What is the Metaverse?

Metaverse is a term that connects the worlds of "universe" and "meta". It is mainly used to describe an upcoming version of the Internet, often referred to as Web 3.0. The evolution of the Internet will likely lead to the development of 3-D online environments or virtual integrated environments that allow users to access virtual reality and augmented reality experiences. The Metaverse combines two concepts that have been around for many years: virtual reality and an online second life.

Metaverse

Table of Contents

Table of Contents

After Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg announced at the Connect conference on Oct. 28, 2021, that Facebook would change its name to Meta, interest in the topic took off. He declared he would spend at least $10 million on the Metaverse.

The Metaverse is a relatively new phenomenon that has only existed for a few years.

Second life was an online social network launched in 2003 that still has a large following among die-hard fans. You can create avatars and contact other users. Besides that, you can sell and buy each other virtual items, such as clothes or real estate.

Is it here yet?

If you own a non-fungible token, virtual reality headset, or cryptocurrency, you are already part of the Metaversal experience.

On platforms like Sandbox, Roblox, and Decentraland, players can create custom digital representations of themselves and interact with others.

They can create and construct objects. Users can also build a virtual currency that they can use to purchase items that their avatars use.

Decentraland offers a crypto-enabled market, digital wallets, and a management structure. On the Ethereum blockchain, digital assets such as land are stored as NFTs. Many companies have been participating in this by setting up virtual offices or headquarters in Decentraland.

Sandbox is an Ethereum-based blockchain virtual reality game metaverse. It allows players to trade and create NFTs within the game.

Roblox is an online storefront and platform where users can create and play games created by other developers. Roblox allows players to purchase the digital (non-cryptic) currency Robux to buy avatar upgrades and accessories.

Microsoft bought Activision Blizzard, a game developer, in early 2022 for $68.7 billion. The company cited the Metaverse as the reason for the purchase. Activision Blizzard was known for developing online games with a metaverse component.

The realization of Metaverse technology, as envisioned by Zuckerberg, is still years away. According to Zuckerberg, Metaverse technology will be fully available by the end of the next decade. It’s already impressive to see the infrastructure and technology being built. Experts predict they will still need to be improved to support the entire Metaverse industry.

Facebook's Metaverse

Facebook defines the Metaverse as “a collection of virtual spaces that you can create and share with people who are not in the same physical space as you.” What does that mean?

Zuckerberg described the Metaverse as “the next chapter of the Internet.” The Metaverse will allow you to do almost anything you want – meet friends, work, learn and play, shop, make something, and have entirely new experiences. You’ll also be able to instantly teleport to the office as a hologram, attend a concert with your friends or visit your parents to catch up on everything.

What do you need to enter the Metaverse? You will most likely need augmented reality (AR) or virtual reality (VR) glasses to enter. Projection systems could also beam lifelike holograms into the real world.

Zuckerberg explained, “When you play a video game with your friends, it will feel like you are in another world together, not just alone on your computer.”

In the Metaverse, goods and services could be bought and sold through new economic systems based on NFTs and cryptocurrencies. NFTs are making significant headways. For example, the U.K. Treasury has asked the Royal Mint to develop a non-counterfeitable token to be issued in the summer of 2022.

Evolution from Web 1 to Web 2, Web3 to Metaverse.

There is much discussion, although there is no clear consensus on Web3 and the Metaverse definitions. Many crypto enthusiasts believe that it  is the next stage of the Internet. Others argue that after the social interaction-based Web2, we will jump into an immersive Internet right away. It’s still unclear what actually constitutes Web3 and how to distinguish it, but there is debate about whether Web3 is crypto and blockchain technology or an immersive Internet with virtual worlds.

Examples

At the moment, there is no single example of a large metaverse. Various companies, especially game studios, claim they have created a metaverse.

Meta Horizon Worlds: Facebook has created a virtual meeting room environment that can be accessed through the company’s Oculus VR headsets or Horizon Worlds. This allows you to interact with others using your avatar in virtual meeting rooms. 

Microsoft Mesh Platform: Microsoft is also pushing into the mixed and augmented reality space. (XR). The company plans to introduce mixed reality elements into teams by 2022. This will allow avatars as well as holograms, to participate in events and meetings. They may also use the technology for games and shopping experiences in the future.

Roblox: Roblox was originally a gaming world where users could create their games and allow others to access them. After going public, the company is now more focused on creating its own Metaverse. They have partnered with Gucci and Vans to offer exclusive accessories you can buy for your virtual self.

Minecraft: More than 140 million people play the Lego-like game Minecraft every day. In 2014, Microsoft bought the company. Players can create their characters and create unlimited virtual worlds, digital assets and much more.

SecondLife: This virtual reality platform was founded in 2003 and is one of the first to allow players to create their own identities in virtual worlds. Second life has grown over the years with its marketplaces and digital assets.

Metaverse Crypto

Decentraland, an online platform that uses blockchain technology to facilitate transactions, is as far as we have seen with blockchain metaverses. 

MANA is the currency of Decentraland. It is a token whose supply is limited. The platform burns a portion of the supply of MANA every time someone makes a purchase. The Ethereum blockchain tracks land ownership. All users must keep their MANA tokens in an Ethereum account.

Sandbox allows online users to benefit from its “play-to-earn” model. Players can win SAND tokens by reaching various milestones.

These tokens can be used for in-game purchases. They can also be exchanged for digital or fiat currencies at a cryptocurrency exchange. In 2021, Sandbox was one of the most popular cryptocurrencies.

Haim Israel, global head of thematic investment strategy at Bank of America, stated “the Metaverse represents a major opportunity for crypto and blockchain technologies. This will lead to widespread adoption of digital currencies.”

Horizon World's Metaverse app

Meta, CTO’s Andrew Boz said recently that it plans to bring its Horizon Worlds social metaverse platform, currently accessible only through VR, to the Internet.

Mark Zuckerberg, CEO of Meta, said the tech giant would allow a “handful” of creators to sell digital goods and experiences on Meta’s virtual reality platform. This is in preparation for a larger launch.

However, the company would retain 25% of the remaining percentage after paying platform fees and all in-world purchases. This often leaves creators with less than half of the sale price. Meta will receive 47.5% for every transaction made in Horizon Worlds using a Quest VR headset.