The Metaverse hasn’t arrived yet!

The Metaverse: You’ve heard of it. This futuristic, decentralized 3D version of the web is designed to make the internet even better. At least that’s the promise. As word of the metaverse spreads, many companies across all industries have been quick to announce their glorious entry into mankind’s new medium. What most users don’t know, and what most companies thankfully don’t know, is that much of the technology needed to build the Metaverse doesn’t yet exist. In this two-part series, we tackle the challenges of building a fully functional, truly open metaverse that will survive beyond today’s hype cycle.

To be clear, the Metaverse is not here yet.

Talking about the Metaverse has become one of the latest trends in technology and beyond. The term has become so ubiquitous when it comes to the future of media and communications that nearly every company that wants to appear as if they own the future has announced some sort of metaverse-related action. Fashion brands like Nike have made headlines by releasing virtual sneakers in the form of NFTs or hiring a full-time Metaverse director. Many other consumer brands have either created virtual goods in the form of NFTs or launched brand experiences within a virtual platform.

The Next Level of the Internet

Silicon Valley quickly embraced the term and jumped on the Metaverse bandwagon. Alphabet, Apple, Microsoft, Nvidia, Qualcomm and many other tech giants have all announced big plans to enter the metaworld, often accompanied by big investments. Facebook is the most extreme of these examples, and in Meta Platforms Incum must first present itself as a metaverse company.

While most people today have a vague idea of ​​what metaverse means, the hype around the term has led many consumers to believe that the future has already begun, when in fact it is even further away. . Generally speaking, the Metaverse is understood as the next level of the Internet, where interaction between people is facilitated in a way closer to real life through the use of immersive 3D technologies such as reality augmented and virtual reality.

The metaverse: an open and decentralized network

Blockchain, Web3, NFTs and other elements of the decentralized economy are often associated in various ways with the idea of ​​a metaverse, although many stories do not explain how these elements relate to the idea of ​​metaverse. immersion in 3D environments. For Yat Siu, co-founder and CEO of Animoca Brands, these definitions fall short of what the metaverse could actually become.

“We define the metaverse as an open, decentralized network of systems and environments connected by true digital ownership, interoperability, and community governance,” says Siu. His company owns The Sandbox, a Based on Ethereum NFT game that allows users to purchase virtual land and customize it with games and playable experiences. The platform has become one of the few virtual worlds often referred to as a “metaverse”, along with others like Decentraland, Roblox, and Fortnite.

There is still a lack of technology

What many people don’t understand is that much of the infrastructure and technology required for Siu’s definition has yet to be developed. A key idea in its definition is true ownership of digital assets that can be moved across platforms and are tied to a digital identity embodied in an avatar. Virtual 3D worlds, in which users can interact through avatars and trade in-game goods, have been around for almost two decades. A massively multiplayer online game, World of Warcraft shares many characteristics of what would today be called the “metaverse” and already had 12 million users in 2010. The game was developed by Activision Blizzard, which is to be acquired by Microsoft in a $68.7 billion deal.

Economist Marc Arbonés, publisher and founder of altcoins Mastery, has been involved in the metaverse since the term first appeared in media. The Metaverse is not yet fully operational, as the supporting technologies for its existence are still in development. “However, we can appreciate platforms with Metaverse-like components, like B. video games that use virtual reality (VR), mixed reality (MR), and augmented reality (AR), host in-game events and create virtual economies with cryptocurrencies,” he says.

Today’s internet and cloud computing networks cannot support a fully functional metaverse. Available platforms can create semi-immersive experiences that allow humans and automated entities to interact in digital spaces, but that’s about it. The technology that will activate our devices, connect them to a network, and deliver content in the manner required for the full development of the Metaverse is still in the research and development stage.

“The Metaverse is not a technology, but a cultural and societal change”

From a technology perspective, we need faster, higher-bandwidth mobile internet and improved infrastructure for cloud computing. Other technologies also need to be improved, e.g. B. Real-time 3D rendering, spatial computing software (to better interact with the real world) and practical, easy-to-use and affordable human interface devices. But the Metaverse is much more than its core technologies. The “true” metaverse, according to Animoca’s Siu, will be open and serve the interests of the majority. It will have digital property rights at its core, “making society real – and modern”.

The people who interact with the metaverse are just as important as the infrastructure that allows it to function. According to Tyler Moebius, CEO of SmartMedia Technologies, a studio and consulting firm that provides NFT and Web3 services to enterprises, adoption of Metaverse-like technologies is still in its infancy. “If you were to compare the Metaverse to the phases of the Internet, the Metaverse would currently be in the dial-up/palm pilot phase,” Moebius explains. In Sius’ definition of the “real” metaverse, openness is a key factor. The ability to seamlessly move one’s avatar and virtual goods across different platforms primarily requires the willingness of development players to embrace decentralization and the open source mindset.

The actual implementation will come from the people themselves

The “open metaverse” in this sense is still nascent, says Animoca’s Siu, who compares the transition to a decentralized Web3 Internet to the transition of societies from feudalism to more democratic systems and associated property rights. “Acceptance of these emerging political systems was initially low, but eventually open markets and societies became the norm. In Web3, we are still in the single-digit percentage range, but the engagement per user is higher,” says Siu.

The shift to an open metaverse powered by Web3 should not only be viewed from the perspective of the underlying technology, but as a “cultural and societal shift” to be viewed through a socio-economic and political lens. “Real implementation of the open metaverse will come from the people themselves if they adopt the technology in sufficient numbers and actively participate in it,” says Siu, whose company Animoca Brands also has more than 340 investments in its portfolio as venture capitalist in this one sector works.

Technological problems need to be solved

The technological issues that stand between us and the fully developed metaverse are currently being resolved, he says. The mass adoption of these technologies is perhaps even more important than the technologies themselves for the Metaverse to actually work as advertised and intended today. Siu thinks critical user adoption will happen in the next 18-24 months, and much of it will be driven by games.

“When blockchain games resemble traditional games, users are more likely to adopt them and gain access to their specific benefits, including value storage, digital identity, asset ownership and freedom. economic that goes with the property.”

This post first appeared on Benzinga: adoption

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