Anyone who is not in some way related to Patrick Star and, so, does not live under the rock, must have certainly come across the word “Metaverse” in any headline or article in the past few weeks. Being the hottest topic of interest, the concept of metaverse sure does have a really huge buzz around it as it brings to life the concept of virtual worlds which has existed only in the pages of science fiction novels,up until the very recent past.
So let us start with the very basic question, what exactly is Metaverse?
The word “metaverse” was coined by the author Neal Stephenson in his 1992 science fiction novel “Snow Crash,” in which he imagined life like avatars meeting in realistic 3D buildings and other virtual reality scenarios.
In the modern day context, Metaverse is essentially a cyberspace.
This cyberspace can be described as a shared and immersive virtual environment, in which the users or the players, generally represented by their avatars, live and interact with one another, create in-world items and landscapes and develop experiences, likebuild, work, travel, learn, party and so on. Metaverses typically have their own intrinsic economies and currencies, with which users can buy, sell, and trade digital real estate, items, avatar accessories, and much more. You can experience the metaverse via a computer, virtual reality (VR) headset, or smartphone.
To understand Metaverse better, we can take the example of the early 2000s online game- Second Life, in which people create an avatar for themselves and have a second life in an online virtual world. It is somewhat similar to what the present day concept of Metaverse, but saying that Second Life is what Metaverse actually is, is much like saying Google is the internet!
How does metaverse work?
The concept of Metaverse, the technologies involved and their implementations are far more potent and complex than just online role-play, it is a cyberspace which is capable of implementing anything and everything from the real world and even more.
Metaverse is integrated with technologies like blockchain, augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR), 3D reconstruction, artificial intelligence (AI), and the Internet of things (IoT), making the metaverse experience more immersive.
These technologies come together to create an experience which is closer to real life, than ever before, by means of avatars that exist in this cyberspace and have their own thriving economies and owned assets, which are worthy in real life as well.
How is blockchain related to metaverse?
Because the future is decentralized!
More and more businesses are involving blockchain into their systems and blockchain use cases such as NFTs or let’s call them virtual assets and cryptocurrencies are quite pertinent to the metaverse worlds. While metaverse-like environments have long existed in massive multiplayer online games, the addition of blockchain and crypto to the mix is changing not only who can play and what they can do, but also demonstrating the real-world market value of assets, interactions, and experiences earned in the digital realms of blockchain games.
Let’s try to understand this with an example.
In the crypto metaverses, different forms of metaverse tokens are often used to represent crypto assets and goods in the metaverse. Assets like digital real estate, premium avatar accessories and other similar objects (metaverse tokens) are like an NFT; they can be bought and sold over Opensea, which is an online marketplace for NFTs. Since these assets are NFTs, they are worth real money in terms of cryptocurrencies, they can actually be traded and owned in a more concrete sense, and not just in a game-like virtual setting. Their ownership is recorded on the blockchain, and they may be traded for digital assets like bitcoin (BTC) and ether (ETH) on a variety of decentralized exchanges (DEXs).
So now we know what Metaverse is, why it is often talked of in tandem with blockchain and crypto technology and ultimately, what makes it all tick.
Let us explore some of its present day use cases.
Virtual Work and Learning Spaces like virtual meeting environments.
An example of this can be, Mesh for Microsoft Teams. It is a mixed reality overlay that allows Teams users to collaborate in virtual spaces, work with persistent 3D content, and access Teams from their mixed reality glasses and VR headsets. It allows for 3D Avatars, audio cues and Holoportation. Holoportation recreates a holographic image of you (the user) in a different location, and you can control this image to interact with your surroundings in that location.
Virtual Businesses and Markets are another one of the plethora of Metaverse use cases, specifically more exciting and realistic NFT marketplaces where users can interact with other users, look at desired NFTs, and thus make a better buying decision.
Metaverse based crypto tokens (like digital real estate) and games are also a huge rage.
While crypto metaverses (and NFT games in general) are still in their infancy, these new worlds hold great social and economical potential. Users will have new possibilities to play, invest, collect, and interact in crypto metaverses, as well as new ways to benefit from it all.
Furthermore, the capacity of the many metaverse games to integrate and interoperate with one another has the potential to transform the nascent blockchain gaming ecosystem into a global economic pillar.
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