What is the Metaverse?
Metaverse was coined from the Greek word “Meta,” which means above or beyond, and “Verse,” a short form for the universe. It means a world beyond the universe we are all accustomed to, a virtual world.
Everyone, one way or the other, has caught a glimpse of Metaverse through books, movies, or games. However, we have not experienced a world that is above the virtual reality provided by the internet. That is going to change over the coming years.
Metaverse is not just a new technology idea that is just developed like digital currency or NFTs. It has been alive for long enough. It was first coined in Snow Crash, a dystopian sci-fi novel authored by Neal Stephenson in 1992. The author created a mimicry of a real-world called the 3D virtual space where avatars represent humans. These avatars can interact from anywhere in the world.
The Significance of the Metaverse
Metaverse is virtual world-oriented that allows users to create virtual versions of themselves, buy assets, purchase goods and create a fully functioning economy with no limitations of the physical world. Like buying new players on a FIFA game or controlling team members in a PUBG game, Metaverse is ready to produce fully functioning virtual reality.
However, what makes it different from the regular online games is that it would not only be accessed on flat screens and mobile phones. You can switch among mobile phones, PCs, AR, and VR devices to access the virtual world.
You see and feel the virtual world by putting on virtual reality glasses or through augmented reality. Instead of organizing meetings through zoom calls, you can have a virtual workspace to hold meetings and see your colleague sitting across the table. It has a movement tracker where you can move virtually. It creates a virtual illusion of the real world.
What’s more, you can buy virtual assets with NFTs or cryptocurrency, make decisions about assets physically and apply them virtually.
Being viewed as the next big thing in technology, reputed tech companies like Facebook had invested millions in Metaverse. It recently changed its company’s name to Meta. Facebook wants to drop the social media tag and be viewed as a Metaverse mainstay.
Facebook and other tech giants stepping into the metaverse
Even Though it is not a well-established and full-fledged idea, tech companies have started investing in Metaverse. Many companies see it as the new extension to the internet, while others are afraid of being left behind on something that could be the next big thing. However, the idea of how the virtual world would work out is not wholly developed. Therefore, there are still pertinent questions surrounding it.
With that said, Facebook has been the frontline advocate of Metaverse. Being a social media platform for online connection, it is working towards improving the online experience for users through Metaverse. Facebook could usher in a new rush of social media enthusiasts onto Metaverse by providing affordable virtual glasses. It would even enable young people to spend more time online.
In a drive towards achieving this aim, the company bought Oculus in 2014 and currently provides the most affordable VR glasses, although still expensive for general usage. Even Though the virtual spaces are much more controlled in game consoles and not near it’s fully-fledged idea, companies are working on its fruition.
Other tech giants are also working towards incorporating Metaverse into their system. In May, the CEO of Microsoft, Satya Nadella, admitted that the company is planning to create an ‘Enterprise Metaverse.’
Apple had been a longtime enthusiast of Augmented reality. Sony, HP Inc, HTC, and Google also produce their versions of augmented reality glasses. At the same time, Magic Leap has already been an AR producer since 2011.
As gaming is fast becoming the building block for Metaverse, Gaming companies like Fortnite creator, Epic Games, Roblox, Spatial, Nvidia, Microsoft’s Minecraft are already producing the nearest reality to the eventual virtual world. They had spent and planned to spend more on the virtual world and exploit its opportunities.
Even Snapchat is not left behind. Instead of taking pictures and going through hours of filtering and modifying, why not create custom avatars that better reflect yourself on Snapchat. One way or the other, every tech giant is planning to jump into the new bandwagon.
What Role does Cryptocurrency Play in the Metaverse?
As earlier said, the whole idea of Metaverse is still at its early stages. However, if Metaverse is going to thrive over the next few decades, it would incorporate some of the features of Blockchain technology. It would have to use cryptocurrencies for making transactions.
As digital assets are bought on Metaverse, how can users be assured of a transparent and secure transaction? It is by applying the cryptocurrency Blockchain. Why?
- • Immutability of Blockchains: Blockchain technology has proven that it cannot be hacked or changed. For any virtual platform to thrive, it has to be secure. Its users would need assurance that their communication and transactions are not prone to hacks or breaches.
- • On-demand transactions: Blockchain also allows its coins to be used for trading online assets seamlessly. It facilitates on-demand transactions. Users can buy and sell virtual assets with cryptocurrency’s instant and secure transactions. They also need to be assured that transactions are completed. The framework around which cryptocurrency is built facilitates that.
Big Metaverse companies like Decentraland and Sandbox had created virtual worlds and integrated crypto payments on the space. Therefore, gamers can buy virtual lands, create gaming structures like tennis courts or casinos and make money.
Decentraland has its coin that can be exchanged on Coinbase. The name of its currency is MANA. Decentraland also provides NFTs payment. Users can buy virtual estates and lands using Non-fungible tokens.
With cryptocurrency being the legal tender for virtual marketplaces, it will eventually be possible to trade numerous things in the virtual space. You can decide to sell a Fortnite skin to buy a plot of land on Decentraland. All virtual assets can be represented using NFTs, while cryptocurrency becomes the sole decider of its transactions.
Creating & owning the value within a Metaverse
Creating or owning a value on Metaverse can come in varieties of ways. You can decide to own stock in Metaverse companies or buy digital assets in the virtual world. With the new craze of NFTs joining the metaverse world, owning an asset on the platform had never been made easier.
Owning Stocks: As this could be the new tech idea booming after cryptocurrency, buying stocks in the metaverse companies could be a calculated gamble that will eventually pay off. Tech giants like Facebook had started spending millions of dollars on the virtual world. YOU could acquire stock from leading Metaverse companies like Facebook, Sony, Magic leap, Epic games, HTC, and Microsoft.
Owning A Virtual Asset: Over 400 million dollars had been spent on the Metaverse currencies, NFTs. Virtual reality platforms like Upland or Decentraland are gaining much attention from investors. More than virtual games, they are a virtual social experience.
On Upland, you can buy a building in Las Vegas or buy stock in the New York stock market. It can be done with an in-game currency that can be traded with any fiat or cryptocurrency. The currency used on the Upland platform is called UPX. You can be a virtual landlord on Upland, fascinating right?
As Metaverse becomes more popular over time, Upland’s digital assets rise, and its price appreciates. You can sell these assets at a much higher price and cash out from them. So, even though these assets are virtual, they are real investment opportunities to investors.
NFTs- Tied Digital artworks can also be sold on Metaverse in the same way physical artwork can be sold in the real world. Same thing with Decentraland, a Metaverse platform created using Blockchain technology.
The platform uses an NFT currency known as MANA. With a MANA coin, you can buy estates, lands and build virtual casinos on Decentraland. With this, you can make money by owning a virtual casino or just being a gambler.
Another company is Atari, a gaming industry that had newly incorporated the Metaverse craze into its setup by launching an in-game cryptocurrency, Atari Token. The company wants to make its token become the household cryptocurrency token for the video game and entertainment Industries.
With smart contract technology and easy token transfer, Atari Token could be the widely accepted in-game legal tender, and it could make buying and selling digital assets easy.
There are also many other platforms and technologies incorporated into Metaverse. It had made Metaverse an investment potential platform that could boom over the next few years or decades.
Getting the most investment return out of Metaverse requires proper research on which part of it you are willing to exploit. Whether in-game assets or just buying stock from its companies, Metaverse can be the next big thing after cryptocurrency.
The whole idea of virtual reality is fascinating and nascent. The idea is not even wholly developed. The question that would be answered over the next few years would be, would Metaverse be the successor to the internet or remain the imagined human concept only limited to the game consoles?
Written by: Narender Charan