What are the technologies enabling a blockchain based Metaverse? In this article we cover the main technologies that provide the Metaverse with its needed decentralized infrastructure.
Blockchain technology implements a powerful combination of three now popular concepts: cryptography, peer-to-peer networking, and game theory. These are foundational to the Metaverse ecosystem.
This technology provides a secure and ubiquitous mechanism to encapsulate information. It enables data to be shared globally in a highly trusted and accessible way uncontrolled by intermediaries or other third parties.
The trusted and resilient nature of blockchain makes it an ideal mechanism to support the exchange of value, as we have seen with coin tokens such as Bitcoin.
The specific and unique, non-fungible nature of NFTs adds a whole new dimension of opportunity and value to blockchain technology by enabling individual associations between physical and virtual entities, between objects and their data.
The potential for blockchain-based ID certification systems (digital twinning) will accelerate the provision and adoption of new media, commercial, cultural, financial, and governmental services.
NFTs can replace our keys, ID cards, licenses, passports, and every form of validation and verification that we currently consider essential to our daily lives. Using the smart contract features supported by blockchain, NFTs also allow conditions of ownership, privacy, access, use, and modification to be codified and enacted automatically.
NFTs can be used to label every conceivable physical and digital thing uniquely and control how they interact digitally. From ownership of digital and physical assets to property ownership that transfers automatically on the fulfillment of predefined conditions. The possibilities enabled by NFTs are almost limitless.
As the potential of NFTs is realized, we expect to see holistic solutions that allow us to transfer assets worldwide and travel freely without the need for third-party centralized platforms or apps regulating our ownership or paper certifications.
NFTs facilitate the virtual world as well. They have a crucial role in the construction of the Metaverse, serving as the trusted building blocks needed to define and maintain the integrity of the virtual world.
Cryptocurrencies also have a pivotal role to play. Where NFTs describe a unique thing, cryptocurrencies provide the means for equivalence and each change of value. Each NFT is different and not interchangeable with other NFTs; it has its specific value, whereas crypto provides the standard currency for ascribing worth and transferring value.
Existing virtual environments have been using digital tokens to reward participants such as developers and players for some time. They now use crypto as a form of payment for services and activities.
For example, participation in Decentraland requires using its token (MANA). Other examples of significant Metaverse environments with proprietary cryptocurrencies include Sandbox (SAND) and Enjin (ENJ).
Immersive technologies allow us to relate experience digitally by immersing in a virtual world, augmenting our physical world experience, or combining the two to extend the scope and depth of our reality.
What is Augmented Reality?
Augmented reality (AR) superimposes computer-generated images and data on a user’s view of the real world, providing a composite view.
AR provides an interactive experience of a real-world environment where the objects in the real world are enhanced by computer-generated information, sometimes across multiple sensory modalities, including visual, auditory, haptic, somatosensory and olfactory.
The primary value of AR is how components of the digital world blend into a person’s perception of the real world, not as a simple display of data but through the integration of immersive sensations, which are perceived as natural parts of an environment, adding to our understanding and experience of it.
What is Virtual Reality?
Virtual reality (VR) is a wholly simulated experience, which may be similar to or entirely different from the real world. Applications of VR include entertainment (particularly video games), education (such as medical or military training) and business (such as virtual meetings).
Currently, VR systems use either headsets or multi-projected environments to generate realistic images, sounds and other sensations that simulate a user’s physical presence in a virtual environment. A person using VR equipment can sense, explore and interact with virtual features and other users in an artificial environment.
3D technology is an emerging sector that is being embraced by businesses to simplify the working process and improve online experiences such as shopping. 3D technologies include modeling, visualization, display, printing and reconstruction.
3D reconstruction helps create realistic and natural-looking virtual spaces. 3D cameras allow us to take our physical world online by rendering accurate 3D photorealistic models of buildings, physical locations, and objects. The 3D spatial data and 4K HD photography are then passed to computers to process and generate a replica in a virtual world.
Artificial Intelligence (AI) provides the adaptive and self-leaning, automated computing power needed for creating, maintaining and evolving accurate and increasingly realistic virtual environments.
AI supports the creation of the environment and the experience. It helps generate the artificial context of a virtual world, the digital twining within it, the reflection of users (‘players’) as avatars, and the animation of digital humans — non-player characters (NPCs) — in different scenarios designed to react and respond to players’ actions.
AI can also use information to determine actions and create outcomes. With machine learning, historical data can be analyzed to record previous outcomes to a particular circumstance and suggest new ones.
Outputs get better and better as more data and human feedback are ingested. This automation of analysis and response makes possible the scale and speed of processing needed to create a virtual world.
One example is language processing. AI can also cross linguistic divides, breaking down languages such as English into a machine-readable format which can be used to inform further processing. This helps to make virtual environments accessible and relevant to everyone.
AI applications include advanced web search engines (e.g., Google); recommendation systems (used by YouTube, Amazon and Netflix); speech recognition (such as Siri and Alexa), self-driving cars (e.g., Tesla), automated decision-making and competition at the highest level in strategic game systems (such as chess and Go).
AI can assist in human-computer interactions (HCI). When you put on a sophisticated, AI-enabled VR headset, its sensors will be able to read and predict your electrical and muscular patterns to know precisely how you would want to move inside the Metaverse.
AI can help recreate a sense of touch in VR. It can also aid in voice-enabled navigation, so you can interact with virtual objects without using hand controllers.
The imagination has become reality within a plethora of digital environments. These are becoming ever more sophisticated and realistic, accurately reflecting reality and manifesting our thoughts.
This is made possible by a confluence of critical technologies: blockchain, which decentralizes control and enables tokens; NFTs, which allow digital twinning and representation of unique physical and virtual objects in the virtual world; cryptocurrencies which will enable an exchange of value; AR and VR which help us to see more in the physical world, immerse ourselves more deeply in the virtual one and merge the two; AI which provides the automated computing to generate realist environments and interactions.
These are early days. Many different environments have developed in isolation. These are now opening up and integrating into a collective Metaverse. How it will shaped the world is yet to be seen.
This article is extracted from the book “Metaverse NFTs Uprising: The Ultimate Guide” by Dinis Guarda, in collaboration with a Ztudium team of writers. This “Guide to the Metaverse” Series is specifically created for FreedomX: the innovative, utopian Metaverse-based marketplace.