A brief history into the metaverse
The idea of the metaverse dates back to the 20th century when it first appeared in the science fiction novel Snow Crash by Neil Stevenson in 1992.
The author conceived a virtual world where people live inside it and interact with each other using avatars of themselves to escape the chaos of the real world and its suffering and injustice. Thirty years later, his science fiction idea is not far-fledged today with the advancement of technology and the entrepreneurial ingenuity and spirit of the 21st century.
While the conception of the metaverse took place in the 1990s, its popularity only picked up at the end of 2021 after Facebook changed its name to Meta. The social media platform has succeeded in shifting the attention of its users to the metaverse and its potential.
The metaverse envisioned by Facebook or Meta is still under development. Many other companies, including crypto projects, have already developed their own metaverse, but they lacked the reach Facebook had.
However, After the Facebook announcement, many people have become familiar with existing decentralized blockchain-based metaverse crypto projects such as Decentraland and the Sandbox, surging in value to unimaginable levels. Decentralized metaverses are owned and governed by the community with no central authority in control.
Following suit, Microsoft and Disneyland, among others, have also announced the development of their metaverse, each envisioning it in their own way. A metaverse owned and controlled by an individual or traditional company is considered centralized.
Defining the metaverse
The term metaverse consists of two parts: the prefix Meta, a Greek word meaning beyond or after, and the suffix verse, short for the universe. Hence, the metaverse comes to mean the universe beyond the material world.
There is no fixed or agreed-upon definition of the metaverse. One possible definition of the metaverse is the convergence of the physical and virtual world through technological advances such as the internet and extended reality (ER). However, the best way to define it is by describing it as it exists today.
Description of the metaverse: elements and features
The metaverse is the three-dimensional evolution of a 2D image into a 3D space. It is accessible through a computer terminal from the web browser. While you can interact with it through the computer screen, you can buy special tools such as a virtual reality headset for full immersion and experience.
Matthew Ball, the modern ideologist of the metaverse, identified seven features of the metaverse. They are:
- It is open-ended and has infinite existence. It never rests, pauses, or ends.
- It works in real-time and does not depend on external factors.
- It is inclusive of everyone and has no populace limit
- It has a functioning economy.
- It bridges the physical and digital worlds.
- It is compatible with external services.
- It is filled with content and experiences created by its own users.
Before jumping into the metaverse, you choose or create an avatar or character and endow it with certain appearance qualities. Some crypto or blockchain-based projects, such as MetaHero, are developing 3D scanning technology to produce avatars that mirror our appearance in real life to bring to the metaverse.
You peak at the map and decide where you want to go. You can teleport from one location to another in a blink of an eye. you can wander around and look for new people to meet or interesting things to do. So what can you do in the metaverse? Welcome to the meta economy!
The meta economy
The metaverse is a socially interactive virtual world with an operating economy, just like the economy in the real world. According to analysts, the overall meta market could reach up to $300 billion in ten years.
The metaverse populace can buy and sell digital and physical assets such as land and NFTs, generating income for themselves. governments, companies, entrepreneurs, and individuals can purchase virtual land to build an embassy, store, or a house or rent a space to hold virtual concretes.
Additionally, companies have embraced the metaverse to advertise their brands and sell their physical goods. More global brands are joining the space, such as Nike, Adidas, Louis Vuitton, and even Coca-Cola. Celebrities such as Snoop Dogg have bought virtual land and built virtual homes to leave a footprint in the metaverse.
Moreover, specialists and professionals such as investment advisors, doctors, and lawyers can offer their services in the metaverse through buying or renting an office space. Even students can attend school there and earn a degree.
Many crypto projects and companies contribute to the metaverse infrastructure and creation, such as Decentraland, the Sandbox, Epic Games, and Bloktopia. The public can invest in these entities to gain exposure to the new economy in this matter.
The role of digital assets in the global economy and our daily lives will inevitably grow every year, opening new possibilities and giving new opportunities to earn money. However, risk must be taken into consideration as more and more companies will compete to create the best metaverse experience, and only a handle full will survive.
Decentralized metaverse on the blockchain
Blockchain technology is an essential puzzle piece for creating a coherent and decentralized metaverse. A hallmark of blockchain networks such as Ethereum is their unrivaled interoperability. All projects built on the blockchain can interact with each other thanks to a common underlying infrastructure, which leads to the creation of connected ecosystems that create a unified user experience.
A prime example of how a blockchain-based metaverse will work is Decentraland, an Ethereum-based virtual reality platform accessible from mobile devices and computers. Decentraland users can buy individual pieces of “land” in the virtual universe, interact with other people through digital avatars, and access a host of user-created social activities. It is one of the first blockchain-based metaverse experiments, combining true ownership and gamified social functionality with blockchain interoperability.
The metaverse is a bridge that connects the physical and digital worlds. It is a virtual world with existing concepts under consistent development that will change how we socialize and do business. Blockchain technology is the foundation on which metaverses are being built currently, with unlimited growth potential. Traditional companies also compete for a piece of it, but ultimately the best will survive.