Since Mark Zuckerberg started calling his company Meta instead of Facebook, the talk about the metaverse has dominated the headlines. Whether it is gaming, the crypto world, or online shopping, there is no shortage of public opinion. And why not? Metaverse is slated to change the face of the Internet as we know it. So, the discussions regarding the metaverse are completely justified.
Critics of the metaverse are expounding on the fact that the metaverse is not a new concept. According to them, it is just a rebranded version of Virtual Reality (VR), which has already been implemented in the gaming and e-commerce shopping experience. So, should we consider this virtual world a game-changer? Or is it better to just envision it as a passing fad that will soon die down with time?
In fact, we can make a case for both sides. For instance, the initiatives by companies like Roblox (online gaming platform) and Meta (formerly Facebook) tip the scale in favor of the metaverse. Meta is creating a Virtual Reality (VR) social platform, Roblox facilitates user-generated video games, and some companies simply offer products that happen to include non-fungible tokens. On the other hand, there are many skeptics that just can’t stop posting negative content. Even Epic Games Vice President has become a naysayer and has opined that people have already lost interest in the metaverse. So, we can clearly see the emergence of two sides – one side that is hell-bent on promoting this world, whereas the other side can’t stop debunking it. And there is another side that is objectively trying to figure out whether it is worth it or not. This article will try to explore the meta-verse from an objective angle so that you get a fair idea of whether it is really something that should be taken seriously.
The Meaning of Metaverse and its History
Although the metaverse is a new trend, it already has some history behind it and also an interesting meaning.
Metaverse Meaning, Breakdown, and Analogies
Metaverse is an interesting word. It is a combination of meta + verse. The word meta originated in Greek, and its meaning is above or beyond. Combine that with verse, which is the shorter form of the word universe, and we get metaverse. So, we can say the metaverse is a universe that is above and beyond the world that we live in. In this virtual world, you can connect to the digital space using your avatar. It’s like the movie Matrix, in which Keanu Reeve’s character Neo (a hacker), jumps into the virtual world and experiences a life that is similar to our life in the real world. Although metaverse doesn’t have online avatars that match real-life human bodies (due to technical limitations in the present time), it is still a long way away from its complete realization. So, when the metaverse is realized completely, we can expect it to be similar to the world shown in Matrix or other contemporary movies like ‘Ready Player One’.
When the metaverse becomes mainstream, we can expect individuals to work, meet, game, and shop from their home or personal space. They would even be able to interact with others online without even leaving the house.
Metaverse history is quite interesting, especially how the term was coined.
In 1992, the book Snow Crash was released by a popular writer named Neal Stephenson. The term metaverse was seen in Snow Crash for the very first time. The meaning of the word metaverse in the book was – collective virtual space, created by the convergence of both physically enhanced reality and virtual spaces that persist.
Although the term came into existence with Snow Crash, it was the movie “Ready Player One” that is often credited for popularizing the appeal of the metaverse and virtual reality. It even raised potential concerns users may have when navigating the virtual world. In the story that was set in 2045, it was shown that people were able to avoid disturbing things like global warming by living in a virtual world called Oasis.
We might not already know it but many of us have already been part of the metaverse. Some of us have experienced it over time, in small bits. The only difference: we did not know that we were experiencing was the metaverse. For example, we used Zoom and Facebook to network with people from all around the world. Back in the days of Farmville, you could water your crops at farms on Facebook. These are some examples of a diluted version of the virtual world already experienced by people in the past.
Metaverse: Revolutionizing the Internet
For starters, the metaverse isn’t trying to compete with the Internet — instead, it uses it.
The new world is an augmented reality arena based on virtual reality, augmented with AI and digital currencies.
The metaverse is starting to resemble the physical world in a way where people have plenty of options to use the virtual space for more than browsing and interacting just on the Internet.
One thing that sets the metaverse apart from the Internet is that, in the former, all your actions are visible to other people.
Why is Metaverse So Important?
As the world moves forward technologically, it influences the way we work and interact with one another.
Metaverse is still really early in development, and it’s hard to make out what everything will eventually look like. It’s sort of reminiscent of the WWW from the mid-90s when anything seemed possible.
A case in point is, Virtual offices are becoming popular with more and more employees now telecommuting about their jobs, which increases productivity but causes some to experience fatigue and burnout due to less human contact.
Metaverse has a useful virtual conferencing tool that can connect people from any remote location in VR. This provides an immersive experience and is great for work collaborations.
Metaverse: A Better Version of Internet with Blockchain, Crypto, and NFT
One could say that attending a meeting in VR is possible without a metaverse or that VR gaming offers the chance to enter a virtual world that is similar to the world promoted as the metaverse. But this world is different in its own way because it provides a complete experience.
In the metaverse, you are not only exploring the virtual world, but you are also owning a part of it. By using crypto as its de facto currency, the virtual worlds provide many key aspects, such as digital proof of ownership, accessibility, and governance.
Digital Proof of Ownership via NFTs in the Metaverse
If you use the Metaverse platform to connect your wallet to activities or an asset, it will act like proof that you own them. A digital wallet is the most secure and robust method to establish ownership of an asset.
In the past, you did not own anything on the Internet except your domain. However, ownership is one of the most rewarding and powerful characteristics of the digital world promoted as the metaverse. In fact, NFTs in the metaverse are providing that special feeling of ownership. We can even say that the virtual world and NFT go hand-in-hand and have the power to change online experiences as we know them. With the inception of NFTs, people can browse and purchase your original & unique pieces.
NFTs are special kinds of objects that are completely unique and can’t be copied or forged. In fact, the name NFT is a short form of Non-Fungible Token, which in essence means an entity that can’t be replaced by another thing. Just like cryptocurrency, NFTs are stored on the blockchain and secured cryptographically.
Access Metaverse via Fully Functional Platforms like Decentraland
As more people are spending time & money on the metaverse, they’re also earning money. And this is made possible due to the creation of many virtual platforms such as Axie Infinity, Sandbox, Decentraland etc. Cryptocurrencies have become a really good way to buy and sell valuables. Crypto is making the metaverse even more appealing. Such is the popularity of the metaverse that after the Bird Flu pandemic in Indonesia and the Philippines, Axie Infinity saw a daily active user increase.
Economically, the Axie Infinity platform is a safe way to turn gaming into an alternate and profitable career. You can spend your tokens on real-world items (like coffee), and if you wish to cash out, it’s possible to do that with Axie Infinity. The variety of VR platforms available can be overwhelming, and it’s easy to get confused by the options.
For example, Axie Infinity, Decentraland, and Sandbox are some of the most recent examples of virtual worlds. Unfortunately, VR technology still has a long way to go before we can have one large world. Blockchain technology is enabling the ability to make avatars or digital identities universally compatible. The top virtual platform plan is to create a shared, decentralized space for all of the projects.
Banking and Purchasing Property via Blockchain in the Metaverse
Your personal finances can be completely handled remotely and do not require any sort of information besides your account number. This is unlike in a typical bank account, where you need to provide a lot of detail such as “account holder’s full name, address, contact details, etc.”
Thanks to the new metaverse and blockchain innovations, your banking will now be more convenient than ever. With the app and debit card available, you’ll have more control over where and when you spend. Combining the power of the virtual world with blockchain will start a new banking revolution. Currently, we are seeing people purchasing virtual plots of land in the metaverse via platforms such as Decentraland. And, the trend is only going to catch on as time moves forward and the metaverse concept becomes mainstream.
Virtual reality technology is transforming the way we interact with everything. The projected future of the metaverse offers a chance to explore another world.
Although this revolutionary technology has been in development for years (and only made mainstream recently), it’s only a matter of time before the market becomes saturated. So, a lot of companies and content creators are trying to get into the metaverse early, so they can capture the interest of their user base.