Imagine enjoying a Sunset on your favourite beach with cool wind blowing and coconut trees around. You, my dear friend, are holding the world’s best wine. Want more? Well, you are flaunting your six-pack abs and those broad rounded shoulders. Happy? Nope? You can add anything or anyone to this scene, it’s restricted only by your imagination. This day is not far, at least for your digital avatar. Welcome to Metaverse!
Metaverse is one word that has been buzzing around the world! People have been sharing their share of thoughts about the whole idea and how it will change everything.
Two major players: Microsoft & Facebook of today’s tech industry are here to make their claims. However, Metaverse is not a new concept. In fact, there are metaverses in the game universes of Fortnite, Roblox, and Minecraft. We have seen movies with a 3D virtual world, where players play in avatars in a different world. As the metaverse would expand! it would be another alternative to our current world.
The hype started back again when Mark Zuckerberg created a new parent company, Meta. He had a lot of faith in the concept of the metaverse. He wants to make it a reality!
But, how is it doing to change everything? Let’s get to know about it.
What is Metaverse?
The term metaverse is an online virtual world using Virtual Reality (VR) & Augmented Reality (AR)! Full of avatars, videos & other means to meet/greet with others. Metaverse would be a hyper-interactive alternate universe to our current world.
The same concept here applies to different game universes such as Minecraft, Fortnite. Just to add, there’s a game that comes closest to real-life “second life”, where you can live like a different character in a virtual universe.
As fascinating it may seem, but the concept of metaverses goes back to 1992. When Neal Stephenson shared the term “metaverse” in the novel Snow Crash. Over time, there are different types of virtual universes in the movie & the media. One of the recent examples would be Ready Player One! A 2018 movie about a metaverse-based game.
What’s more to come?
Even though the concept of the metaverse is something that we have seen regularly in movies & books. It started gaining back a lot of hype when Mark Zuckerberg mentioned metaverse would take about 10 years to implement.
10 years more before we can start having a complete metaverse. But, some aspects of the metaverse exist already!
Today, we can experience ultrafast broadband speeds, VR headsets, and always-on online worlds running. Even though they might not be accessible to everyone. These aspects of the metaverse have been around for a while now.
What the future Metaverse has to offer?
Different companies have a different vision for the metaverse. Here are some corporations behind the metaverse:
In 2014, Meta(formerly Facebook) acquired Oculus( A VR headset development company). Using the technology Meta aims to use the VR technology to create a virtual world. Full of avatars for people to connect for work, travel, play & whatever we can do in real life. Over time, Mark Zuckerberg has shown a lot of interest in the metaverse. He believes that it might change the way of the internet. He shares that it would be a more immersive & embodied form of the internet. Where you can have a look & experience the entire metaverse.
Microsoft is focused on extended reality applications using Microsoft Mesh platform combining both AR and VR. Recently, Microsoft unveiled to use mixed reality holograms & virtual avatars to the Microsoft teams in 2022. Also, they have planned to create a 3D virtual connected space for retail & workplaces. Microsoft is already working with the U.S. Army on an AR Hololens 2 headsets for all soldiers for training. For gaming, they use Xbox Live that connects millions of video game players across the globe.
Epic games are one of the biggest online game stores worldwide, and they have been investing in the metaverse. They have held Fortnite virtual events along with Ariana Grande, Travis Scott. They also recreated the ”I have a dream” speech of Martin Luther King from 1963. Also, they have been involved in the creation of photorealistic digital humans with the Metahuman creators looking to create digital avatars. More precisely a doppelganger in the open-world games.
More than a social network
With Zuckerberg’s recent announcement about Meta! People have been calling it another social network.
But, the metaverse is going to be more than a social network! It is going to change how people will meet, greet, play and work together. Here are some of the practical applications of Metaverse and how it will change everything.
Metaverse will completely change how people shop online. It would lead to cost reductions & decrease the carbon footprint of the eCommerce industry. Along with this, the metaverse would create new opportunities for selling digital goods. Sellers can showcase their products online in 3D, and make their decision to buy a product. This will give the products more eyeballs & allow people to sell online.
Workforce Training & Management
Metaverse will bring a revolution in workforce training and management. Businesses that require complex technology/machinery need to train their resources which takes a lot of time & money. But, this can be simplified using training and resources. As a result, a lot of organizations have started using virtual/augmented reality to provide a real-time environment for the training of the workforce. This will also reduce a lot of costs. Businesses have to create a step-by-step book for all operations. This increases productivity, training quality and reduces costs at the same time.
Marketing and sales will have more personalization in the metaverse. Other than eCommerce, clients usually like to meet sales representatives in person. With metaverse, it will become easier for the customers to interact with their clients. This involves frequent travelling expenses incurred by the service provider. But, by using a VR headsets! The sales representative can attend meetings with their clients without travelling expenses.
Apart from sales, marketing and advertising will change! It will focus more on the individuals rather than the platforms. The metaverse will give the individuals an opportunity to create their advertising campaigns. Add personalization without relying on specific platforms such as Google Ads, Facebook Ads, Bing Ads, etc.
All meetings are done one on one in the legal industry. But with the development of the metaverse, there would be no need for that! Even though an online meeting is an available option right now. The metaverse will change everything. It will change how the business transacts. Also, for legal meetings, people prefer to meet one on one, and many do not prefer online meetings. But, with metaverse, they can meet & see each other in person.
Although cryptocurrencies are already on the rise due to security, and authenticity backed the blockchain technology. The metaverse will further increase its application in the real world.
The metaverse has infinite possibilities! It is the extension of the real world and does not limit any physical spaces of our world. All real-world events can be hosted on the metaverse. For example, artists can host their art shows, people can play together, trade can be done in the metaverse in terms of cryptocurrency.
This is something that organizations have already started to implement around the world. As explained before, big corporations like Epic Games, Microsoft, and Facebook are aiming to create their metaverse with distinct properties.
Role of Cryptocurrency in Metaverse
We discussed about Metaverse going to be a digital replica of the real world. Which means you can travel, attend meetings, buy and sell things in the Metaverse itself. But how will you pay for these products & services? The answer is Cryptocurrencies.
Lately, Cryptocurrencies are being accepted as alternatives to Fiat payments. Many vendors have started accepting or are contemplating to accept Cryptocurrencies alongwith Fiat currencies including gigantic names like Tesla and Amazon.
Cryptocurrencies and NFTs have the potential to become the official currency of the metaverse. All thanks to the safety and security features of Blockchain technology. As the metaverse grows bigger! there would be more people who would like to transact through cryptocurrencies & NFTs.
If you are new to cryptocurrencies, I would like to share something with you that may come in as a surprise. There are many Metaverse projects that already exist in Cryptocurrencies. Decentraland, Axie Infinity, Sandbox, Gaia Everworld, Velhalla etc.
These are cryptocurrency metaverse games. Cryptocurrency games have high scalability due to their blockchain technology they are built on.
Let’s take a few examples of these well-planned metaverses.
Dencentraland is one of the most planned & popular metaverses today. After its launch in 2016, there is a steady increase in its further development.
It is a metaverse built around blockchain technology. As the name suggests “Decentraland” is a completely decentralized community. The MANA Cryptocurrency plays a vital role here, where the currency holders are allowed to vote on the platform. There is also an active user of NFTs that represent & signify the ownership of the in-world items such as clothes, virtual real estate, etc.
There is already a community built around Decentraland, and there are brands who have already started to market/advertise their products on the platform.
Selling and purchasing of NFTs are done in terms of LAND cryptocurrency. The economy is decentralized and runs on MANA & LAND cryptocurrencies. Here the MANA cryptocurrency is for voting rights and LAND is for acquiring digital assets in the metaverse.
Recently, a patch of Virtual real estate was sold on Decentraland for a staggering $2.4 Million. Can you even imagine that?
Now let’s talk a bit about Axie Infinity
Axie Infinity is a metaverse game that has popularized NFTs as well. The concept of the games including the graphics is fairly simple. What differs is its ability to tie up gamers by paying them.
Everyone has played games in their childhood unlike me who still enjoys them. Take Super Mario for example. After hours of practice, Mario dying countless times, earning loads of coins, getting to the castle before time runs out and finally saving the princess. The game is Over!!!!
Well that is what we have seen in all the games that we have played. We play to win ! We settle down with the satisfaction derived after spending hours playing the game. And that’s it!
Play to Earn metaverse
Axie Infinity is a Play to Earn game. The more you play and win, the more you Earn. It stormed the cryptocurrency world, in fact, more specifically gamers in the Philippines. The game got very famous in the Philippines because it helped young gamers receive rewards which were more than the adult per capita income in the country. Many left their jobs to play and did better at the game.
The concept as mentioned is simple. You play a pet fighting game. You nourish the pets and gain potion to receive cryptocurrency. Further, since this cryptocurrency has a value in cryptocurrency market, you can exchange it for Fiat. The cherry on the cake is these pets that you upgraded can be sold as NFT in the market.
You earn while you play and then can sell your pets at the marketplace as NFT. Axie has the worlds largest and most valuable collection of NFTs. I wish that was the case with coins in SuperMario as well. Now imagine how much of our money got stuck in the plastic console :D.
GAIA Everworld & Velhalla
Though the cryptocurrency world is still in its infancy, there are remarkable developments that are taking place. It is ever-evolving. When we spoke about Axie Infinity in the paragraphs supra, I mentioned that the graphics are simple. I am sure, you would have paused there and said “Nah, doesn’t look attractive”.
Let me get you ready for the two metaverses that have exceptional graphics, comparable to the recent games that you have played. These are GAIA Everworld and Velhalla. Firstly, the graphics are amazing. Secondly, they are built with Blockchain Technology. And thirdly, you can earn while playing the games.
This clearly shows what cryptocurrency & metaverse can bring together endless opportunities for the virtual world.
Concerns about MetaVerse
Apart from the numerous advantages that Metaverse bring to us as discussed above. There are certain drawbacks that experts feel can affect humanity at large.
Privacy & Security of Users
Social media started like a multiple vendor platform, with several social media networks. If we closely see it now, few companies practically own the whole social media or at least most of it. What started as a competitive environment initially has become a monopoly. It is ruled by few Capitalist who want to profit from it one way or the other.
Likewise, there are a number of companies jumping and working on Metaverses. Which in probability will fall into the hands of a few.
The privacy and security breach in the case of Facebook has not escaped anyone’s eyes. Metaverse is a promising technology and I hope the same does happen with it.
Mental State of Users
I will yet again refer to Social Media as a base example here. We have all seen how Social media has affected people. The negative effects of Social networks have been iterated in the documentary called “Social Dilemma”. It is quite clear that social media can influence human minds. We have also seen a number of hate speeches and negative grapevine that has affected integrity up to the National Security Level.
Metaverse can pose a similar challenge. Though, it is unlike social media but can still influence ideologies of people.
Further, the major risk that Metaverse poses is that since people are doing everything in the Metaverse. It may make them drift from the reality. This is a serious condition where an individual is happy spending time in the metaverse rather than stepping into the real world. As scary as it sounds, Metaverse poses a serious Mental State concern.
Metaverse will revolutionize how humans will interact with each other in the coming years. With major tech giants paying metaverse its due attention signals towards its bright future!
There are challenges in the development of a full-fledged Metaverse. It will take time but surely the world is looking forward to this advancement which will open doors for various new opportunities.
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