – we can’t put that on pause either;
- Real-time and synchronous. This may sound a bit crazy as if you are giving something out of your hands, but this virtual world keeps on running. As a result, things just happen, including those that are not planned;
- A whole new economy. In the metaverse, you can build, develop, grow, buy and sell. It’s a brand new global economy, so you can make a profit or lose money there too;
- Everyone participates. You don’t need a special access code for it and you don’t have to pay for it in the base. Everyone must be able to participate in this parallel universe, at the same time;
- Interoperability. As Ball points out in his article, there is only one virtual world: the metaverse. All items, experiences, and creations can be used anywhere. This means that, for example, a car is designed for the Porsche website, is also functional on Rocket League and Roblox, and can even be exchanged via Facebook;
- Connectedness. This virtual experience connects the private with public and digital with physical worlds. This gives open and closed platforms an infinite connection, breaking open the virtual world;
- Contributors are independent. Individual developers, groups, or companies: it’s all possible in this beautiful universe.
Currently, several brands, or companies, claim that they are the brains behind ‘a metaverse’, but this is not true. There is no question of two, three, or more metaverses. No, there is one virtual world and there are no limits to it.
The term dates back to the 1990s, so why is metaverse suddenly a hot topic? In addition to requiring a great deal of brainpower, technical developments must also continue. Many developers who have faith in the metaverse of the future have been involved in this for years and believe that now is the time to go for it.
The knowledge and skills are there, but now the tools need to be upgraded. Think of mobile processors, the infrastructure of the internet, VR headsets, game systems, and of course, crypto.
“[A change like] this is always a multi-decade, iterative process … and yet, despite that fact, there is an unmistakable sense about the past few years that the foundational pieces are coming together in a way that feels very new and very different,” Ball said in his article.
In the screenshot below from Google Trends, you can clearly see that the interest in the metaverse has never been greater than it is today.
PHOTO metaverse google trends
Which companies are betting on the Metaverse?
Above I wrote about some projects that are currently in the spotlight. It’s clear that the tech world is preparing to go all-in, but what do companies actually think of this whole new universe?
To start with, of course, the well-known giants have started developing. Google, Microsoft, Samsung, Facebook, and Sony are figuring out how to experiential reality optimally shape Silicon Valley is full of buzz about these developments.
Metaverse consists of various elements that come together, so many different parties are also interested. Gaming will play an important factor, as a result of which parties such as Fortnite, Rocket League, Lego, and Nintendo will be somewhat stimulated. You can also think of Web XR (extended reality), social VR, and books. On Github, you can find an interesting list of projects and involved parties.
Blockchain technology as the basis of the metaverse
To start with, it is good to realize that the metaverse does not belong to anyone, because we make it together. There is no supervisor, control, or government that plays the boss, no, it is decentralized (DAO). DAOsare organizations without a central authority, transparent, and everyone is equal because they are governed on the basis of smart contracts. Above I already briefly mentioned Decentraland, which is the first decentralized world that operates completely as DAO.
From the DAO we switch silently to the blockchain; the technology on which Decentraland is also built. There are different types of blockchains, the most famous of which are: private blockchain, public blockchain, and hybrid blockchain. Most participants are on the public blockchain, which makes it the best working one. It is transparent and public so that logs cannot be tampered with afterward.
From SSI to ZKP
In a public metaverse, you can still protect your identity by working with Self-Sovereign Identity (SSI). You can manage your identity yourself, without the involvement of a government organization, by having one account where you only share the necessary identification data.
If you go one step further, you arrive at the Zero-knowledge proofs (ZKP). This is a solution based on blockchain technology, which allows you to prove identity data without revealing it.
metaverse vs. Crypto
The main contribution of blockchain to the metaverse is that you can trade in a secure manner. Payment must be made and preferably as quickly and safely as possible, without too much hassle. By working with blockchain you make trading in NFTs possible. In Decentraland the plot prices are already approaching the million dollars, so it is nice if there are suitable payment options for flawless buying and selling.
A major advantage of the metaverse will soon be that you will not have to create all kinds of separate accounts or that a new currency will arise. Crypto is the digital currency, but it comes in all shapes and sizes. Because everything will be connected in the virtual world 2.0, there will be no hassle with switching between accounts and platforms, because everything is already one. You can roughly divide the economic system in the metaverse into two flows: NFTs and DeFi.
DeFi is short for decentralized finance. Currently, your financial resources are guarded by banks, but this will be different in the future, crypto fanatics think. It’s time to decentralize and bring finance back to the people, through blockchain technology.
If you want to buy digital land, artworks, videos, or images, we call these NFTs: non-fungible tokens. An NFT is a non-replaceable certificate of ownership, which guarantees that you are the owner of a unique object.
You can imagine that an enormous amount of data is being recorded with an audience of billions and that all has to be managed in the right direction. Experts find much still unclear, but that crypto will play a role in this universe is an absolute certainty.
The metaverse is currently a hot topic. It has the interest of many people and the technical developments are also in the starting blocks. It is still a concept, but that there will be a successor to the internet is certain. A virtual world in which you will soon be able to experience and create cross-platform activities. It is essential that it is an open world, where transparency, speed, and security are central. Crypto and blockchain will be the basis of this.
Note: I refer to the Metaverse several times in this article as a virtual reality or virtual world, but these terms are actually already reserved for existing projects. However, there is no other way to describe this concretely, but this will undoubtedly change.