Understanding the Metaverse
— Here’s What You Need to Know
In this ever-changing world, who knows what the next innovation will be? Technology is the key element that drives innovation. It holds immense potential to transform our lives dramatically. From radio and television to computers and mobiles — technological innovation has led to the digital revolution.
Web 1.0 introduced was a read-only format of the internet, wherein websites weren’t interactive. A decade later, Web 2.0 evolved with features like new file formats — text, images, video, and PDFs that were transferable over the internet. This iteration brought a novel experience to the users, paving the way for social media, smartphones, etc. Web 3.0, the most recent iteration of the internet, is a massive transformation over the earlier versions.
Web 3.0 operates on the foundation of blockchains — the force that powers cryptocurrency and decentralized apps (Dapps). The most powerful functionality that evolved from Web 3.0, involving augmented reality (AR), Virtual Reality (VR), videos, 3D graphics, and more, is The Metaverse. This could be an absolute game-changer, transforming the way businesses work.
Understanding Metaverse –
Metaverse is the next big thing to look for in the blockchain era. It is essentially a concept combining technologies such as social media, online gaming, AR, VR, videos, and cryptocurrencies. In layman’s language, it is a virtual world where people interact, shop, work, play, and do all that is possible in the real world. It is founded on the idea of blurring the boundaries between the physical world and the virtual world.
It aims to create immersive virtual experiences so that people experience reality in a virtual space. This virtual world will contain avatars, digital characters, and games. In 1992, in his novel ‘Snow Crash,’ Neal Stephenson wrote about the term ‘Metaverse.’ It was a world that resonated with the real world. However, no one ever could have imagined these strange ideas could come true.
Though some industry experts say that metaverse is yet to arrive, there are examples illustrating its presence already. Tech giants like Microsoft, Meta, and Apple have already committed to the idea. Microsoft introduced ‘Mesh’ where people would portray their holographic selves to others. Meta, formerly known as Facebook, described the idea as digital avatars of members socializing, playing, chatting, and virtually engaging in various activities.
Companies like Nike, Walmart, and Adidas are busy incorporating this technology in their retail businesses by offering virtual, mesmeric experiences to customers.
Interesting Applications & Projects —
It supports several fantastic applications and innovative, high-end projects. Some fascinating projects include:
- Decentraland — This socially virtual world enables people to meet others at virtual events by playing games and digitally trading objects. It offers its native cryptocurrency token, MANA, to facilitate transactions within its world. Anyone can buy or sell land on Decentraland. It turns the idea of virtual real estate purchases into reality.
- The Sandbox — This is another famous example that is decentralized and user-friendly. It offers exclusive NFT marketplace and gaming technologies and uses its native token, SAND, to create new games.
- Metahero — Metahero provides a 3D scanning and sculpting functionality that enables users to turn their real-world assets into NFTs. It supports 3D printing, scanning, and more. HERO, its native token, is used to pay for scans and royalties.
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Metaverse and NFTs —
The metaverse is, in a way, a virtual or digital replica of the physical world. There are many metaverses. Different organizations are operating on different metaverses or sets of network protocols. The common objective is to give their users an amazing experience that replicates real-world activities like shopping, playing games, etc.
Non-fungible tokens (NFTs) — digital assets stored on the blockchain — would thrive in this space. In a metaverse, where everything is virtual, NFTs offer the only solution to the problem of finding the source of an entity. For example, here, people would interact virtually on various channels. So, instead of their profile pictures, their NFTs could serve as their digital identity. NFTs are digital assets on the blockchain. They make the holder’s identity unique and verified.
Another example could be shopping in a virtual domain. If, for instance, someone purchases real estate in Decentraland. The metaverse can confirm the identity only through NFT. As the underlying technology of both metaverses and NFTs is blockchain, NFTs are the only way to establish proof of origin in this digital arena.
Besides, premium NFTs such as Bored Ape Yacht Club and CryptoPunks collections offer access to prosperous communities in the digital world to privileged users. Select users enjoy exclusive perks such as staking rewards, offline parties, high-end collectibles, etc.
Role of Cryptocurrency —
Metaverse works on Web 3.0, which operates on blockchains and cryptocurrency. Blockchain is a peer-to-peer (P2P) network that is decentralized. It makes payments and transfers possible without the need for intermediaries. That said, cryptocurrency supports it by acting as the payment mode for transactions over the blockchain network.
NFTs have a major role to play in this domain. For example, in the gaming space, NFTs that work on the blockchain to store digital assets such as in-game objects are used and need cryptocurrency to be bought or sold. In the Metaverse, transactions can only be implemented via cryptocurrency as this enables the parties to securely carry out transactions over the blockchain and store their assets in crypto wallets.
Besides, it relies on AR, VR, and such technologies in virtual space. At present, blockchain is the only technology that can connect to a virtual object, even without a central authority. With blockchain, cryptocurrency would invariably become the payment method, which is why it is a crucial component.
In the metaverse, cryptocurrency serves as the medium of exchange or a means to store value. Decentraland’s native token MANA and metaverse The Sandbox’s token SAND act as the engine to fuel all the transactions and payments on these virtual worlds.
However, to use these metaverse tokens, they have to be bought. As it is based on blockchains, the need for funds brings Decentralized Finance (DeFi) into the picture. Through DeFi protocols, these tokens can be easily bought or sold using smart contracts, P2P, etc.
More Stories: The Non-Fungible Token: Here’s What You Need to Know
What Benefits Metaverse brings–
The metaverse is the future. It comes with a bouquet of benefits and takes the digital, immersive experience to the next level. It also offers solutions to various real-world problems. Some of these are listed below:
- It addresses the existing remote working scenario, which is becoming a norm. Remote working usually requires people to interact through video conferencing and social media channels. Metaverse can enhance the user experience through its features of AR and VR, making the virtual meetings seem almost real.
- Most people love exploring places. However, they may not be able to travel. This technology replicates the in-person experience allowing people to explore places virtually.
- In the post-pandemic era, this technology could enrich learning. Instead of seeing the participants on the computer screens, avatars make the experience more real and interactive.
- Online games can become more exciting than ever before. In-game characters and assets are being introduced in NFTs. The concept of digital avatars can make the games amazing for the players.
- It can make the jobs of health professionals easier, allowing them to offer better teleconsultation by examining the patients closer in an almost life-like situation instead of merely over video-conferencing.
The evolution of Web 3.0 is imminent, making the emergence of the metaverse inevitable. Metaverse is highly promising and can transform the way we live our lives. It would bring several traditionally unaffordable services within the reach of people. Indeed, it suffers from limitations, too. The future will decide the extent to which we can tap into its potential and enjoy a rewarding experience.
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