Alongside nonfungible tokens (NFTs) and Web 3.0 concepts, the term “metaverse” has seemingly been thrown around left and right by tech companies and large corporations, making it a hot topic nowadays. While many have a clue to what the metaverse might entail for our immediate future, much like the two other terms mentioned above, many are still confused regarding its concepts, especially when blockchain gets mixed with it. This impending amalgamation of various innovative technologies will likely lead to more advanced improvements over the course of the next few years.
With that being said, let us take a deeper look at what the blockchain metaverse has in store for us – here is a comprehensive guide to the metaverse world with respect to blockchain technology.
The Metaverse: What is it?
To understand the blockchain metaverse is to first comprehend what the term metaverse itself means. The term metaverse was first coined by hit fiction novel ‘Snow Crash’ author, Neal Stephenson, back in 1992. Little did he know, his seemingly only throwaway term at that time would spark a technological revolution today. Who could have predicted that the concepts that were once only a figment of a creative writer’s imagination could exist outside the fiction world? Impressive as it may, that is now the age we live in. The world has now seen dozens of new technologies that were once only in science fiction films or novels turn to reality – so what makes metaverse special? Why many big names today in several fields tout it as the next big thing?
In Stephenson’s novel, he described the metaverse as a living, thriving 3D virtual world existing in parallel from reality. Within this reality-bending space, people use digital avatars to represent themselves and explore the vibrant world, often as a way of escaping the harsh realities waiting for them just outside this particular realm. This idea isn’t far off to the actual concept of the metaverse today. In fact, Stephenson might as well have hit it right on point.
Although its concepts are still emerging and are bound for some changes, experts firmly believe that the metaverse we may see in our imminent future would encompass virtual and physical worlds incorporated with a completely functional economy. It would feel reminiscent of a theme park, albeit without size and creativity limits. On top of that, users would be able to keep the avatars and items they bought exclusively in the metaverse while also enabling them to freely travel to different places existing in the digital world alongside other users.
These concepts may sound familiar to gamers because these features already exist in games such as Fortnite, Minecraft, Animal Crossing, and Roblox, but seeing it implemented within the real world itself would undoubtedly still catch many off-guard.
Why does it matter?
Even if the whole metaverse experiment fails to live up to its lofty ambitions and epic promises, experts believe that it could still fundamentally change the way we interact with the virtual world. Not only will it provide a brand new, futuristic experience for everyone, but the integrated virtual space itself could also potentially bring in new opportunities for artists, creators, and gamers alike to express their creativity – much like how NFTs are doing right now. Considering the insane attention and focus the metaverse is garnering nowadays, it has become evident that the concept could grow as a trillion-dollar industry sooner rather than later.
Straight out of the book pages themselves, the incoming metaverse could be people’s go-to place for entertainment, commerce, and perhaps even for work. This concept is so revolutionary that people begin to tout it as not an extension of the internet but the next step towards its evolution. And to the benefit of the blockchain and crypto community, the elements now common to their respective fields would be essential aspects to the creation of this highly-anticipated and promising digital space.
The Blockchain Metaverse
Now that we know the definition of the metaverse and what it holds for us when finally implemented, we may now start tackling the concept of blockchain metaverse. Before the blockchain was invented, developing the metaverse was deemed impossible because everything was still reliant on centralized networks. The technology made it possible due to its ability to work globally as a digital source, wherein cryptocurrency enables decentralization.
Unlike the internet we openly enjoy today, where content is available through various applications and websites, the metaverse would be connected via individual nodes around the world. This means that no specific platform is required to access any of its digital spaces. Basically, the blockchain metaverse itself aims to provide proof of existence to every digital thing it shows.
For the metaverse to be successful, it would need to deliver financial services, high-speed exchange, and permissionless identity as data will have to be stored and promptly served to billions of potential users worldwide. Thankfully, the answer to these particular worries lies in crypto and blockchain technology as well. NFTs would also play a huge role in the success of the metaverse. NFTs would enable users to have complete ownership of their respective virtual characters, accrued in-game items, and even virtual lands.
Mixing all these together, soon, people would be able to purchase and eventually sell virtual goods accrued from various universes and games on interoperable marketplaces. This would establish a complex economy within the metaverse itself, thus, blurring the thin line separating the virtual world from reality even more. Notably, cryptocurrencies could become the sole currency for the metaverse as a whole, with all intangible items and virtual objects available for purchase expressed as NFTs.
The high interest of tech giants towards the Metaverse
Ever since Facebook announced its rebranding to “Meta” and their plans to bring the metaverse to life last June, more and more tech companies – big or small – had begun shifting their focus towards creating a thriving digital space as well. While Facebook may indeed be the one to spark the trend, there is still no conclusive individual or enterprise that can stake its claim over the metaverse. This does not mean that they aren’t trying, however. As a matter of fact, the usual suspects of the tech industry, namely Samsung, Sony, Microsoft, and Google, had already joined forces with Facebook to establish an association of high-profile tech companies all striving to develop what they call “the experiential reality” – the XR Association.
As hard as these tech giants push for metaverse dominance, the gaming industry still leads the particular space and may continue to do so for the foreseeable future. Even before the boom of metaverse concepts, video game developers have already incorporated several of its aspects within some of their most-recognizable titles. For years already, some games have enabled their players to purchase and sell goods that have no real value outside the game itself, gave users the freedom to explore wide and vibrant worlds, and gave them the ability to openly communicate with one another without any particular limits – features which the metaverse strives to incorporate. All this and more made it so that the video game industry now stands as the most lucrative entertainment industry to date, and perhaps the metaverse wants to contend for that title down the line.
Although being a part of something truly revolutionary is high praise for itself, the promise of truckloads of money is still arguably the main reason as to why many companies are dipping their toes into the metaverse. And they are giving the people all the right reason to believe so. Several of these companies have committed millions of dollars just to get ahead of the curve for the past year. They are trying to pursue every avenue presented to them as long as they get to etch their names as pioneers of the metaverse to come – translating to even more money heading to their pockets. This has been going on far too long that the crypto community itself now believes that these same companies are trying to monopolize the internet – a direct contrast to what the metaverse claims it would be.
While no one could accurately predict when the metaverse would arrive or what it would ultimately look like, one thing is for certain – cryptocurrencies and blockchain technology is essential for it to grow and succeed. Nevertheless, the blockchain metaverse is shaping up to be well within our future, seeing as where we are now. People will undoubtedly be there, ready to utilize its integrated virtual spaces to explore its many sights, interact with one another, communicate to develop virtual communities and do business for themselves or with others. This makes it so that following its continual conceptualization and developments surrounding it even more interesting.