What is meant by Metaverse?

Marloes Vermeulen 09 May. 2022, 13:51
What is meant by Metaverse?

The word 'Metaverse' has undoubtedly come up somewhere in the last months. Facebook for example has changed its name to Meta for the umbrella organisation and that the company will focus on the Metaverse. The Metaverse is a virtual shared space created by fusing the virtually driven physical reality and the already physically existing virtual spaces. Think of augmented reality, virtual worlds in games and the Internet. The word metaverse is used to describe the concept of a version of the internet in which all existing, shared, and 3D virtual spaces are connected in an all-encompassing virtual universe.

It may be reminiscent of a sci-fi film in which players move their lives into an online world. It is the next step in the digital Internet age. And, probably the most important reason you are reading this piece, it is being built using blockchains and decentralised applications such as Decenda.

The term Metaverse first appeared in Neal Stephenson's 1992 science fiction novel 'Snow Crash', where a pair of delivery boys travel through the Metaverse to save themselves from a capitalist dystopia. The metaverse is a superset of virtual reality, augmented reality and the internet and has already made its appearance in a lot of games. Think for example of live concerts in the popular video game Fortnite or in Roblox or Animal Crossing. So it is not (yet) as futuristic as Ready Player One. No one knows for sure exactly what the metaverse will look like. What we do know are the basic characteristics that the metaverse will fulfil - a fusion of physical and virtual worlds with a fully functioning economy that allows users to travel through the various "places" with relative ease, while retaining their purchased goods and avatars.

The metaverse is important for several reasons. Even if it does not become as futuristic as many might hope, it can still fundamentally change the way we interact with the digital world. A collective virtual experience could offer creators, gamers and artists new opportunities in the same way that non-fungible tokens (NFT) do, not just to reshape the creative economy, but to reinvent it.

The virtual world has the potential to become a new billion-dollar industry. The metaverse is not described as an extension of the Internet but as a successor to the Internet. The metaverse is being built using blockchains and decentralised applications.

Crypto in the metaverse

The metaverse needs an engine to make it run. The metaverse should be all-inclusive, without excluding people or giving them unequal opportunities. So there will be a demand for permissionless identity, financial services and rapid interchange. Data will need to be stored and provided to millions, if not billions, of people. Fortunately, there is an industry that has known about this for some time: the crypto currency industry. While no one can predict exactly what the metaverse will look like exactly, or when we will see its final form, the importance of cryptocurrencies to its growth is a certainty. 

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