• Abdullah Mohsin

Introduction to Metaverse

What is the Metaverse

The metaverse is here, it’s real and it may become a bigger part of your life than you think. The buzz around the metaverse has also gotten major players in tech such as Meta/Facebook and Twitter, eager to get a slice of the virtual cake, and it’s not just the tech players, Nike, Adidas, PUMA and Gucci are all also entering the metaverse.

So, what exactly is the metaverse? We don’t have a unique definition for it, but you can think of the metaverse as an immersive and interactive shared virtual space that combines the physical and digital. All thanks to augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR) technology. Think of it as a future version of the internet. So, instead of experiencing the virtual world through a screen, you'll be inside your online experience, from shopping to hanging out with friends and even signing official contracts.

There are many competing visions for how we’ll get there, and not all of them are connected to the crypto ecosystem. The hugely popular digital sandbox Roblox, for example, has attracted the likes of Nike and Paris Hilton to build virtual experiences on the platform. But Roblox lacks interoperability, meaning players can’t use their characters or items in other virtual worlds. Blockchain-powered virtual-world platforms like Sandbox and Decentraland (which have also attracted big brands like Adidas and Samsung) are aiming for an open metaverse in which NFTs, digital real estate, and virtual identities flow seamlessly across virtual worlds and markets without the need for intermediaries.


Key features of the Metaverse

There are several key features of the Metaverse, let’s take a look at some below

Accessible: A virtual 3D space accessible to all, the metaverse is a borderless world where there are no limits to how many people can use it at the same time, what types of activities can take place, or what industries can enter it.

Decentralized: The metaverse isn't owned or controlled by big corporations or a single platform. Meaning users can take back ownership over their private data. Powered by Blockchain technology, all transactions within a metaverse are public, easily tracked and secure.

Virtual economies: People in the metaverse have access to decentralized virtual economies powered by cryptocurrencies. Through these tokens, they can buy, sell and exchange digital assets like avatars, virtual clothing, NFTs and even event tickets on marketplaces.

Immersive experiences: Users can access metaverses via VR headset, AR glasses or just a smartphone and experience a new level of immersion and interactivity, where your visual and auditory senses are fully engaged.

User-focused: With all that said, what keeps the metaverse alive and thriving are its users. Whether through virtual creations such as NFTs or interactions through their avatars. Each participant in a metaverse is a part of the world's experience and helps shape the future of the metaverse through user-generated content.


What can you do in the Metaverse?

1. Gaming: It's fun, you can meet new people and even earn money. What's not to like? Popular games like Axie Infinity, Sandbox and Illuvium, to name a few, are some of the biggest names in the metaverse where you can play to earn!

2. Go to virtual gigs: Four words: Concerts in the metaverse. With your virtual presence in the metaverse, you can immerse yourself in the digital space like never before. Going to your favorite artist’s concert or even attending music festivals has become easier than ever. Plus, you can interact with your favorite band or singer (minus the crowd) from the comfort of your own home. Like the Travis Scott concert in Fortnite

3. Go to social events: With the help of VR goggles and motion capture gloves, we might not even need 3D avatars soon. Imagine how awesome it would be if you can attend a fashion show or simply just stroll down Central Park in New York with dragons and other mythical creatures in the air. Although not physically of course. VR tech and quality has come a long way, and it’s only going to get better.

4. Work: Working online is already a reality for many of us, largely due to the pandemic. While some companies are slowly transitioning out of remote work or going hybrid, a few tech giants have made plans on building virtual office spaces in the metaverse. Soon, we might see other companies follow suit.

5. Invest in real estate: A newer addition to the metaverse ecosystem, virtual land works just like real estate in real life. Once you buy a plot of virtual land or digital property, you can rent it out or resell. Oh, and you're not only limited to land. For example, in the Sandbox metaverse, you can buy anything from houses to luxury yachts!


How does Crypto fit into the Metaverse?

Gaming provides the 3D aspect of the metaverse but doesn’t cover everything needed in a virtual world that can cover all aspects of life. Crypto can offer the other key parts required, such as digital proof of ownership, transfer of value, governance, and accessibility. But what do these mean exactly?

1. Digital proof of ownership: By owning a wallet with access to your private keys, you can instantly prove ownership of activity or an asset on the blockchain. For example, you could show an exact transcript of your transactions on the blockchain while at work to show accountability. A wallet is one of the most secure and robust methods for establishing a digital identity and proof of ownership.

2. Digital collectability: Just as we can establish who owns something, we can also show that an item is original and unique. For a metaverse looking to incorporate more real-life activities, this is important. Through NFTs, we can create objects that are 100% unique and can never be copied exactly or forged. A blockchain can also represent ownership of physical items.

3. Transfer of value: A metaverse will need a way to transfer value securely that users trust. In-game currencies in multiplayer games are less secure than crypto on a blockchain. If users spend large amounts of time in the metaverse and even earn money there, they will need a reliable currency.

4. Governance: The ability to control the rules of your interaction with the metaverse should also be important for users. In real life, we can have voting rights in companies and elect leaders and governments. The metaverse will also need ways to implement fair governance, and blockchain is already a proven way of doing this.

5. Accessibility: Creating a wallet is open to anyone around the world on public blockchains. Unlike a bank account, you don't need to pay any money or provide any details. This makes it one of the most accessible ways to manage finances and an online, digital identity.

6. Interoperability: Blockchain technology is continuously improving compatibility between different platforms. Projects like Polkadot (DOT) and Avalanche (AVAX) allow for creating custom blockchains that can interact with each other. A single metaverse will need to connect multiple projects, and blockchain technology already has solutions for this.


Examples of Crypto based Metaverse

There are many different Metaverses each with their unique purposes, here are 2 of them:


SecondLive ‌.

SecondLive is a 3D virtual environment where users control avatars for socializing, learning, and business. The project also has an NFT marketplace for swapping collectibles. In September 2020, SecondLive hosted Binance Smart Chain's Harvest Festival as part of its first anniversary. The virtual expo showcased different projects in the BSC ecosystem for users to explore and interact with.


Decentraland

Decentraland is an online, digital world that combines social elements with cryptocurrencies, NFTs, and virtual real estate. On top of this, players also take an active role in the governance of the platform. Like other blockchain games, NFTs are used to represent cosmetic collectibles. They're also used for LAND, 16x16 meter land parcels that users can purchase in the game with the cryptocurrency MANA. The combination of all of these creates a complex crypto-economy.



Common Metaverse terms:

Virtual Reality (VR): Computer generation that makes you feel like you’re really walking through the digital landscape with scenes and objects that seem tangible – that’s virtual reality. It’s an environment that is perceived as real, created through a VR headset or helmet.

Augmented reality: Augmented reality (AR) is a delightful union of real-world context and digital assets. Games like Pokémon Go are a great example – they impose digital characters and assets against your real-world background, transforming real life into a gaming universe by subtly merging it with digital elements. And it can all be done through the camera of your device.

Native token: Each metaverse projects has its own currency (fungible tokens) to power its platform economy – these are what you’ll use to pay for goods, services and experiences within the platform and, as with real-world currencies, the better the platform does, the more its native tokens will be worth.

Floor price: The floor price refers to the lowest price at which an NFT or asset in a project or collection can be bought. Although it only speaks for one asset, monitoring the floor price of a project’s land can be a good short-hand metric for understanding the value movement of the project as a whole.

Avatar: Your avatar is you, but digital. It’s a graphical representation of a person’s digital identity. An avatar can be a 2D picture or it can be 3D like a game character.


Useful Links:

How metaverse could impact kids: https://cointelegraph.com/explained/how-the-metaverse-could-impact-the-lives-of-kids/amp

Metaverse video tutorial for kids: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=B2WnHZqVQZw

Top metaverse projects: https://blog.coindcx.com/cryptocurrency/10-best-metaverse-crypto-projects/

Global companies building the metaverse: https://academy.binance.com/en/articles/global-companies-building-up-the-metaverse

Technologies that power the metaverse: https://academy.binance.com/en/articles/top-7-technologies-that-power-the-metaverse




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