Imagine a day in the not-too-distant future, where you can send a digital version of yourself into work to represent you. A world where you can hang out with friends online, play video games, go shopping, pay bills, check social media, and watch the news from within a virtual reality. Many believe that the Metaverse is the next chapter of the Internet.
This guide will explore what the Metaverse is, how it works, and cover its fundamental aspects. It will cover the origins of the Metaverse and explain how cryptocurrencies and blockchain technology will be key to its evolution.
What is the Metaverse?
The Metaverse is a concept of a 3D virtual world that exists as an online hub for connecting people in all aspects of their life. It is a network made up of combined digital spaces.
In the same way that a web browser connects multiple platforms, the Metaverse will become the new frontier for online accessibility and serve as the go-to space for where our daily lives will be conducted.
Did You Know?
The term Metaverse was first coined in the 1992 science fiction novel by Neal Stephenson called Snow Crash. In the book the Metaverse is a computer-generated parallel digital world where humans interact with each other in avatar forms. It is a highly immersive, shared virtual world where people gather to play games, socialise and to work.
How will the Metaverse work?
The Metaverse will be an immersive experience. People will enter the Metaverse by using augmented virtual reality headsets and be transported to a virtual reality. Users will be able to visit different places, play games, and interact with friends or strangers while exploring a variety of digital platforms.
The Metaverse has the potential to move our lives as we know it towards a totally immersive online experience where we can participate in daily activities and engage in a vast array of online applications in an efficient manner. In the Metaverse, you will be able to play games, go to school, go to work, watch a movie with friends, go to live concerts, go shopping, go to church, travel the world, and more.
Origins of the Metaverse
The Metaverse has early roots in gaming. Many modern games have their own economic models: each video game uses its own unique digital currency that allows players to interact within the game. Players can purchase in-game tokens with fiat currency to make upgrades to their virtual avatars and buy various digital assets, such as land, weapons, and customized skins.
Popular games such as Grand Theft Auto Online (Shark Cards), Minecraft (Minecoins), Fortnite (V-Bucks), and Roblox (Robux), each use their own native tokens that can only be used as currency on that particular digital platform.
Perhaps the earliest example of what a Metaverse might look like was Second Life. Created in 2003, Second Life is an online virtual world where people can create an avatar of themselves and live a “second life”. People can go to social gatherings, live concerts, press conferences, and even attend college classes. They can buy land, shop for clothes, or just visit friends. It seems like Second Life was twenty years ahead of its time.
The games mentioned above and platforms like Second Life paved the way for a new generation of online games that are built on the blockchain and use cryptocurrencies and NFTs.
Crypto and the Metaverse
As the gaming world evolved and began to move online, blockchain-based games were born. This new generation of games is powered by blockchain technology and the incorporation of cryptocurrencies and the use of NFTs have been a natural progression.
There are now many different blockchain-based play-to-earn games, each with their own elements of the Metaverse. Some of the most popular platforms with their own native crypto tokens are:
The play-to-earn model allows gamers to earn crypto. Players get paid token rewards for actively participating in the game. The more they play, the more tokens they can earn. These in-game crypto tokens can then be traded for fiat money or swapped for other digital assets on the open market, through DeFi exchanges such as Uniswap and Sushiswap as well as on some centralized exchanges like Swyftx.
Crypto is a logical choice for financial transactions in the Metaverse. It is decentralized, can be traded easily, and has already been adopted as a means of payment by the gaming community and beyond.
Did You Know?
Players can use crypto to purchase virtual property and land in these different virtual worlds and design infrastructure within the game. They can build virtual houses and create customized skins for their digital avatars. They can then buy, swap, and sell their digital assets to other players, trading them as NFTs.
What are the key elements to the Metaverse?
According to experts, there are three key aspects of the Metaverse: presence, interoperability, and standardisation.
Presence is the feeling of actually being in a virtual space with others. Technology such as VR headsets will help achieve this.
This is the seamless travel between virtual spaces, allowing virtual assets such as avatars and skins to be used across different platforms. Cryptocurrencies and non-fungible tokens (NFTs) will facilitate the transfer of digital goods across virtual borders.
Standardisation means employing common technological standards, which will be essential for widespread adoption and will enable interoperability between platforms and services across the Metaverse.
Hardware devices for entering the Metaverse
For those looking to enter the Metaverse, the most important hardware devices will be virtual reality (VR), augmented reality (AR) headsets, and computer hardware capable of running these smoothly. Although the technology is already here it still needs to become more affordable and accessible for the general consumer before we will see mass adoption.
While VR headsets provide a real-life simulation of the virtual universe we can see and hear, a full-body haptic feedback suit would allow us to feel it as well. Tesla has partnered with Somnium Space (a VR world built on the Ethereum blockchain) to develop the Teslasuit. Wearing the suit you can feel the sensation of touch: hot and cold, rough and smooth, pleasure and pain. This would help create a fully immersive metaverse experience.
The 2018 film Ready Player One features a large multiplayer virtual world that players enter through virtual reality (VR), as well as haptic suits that allow the players to truly feel what it is like to occupy that world.
Who will join the Metaverse?
The Metaverse is potentially going to be a multi-trillion dollar industry. It’s highly likely that almost every sector of our society will want to have a presence there. The potential for reaching so many people in an efficient and cost-effective way is beckoning.
It is highly likely that the Metaverse will encompass all aspects of our lives: work, play, live events, religion, retail, gaming, dating, education and learning, rehabilitation and training, tourism, and more. The Metaverse is where all of these elements can come together online and co-exist in one 3D virtual world.
When will we see the Metaverse?
The race into the Metaverse has begun. The projected timeline for when it might be realised is between five and 10 years. However, we already have a glimpse into what it might look like today.
Technology companies may have to adapt or die if they want to make it into the Metaverse. Just as Facebook took over Myspace and Apple replaced Nokia, the new world is becoming ever more digital. It is likely that most companies that already have websites are going to want to have a presence in the Metaverse. It will be a world made up of digital versions of everything that is important to us in our lives now.
Social media and tech giant, Facebook, has been paying close attention to the crypto space. Rebranding to Meta, the company is allocating a huge amount of funding and resources into developing a range of products to make them Metaverse-ready.
The Metaverse is a virtual world that acts as an online hub for connecting people in many different aspects of their lives. This article covered what a Metaverse is, where it began and where it is heading. It has explained the roles that cryptocurrencies, NFTs, and the blockchain will play and discussed the technologies behind what is driving its further development.
If you would like to learn more about NFTs, blockchain technology, or anything else crypto-related, there is plenty more great content on Swyftx Learn.