The Metaverse is the concept of a unified virtual reality world. By combining elements of online gaming, social media, blockchain, augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR), the Metaverse aims to enable users to experience multi-dimensional sensory interactions in the digital space.
What is the Metaverse?
The Metaverse can be seen as a new iteration of the internet in which users interact inside of the 3D world instead of accessing information via a browser. While the concept of the Metaverse is currently in its early stages of development, the idea has already displayed the potential to open up endless possibilities for business, communication, gaming and content creation.
The term “Metaverse” is a portmanteau of “meta” and “universe”. As “meta” is Greek for “beyond” or “after”, the term “Metaverse” refers to a space that goes beyond what is known to exist.
Understanding the Metaverse
The Metaverse attempts to blur the line between the physical and virtual realms. Not limited by geographical boundaries, it will allow users from all over the globe to interact in a shared immersive environment.
In the near future the Metaverse is expected to redefine how society sees the global information space. Through use of virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR) technologies the Metaverse will become the basis for the “embodied internet” – a virtual environment where users receive information by being present in digital experiences.
Although the universally interoperable Metaverse does not yet exist, a number of blockchain, tech and gaming projects currently incorporate Metaverse-like elements. On Metaverse-like platforms users can usually buy and monetize virtual real estate, create VR experiences, attend concerts and learning events, play games, socialize with people from all over the world and shop for virtual and real-world products.
Cryptocurrencies and NFTs (non-fungible tokens) typically form the backbone of the economy for Metaverse-like projects. While cryptocurrency enables the Metaverse to provide its users with a secure, decentralized and transparent mode of payment, NFTs serve to represent ownership of unique items inside the virtual space.
Is Metaverse Only about Video Games?
The Metaverse is meant as a fully-functional digital reality that exists parallel to the real world. It is built to closely mimic physical life while at the same time enhancing everyday experiences in a variety of areas.
Although the video gaming industry is considered to offer the closest Metaverse-like experience at the present time, the fully developed unified virtual reality world will span all areas of physical life and serve as an enriched version of the current reality.
What Can You Do in the Metaverse?
Inside the Metaverse users will be able to:
The Metaverse empowers users to meet people from all over the world in a virtual 3D space. It allows players to participate in social interactions in a similar way to real life from the comfort of their homes.
Purchase and monetize real estate
Users will likely be able to purchase digital land plots from the Metaverse marketplace. They can then use them for speculative purposes or to build infrastructure, host events and create works of art.
Invest and do business
The Metaverse provides its users with numerous opportunities to accumulate both digital and real-world wealth. Inside the Metaverse users can usually work to acquire assets, create and sell products, offer services and invest in companies and stocks.
It is not uncommon for Metaverse-like projects to sell products that have both digital and real-world value.
Explore and play
The Metaverse is a form of virtual reality where users can participate in gaming activities and explore digital terrain. Play-to-earn Metaverse-like projects typically reward gamers with cryptocurrency and NFTs for their contribution to the game world.
Express themselves through 3D avatars
In Metaverse-like projects players assume 3D avatars to represent their identity. These avatars are usually highly customizable and can take on any look imaginable.
How Does Crypto Fit into the Metaverse?
Cryptocurrencies typically serve as the main mode of payment in virtual reality worlds. They are commonly utilized to store value, perform asset transfers, prove digital ownership and take part in community governance. Cryptocurrencies currently offer faster, cheaper and more secure transactions compared to traditional finance.
Decentraland is a 3D virtual world built on the Ethereum blockchain. Initially launched in 2020, it is currently among the best-known Metaverse projects in the industry. In Decentraland users can buy and monetize land plots, create digital artworks and participate in a variety of gaming experiences.
Highstreet is a decentralized commerce-centric play-to-earn Metaverse with VR support. In this digital world all the purchased in-game items (NFTs) can be later redeemed for real-life physical products. In addition to featuring a unique marketplace, Highstreet allows users to explore the virtual terrain, fight monsters and participate in quests.
The Sandbox (SAND)
Similar to Decentaland, the Sandbox is an Ethereum-based virtual world that supports the purchase of digital land and contains a unique collection of NFT items. The Sandbox was originally launched in 2011 by Pixowl — a well-known game development company.
What's the Future of the Metaverse?
It is highly plausible that today’s world stands on the verge of a technological breakthrough which will take current reality beyond the restrictions of time and laws of physics. The global Metaverse is a hypothetical immersive unified 3D space that will allow people to enhance their experiences in all areas of everyday life.
It is not impossible that in a decade or two society will be spending time in the immersive computer-generated universe, earning a living, communicating with friends, shopping and traveling to exotic places.
What are some Metaverse use cases?
The Metaverse can potentially provide:
- Virtual work and learning spaces
- Enhanced opportunities for business, marketing and content creation
- Immersive experience for social media
- Extended possibilities for DeFi products
- Immersive entertainment
What is one example of a Metaverse?
Although the global Metaverse is not currently fully in existence, there are a number of blockchain and tech-related projects that contain Metaverse-like elements. For example, Decentraland is a 3D digital world with virtual reality (VR) support, where users can buy and sell land plots, take part in immersive gameplay, create digital artworks and socialize with players from around the world.
Is the Metaverse real?
While the universally interoperable Metaverse does not yet exist, some of the VR/AR and blockchain-enabled video game projects currently offer a Metaverse-like experience.