Entering the Metaverse: Rise of the Decentralised Web
"This Metaverse is going to be far more pervasive and powerful than anything else. If one central company gains control of this, they will become more powerful than any government and be a god on Earth."
A powerful quote by Epic Games CEO Tim Sweeney as it breathes a lot of truth to what we are seeing develop in the past year surrounding the buzzword, metaverse. If the last century represented an era of mass production and the rise of the Internet, the 21st century may just be known for the creation and expansion of the virtual world or Metaverse, that promises to be more immersive, interactive, and collaborative than what the Internet has accomplished so far.
It is clear that the underlying tech that has emerged as the framework for the decentralised open metaverse is blockchain and that has allowed rapid growth of nascent spaces within this short time span. Thus, creating a sustainable ecosystem for all of its players. While it would not be too far-fetched to assume that the Metaverse will impact traditional jobs or activities that are pretty much standard fare today, its impact on society and how humans interact with each other will be incredibly profound.
Think of it this way, the current way of interacting on Web2 (the present internet) is by going through a centralised entity and signing in (Google, Facebook) thus creating a lack of interoperability and data vulnerabilities as well as data mining issues. Web3 (open metaverse) on the other hand puts all your data on your digital wallet which is thus used to sign in to all decentralised apps thus making it interoperable and secure. Imagine all your in-game items able to be used on different games, your online avatar is usable on multiple platforms, a significant change in the way we operate right now.
When the COVID-19 pandemic raged across the world and grounded economies, it was the Internet and the resulting Work from Home (WFH) technology aids that helped companies stay afloat, and arguably, even expand rapidly. Various sectors like education have radically changed post-pandemic and have become more technology-intensive today.
The Metaverse will potentially alter these sectors even further by introducing virtual reality (VR) based wearables that will introduce its users to an alternate virtual world from the confines of their homes. People will be able to interact with each other without the need to undergo long commutes, breathe in polluted air or even dress up for different occasions. Children will be able to study various subjects and modules at their own pace and expand their horizons beyond what is currently possible with traditional syllabi.
Post-work routines like watching movies or social interactions with friends will have their alternatives in the virtual world without the hassles involved in the physical world. In short, the possibilities with the Metaverse are endless.
But as is with every ecosystem, the functioning of the metaverse will highly depend on how easy it is for people to transact in. This is where cryptocurrencies fit in and have already set the ball rolling with various projects utilizing them to facilitate real-world and digital transactions. Moreover, with the ability to seamlessly convert from fiat currencies to cryptocurrencies, people will be able to switch between the physical world and the Metaverse with relative ease.
Consumers will be able to purchase digital avatars, virtual land and even throw a party for loved ones by using crypto tokens issued by entities facilitating these virtual interactions. Artists will be able to perform in the Metaverse, get paid in cryptocurrencies, and exchange those earnings for goods to subsist in the physical world. The expansion of the Metaverse will in turn expand the value unlocked and potentially lead to a rapid expansion of the global economy too.
Kelly LeValley Hunt, CEO of Mint Gold Dust says, “Mint Gold Dust has created not only an NFT platform but an entire complementary ecosystem where an artist can mint their creations that we call “Gold Dust” and Geo Drop-in AR form around the globe. A collector can connect their wallet and geo drop their collection to show around the world. We see NFTs for physical pieces in the Phygital Space very important for wearables but a new thought would be ARTourism where a tour guide can tell you about Art, Architecture, even History through a GeoDropped NFT so it’s no longer about wearables. It’s about the emergence of reality and virtual reality, technology and education.”
The metaverse has become the next natural progression for the way people interact digitally and the possibilities are endless – There are options like the Sandbox, which is for the creative minds and gamers that want to build experiences; there is also a Decentraland, which is becoming a hub for all sorts of events. Then, you've got Axie Infinity, and Starl, which are two completely different models and platforms, yet equally thriving in that digital space. The pandemic has put this progression in overdrive, as almost everyone used to working in the office has been obliged to adapt to working remotely and digitally. It is only a matter of time before those people begin spending more of their time outside of work inside the metaverse.
Today we already have a nascent version of the Metaverse existing with digital goods like Non-Fungible Tokens (NFTs) representing popular art and digital memorabilia already being lapped up by investors and crypto fans alike. With major players like Facebook, or Meta as it’s known now, entering this space and confidently signalling that the Metaverse to be the new future, it is only a matter of time before we see other entities following suit leading to an exponential expansion of the boundaries of the Metaverse and unlocking vast volumes of value hitherto unknown to consumers and investors alike.