What is the Metaverse and Web3.0— How does Blockchain and Metaverse Relate?
Alright. Let’s jump into the Metaverse.
The Metaverse is a trillion dollar market opportunity — Tokens.com
The Metaverse is a virtual world on the internet and blockchain. You have probably heard of virtual reality (VR), Augmented Reality (AR), or Mixed Reality (MR), AI (Artificial Intelligence & machine learning), now the metaverse is all of these combined and more.
What is the Metaverse?
The Metaverse is an immersive virtual world and is useful for just everything. You can work or play there. You can build and play games there, go to a music concert or event and you can chill with friends (like chill with Snoop Dogg in his Sandbox Meta mansion). All this can be experienced by you through a virtual cartoon-like avatar incorporating (the new internet) Web3 technology enabled through blockchain technology (like NFTs and Cryptocurrency).
So, for example in the last NFTs post, we learned that they give people the power to own digital assets, the metaverse allows you to use your NFTs in actual games, or rent them to make (passive income) money from them, besides trading them. As mentioned in the last post, NFTs can be cartoon like avatars, or a digital asset used in blockchain games like Axie Infinity, Sandbox Game, or Decentraland.
You might have heard of Horizon worlds and Meta’s VR headgear that transforms your world into the metaverse, and even allows you to create assets for the Horizon worlds metaverse. Other virtual worlds or metaverses include Decentraland, the Sandbox Game, Axie Inifinity among others.
Almost every big company you might know from Amazon, Google, NVidia, Microsoft, Apple, and the like, have either built a metaverse of their own, or bought virtual land in one of the metaverses like Decentraland and Sandbox.
Introduction to the Metaverse
Before we jump into the metaverse though, It is very easy to think that the term metaverse is new, well, it isn’t.
A sci-fi author Neal Stephenson mentioned the term ‘metaverse’ back in 1992 in his science fiction novel Snow Crash, where humans, as programmable avatars, interact with each other in a three-dimensional virtual space.
History of web revolution of web3
Web1.0 — This was a version of the (Read Only) web that couldn’t allow interaction with content. All there was were pages to read from. You couldn’t write comments or upload photos. As in create social posts like Twitter lets you do right now. It was the most reliable web back in 90s. Even though most companies didn’t really understand the benefits of having a website.
The web was simply made of basic HTML. HTML is the programming and scripting language that the web is built on among other languages like PHP. We must mention, the internet was a bit slow at the time, not to mention our devices weren’t that powerful.
Web2.0 — Then Web2.0 came in with more power and allowed people to basically read and write. People were actually able to comment on articles, the Amazon website started the customer ratings, as well as Facebook and Twitter allowed people to upload and share photos. Web2.0 actually allowed what we call user-generated content.
On a side note, you don’t have to, but if you want to learn programming, you can checkout online learning platforms like YouTube, LinkedIn Learning, Udemy, Udacity, Discover by Teachable, Codecademy, among others.
Web 3.0 — So far we have been talking about big companies making names on the internet. Web 3.0 came in a different style and pattern. It actually allows you to own part of the internet. It doesn’t matter where you stay as long as you have access to the internet and a crypto wallet. This is because Web 3.0 allows Decentralization. And cryptos run on Blockchain, a decentralized network run by different powerful computers around the world.
Tip: Crypto wallets are free to create. They help you store, buy and sell digital assets that you can use in blockchain video games, the physical and virtual worlds (metaverses like Sandbox, or Decentraland). Wallets like Metamask, Trust Wallet, Coinbase, Binance Chain, among others are built for the metaverse.
With Web 3.0, you only need a crypto wallet to get access to various services on blockchain and virtual internet space. Also, you don’t have to get permission from a third party to send money or start a Casino on your virtual land in the metaverse.
What are Tokens? — Even better, there is something called tokens which is like shares or stocks in companies. Tokens can also refer to digital assets like Bitcoin (BTC), Ethereum (ETH), Axie Infinity (AXS), Sandbox ($SAND) even NFTs are token types. Now in decentralized organization (DAO) like Decentraland where the native currency is (MANA) token, you can make decisions on the board meeting depending on how many tokens you hold.
The Web 3.0 also makes the virtual world accessible to everyone even without having to wear VR googles like Hive, or the Oculus Quest. Now with faster and more accessible internet, you can access the metaverse on your PC, or mobile phone. Again, Blockchain, NFTs and cryptos make this possible.
How to make Money in the Metaverse. The Financial & Economics Blockchain Adoption in the Metaverse
The metaverse is across all sectors of the economy, from the finance, fashion, tech industry, to the gaming and entertainment world. Beeple became rich overnight from NFTs and Snoop Dogg now owns his own NFT music record label alongside a virtual land in the Sandbox metaverse on Opensea.
- Well, to start with, you can invest in blockchain metaverse projects, one of the largest and most successful being Axie Infinity, The Sandbox Game, along side Decentraland among others that have opened a whole new world for accessing completely new, innovative, and diverse marketing opportunities to start ups and huge companies like Epic, and Theta.tv
- You might say, well Mugabi, I don’t have money to invest. Sure, No problem, there are other ways to make money in the metaverse, you can create for the metaverse and sell your goods or digital assets on open marketplaces like OpenSea, Binance, Foundation, Rarible, Niftygateway, Decentraland, and the Sandbox among other NFT marketplaces.
- You have probably heard of Microsoft, and Facebook building metaverses where teams can collaborate and hold virtual real meetings using their own 3D avatars.
- Virtual Tourism is another huge use case where the AR and VR technology is leveraged to create epic virtual experience. Things like these were already in play with Pokeman Go game and the like.
- With the use of 3D Avatars, Colleges and Universities have started using virtual worlds such as Minecraft and Second Life for convocations. If you watched (Mark Zuckerberg) Meta’s demo of the metaverse, you already know what we are talking about here.
Technologies involved in the metaverse
I have to be honest with you, I haven’t entered the metaverse with VR and AR technology, which makes me feel like I am not the only one. Which is why I believe we should talk about the VR, AR and AI technology for a minute.
What is Virtual Reality?
VR (Virtual Reality) is the use of computer technology for creating a simulated environment. If you want to fake a Golf game, VR is your friend. It is a technology that allows you to immerse yourself in a digital world. Companies and countries have continued to leverage VR (Virtual Reality) and adopt protocols to maintain social distancing after the COVID19 outbreak.
Virtual Reality is one of the biggest developments in technology in recent years Consequently, virtual reality (VR) meetings have indeed become a need of the hour in the modern age.
What is Augmented Reality?
AR (Augmented Reality) involves both virtual reality and the physical reality. This technology combines both the physical world and the digital world to simulate an extremely immersive environment.
AR is a revolutionary technology by the year 2023 estimated to be worth $61.4 Billion USD! It is estimated that AR Market will grow to more than $ 198 Billion U.S dollars from a value of $ 3.5 Billion in 2017. That is because the boundaries of AR are not limited to games but it extends to industries such as retail, tourism, fashion, marketing, and entertainment.
What is Mixed Reality
Mixed reality (MR) is the merging of real and virtual worlds to produce new environments and visualizations, where physical and digital objects co-exist and interact in real time.
Difference between AR & VR
Augmented reality is a subcategory of Mixed Reality where physical and virtual worlds meet while Virtual reality only creates an imaginable world and makes it feel real through VR Goggles. Some of Best VR Glasses include Sony PlayStation VR, Oculus Quest, HP Reverb, and Valve index.
What is Artificial Intelligence?
AI (Artificial Intelligence) is technology that allows computers/machines to think and act like human beings or animals. Robots like Cortana, Siri, Sophia mimic human behavior. In fact, most machines are programmed to be more informed and knowledgeable than human beings, like Tesla cars and other electronic vehicles that park or unpack themselves at a tap of a button.
Tools like Google Analytics and Facebook Insights use AI to collect data.
AI makes it easier and faster for businesses and huge companies like Amazon, Google and Facebook among others to make very well informed business decisions based on outputs from cognitive technologies. (Machine data)
By deploying AI technology, businesses can concentrate on the more pressing issues and can also learn more about the sales opportunities by the use of insights to predict customer preferences and offer them better, personalized experience. This hugely saves time and money in the long run by automating and optimizing routine processes and tasks.
Why should I care about the Metaverse? Metaverse Use-cases. What Can we do in the Metaverse?
Economic and Finance
With crypto, the impossible is made possible as Tikka Tiwari would say. Can you imagine a world where financial services like savings, loans, trading, insurance and more are available to anyone in the world with a smartphone and internet? Now you can buy crypto with mobile money without Hussle.
Well, DeFI (Decentralized Finance) makes this possible with the help of blockchain technology.
What is DeFi (Decentralized Finance) — This is a financial system that does not rely on centralized financial institutions, instead they depend on investors who deposit and hold their money with them to run the financial system. For example if I wanted a loan, all I need to do is deposit some money in one of the DeFi projects and they would be glad to give you up to 3–10x your holding. They utilize the blockchain ledger technology like the one used in cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin, Ethereum and Solana among others.
What is Staking? — This is where a large inventory of crypto assets and NFT linked tokens are used as collateral to earn more tokens and rewards for processing blockchain transactions. (also refereed to as proof of stake).
Pro Tip: ETH 2.0 runs on proof of stake. Which means if you want to mine ETH all you do is hold a huge amount of ETH for staking.
The Sandbox and Decentraland as some of the top NFT blockchain-metaverse games, have registered DeFi (Decentralized Finance) Banks in their metaverse.
Business Marketing and Advertising
Tai Lopez has gone as far as creating a token for his Social Media Marketing Agency (SMMA) course, and coins for most of the companies he owns like Knowledge Society token, Radio Shack (RADIO), with his partner Alex Mehr PhD. and the whole REV (Retail Ecommerce Ventures).
Gary Vaynerchuck, co-founder and CEO of VaynerMedia known for his quick adoption of digital platforms, said we will be seeing more branded NFTs as consumers shift more to digital world. He was one of the early adopters of eCommerce back in the early 20th Century. Back when people didn’t believe in buying stuff online. Now people actually prefer buying online than lining up. Gary was also one of the early ones to launch their own NFT collection.
Note: You can find Gary Vee NFTs on Opensea as well as his NFT recommendations on his official website, blog and social media channels.
Just like huge companies like Coca-Cola that launched their first NFT in 2021, Gary is very optimistic about NFTs in general and helps people learn about this technology via his Podcasts, YouTube content and Social media.
Virtual Real Estate in Metaverse
In the metaverse, land is owned inform of a non-fungible token (NFT). That way, the owner can be verified on blockchain explorers like Blockchain.com.
If we were talking about Blockchain alone, we would probably talk about Africa and how they increasingly adopted the technology to help with Real Estate verification to avoid land scandals and other legal issues. You must be familiar with how the blockchain works from our most recent NFTs post, otherwise you need to review this video.
Just like in the real world, Virtual Land in the metaverse allows you to build on it whatever you desire. Like in Snoop Dogg’s Sandbox mansion, you can hold your own parties in the metaverse, or concerts on your virtual land and collect money for tickets on NFT marketplaces.
Social Interactions in Metaverse
When you talk about meetings in the metaverse and social interactions, Microsoft, Nvidia, and Horizon Worlds by Meta cannot be left out.
Horizon Worlds was first announced in September 2019 as a private beta, It has evolved from primarily being a Minecraft-like environment for building games to more of a social platform just as Meta CEO wanted. Mark Zukerberg plans to make the Horizon Worlds more accessible even without the need of Oculus Quest.
Just like with the Sandbox Voxedit and Game maker, Horizon Worlds, with the help of an App, and VR glasses, allows you to create and interact with 3D Virtual objects and even animate them with quick code by just setting already programmed rules.
In August 2021, Meta (Facebook) launched the Horizon Workrooms to reimagine the remote working strategy and remote collaboration in the virtual world given the COVID19 situation all around the physical world.
In December 2021, Meta officially released the Horizon Worlds as a social platform from the beta version. Meta invested over $10m (£7.6m) into a “creator fund” to reward community creators and help build the metaverse that Mark Zuckerberg keeps talking about.
e-commerce in Metaverse
In Decentraland and other blockchain metaverses, you will find things like shopping malls, supermarkets, fashion shows, casinos, and billboards, to boost ecommerce in the virtual worlds.
We must mention, just like anything else in the metaverse, eCommerce is still evolving. But with NFT marketplaces like OpenSea, Binance NFT, Rarible, Foundation, Niftygateway, the Sandbox Marketplace, Decentraland, Axie Infinity, the Horizon Worlds, among other metaverses, eCommerce in the metaverse keeps improving day by day.
In Horizon Worlds, creators can sell their goods and other items at their leisure using the Commerce tab and gizmo while in Create Mode among other Horizon worlds monetization tools.
Meditation classes and events are live in Horizon Worlds, it is worth noting however, that with Horizon Worlds, most of the services and products are only accessed via the Oculus Quest, even though Meta plans on making them accessible even without having to necessarily create a Facebook account.
Gaming in Metaverse
One of the applications of the metaverse and blockchain in action is the gaming industry. As I mentioned earlier, you don’t need to be billionaire to get into the metaverse. All you need is a smart phone, an internet connection and a blockchain crypto wallet.
Take a look for example at the Axie Infinity project, even after the Ronin network hack of more than $500 million, it hasn’t dropped from the best blockchain NFT games being talked about in 2022. Axie Infinity was one of the first NFT games to introduce play to earn using their mobile App, even before they launched the Axie Infinity Origin.
What is Free-to-Play and Play-to-Earn?
The migration of gaming to crypto has led to the birth of many play-to-earn blockchain games. These games actually reward you tokens (for simply playing) that you can convert in into real money. Most of them allow you to use your own characters and you can trade them or rent them to make passive income.
Examples of Play-to-earn games include; Crypto kitties, Axie Infinity, the Sandbox game, Decentraland, Theta Arena, Cryptobites, games you can play on multiple devices in the metaverse. Not to mention Second Life, Illuvium, Roblox, Fortnite, or Sincity.
Amazon, which owns Amazon Web Services, a backbone of the internet, also runs the MMORPG.
You might think that Pop star and songwriter Ariana Grande is the latest musician to perform a series of concerts in the metaverse (inside the hit video game Fortnite). Where millions of gamers watched the virtual gig.
Early 2022, Warner music record label teamed up with The Sandbox to create a virtual performance space. Later, Quavo alongside SecondLive, Innocent cats and BNB smart chain, were in concert in April 2022.
Besides Snoop Dogg’s love for the Sandbox metaverse, Snoop with his BOVR and his NFT music album has proved that the metaverse is ready if your entertainment company is ready for it. Artists like Snoop, Eminem, JayZ, were early investors in the blockchain music and metaverse. Renown fashion giants like Adidas, NFL and Nike got in early to list their NFTs in marketplaces.
Other sectors where the blockchain technology and metaverse apply are travel, personalized avatars, and digital identity.
What is Decentralization, Smart contracts and How do they relate to Blockchain and Metaverse?
Decentralization in the Metaverse
In the decentralization space, more companies are adopting what we call the DAO (Decentralized Autonomous Organizations). these are organizations without a single governance. They are run by teams of people around the world. Earlier we mentioned tokens, when token holders sit for a board meeting, they delegate or choose the next representatives of the specific DAO.
Smart Contracts on Blockchain
Smart contracts are simply programs stored and run on a blockchain with predetermined conditions set to trigger when certain conditions are met. They help execute programs automatically without the intervention of a human. Think of smart contracts as automatic applications on blockchain.
For example if you wanted the fridge to remind you every time milk is almost done. You could write a program for that, but a smart contract goes ahead and orders the milk for you or restocks the fridge for you.
How is Metaverse Related to Blockchain?
As we mentioned earlier, blockchain technology enables people to own their digital assets or NFTs, as well as physical ones. The metaverse enables people to use the digital assets they own in the virtual world. Since we are talking about Metaverse, three good examples where you can use your own NFTs would be the Sandbox game, Axie Infinity, and Decentraland, since they all use the blockchain and metaverse.
By the way, did I mention if you wanted to verify who owns what in the digital world there is a way to do that? Simply visit a block explorer of your choice like Etherscan, Blockchain, Block explorer, Blockchair, Coinmarketcap, btc.com.
Understanding Crypto Tokens and NFTs in the Metaverse
Did you know that some people now use NFTs as a service?
But what are NFTs really? How do NFTs differ from tokens?
Tip: You can learn more about Solidity here.
The Common Types of Tokens
For example you might have heard of ETH or Ethereum and Bitcoin referred to as a token. That’s fine because most of the digital assets can be referred to as tokens. If you remember, we mentioned DeFi (Decentralized Finance), most of the DeFi projects have their own tokens they use in their governance (as a governance token). This governance token is the one that gives token holders the power to make decisions.
MANA for example is the fungible ERC20 cryptocurrency token for the Decentraland metaverse game. MANA is exchanged for LAND. LAND is a non-fungible digital asset run by smart contracts. Each land token includes a record of it’s coordinates. $SAND token is used in Sandbox Game.
You can buy tokens from exchanges like Coinbase, Gemini, or Binance.
Congratulations, if you come this far, you deserve it. You are ahead of many.
This of course does not answer all your blockchain and metaverse questions, but I believe it can get you started with your mansion in the metaverse like Snoop Dogg, launch the next gadget like Samsung, or build your next metaverse game or fashion arena like Yugalabs (makers of CryptoPunks, Bored Ape Yatch club and Meebits). Whether you are an architect, bartender, entrepreneur or investor, there is a place for you in the metaverse.
The first time I met a real Twitter friend was in the Sandbox game metaverse.
So let’s meet in the metaverse.
Leave a comment about your first time experience in the metaverse.