The term “Metaverse” just jumped into everyone’s mind with Facebook announcing their decision to rebrand their corporate name to Meta.
But what exactly is the Metaverse?
Generally, it refers to online spaces which allow one to interact in a 3D immersive environment. In contrast to the standard internet, the metaverse users can interact with others via their avatars in virtual reality, like in a video game.
Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg has described the concept as a “virtual environment” that users can enter and immerse themselves in through technology like VR headsets, augmented reality glasses, 3D, 2D, or other devices.
But to grasp what metaverse really means, you need to understand how it will change three major areas; internet, property, and global economy.
Before anything else, let’s look at how it all started. The first person to write about the metaverse was Neal Stephenson in his 1992 novel Snow Crash.
However, the concept had already been discussed in many other sci-fi books. And in like manner, it’s been described in movies such as Matrix and Ready player one.
But if you’re looking for an early example of the metaverse, look no further than the online virtual reality game Second Life. Launched in 2003, Second Life is an open-world environment that allows users to live a literal “second life” through their avatars.
Will it end the internet as we know it?
Because of the lockdowns in the past year and a half, more people started working from home, and they’re spending more time increasingly online without human interaction.
We often think about the metaverse as something that’s in some distant future, and in reality, we’re already living in the metaverse. At the moment, we use Slack, Twitter, email or any video calling platforms like Zoom to interact with each other. However, these portals don’t use VR headsets but rather a computer or mobile phone screen. At least, for now.
Yet, some metaverse companies think there’s more demand for online spaces where interactions could be more digital and less physical.
One great example is Wilder World. The team describes their work as “a new dimension of reality.”
So what exactly does that mean?
The Wilder World team has created a virtual city called Wiami. It’s built on Ethereum, Unreal Engine 5, and ZERO technologies.
They use NFTs to represent the equivalent of in-world assets, allowing the owners to use them for various things.
Here is one of their cars:
And here is the trailer that highlights the high fidelity nature of the cars in the virtual world:
To put it another way, the metaverse could quickly become the next stage of the internet, sometimes called Web 3.0. Essentially, AI, VR, and many other technologies are just properties of the same phenomenon. In a way, the metaverse is just a digital integration of many different technologies.
Digitalization of value
Metaverse is not just the Ready player one gaming world.
To get your heads around it, think of it as the last piece of the puzzle to make everything in the world digitally fluid.
And to get everything fluid, you need self-sovereignty over the property. As we needed the internet to solve the transfer of information, we equally need crypto to solve the proof of ownership and the entire transfer of value mechanism.
To demonstrate, here’s a specific type of metaverse that uses a broader crypto ecosystem, particularly technologies such as NFTs and DeFi.
The Sandbox is Ethereum based metaverse that allows players to create their own items, mint them as NFTs and sell them on NFT marketplaces.
Likewise, Decentraland also uses in-game currencies and assets called LAND that power every aspect of their virtual world. Users can even buy and monetize virtual real estate.
By all means, the metaverse is the digitization of everything. It sounds scary, but with technologies like the metaverse, cryptocurrencies, and NFTs, we could spend most of our lives in the digital world.
Global GDP will explode
What’s important to remember is that you don’t need to use the physical world with the metaverse. You could be a person in Nigeria, go to the metaverse, and compete globally without any kind of prejudice, racism, or sexism. That will change human society globally in a way that has never been done before. As a result, technologies will solve what politicians couldn’t accomplish for hundreds of years.
Metaverse will include 8 billion people in global affairs and change the global GDP entirely. It’s like discovering a new planet.
For example, I grew up in former Czechoslovakia. Before the 1990s, it was a poor communist country because a small group of elites controlled all the property. But ten years later, the Czech Republic and Slovakia suddenly became wealthy.
Where did all that wealth come from?
It came from rediscovering free markets capitalism. In a matter of a couple of years, all ownership went from state to private hands. People could suddenly own any asset and create wealth. This new GDP came out of nowhere just because people could build, run and own their world.
The metaverse could solve current stagflation or low GDP growth combined with high inflation in the same fashion. The markets and entire global GDP growth could explode because we discovered an entirely new world.
By all means, the metaverse proves that our existence is not limited to our physical world, and the world has limitless potential.
The metaverse is just getting started, and it barely scratches the surface of what it will become.
You can think of the first version of the metaverse as the current internet. It isn’t perfect, but it gets the job done.
Each era of the internet has had huge winners. But no one company alone can bring a new era alone. There’s a tsunami of intellectual and financial capital diligently working to build a better version. And that’s why the metaverse is such a groundbreaking concept. It’s not just VR, Fortnite, or crypto, and it’s an idea that integrates all of them.
Facebook, or Meta, made a significant push forward, but it will not be alone in this journey.