As a concept, the metaverse had long existed before Facebook’s announcement that it was renaming itself to Meta came along. While most consumers would shrug it off as just another large-scale virtual reality gimmick that’s destined to fail (as it always has), major players are spurring it on.
Monster Energy recently filed four trademarks related to NFTs and the metaverse. While potentially not good for the metaverse in general, Meta’s current progress and adaptation is encouraging and sparking mainstream interest, as are its strides in AI. It seems they could pull it off.
If successful, it will expand and advance the digital economy, accelerating new opportunities for decentralized financing and the Blockchain. You can argue that these technologies will be the lifeblood of the metaverse. In this guide, we’ll explore how they’ll transform, hastening the arrival of the metaverse.
Understanding the metaverse
There seems to be some ambiguity in the term metaverse. The idea of the metaverse has long been explored in science fiction. It describes an always-on collection of virtual 3D worlds that you can access through VR and AR headsets. It’s been considered the next logical evolution of the internet. Nevertheless, the term refers to the virtual reality worlds and the technology that makes them possible.
Recently, the term ‘metaverse’ has been conflated to describe Facebook’s social VR product Facebook Horizon/Horizon Worlds. It can partially be blamed on dubious blogs and websites trying to get clicks by using recognizable buzzwords. The truth is Facebook is still working on most of its metaverse technologies, and Horizon Worlds will be its foundation.
Of course, other big players such as Microsoft are currently implementing metaverse-esque features through their software and hardware products(see Microsoft Mesh and Microsoft HoloLens). Thus, we can surmise that Meta Platform’s metaverse isn’t the actual metaverse but a part of it.
Thus, each world (meta-world) in the metaverse will function as a website. The metaverse can be viewed as your browser or the internet connecting these virtual worlds and services. Again, much like Blockchain and crypto, the metaverse has the potential to reshape and change the shape of real-world finances and economies.
Real-world investments in an abstract world
Surprisingly, the latest real estate investments trends seem to be related to the metaverse. In fact, at the beginning of 2022, metaverse real estate sales topped the $500 million mark and were projected to double by the end of the year. Many investment groups learned from underestimating the impact of crypto and want to be early adopters of the metaverse.
Purchased land in the metaverse can be used as an asset that investors can sell later for a profit. Alternatively, organizations can use it for potential virtual business ventures, such as hosting events or meetings for a fee. The metaverse has the potential to become a decentralized global economy.
People from different countries can purchase land in the same meta-world with less red tape and bureaucracy than in the real world. Theoretically, a person in Ghana can buy land in the same meta-world that a person in Sweden can. Of course, this is dependent on the platform.
However, this is the point of decentralized technology and financing. It’s there to facilitate less complicated and easier trade while connecting more people. Crypto will be the currency of the Metaworld. Some sellers on platforms such as OpenSea and Decentraland only trade through crypto. If you plan on venturing into the virtual real estate market, you’ll need to familiarize yourself with some of the options for storing crypto.
However, while the concept of total virtual immersion is exciting, there are still two elements of the metaverse that make potential adopters uneasy – privacy and security.
Maintaining privacy and security in an interconnected world
When Facebook changed its name to Meta and introduced its plans for the metaverse (primarily through its Horizon platform), the news was met with a lot of skepticism, doubt, and a host of hilarious memes.
Many commenters viewed it as a PR stunt. Mark Zuckerberg et al. were just trying to distance themselves from their spotty history with user data. Previously, Blockchain was considered as a solution to their privacy issues. Unfortunately, it wasn’t feasible at the time as it required additional layers for mass adaptation and use.
Virtual land bought in the metaverse can be seen as an NFT (or at least its deed) as it can’t be copied and is non-fungible. Thus, it’s a virtual tokenized asset. Pop culture would have you think that NFTs are just poorly drawn digital art. However, we could use the technology for so much more. From social security, identification numbers, driver’s licenses to marriage certificates, the Ethereum blockchain can be used to keep all this information secure and unique.
These days, most internet users are concerned with protecting their privacy online. The Blockchain is innately private and secure. However, with the advent and use of Blockchain facilitated security tokens and self-sovereign identities, it seems that worrying about the security of the metaverse may be a waste of time.
A fully realized decentralized global economy
We’ve covered how investors can use cryptocurrency to trade land in the metaverse. However, the goal of crypto was initially to create decentralized finance. However, because venture capitalists saw it as an asset that could potentially make you a millionaire overnight, it’s been held and traded as a commodity and used less for direct trade of goods.
Mass adoption of the metaverse may change this. The metaverse will allow trade of virtual and physical between participants from different countries. Again, to do this as seamlessly as possible, we’ll require digital money independent of country and region. The cash or currency may be specific to the metaverse itself.
But one way to acquire these metaverse tokens or coins is by purchasing them using fiat currencies and financial institutions. However, the metaverse will also have ‘jobs’ where its denizens can make money. These may be in tutoring, teaching, performing seminars, producing and selling art, etc.
Decentralized financial frameworks and networks will facilitate payment from these jobs. DeFi enables workers to create smart contracts to get paid when a task is complete.
Energy and environmental start-ups are already using them, combined with AI, for smoother and more sustainable business transactions. Alternatively, users can securely sell and exchange products through P2P transactions. And, of course, it all works on a Blockchain foundation.
There is a good reason to hope for metaverse’s success. It isn’t just more virtual reality to satisfy our collective desire for escapism. If implemented correctly, it will release trade limitations and connect more people. It will create more jobs and more business opportunities. Virtual classrooms will allow children to sit in on lessons remotely.
It will provide teachers with more resources and tools for effective teaching. Beyond that, it can revolutionize test-taking and home-schooling through AI teachers. VR and AR have practical uses that the everyday user may not know. Nevertheless, the future of these technologies, along with the metaverse, is encouraging.