Step into the Metaverse
One Web3 buzzword that has been thrown around a lot over the past year or so is Metaverse. Various companies are scrambling to jump on board, but what exactly is the Metaverse, and how does it work?
Theoretically speaking, the Metaverse refers to a virtual world that is open, shared, and hosts a collection of virtual spaces. Each space often has its own specific purpose or offers users a service. However, in order to realize a “true” Metaverse, all of these virtual spaces should technically be interoperable with each other.
How Blockchain Builds the Metaverse
Different parties define the word Metaverse differently, and the need for blockchain in Metaverse development is also debated. Most notably between Web2 and Web3 companies. However, there are numerous arguments that illustrate why blockchain could (and probably should) become integral in future Metaverse technology.
One core element of blockchain is the facilitation of decentralization. What that means is that no one entity has control over the Metaverse. Also, weaving blockchain into virtual worlds opens the door to decentralized, yet interoperable Metaverse spaces. So your digital identity or items you own in the Metaverse are not limited to spaces created by one company. Blockchain allows individual users to own, trade, and control their digital assets without the need for a middleman. Not only does this increase transaction efficiency, but it also makes the economy more transparent and fair for all users.
It would certainly be convenient if we were able to have one consistent avatar that could navigate different areas of the Metaverse, all while wearing the same pair of sneakers.
What about NFTs?
Non-Fungible Tokens (NFTs) are an element of blockchain technology that provides a host of useful functions for Metaverse development. Three important properties of NFTs to remember are that they’re unique, indivisible, and immutable. Put simply, NFTs can not be altered after they are issued, and it is impossible to create an exact copy. Plus, the owner of any NFT can be verified on the blockchain, which makes trading digital assets far more secure.
Pretty much any digital asset can be issued as an NFT, including virtual houses and land, clothing for your avatar, works of digital art or music, and all kinds of virtual items. We’ve also seen an increase in phygital goods that link NFTs to real-world products. Apparel you buy in a store could come with a digitally wearable counterpart you can show off in the Metaverse.
Why We Need Crypto in the Metaverse
The aforementioned advantages are also applicable to Metaverse currency. Most games have a unique currency for purchasing items and experiences, but you can’t pay with bottle caps in a game that runs on a gold coin economy. This is where cryptocurrency can make your online life easier. Again, the transparency of blockchain makes trading inherently more secure and fair for users. Plus, the interoperable elements would also allow you to access your crypto wallet across different virtual worlds.
Your crypto wallet would hold everything from your cryptocurrency to your virtual kicks to your Blood-forged Battleaxe of Chaos. No matter where you end up, your assets remain secure, verifiable, and accessible (although some virtual worlds may enforce a “no battleaxe” policy). Just like you carry your ID in your real wallet, your crypto wallet can also be connected to your identity. This means it would even be possible to facilitate transactions that require legal verification. So users could even purchase a real car or property, and operators can control age-restricted areas of the Metaverse.
The best part? There’s no need to remember different passwords for different platforms…
Industry Use Cases for Metaverse Technology
If we’re aiming for mass adoption of the Metaverse, one important fact to keep in mind is that the average user doesn’t really care about the tech behind their online experiences. They are likely to simply choose the platform that is easy to use and has the most diverse functions. Kind of like how people shop on Amazon since it has everything you could possibly need in one place. While technically this could be achieved if one company created one all-encompassing Metaverse, using blockchain and NFT technology would allow diverse decentralized spaces to interact and connect with each other for all kinds of purposes. Here are just a few examples of developments we have been seeing:
- Gaming: the gaming industry will likely make the smoothest transition to Metaverse platforms since users are sufficiently tech-savvy. Players will be able to engage in features beyond linear storytelling and fixed rules through P2E games. These mechanics allow users to earn tokens and trade assets with other players to make a profit. We also expect that AR and VR may become more prevalent in Metaverse gaming, but it could take some time before we see this make waves in the mass markets.
- Socializing: if you want to socialize without actually having to leave your house, Metaverse events might be for you. They’re easy to organize, require zero travel expenses, and nobody will find out that you dance like a dad. While we don’t recommend giving up real friends and vitamin D entirely, things like conferences or networking events could effectively utilize the Metaverse to make it easier for busy people around the world to attend.
- Education: after remote working and learning took over during the COVID-19 years, there has been talk about using the Metaverse to support education and training programs across various sectors. That’s not to say your math teacher is about to be banished to the virtual realm. Rather, for companies that have offices in different locations, training and orientations could be held in the Metaverse. We imagine this may be more engaging than a dry Zoom call.
- Shopping: the reason many brands are jumping on board the Metaverse is the potential when it comes to retail. Most of us already shop online, but shopping in the Metaverse could come with some extra useful features such as providing accurate 3D models of products, phygital items with real and virtual counterparts, and unique or memorable customer experiences.
Trends to Watch in 2023
With all that in mind, here are a few Metaverse trends that we think will be on the rise in 2023.
- Increased integration with the physical world: currently, to get more people interested in the Metaverse, some kind of connection to the real world needs to be present. For example, gifting a free virtual item with a physical purchase could motivate new users to go check out Metaverse platforms.
- More people using avatars: in some video games, creating your avatar is more fun than the actual gameplay. If the aesthetics are appealing and there is a sufficient variety of customization options, we think many people will get on board with having an avatar to represent their online persona.
- Virtual influencers: this trend is already somewhat visible with the rise of Vtubers. Brands looking to entice customers to their Metaverse stores may turn either to real influencers with a virtual presence, or to purely virtual influencers that can help spread the word. They may also create or adapt their own mascots to become ambassadors that can interact with audiences and promote products in the virtual realm (take a look at Barbie’s Instagram page to see what we mean).
- Growth in blockchain and AR gaming: right now blockchain games are not high enough in terms of quality to compare to existing PC and console games. However, blockchain does solve a lot of the pain points faced by gamers, and Metaverse-like game worlds such as Fortnite or Roblox already have huge user bases. We expect to see blockchain tech slowly integrated with online worlds, as well as increasing demand for AR or Metaverse platforms with gaming functions.
- Metaverse education and training: as we mentioned, companies could enhance remote training and learning with reliable Metaverse platforms. If you don’t want to travel across the country to attend a conference, why not suggest hosting a Metaverse event? The downside is that this relies heavily on company resources and familiarity with tech to run smoothly. If your boss still struggles with Zoom meetings, Metaverse events might fry their brain.
Do you agree with our predictions?
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