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What is Metaverse?

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Last year saw booms of two cryptocurrency subsectors. These were DeFi (decentralized finance) and NFTs (non-fungible tokens). However, especially in the last quarter of 2021, the attention seemed to shift more towards two new trends. These are Web 3.0 and Metaverse. And while the rise of Web 3.0 was a bit more organic, the attention vastly shifted to Metaverse after Facebook´s CEO, Mark Zuckerberg, announced that the company will be changing its name to Meta and its focus from Facebook to mostly Metaverse.

However, what exactly is Metaverse, what is its history and future? What can Metaverse bring to people and why is everyone talking about it all of a sudden? These are just some of the questions that we will try to explore on our “Metaverse adventure” in this article.

History of Metaverse

The world Metaverse is created as a connection of a prefix “meta” meaning beyond and a word “verse” meaning universe. Put together, the Metaverse can be thought of as a place that is “beyond universe.”

This term was first used by Neal Stephenson in his novel “Snow Crash” in 1992. In the novel, Metaverse represented a place where humans could interact in a shared virtual universe by being represented in the form of avatars.

Ever since then, Metaverse was coined as a term that would describe an alternative virtual universe, but not many would believe that anything like that could become significant in the near future. However, due to giant technological leaps, Metaverse is now closer to us than ever before.

What is Metaverse?

It is still pretty difficult to define exactly what Metaverse is. To put simply, Metaverse is a way how people from different places, backgrounds, spheres of life are brought together into virtual reality where they can interact with each other. In essence Metaverse is a virtual world that features different avatars and objects, while being supported by a functioning economy and technology, which is all-encompassing and ever-present.

A bit more complex definition would describe Metaverse as a future development or evolution of the internet, where 3D environment and shared spaces replace the currently static and flat apps and websites that we use to provide for immersive social sharing. Another definition describes Metaverse as a representation of a collection of open worlds and settings, which are joined by interoperable assets and experience.  

Metaverse is thus still a bit difficult to define correctly, however, the main logic remains the same in all the possible definitions that one can find. Metaverse is not only an upgrade of the Internet as we know it, but also a place where people can have almost real-life interactions with each other without being in the same room.

Virtual meeting of avatars in Meta´s Metaverse, source: dailymail.com

Through Metaverse, people can not only work and meet their colleagues from all around the world, but also enjoy concerts, games or art in an unprecedented manner. Many of these will happen thanks to the connection of Metaverse and blockchain technology, more specifically NFTs.

Three companies going big on Metaverse

Companies around the world are aware of the potential benefits that Metaverse can bring. Especially since Covid-19 happened and people around the world were in their homes in quarantines or lockdowns, many international conglomerates have turned their attention to Metaverse. Which companies are we talking about?

1.Facebook/Meta

Meta simply has to be the first on the list. And that is not only because of the change in the name, but also due to the hype that it brought. This news was met by far with the biggest response and as the Google Trends chart shows, right around the time when Facebook rebranded to Meta, the interest for Metaverse spiked and it has never fallen back down to the previous levels.

However, what exactly is Meta trying to do? According to the announcement of Mark Zuckerberg, Meta will try to create a Metaverse for everyone and bring them all together to not only provide for better work experience, but also more fun and entertainment. Meta is uniquely placed to do this thanks to several of its past investments such as purchase of Oculus in 2017, Beat Games in 2019 or BigBox VR in 2021.

Thanks to these acquisitions, Meta is expected to build one of the most sought after Metaverses and create a place where people can have virtual meetings, visit concerts, shopping malls or festivals.

2.Microsoft

With the recent acquisition of Activision Blizzard for almost 70 billion dollars, Microsoft has jumped right to the top of the candidates for creation of a complex and competitive Metaverse. However, Microsoft has been working on its own Metaverse. For instance, Mesh, its platform that uses holograms and other extended reality applications, has been under development for quite some time.

Microsoft acquisition of Activision Blizzard, source: techtimes.com

Microsoft has even worked with the U.S. army on the Hololens 2.0. This should be an AR headset that is aiming to help to train soldiers in combat. Thus, this giant has decided to try to play different fields and see which one brings the biggest benefits.

3.Google

Being one of the first companies to launch its own augmented reality glasses, Google has always placed itself in the forefront of technological innovation connected to virtual reality. While the company is not so vocal about its Metaverse plans and ambitions, Google Glass might be closer than many people expect. They can also be the perfect tool for connecting people to Metaverse, which is also a reason why Google should not be ruled out of this list.

There are other companies that are looking at the Metaverse as well. These are for instance Walmart, Apple, Samsung or Nvidia. However, they are a bit behind the three mentioned companies, which are going almost full speed into the Metaverse development.

Crypto and Metaverse

While these giant companies are looking to enter the Metaverse, some cryptocurrency projects have already done so. These are for instance Decentraland, The Sandbox, Axie Infinity or Enjin. We will talk more about the Top Metaverse projects in the next article, however, it is important to note that the connection of Metaverse and crypto, has a lot to offer.

Copy of Dragon city in Decentraland, source: decrypt.com

For instance, thanks to the incorporation of blockchain technology, the whole Metaverse can be fast, secure and decentralized, which would not be the case if the giant companies were in charge. Moreover, different cryptocurrency assets and tokens can be created and transparently shared in the Metaverse, if blockchain is used.

If non-fungible tokens (NFTs) are present in the Metaverse in their true fashion, people can buy and own property, art, different assets or clothing in the Metaverse and they will have a digital certificate of the ownership in the form of NFT. This would not only be transparent, but also a safe and fair way how people can interact with each other, without any third party having “veto rights.”

Conclusion

Without any doubt, Metaverse is one of the hottest trends in the cryptocurrency world, but also in the technology sector. Numerous companies are treating Metaverse as their number one priority, with several cryptocurrency projects doing the same. But which cryptocurrencies are noteworthy when it comes to building their own Metaverse? That is something that we will look more closely at in the next article. 

 

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