There is much talk about the Metaverse these days however many don’t know what it is and many more don’t even care.
2021 was the dawn of the Metaverse. Since Mark Zuckenberg first mentioned the notion, the interest in creating metaverses has spiked. The metaverse is the next big tech platform attracting online entrepreneurs, developers, and other technology leaders looking to jump on the bandwagon and capture a slice of the new emerging market. According to Bloomberg Intelligence, the metaverse market could reach $800 billion in value by 2024.
The metaverse is a combination of the digital and physical worlds. It allows users to work, meet, play games, attend live events, throw virtual parties, and socialize in 3D virtual spaces. Despite its ever-growing popularity, the concept of the metaverse isn’t final or shrouded by mystery. Let’s dive into the metaverse to find out how it might change the world as we know it.
What is a metaverse?
I recently spoke at an event hosted by The University of Manchester where I described the Metaverse as ‘like the internet but 3d’. in many ways, I believe this simple definition gets to the heart of what we are talking about.
A metaverse is a form of virtual reality designed with the help of 3D, VR, and AR technologies where people can simulate their real-life experiences and interact with each other. The metaverse connects the financial, virtual, and physical worlds. It’s a hybrid of social media, personal life, work, and entertainment. A few years ago, the idea was pure fiction.
Now it looks like it could become a reality in the near future. The metaverse is driven by AR where every user controls a character or avatar. For example, there are communities inside the metaverse where you can work, play blockchain-based games, and then manage your crypto finances without leaving the metaverse.
Since the metaverse is still evolving, some of its features are still unavailable. In 2022, there is still no united metaverse. Instead, there are some microverses. It’s a virtual platform created by different communities where its members can socialize and have fun. Each community can start building its own microverse and then get it connected with a decentralized network to build a Metaverse.
What can you do in the metaverse?
With the high-level definitions out of the way, let’s take a look at some specific actions you can already perform in the metaverse.
It seems that Meta’s metaverse is going to be a social platform first and foremost. After all, it wouldn’t be much of a virtual “reality” if users didn’t get the chance to interact in some way or another.
Sure, this applies to crypto exchanges and NFT purchases too, but it also involves socializing in a more classic sense.
A great example of this is Roblox, a digital gaming platform. In 2020, over half of kids under the age of 16 in the United States played it. Roblox is a platform through which users can play through a library of video games – all of which are created by Roblox users. There are currently over 20 million games in its library, many of which can generate revenue for the designers.
Users on Roblox can socialize through gameplay as well as an avatar-based platform similar to the early social media phenomenon Habbo Hotel. What it’s ultimately provided is a network through which aspiring game designers can test their skills, meet other people looking to work in the field.
Roblox is just one example of networking in the metaverse. Social media has long served as a way for professionals to meet peers and clients alike. The metaverse is a natural extension of that, and it often provides new and exciting ways to do it.
Unless you’ve been living under a rock for the last year, you’ve probably heard the terms “NFT” and “cryptocurrency.” Both are important building blocks in the metaverse and great ways for users and businesses to invest in the platform.
Cryptocurrency is a term encompassing a number of digital currency platforms. The most famous of these are Bitcoin and Ethereum. Cryptocurrency is an unregulated digital currency run through a blockchain system. Its value is in a state of somewhat constant flux but longtime platforms (especially the aforementioned ones) have skyrocketed in value since their inception.
One of the big draws with cryptocurrency is the fact that it is not nationalised. As such, its value is the same in America as it is in Japan, Brazil, and any other nation. The metaverse is a global platform. As such, cryptocurrency is the preferred form of currency for many of its users. Investing in it now looks like it will pay off in the long run as its value continues to increase.
Speaking of investing, NFTs have become a cornerstone of the metaverse. The term stands for non-fungible token. This basically means that an NFT is a unique digital signature used as a sort of deed of ownership on digital goods. An NFT can be a piece of art, a photo, a song, or even a piece of digital real estate.
An NFT authenticates the ownership of whatever it’s attached to and certifies its value (which is unique to the item, hence the “non-fungible” part). It basically allows you to purchase the bricks that make up the world-wide web.
Right now, NFTs are a great investment. Like cryptocurrency, the overall value of NFTs is growing significantly. Some have already sold for millions of dollars. Others, like the famous “Bored Ape” series, have been purchased and shown off by notable celebrities including Justin Bieber (who’s actually built up quite the NFT portfolio recently) and Paris Hilton.
If you’re looking to get into the metaverse for the sake of investing, NFTs are a good place to start. The value of most NFTs right now is likely to keep going up as they grow in popularity.
It’s also a great time to mint some of your own. Almost any piece of digital media can be turned into an NFT. If you or the business you work with has a catalog of music, photography, or art, your potential NFT portfolio may already be bigger than you realise.
What metaverses exist already?
A game world where creators can make and share their projects. Although it’s part of the new wave of metaverse tech, it’s been around for almost two decades.
Sprawling social media site with direct ties to (and impact in) the offline world, and increasing tendrils in fantasy. Meta owns a raft of metaverse technologies, and one of the most established virtual reality headsets that people use to access it.
Sprawling game and simulation world, mostly occupied by kids and teenagers, who create everything out of Lego-like building blocks. Also a long-term player in this space.
3D virtual sandbox where you can build what you want, go to concerts, visit libraries and even attend a virtual Hajj. Poster child of the previous wave of metaverses, with more than 15 million accounts. “The original premise that I liked about Second Life was that it was this big, messy interaction between people,” says Philip Rosedale, its founder.
Whether or not the metaverse will ever truly emerge remains to be seen. There’s a strong chance that the Metaverse discourse will age just as badly as an episode of Reboot. But equally, it does seem right that something will emerge – though whether it will be an existing tech behemoth that cracks it remains to be seen.
There is one thing we can know for sure though: now that people are talking about the Metaverse, you’re going to continue to hear about it endlessly. Just as ‘artificial intelligence’ and ‘fake news’ lost all meaning as soon as they caught on as buzzwords, you can bet that we’re going to be hearing about anything and everything being a ‘metaverse’ investment, however tenuous.