Metaverse vs. Microverse: choosing the best path for web evolution
As the end of 2021 draws nearer, the world is suddenly psyched about Metaverse. Mark Zukerberg recently announced that he plans to hire 10k developers to build Metaverse over the next five years. He then announced Facebook’s rebranding to Meta. What is the world coming to?
A centralized corporate model seems like the go-to choice for creating an enterprise. But when it comes to prospective community spaces, it is doubtful that Metaverse can be built or owned by a corporation.
We already put our arguments forward in the Metaverse 2021: A CyberSpace Odyssey post. In short, we dispute the possibility of building a long-term mass community around an artificially created virtual world. At the same time, it is quite possible to construct a booming virtual world for the existing community.
But let’s move on to why Microverses will be of critical importance for the emerging virtual universes.
So how do Microverses compare to Metaverses?
Metaverse is a big open world, like what Meta (Facebook) is trying to create. Where Metaverse tries to be everything for everyone, Microverse creates a custom miniature world around existing communities, trends, and ideas.
At Party.Space, we support decentralized systems, self-organization, and modern technologies. That’s why we coined the term Microverse — to demonstrate another way for a network to evolve. Each community builds its Microverse. Then, Microverses connect into a shared network to form a Metaverse.
Ultimately, we all know why Zuckerberg is rushing to spearhead the Metaverse trend. And this is not out of great concern for humanity. The first person that manages to centralize control over the “social network of the future” will be in a position to hold considerable power and capital for the next 15–20 years.
The future of the web depends on whichever philosophical and social media evolution model we favor right now.
A brief history of web evolution
To understand the direction that social technologies and the internet, in general, are evolving, let’s take a brief glimpse at the last 30 years of development.
Web 1.0 solved the wants of most website owners 30–40 years ago. People needed a tool that provided them with online access to information at any time. In addition, Web 1.0 completely lifted geographic restrictions on information exchange and featured:
- Static pages.
- Server file system to host website content.
- Unified site structure (layout), consisting of frames and tables.
Web 2.0 became a host for online platforms providing social interactions. Unlike Web 3.0, Web 2.0 applications primarily interact with the end-user. That’s why Web 2.0 is famous for its:
- RSS feeds
- Social networks
- Streaming services
Web 3.0 is also called the Semantic Web. Some key features of the Web 3.0 period include:
- The emergence of “smart search and analysis.” It allows for search bots to understand the meaning of words rather than perceiving them as keywords and numbers.
- Thanks to natural language processing capabilities, robots can distinguish information and provide fast and relevant results.
- Now web access is available on multiple devices, including phones, gaming consoles, smart TVs, etc.
Web 4.0 is just not beginning to emerge. Here are its fundamental differences from previous iterations:
- Web 4.0 features a symbiotic synergy between man and computer. The line between man and robot is blurred.
- The use of AI technology has become commonplace around web apps and websites.
- The internet is transparent. Every action is traceable.
Blockchain projects such as Free TON, Chainlink, and Polkadot contributed to the fast development of Web 4.0. Cryptocurrencies and blockchain have heavily influenced the modern web and its mechanics. Decentralized finance (DeFi), apps (dApps), and non-fungible tokens (NFT) empowered by AI-driven algorithms provide unprecedented possibilities to communities all around the world.
DAO — the cornerstone of Internet 4.0
The modern world fundamentally seeks to transfer control of social interactions over to communities. People are tired of this “game” having double standards for rules, centralized power, and a general lack of transparency in social communications and distribution of benefits. Transparency and equal rights were introduced to the internet with blockchain. Thanks to blockchain, it is now possible to create entirely new organizations that can operate autonomously without cooperation with government regulators.
In 2016, a group of tech enthusiasts invented the first decentralized autonomous organization, or DAO. In simple terms, a DAO is an organization managed by machine code and a specific set of rules. Using smart contracts, the DAO can also work with external information and execute commands without human intervention.
Blockchain stores every rule and record of transactions in the DAO in a completely transparent format. Votes of stakeholders determine rules which are decided through various proposals. Suppose the majority of participants voted for a proposal (or satisfied the network’s rules of consensus). In this case, the proposal has the right to be implemented.
Compare that to “transparency” and corporate governance, run by people like Mark Zuckerberg or Jack Dorsey. Why should we follow the people who have systematically destroyed the faith that communities had in the way consensus was supposed to work over the past decade?
The vision of the future
While DAO is still in its infancy, we already see how powerful this model is for empowering online communities. What is an online community? It is a decentralized group of people gathered around a particular idea or interest. Every online group creates its cultural artifacts — memes, internal language, and content. This is how Discord became so popular as it offers a free space for cultural exchange between online communities.
If we go further, we’ll see that while many of these communities existed as a hobby just a few years ago, some of them transformed into new businesses.
Take the NFT collection Bored Apes Yacht Club, which provides owners franchise rights and creates new brands. Discord is becoming a niche tool for this type of community. BYAC offers its members access to a rather simplistic BYAC club with primitive games and activities.
We see that the future of online communities is a virtual space where group ideals, tastes, economic, and cultural activities come together. We call this place the Microverse.
Why Microverses are a step in the right direction for the future of the web
Today, Metaverse is a general concept that implies an imaginary future land.
- Microverse is a small-scale, community-based Metaverse operating on the rules and tastes of a particular community.
- It is usually governed by a DAO and can be used as an asset of a DAO.
It sounds insane to imagine someone creating one generic virtual space that serves an array of different topics and tastes rather than creating multiple separate hubs. That makes no sense when we think about the transition from Web 2.0 to 4.0.
It is virtually impossible to create a one-size-fits-all online land in terms of both visuals and functionality. The more realistic option would be to create a series of Microverses around existing communities and then use blockchain to connect them. We already have the means to communicate through separate online projects. Now, blockchain allows us to connect web-worlds in terms of governance and economy.
On November 4th, we are launching the first Microverse, built for and around Dogecoin. It’s called Doge Temple (https://dogetemple.io). We created this virtual space for Doge fans. Join us to experience how this Microverse virtual space becomes both a cultural artifact and an economic asset.