The metaverse is a future evolution of the Internet based on shared, persistent virtual worlds in which people interact as 3D avatars.
Blockchain technology can form the backbone of the metaverse, with interoperable NFT assets that can be used in different spaces of the metaverse.
If you pay attention to the worlds of technology, gaming, or cryptocurrencies, you may have heard of the metaverse long before the end of 2021. But even if you’re not immersed in those spheres, there’s a good chance you’ve seen the remarkable rise. of conversations since Facebook flagged its grand plans to build the metaverse.
What exactly is the metaverse? Well, it’s hard to define in a short summary. In effect, it’s a future vision of the Internet that could be more immersive and complete, with virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR) headsets likely to play a big role as online experiences look and feel more real—and potentially replace some real-world activities.
However, how the metaverse will function and who will control it remains to be seen, and the term has recently been used as a catch-all for a wide range of tech, gaming, and NFT-focused initiatives. Plus, it could be years before we’re all vibing online as avatars. For now, though, here’s what you need to know.
What is the metaverse?
Although there are potentially conflicting views on how the metaverse works, this seems to be true: It is seen as the next great evolution of the Internet, moving from today’s text-based websites and often-closed ecosystems to shared, overlay 3D spaces in which users interact through avatars.
Supporters believe the metaverse will be used for a wide range of things, from socializing to events, gaming, shopping, and even work. The metaverse will not be a site or a platform, but rather a set of online destinations that will support customizable avatars and assets that can be moved from one virtual location to another.
This last element could be based on NFTs and blockchain technology. Non-fungible tokens are digital assets with scheduled scarcity, and as such are an ideal tool for representing ownership of virtual assets, such as metaverse objects or plots of virtual land. Popular NFTs like the Bored Apes Yacht Club and CryptoPunks could transform into 3D avatars that their owners could take to metaverse worlds, for example. These virtual assets can also be traded, personalized and even monetized.
The metaverse as a concept predates the current wave of interest in it; the term itself first appeared in Neal Stephenson’s iconic cyberpunk novel “Snow Crash,” while Ernest Cline’s “Ready, Player One”—and especially the Steven Spielberg-directed film adaptation—brought the concept to a wider audience. .
What’s so special about it?
Some of what you just read may be familiar to you. It’s true: virtual world games have been around for a long time, especially Second Life, which debuted in 2003. If you play Fortnite or Roblox, you’re probably already familiar with the idea of a shared server where users control avatars to play on. and socialize.
One of the big differences between these types of games and the potential blockchain-powered metaverse is the idea of true asset ownership. In Fortnite and Roblox, you pay money for virtual currency that you can exchange for digital items, but these remain on the game creator’s centralized servers. You may not resell them for money on third-party marketplaces, or transfer them to other games. It’s a one-time transaction and that’s it.
In the proposed NFT-powered metaverse, you can own things like avatars, land, digital clothing, and other items, and migrate them between platforms through your cryptocurrency wallet. Interoperability is the key for the cryptocurrency companies that are driving this technology – it’s not about being locked into a single platform by Facebook, Google or any other tech giant.
Additionally, proponents of the metaverse believe it will unlock additional economic opportunities for users and creators alike, whether through play-to-earn video games (such as Axie Infinity), content creation, and items that others can buy as NFTs, or even the design of games and places that users can explore and enjoy for a fee. A cryptocurrency-powered metaverse could better democratize the internet and amass significant value for users, rather than just platform operators.
With the metaverse shaping up to be a more immersive internet, it’s no surprise that virtual reality and augmented reality headsets are a key way to experience 3D worlds. Meta calls the metaverse an “Internet incarnate” made more robust and believable not only by 3D graphics, but also by a greater sense of digital presence and interactivity. But the metaverse will not be limited to headphones, it will also be present on computers and smart devices.