INTRODUCTION TO METAVERSE
The metaverse, a concept that has been one of the most searched words on the internet since the end of 2021, is defined as a complete virtual universe where any person can be, do, and build whatever they desire.
But it is a fact that the subject gained status as a technological revolution in October 2021, after Mark Zuckerberg announced that the Facebook company would change its name to Meta. He also stated that the company’s focus would shift to the virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR) market.
WHAT IS METAVERSE?
Metaverse is a virtual environment that is immersive, collective, and hyper-realistic, in which individuals can live together using personalized 3D avatars. To put it another way, it’s the next step in the evolution of the internet as we know it.
HOW DOES THE METAVERSE WORK?
While particular equipment is required to access the metaverse, the term alludes to a shift in how we engage with the digital world as a whole rather than a specific type of technology. This is because, in practice, the sensation would be of being totally immersed in this virtual universe, in a union of augmented reality with virtual reality. That is, the flat screens of cell phones, computers and tablets would be replaced by a three-dimensional experience, in which it would be possible to interact with objects and varied information.
METAVERSE DESIGN PRINCIPLES
In this new Internet, you can do just anything you can imagine: playing games, watching movies, working, creating, shopping, interacting with friends and family and many other activities that are unavailable to us due to the limitations of cell phones and computers. In addition, all of this will be presented in virtual and/or augmented reality format. And for it to function normally, seven fundamental principles must be established in your world order.
1. The number of people who inhabit the metaverse is unlimited.
It is understood that anyone can enter such a virtual reality, following the example of how anyone can create a Facebook account and visit its page at any time without delay. If this condition is not met, such a network simply cannot become a common space for people to work, study, communicate and entertain (i.e, it will not be a “goal”).
2. The Metaverse cannot be paused, ended or erased.
As the metaverse is a common space for millions if not billions of people, so for their normal interaction it is necessary that no one can stop the work of the metaverse (pause) or delete (win, erase, turn off). Otherwise, this universe will be “frozen” practically all of the time, as everyone will need to go to the restroom, call a doctor, or simply sleep.
3. All events in the metaverse occur in real time.
If time in the metaverse moves faster or slower than real time, this will create unnecessary complexity with time calculations and make it impossible (or extremely difficult) to create mixed realities. And it will be easier for the human brain to dive (believe) into the virtual world.
4. In the metaverse, its inhabitants use real-life resources.
This means that while in the virtual world, people can use their laptops, workplace and space to work, and this will show up in the real world. That is, if you write a job report on your virtual laptop in the metaverse, that job report will also appear on a real laptop.
5. In the metaverse, digital assets can be transferred to each other.
This applies not only to in-game items (weapons, equipment, potions, etc.), but also to things like real money, property rights, files. And within the metaverse, people will be able to create market relationships and build their businesses on that, creating and exchanging these things. Furthermore, all of this must be formalized and protected at the legislative level – theft of real objects and money in the metaverse must be equated with theft of real objects and money in the real world (unless it is part of some kind of game, performance or wake up).
6. People are paid for work done in the metaverse.
The metaverse has its own economy, property and other laws. And these laws should protect workers’ rights so the employer can’t say something like, “Since you did fake work, then you don’t have to pay your wages with fake money.” This also implies that the metaverse will likely have real-world jurisdictions, as without that it would not be clear who should protect: the country or the creator of that metaverse. And if the creator of the metaverse, then the one where the worker avatar was created; the one he worked on; the one where the employer (or company) avatar was created; or something else?
7. Metaverse users can accumulate experiences and content.
The implication is that the avatars (organizations and people) that exist within the metaverse can accumulate experiences and content and pass them on from generation to generation.
WHERE CRYPTOCURRENCIES FIT IN THE METAVERSE
Behind the scenes of the metaverse, there will be a demand for permissionless identities, financial services, and high-speed commerce. Data will need to be stored and provided to millions, if not billions, of individuals. The solution to these problems lies in cryptocurrency technology. Companies like Decentraland and The Sandbox have created virtual worlds that integrate cryptocurrencies, allowing players to create and monetize structures like virtual casinos and theme parks. At Decentraland, the currency used is called MANA and is available for purchase on exchanges such as Coinbase. There are casinos on Decentraland where you can bet MANA, with dealers paid MANA to report to work.
In the metaverse, NFTs play a big role. It allows individuals to fully own their characters, in-game items, and even virtual geography. On Decentraland, an NFT of a 259-tranche virtual property sold for nearly $900,000, the largest sale to date. In the future, interoperable markets will allow users to buy and trade virtual products from a variety of games and universes. So, someone could sell their virtual land in the world of Decentraland and use the funds to buy Fortnite skins, for example. Cryptocurrencies could become the only legal currency used in the metaverse, with all virtual and intangible objects expressed as NFTs.
BLOCKCHAIN’S ROLE IN THE METAVERSE
Blockchain is the current foundation on which the metaverse is being built. Consider a scenario where tech giants like Facebook and Google want to integrate their platforms. The versions and technologies of the platforms of the companies are different. Furthermore, they need an effective solution to manage their interconnectivity in the metaverse.
Blockchain has become the foundation on which everything in the metaverse can grow and coexist. To this end, some of the current parts of the metaverse are powered by blockchain technology. Blockchain technology will have many uses in the metaverse, including:
- Record financial transactions
- Monitor transfers of ownership of digital items
- Provide interoperability between different virtual platforms
- Provide digital capability to collect assets, including digital proof of ownership
- Facilitate proper governance of a vast multiplayer metaverse
- Most importantly, blockchain technology is incorruptible. Ideally, the metaverse would be big enough to accommodate people around the world. Social media platforms like Facebook already have billions of active users worldwide.
The metaverse isn’t longer just a fantasy for science fiction writers. As with cellphones, which have made us more mobile, we shall all become more virtual at some point and find our own virtual “person” in one or more meta-universes. And if your business is closely related to the Internet, content consumption, education, sales or video games, you can’t do without your own metaverse or the part of you that can be integrated into someone else’s metaworld. Blockchain and cryptocurrency are already shaping the metaverse. Also, both directions will play an important role in how things work in this new virtual universe. For example, the metaverse will launch and run on blockchain technology, and you will need a cryptocurrency to buy and sell goods in this universe.
Photo by Steve Johnson on Unsplash