The metaverse, a 3D online universe merging virtual spaces, holds the potential to revolutionize how we work, socialize, and play. While still evolving, video games provide a glimpse into the metaverse experience. Cryptocurrencies can enhance the metaverse with digital economies and secure transactions. Existing metaverse-like applications, including Axie Infinity, demonstrate the viability of blockchain-enabled income opportunities. While major tech giants strive for metaverse dominance, the decentralized nature of blockchain invites smaller players to shape its development.
As the boundaries blur between the realms of finance, technology, and virtual experiences, our daily devices empower us with unprecedented access and convenience. From managing our lives to accessing a plethora of resources, the touch of a button unlocks a world of possibilities. The crypto ecosystem, too, has seamlessly integrated into this interconnected landscape. No longer confined to the realm of crypto enthusiasts, NFTs, blockchain games, and crypto payments have become readily accessible components of an evolving metaverse.
What Is the Metaverse?
Defined as an immersive online 3D space connecting users across various aspects of their lives, the metaverse represents a visionary concept akin to the internet's diverse websites accessible through a single browser.
Initially introduced in Neal Stephenson's science-fiction novel Snow Crash, the metaverse has transcended fiction to potentially become a tangible reality. Augmented reality will propel its development, enabling users to navigate virtual domains through customizable avatars. Picture a scenario where you engage in a mixed reality meeting within your virtual office using an Oculus VR headset, unwind in a blockchain-based game after work, and manage your crypto portfolio and finances, all within the metaverse's digital realm.
While existing virtual video game worlds like Second Life and Fortnite, along with work-oriented socialization platforms like Gather.town, exhibit certain elements akin to the metaverse, they fall short of embodying their complete essence. Nevertheless, these applications offer a glimpse into the possibilities that lie ahead.
The metaverse's future potential extends beyond gaming and social media, encompassing integrated economies, digital identity, decentralized governance, and an array of other applications. At present, blockchain technology facilitates user-generated content and ownership of valuable assets and currencies, contributing to the realization of a unified metaverse. By harnessing the power of blockchain, this transformative technology can thrive and shape the metaverse of tomorrow.
How Does Metaverse Change Video Gaming Industry?
The metaverse finds its closest resemblance in video games, primarily due to its immersive 3D virtual reality experiences. However, the connection between video games and the metaverse goes beyond their shared dimensionality. In contemporary times, video games have evolved to offer various services and features that extend beyond traditional gameplay, seamlessly blending with other facets of our lives.
A striking example is the video game Roblox, which transcends its gaming origins by hosting virtual events, including concerts and meetups. Players no longer solely engage in gameplay; they actively utilize these virtual realms as an extension of their activities and interactions in the digital realm. An exceptional illustration of this convergence occurred within the multiplayer game Fortnite, where a staggering 12.3 million players partook in Travis Scott's virtual in-game music tour.
Role of Cryptocurrency in the Metaverse
The crypto integration within the metaverse goes beyond the 3D gaming experience, addressing crucial elements necessary for a comprehensive virtual world encompassing all aspects of life. Crypto offers the key components of digital ownership verification, value transfer, governance, and accessibility, each playing a vital role in shaping the metaverse's future.
A secure mechanism to establish ownership is paramount in a metaverse where work, socialization, and virtual transactions become commonplace. Additionally, the seamless and secure transfer of assets and funds within the metaverse is essential. Moreover, active participation in the metaverse's decision-making processes assumes significance as it becomes an integral part of our lives.
While some video games have rudimentary solutions, many developers opt for crypto and blockchain technology as a superior alternative. Blockchain provides a decentralized and transparent framework, addressing these needs, while video game development remains more centralized.
The influence between blockchain and video games is reciprocal. Gamification has permeated Decentralized Finance (DeFi) and GameFi, increasing integration between the two realms. With these converging similarities, the future holds the potential for further interweaving.
Essential blockchain aspects well-suited for the metaverse include:
- Digital ownership verification: By possessing a wallet with private key access, you can instantly prove ownership and accountability through blockchain-based transaction records.
- Digital collectibility: Non-fungible tokens (NFTs) enable the creation of unique, original, and irreplicable virtual objects, a crucial feature as the metaverse expands to incorporate real-life activities. Blockchain facilitates the representation of ownership for physical items as well.
- Secure value transfer: In the metaverse, a reliable currency is essential for secure and trusted value transfers. Blockchain-based cryptocurrencies provide a superior level of security compared to in-game currencies.
- Governance: Just as in real life, the metaverse necessitates fair governance mechanisms. Blockchain offers proven solutions for implementing transparent and equitable decision-making processes.
- Accessibility: Creating a blockchain wallet is open to anyone worldwide, providing a highly accessible means of managing finances and establishing an online digital identity without monetary barriers or excessive personal information requirements.
- Interoperability: Blockchain technology continues to enhance compatibility among various platforms. Projects like Polkadot (DOT) and Avalanche (AVAX) enable the creation of interconnected custom blockchains, a vital feature for a unified metaverse that seamlessly integrates multiple projects.
As the metaverse evolves, crypto and blockchain technology stand poised to unlock its vast potential, paving the way for a transformative and immersive digital realm.
Within the metaverse, a novel concept that unifies diverse facets of life, traditional job roles undergo a transformative shift. As remote work becomes commonplace, the metaverse introduces the possibility of immersing an employee in a 3D office environment and engaging with colleagues through avatars. Moreover, metaverse-related occupations emerge, enabling individuals to generate income directly applicable within this virtual realm. Remarkably, these jobs are already in existence, albeit in a slightly different form.
GameFi and play-to-earn models have become lucrative sources of income for individuals worldwide. These online occupations serve as promising candidates for metaverse integration, highlighting people's willingness to invest their time in living and earning within virtual worlds. Games like Axie Infinity and Gods Unchained exemplify the play-to-earn concept, despite not featuring 3D environments or avatars. However, they epitomize the underlying principle of generating income entirely within the online realm, making them potential components of the metaverse.
Examples of the Metaverse Unveiled
The realization of a unified metaverse remains on the horizon, but numerous platforms and projects already resemble its vision. These endeavors incorporate NFTs and blockchain components. Let's explore three illustrative instances:
- SecondLive: Immerse yourself in the 3D virtual realm of SecondLive, where users control avatars for social, educational, and business purposes. The project also features an NFT marketplace for trading collectibles.
- Axie Infinity: Axie Infinity, a play-to-earn game, has opened up new avenues for individuals in developing countries to generate reliable income. By acquiring or receiving three creatures called Axies, players can begin cultivating the Smooth Love Potion (SLP) token. Depending on gameplay and market prices, you could potentially earn anywhere from $200 to $1000 (USD). Although Axie Infinity lacks a single 3D character or avatar, it offers users a metaverse-like occupation, as exemplified by the inspiring stories of Filipinos embracing it as an alternative to traditional employment or welfare.
- Decentraland: Enter the digital realm of Decentraland, an expansive online universe that merges social interactions with cryptocurrencies, NFTs, and virtual real estate. Participants also actively participate in platform governance. NFTs represent cosmetic collectibles and LAND, 16x16 meter land parcels available in the game using the cryptocurrency MANA. These combined elements give rise to a multifaceted crypto-economy.
The Future of Metaverse
Tech giants like Facebook, Microsoft, Apple, and Google are vying to create a unified metaverse. Mark Zuckerberg envisions leveraging the metaverse to enhance remote work and financial prospects in developing nations, capitalizing on Facebook's ownership of social media, communication, and crypto platforms.
In the realm of a crypto-powered metaverse, integrating NFT marketplaces with 3D virtual universes emerges as the next logical progression. While NFT holders can trade their assets across various marketplaces like OpenSea and BakerySwap, a widely embraced 3D platform for such transactions is yet to surface. In this domain, blockchain developers may lead in crafting metaverse-like applications that attract a more organic user base than corporate behemoths.
The vision of a fully realized metaverse may still be distant, but the path toward its realization is taking shape. With blockchain technology and cryptocurrencies at its core, the metaverse represents another sci-fi concept edging toward reality. While the ultimate realization remains uncertain, we can already witness metaverse-like endeavors and progressively incorporate blockchain into our everyday experiences.