Open up any social media and you will somewhere see the term ‘Metaverse’. Ever since Facebook has changed its name to Meta, there has been a huge buzz about it. So what is this Metaverse ? Something from outer space ? Or an alien planet ? The answer is no, it’s not. Let’s start by breaking the two word into two. Meta – meaning beyond and verse is the universe. So it means something beyond our usual universe. It is a combination of physical, virtual and augmented reality.
The concept of building a parallel world or digital realm is not new.If you are a fan of sci-fi movies and novels you are going to love this. Sci-fi is coming to life with Metaverse. The increase in growth of digital assets and NFT is leading to creation of real world like virtual experiences. People want to build and experience digital identities as the world is shifting online. The virtual world can include anything like digital assets- land, office spaces, buildings, avatars, etc. The virtual assets can be bought and sold like in real life, buy goods or services and even attend online events.
Building blocks of Metaverse.
The term Metaverse was first used way back in 1992 by Author Neal Stephenson in his science fiction Novel “Snow Crash.” The novel has real life like avatars who meet in 3D buildings and virtual environments.
A computer engineer Wei Dai developed the Crypto++ cryptographic library and also introduced the concept of b-money cryptocurrency system. Bitcoin is inspired from this and also the smallest unit of Ether – Wei is named after him.
Linden Labs created an online multimedia platform that allowed people to create personal avatars and have a virtual kind of a ‘second life’. The avatars could interact with others, socialise, participate in group activities, create, shop and even trade properties. The 3D virtual game also had a currency the Linden Dollar which could be exchanged for real fiat currency. The game was very popular till a few years back and had over a million daily users. Can you imagine a concept like this has existed since early 2003! Metaverse has direct links to this project.
The year when the term NFTs came into existence. The idea came from colored coin which was used initially on the Bitcoin Blockchain in 2012-14. The colored coins are tokens which are used to represent real world assets on the Blockchain and can be used as proofs of ownership of any asset from property to vehicles or bonds. This extra information was put into a Bitcoin to make it non-fungible (non-transferable) and unique.
In 2015 Vitalik Buterin and team created Ethereum blockchain and gave rise to a global computing platform with the use of smart contracts. The term Smart Contracts was first introduced by Nick Szabo in the early 1990s but it was only after the introduction of Ethereum that it gained popularity.
Open-source coding and transperant apps for gaming, DEXs, Defi kept developing as web 3 set in. Popular artists Marshmello and Travis Scott performed in the game Fortnite with a 30 million audience. The Solana Blockchain dapp also came into existence which used the alternative consensus mechanism known as ‘Proof of Stake’ unlike Ethereum. This dapp is popular as it is built on a multi-metaverse interplanetary scenario where NFT actors interact in a Decentralised Autonomous Organisation (DAO).
Why is there a buzz about Metaverse ?
Corporate Giants, Top Developers and Enthusiasts studied the concept of Metaverse and claimed that there are numerous use causes which are still unrealized in living and monetising the virtual world. It is a big opportunity as you can literally buy and sell anything. Sky is the limit for creators to let their imaginations sore. Many corporate houses are also looking to tap in this opportunity-
Our all time favourite social media platform Facebook where we share out thoughts, interact with people or just scroll through the feed when we are bored. Facebook got into the trend by changing its name to Meta which is a short form for Metaverse. They are currently experimenting with the technology of Metaverse. They have ambitious plans for their Metaverse as they are looking to build Horizon workrooms where people can meet, interact and conduct business in virtual workrooms. It is also making VR headsets.
The popular brand which is known for its footwear and apparel. Nike has collaborated with Roblox which is a gaming platform. Their virtual world Nikeland allows players to try new sports shoes and participate in marathons. Several mini reward games are launched in the virtual world.
Tinder is an online dating site which connects like minded people via a right swipe. They are working on a dating Metaverse where digital avatars can meet and go on dates. The concept of virtual dating will be brought alive and it will be a platform to meet real people via their digital avatars. Tinder is also planning on its cryptocurrency- Tinder Coins.
It is an American startup company which makes devices and wearable technologies to interact in the virtual world. They have recently launched Magicverse which intends to bridge the gap between real and virtual worlds. It will be a combination of different things like IOT devices, spatial computing and sensing. The data will be transmitted through different media and it will be possible for people to be co-present virtually hence breaking down geographical barriers.
Statistics show that half of the world’s population that is more than 3.2 billion people play games of any kind. That is a huge number and top corporations will surely not miss out on this opportunity. The gaming sector is one where money is not made by compulsion or by requirement, it is made by interest and curiosity. We all have atleast one gaming app in our phone. Metaverse can simply be described as evolution of gaming into Web3 with richer technology and means of transfer. Initially Metaverse can be confused for gaming only but many experiences which we encounter today are derived from gaming. Just image what if all the items in your favourite D-mart store are digital tokens and you can enjoy shopping over a VR headset. These experiences will definitely become normal in the next few years.
Credits – Mr.Suraj Kalwani for explaining a few concepts.
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