The Metaverse has been popping up more frequently on headlines in recent weeks after companies like Facebook and Disney were linked with it. Facebook aptly changed their name to Meta which caused big headlines. The Metaverse is likely going to be the foundation of our future, where we can coexist in an alternate universe, living the life we desire with anyone else anywhere in the world. So what is it?
The Metaverse is a hypothesised iteration of the internet, supporting persistent online 3D virtual environments through conventional personal computing, as well as virtual, 3D holographic avatars and augmented reality headsets. Metaverses, in some limited form, are already present on platforms like VRChat or video games like Second Life. But this is still in an early stage. As it expands, it will offer a hyper-real alternative world to coexist in. “Right now, we are on the cusp of the next internet,” said Matthew Ball, managing partner of venture capital firm Epyllion Industries, in February 2021.
What are recent advances for Metaverse? As mentioned before, Facebook rebranded under the name Meta. This is no coincidence. Meta plan to make significant investments into the space. They see a world where digital avatars can connect through work, travel and entertainment using VR technology. Mark Zuckerberg believes this can replace the internet as we know it. “The next platform and medium will be even more immersive and embodied internet where you’re in the experience, not just looking at it, and we call this the metaverse.”
When will we see it develop on a large scale?
Regarding a time scale of when we would be fully emerged within a Metaverse, Zuckerberg said it could take five to 10 years before key features become mainstream. However, individual elements are already in place to build from, such as ultra-fast internet speeds as seen through the latest 5G expansions. Other aspects such as VR has been around for sometime, but the technology is rapidly advancing and proving more immersive.
Another big name, Microsoft, is in the works to implement features of this technology. They will do this via their XR (extended reality) technology. This combines the real world with augmented reality and virtual reality. Microsoft plans to implement this into their popular Microsoft Teams application in 2022.
Further purposes for it
Also in the works for next year from Microsoft: explorable 3D virtual connected spaces for retail and workplaces. The U.S. Army is currently working with Microsoft on an AR Hololens 2 headset for soldiers to train, rehearse and fight in. Beyond that, Xbox Live already connects millions of gamers across the globe, priming Microsoft to benefit from the social side of the Metaverse.
The Metaverse will not stop at social gaming through an immersive experience, such has been recently seen on the popular game Fortnite who have hosted several virtual reality concerts. Metaverse will incorporate all aspects of life from workplaces, education and social activities.
Crypto and blockchain has a part to play
One stand out of 2021 is crypto and blockchains boom into mainstream. Crypto has acted as popular investments for many as they look to buy early into the securities. Blockchain has been in the works for many years, but this year has become one that made it a popular topic. It is a system of recording information in a way that makes it difficult or impossible to change, hack, or cheat. A blockchain is essentially a digital ledger of transactions that is duplicated and distributed across the entire network of computer systems on the blockchain. So what part will it have in the Metaverse?
Crypto will be used as the currency in these worlds and blockchain will be the technology used to track and log all transactions as well as the technology used to build and design. Recently we have seen a boom in NFTs (non-fungible tokens). NFTs can be pieces of art, sports trading cards, in-game items and much more. Fundamentally, they are unique digital items, where the ownership and other information is coded into the token. Prices have surged. From an outsider view, NFTs may seem nothing more than a JPEG. However, they are selling for millions of dollars.
NFTs have the ability to be displayed in the Metaverse. They will also allow the opportunity to buy land in each Metaverse. A recent headline stated that “a patch of virtual real estate in the online world Decentraland (CRYPTO:MANA) sold for a record $2.4M.” Yes, million.
That is our rundown of what the Metaverse is and what it can achieve in the future. The opportunity for developers, cryptos and blockchain to financially benefit from this in the future is still yet to be fully realised. Is there a way that you can profit from it too?