Everything You Need to Know about NFTs, and Metaverse: A Complete Guide
One science fiction-inspired idea that could become a reality and change the likes of millions of people all around the world is the Metaverse. We have experienced metaverses in the form of movies and books, but we never really witnessed a virtual world that is superior to the actual reality of the internet. Well, that is now going to change.
The Metaverse has evolved over the years, and it is no longer just a sci-term anymore. With technology taking new forms, we have seen a drastic shift in how people view virtual spaces. Many believe the Metaverse is going to be similar to the ones shown in the movie “Ready Player One.” While it is still unclear how the Metaverse will look like, its fundamentals remain the same.
A metaverse should be oriented in such a way that users can access their purchased goods in any virtual world and provide a fully functioning economy with no limitations. With advanced blockchain tech and protocols, we have seen companies invest billions into building some epic projects that aim to reshape the way people interact with the digitally integrated world.
By bringing the non-fungible tokens to a place beyond the universe, Metaverse can create virtual experiences like no other. It will give a boost to the creator economy and drive more innovation for gamers and artists. In this article, we are going to go discuss some important aspects of metaverses and leave you with the top 5 solid projects that have incredible potential in the future.
The Metaverse We Envision
It is extremely difficult to imagine how the metaverse would like in maybe 10-20 years from now. With too many variables and tech advancements, we cannot definitively say anything about the metaverse. However, there are few things we can identify that will be a part of the metaverse. Here are seven things we will likely see in a fully operable metaverse:
- It cannot be paused. The metaverse should be in a constant loop, and it should just continue irrespective of what happens in the outside world. That is why resets will not be a part of any virtual world.
- It is consistent and synchronous with other users. Obviously, it will not happen with pre-scheduled events, but the metaverse should provide a live living experience.
- No limits to participation. Anyone from anywhere in the world can team up and take part in any event or activity.
- Value recognition with the help of a fully functioning economy. Individuals who showcase their work and add value to other users will be rewarded.
- Virtual experiences will not be limited to the digital world. It should span both private and public networks. It also shouldn’t matter if it is a closed or open platform.
- Superior interoperability/interconnectivity of virtual worlds and every other asset you could think of in a metaverse.
- Individuals can populate content and virtual experiences. Commercial enterprises are also entertained in a metaverse.
History of Metaverses- how did we get here?
Metaverse is not some new-age tech that just popped up with NFTs and other crypto projects. The term was first coined 29 years ago in a science fiction novel called Snow Crash. The author of the book, Neal Stephenson, called a 3D virtual space the metaverse. He illustrated it is as a metaphor for the actual real world. Even after all this time, the concept of metaverse remains the same. Humans are represented as Avatars and can interact with each other from anywhere in the world. To help you understand how the virtual environments developed over the years, here is a timeline highlighting major events from 1993- 2021:
1993- A text-based virtual environment was created with low bandwidth. Steve Jackson Games then operated it.
1995- Snow Crash-inspired Active Worlds was created. It was entirely a mirror world of the one Neal Stephenson mentioned in his book.
2003- Second Life was one of the biggest metaverses created at that point in time, and it redefined digital interaction. The user-defined game created by Linden Labs picked up quickly and reached almost 1 million active users in the next 5-8 years. Unfortunately, it couldn’t sustain the success and grow its revenue, for the simple fact that it was too complex for mass adoption.
2006- Roblox made its entrance.
2013- High Fidelity created an open-source platform that allowed users to interact in virtual worlds. Even though one of the members founded Second life, the company couldn’t make it in the end. They had to shut down all operations.
2014- VRChat made its way to mainstream media as a social VR platform. People can publish virtual spaces and avatars.
2018- Cryptovoxels is a user-owned metaverse that launched with the help of the Ethereum blockchain.
2019- Facebook Horizon was announced.
2020- Major metaverses like the Sandbox and Decentraland were launched. Even Somnium Space made its metaverse using the Ethereum blockchain.
All of this shows how much history is behind the evolution of metaverses. And in hindsight, it looks as if each event helped us understand what was lacking and what needs to improve upon.
How NFT Avatars reshaped Metaverses?
Metaverse might sound like the new buzzword in the NFT world, but in reality- it has been around for decades. We had creative industries built on these metaverses before, creating endless opportunities for creators, gamers, and artists. But it always lacked something. True ownership is something no metaverse could provide its users. For example, in the gaming industry, players buy in-game items with real-world money. But they never get to sell or exchange that particular item with other players.
Players in Fortnite don’t get to make a return on their investment or even showcase their ownership of any in-game asset. This has led to the deterioration of user experience and separated itself from the actual functionality of a metaverse.
With NFT avatars catching fire, we now have something that can be your digital representation. You can use it to represent your personality and truly own it forever. Blockchain technology and NFTs made it possible for people to express themselves in the virtual world. A digital character is better for communication in a multiverse than a video or real-world interaction.
Even with NFT avatars, we are not in Ready Player One territory. However, the dynamic shift that took place with non-fungible tokens cannot be ignored. True ownership backed by blockchain protocols will help in gaining more control over your digital representation.
Why should you care about the Metaverse Era?
Indeed, we are very, very far away from witnessing a fully operational metaverse. It may be still early for many of you, but it is super important to be a key participant in the functional successor to the web. But with Metaverse, we will have better reach, tech, and more economic upside. That sounds fascinating, but that is not why you should pay attention to new projects developing towards building the first Metaverse.
You should care because it could affect your everyday life. It can change a lot of things. With companies realizing the true potential of the Metaverse, they are pouring billions into fast-track development. So once they emerge with new ways to manage everything from content to hire, you will have to adapt to the virtual goods, services, and experiences.
Even if we speak from an investor standpoint, the metaverse era cannot be ignored. According to ARK research and Bloomberg Intelligence, the revenue generated from VR-related industries could reach anywhere from 400-800 billion dollars by 2025.
We are going to see a massive acceleration in this field, and at the moment, it is clear that many top companies are motivated. Many of us missed the crypto boat a few years ago, so it should be in your best interests to follow new and exciting projects aimed towards developing a metaverse. If it succeeds, it will be an upgrade to the internet and will be the future of every industry in the world.
The Metaverse Economy
When we are operating/living in a world of endless possibilities, it means there are massive opportunities that one could take up to drive economic growth. As any user can rule virtual spaces, the first movers who can create a successful world will be the most sought out players in the metaverse.
Companies will take full advantage of the 3D user interface to generate more revenue from their services. We already saw High Fidelity, a San Francisco-based startup, create a virtual social world. This adoption will only increase from now on. Another exciting thing about this new interface is how we can visualize anything literally in digital versions and then go on to make decisions in the physical world.
Interesting visualization from Wreck-It Ralph 2
Even streaming platforms like Netflix can expand their business model to the metaverse. They can cater to their 208 million users by opening Netflix theatres and driving traffic with posters and merchandise.
We could see many more options popping up in the near future, but it is safe to say that the virtual economy is going too far better than the real-world economy. If you want to get a much better understanding, it is suggested to check out the High Fidelity case study. They have an impressive VR-based social world with great fundamentals.
Top 5 Metaverses in 2021
Real estate in the real world is not the only market that is booming right now. We have projects like Decentraland that guarantee immutable ownership of virtual property that is now being purchased for millions of dollars every day. In the world of non-fungible tokens, Decentraland has become the most engaged marketplace for properties and NFT lands.
The community-governed virtual world is taking over real estate lands in a virtual world and offering parcels of them for hundreds of thousands of MANA, native token of Decentraland.
This is a very promising project related to metaverses, and not it’s not only because of the uniqueness that it brings to the NFT space but also the number of partnerships it has with world-leading companies is mind-blowing. It has teamed up with Binance to raise funds and Matic to attract more creators to collaborate using the Decentraland platform.
Second Life is by far the most interesting case study to understand how Metaverse evolves over time with communities all over the world. The virtual world was expected to be the internet for the next generation. It took virtual experiences to a whole new level by allowing users to create a customizable avatar. Users loved there were no limits to their self-expression, and it immensely helped enhance the user experience.
The commerce part about Second Life is robust and exchangeable for real-world money. It helped increase awareness about this new digital gig-style economy. We cannot look at Second Life as a game because it is much more than buying and selling avatar skins for Linden Dollar (in-world currency). In other words, it was the truest form of escapism. The tech behind second Life is too sophisticated for a normal user, but the community element is worth cultivating in any virtual world.
Sandbox is one of the pioneers of community-driven metaverses, aiming to reward creators for user-generated value and reshape traditional gaming dynamics. The Ethereum-based gaming ecosystem is slowly growing into one of the best metaverses to be ever created. The company has attracted many creators and active users with its three main products- VoxEdit, The Sandbox Marketplace, and Game Maker.
The company has created multiple ways for participants to generate revenue. They can create their own assets using VoxEdit and sell them on Sandbox marketplace as NFTs. If users are inclined to monetize from their own game, they can do it with the Game maker. The final way of generating revenue is lending your LAND. To increase value of your property, you can add more contents and sell/lend for a higher price.
Customization is key for virtual experiences. And Cryptovoxels took that seriously. The virtual world created by Cryptovoxels is one of the most user-friendly and interactive metaverses. It can be accessed with ease- by just installing a web browser like Chrome or Brave.
Although they do not have in-game currency, players can still purchase land or customized wearables from their MetaMask wallet. Land acquisition is mostly made through the OpenSea platform.
Virtual reality and digital ownerships are two main elements that could drive human interaction to the next level. That is exactly what Somnium is trying to implement with its open-world blockchain-based video game. By using VR devices like Oculus Rift, players can explore the virtual worlds and meet people from different corners of the world.
In terms of ownership, the company offers virtual lands of three types, which essentially drives the economy. The team behind Somnium Space believes the only limitation a player can have is their imagination. They have more than 500 assets that anyone can purchase from the store and take their creations to the next using 3D modelling software.
The cross-platform VR platform is still in its early stages of development, so it is hard to come to any solid conclusions regarding its price action. We need to so more user participation, but the products they are building with virtual land ownership and social VR world will be in demand, for sure.
Future of Metaverses- How far away is the Oasis?
Metaverse is at a very different end of the digital spectrum, so we cannot decide its maturation and development timeline. It is hard to achieve a full human infinite space simulation with too many variables coming into play. Virtual reality and augmented reality have added roadblocks in the past, but with blockchain and crypto projects taking over, we can expect more participation.
Having worlds within worlds and getting social without any physical limitations is an important factor in any metaverse. The virtual spaces do draw a parallel to the real world when it comes to safety and trust. Players have to trust the virtual space is a safe environment where anyone can come and go as they wish. To make it easier for users, we see a wide range of solutions like VR chat to enhance communication.
Metaverses will entirely depend on the type of digital culture we create. People joining hands and creating groups will help drive new narratives and strive towards a particular goal. In the end, we will be seeing a digital ecosystem that fully offers to buy potential. This opens the flood gates and creates an XR-commerce in the virtual universe. All of this may just end up being the tip of the iceberg when it comes to metaverses, so better prepare yourself for an exciting roller-coaster ride in the coming years.
Born and brought up in India, Karthikeya Gutta is a crypto journalist and freelance contributor for ItsBlockchain. He covers various aspects of the industry with in-depth analysis and research. His passion towards blockchain and crypto ecosystem is mainly because he believes it can really change the world and help millions of people.
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