2. What’s the definition of a metaverse?
3. Why are video games linked to the metaverse?
4. How does crypto fit into the metaverse?
5. What is a metaverse job?
6. Metaverse examples
7. What's the future of the metaverse?
8. Closing thoughts
The connections between the financial, virtual, and physical worlds have become increasingly linked. The devices we use to manage our lives give us access to almost anything we want at the touch of a button. The crypto ecosystem hasn't escaped this either. NFTs, blockchain games, and crypto payments aren't just limited to crypto geeks anymore. They're now all easily available as part of a developing metaverse.
The metaverse is a concept of an online, 3D, virtual space connecting users in all aspects of their lives. It would connect multiple platforms, similar to the internet containing different websites accessible through a single browser.
The concept was developed in the science-fiction novel Snow Crash by Neal Stephenson. However, while the idea of a metaverse was once fiction, it now looks like it could be a reality in the future.
The metaverse will be driven by augmented reality, with each user controlling a character or avatar. For example, you might take a mixed reality meeting with an Oculus VR headset in your virtual office, finish work and relax in a blockchain-based game, and then manage your crypto portfolio and finances all inside the metaverse.
Because of the emphasis on 3D virtual reality, video games offer the closest metaverse experience currently. This point isn’t just because they are 3D, though. Video games now offer services and features that cross over into other aspects of our lives. The video game Roblox even hosts virtual events like concerts and meetups. Players don't just play the game anymore; they also use it for other activities and parts of their lives in "cyberspace". For example, in the multiplayer game Fortnite, 12.3 million players took part in Travis Scott's virtual in-game music tour.
Gaming provides the 3D aspect of the metaverse but doesn’t cover everything needed in a virtual world that can cover all aspects of life. Crypto can offer the other key parts required, such as digital proof of ownership, transfer of value, governance, and accessibility. But what do these mean exactly?
If in the future, we work, socialize, and even purchase virtual items in the metaverse, we need a secure way of showing ownership. We also need to feel safe transferring these items and money around the metaverse. Finally, we will also want to play a role in the decision-making taking place in the metaverse if it will be such a large part of our lives.
Some video games contain some basic solutions already, but many developers use crypto and blockchain instead as better options. Blockchain provides a decentralized and transparent way of dealing with the topics, while video-game development is more centralized.
Blockchain developers also take influence from the video game world too. Gamification is common in Decentralized Finance (DeFi) and GameFi. It seems there will be enough similarities in the future that the two worlds may become even more integrated.
As we mentioned, the metaverse will combine all aspects of life in one place. While many people already work at home, in the metaverse, you will be able to enter a 3D office and interact with your colleagues’ avatars. Your job may also be metaverse related and provide you with income directly usable in the metaverse. In fact, these kinds of jobs already exist in a similar form.
GameFi and play-to-earn models now provide steady income streams for people worldwide. These online jobs are great candidates for metaverse implementation in the future, as they show that people are willing to spend their time living and earning in virtual worlds. Play-to-earn games like Axie Infinity and Gods Unchained don’t even have 3D worlds or avatars. However, it’s the principle that they could be part of the metaverse as a way to earn money entirely in the online world.
While we don't yet have a single, linked metaverse, we have plenty of platforms and projects similar to the metaverse. Typically, these also incorporate NFTs and other blockchain elements. Let's look at three examples:
SecondLive is a 3D virtual environment where users control avatars for socializing, learning, and business. The project also has an NFT marketplace for swapping collectibles. In September 2020, SecondLive hosted BNB Smart Chain's Harvest Festival as part of its first anniversary. The virtual expo showcased different projects in the BSC ecosystem for users to explore and interact with.
Axie Infinity is a play-to-earn game that’s provided players in developing countries an opportunity to earn consistent income. By purchasing or being gifted three creatures known as Axies, a player can start farming the Smooth Love Potion (SLP) token. When sold on the open market, someone could make roughly $200 to $1000 (USD) depending on how much they play and the market price.
Facebook is one of the loudest voices for the creation of a unified metaverse. This is particularly interesting for a crypto-powered metaverse due to Facebook's Diem stablecoin project. Mark Zuckerberg has explicitly mentioned his plans to use a metaverse project to support remote work and improve financial opportunities for people in developing countries. Facebook’s ownership of social media, communication, and crypto platforms gives it a good start combining all these worlds into one. Other large tech companies are also targeting the creation of a metaverse, including Microsoft, Apple, and Google.
When it comes to a crypto-powered metaverse, further integration between NFT marketplaces and 3D virtual universes seems like the next step. NFT holders can already sell their goods from multiple sources on marketplaces like OpenSea and BakerySwap, but there isn’t yet a popular 3D platform for this. At a bigger scale, blockchain developers might develop popular metaverse-like applications with more organic users than a large tech giant.
While a single, united metaverse is likely a long way off, we already can see developments that may lead to its creation. It looks to be yet another sci-fi use case for blockchain technology and cryptocurrencies. If we will ever really reach the point of a metaverse is unsure. But in the meantime, we can already experience metaverse-like projects and continue to integrate blockchain more into our daily lives.