Metaverse: the world between technology and reality
Imagine a reality that exceeds even science fiction fantasies. Welcome to the Metaverse: the universe created by some of the most powerful internet figures where virtual reality, cryptocurrencies and gaming play the key role. The phenomenon, which had its first appearance in 1992, has recently exploded in popularity and introduced into the ecosystem things like cryptocurrencies, NFTs, VR and gaming. “Meta” in its name stands for “beyond” and “verse” means “universe”. From Travis Scott’s futuristic Fortnite concert, to the sale of a digital Gucci bag and Facebook and Twitter ads — let’s dive into the layers of the Metaverse and see how it works. And after we do that, we’ll talk about the OVR project and how it plans to combine the metaverse with blockchain technology to make NFTs more interoperable.
Science fiction and technology: the emergence of the Metaverse
The Metaverse made its first appearance in Snow Crash novel (i.e. Virtual Samurai) by Neal Stephenson in 1992. It was described as a 3D online universe that combined several virtual spheres and allowed its users to communicate, discuss, work and play games together. This virtual parallel universe had the potential to surpass what the Internet provides nowadays.
In 2021, the Metaverse had its emergence after Roblox was introduced into it. The Metaverse has become a new trend that takes over the internet, the VR/AR and the field of financial investments. It seems the world has just started to discover the virtual universe.
An alternative to the real world, the Metaverse inspires the natural passion for discovery. Throughout human history, whether it was the Age of Exploration or the Digital Revolution, the desire to explore always drove the progress of mankind. It was because of this aspiration that humans crossed the ocean, conquered the entire Earth and reached space, successfully landing on the Moon and sending out probes to explore other planets. Even though our technology is still not advanced enough to leave the Earth, it developed a lot when people had to do their everyday stuff online at the time of global pandemic, making the Metaverse even more popular. We also see the development of microcomputers, VR equipment and high-speed network technologies like 5G proving that the future described in Ready Player One is within reach.
These are the main pillars of the Metaverse, if we are to sum them up:
Sustainability: like the internet, the Metaverse must be viable and provide permanent service and content as well as a constantly evolving ecosystem.
Transparency: the Metaverse is the successor, or rather the extension of the internet. Following its principles, it must be free to access and disconnect from. Users of the Metaverse must be provided with an ability to interact.
Immersion: the Metaverse aims to build a shared virtual space beyond the real universe. It must therefore integrate with VR/AR and brain-computer interface technologies as well as possess characteristics like holographic sharing, 3D virtualisation, low latency, feeling of reality, real-time interaction and virtual identity to provide users with a sensory experience that feels like the real world.
Economics: the Metaverse builds upon innovations provided by its users and high-quality content, inspired by a fair, free and dynamic economic system. It supports an open payment and settlement system based on the blockchain to meet the needs of users who request a fair, fast and transparent real-time P2P payment. To encourage users to accumulate wealth through innovations, the Metaverse must be able to provide its users with an ability to identify and convert their virtual objects and innovations into digital assets that can be exchanged, transferred, invested, etc.
As you can see, the fundamentals of the Metaverse essentially come from the internet, VR/AR technologies and from blockchain innovations including the use cases (crypto, NFT).
It is for this reason that Mark Zuckerberg, CEO of Facebook, unveiled his ambitious plan to build his own Metaverse a few months ago.
Expressing the concerns about the future of the social media giant, Mark Zuckerberg said that building a metaverse could help Facebook go far beyond its current scope, which is creating social apps.
This announcement not only made headlines and sparked debate around the world, but it also renewed interest in the Metaverse and its possibilities.
More than a game: the Metaverse as a decentralised and an interoperable system
There are already some blockchain-based metaverse apps, such as Axie Infinity, Decentraland and SecondLive. These are online games where users can win, buy and sell virtual real estate.
Right now these games offer the most metaverse-like experience, alongside other popular games based on a virtual world, such as Fortnite and Roblox.
Roblox players are not required to follow a certain scenario. They can organise and participate in meetings and other events. According to some reports, players spent nearly 10 billion hours playing Roblox in the first quarter of 2021, with more than 42 million users logged in every day.
The same goes for Fortnite. More than 12.3 million players virtually attended Travis Scott’s concert in Fortnite.
However, experts claim that a metaverse that’s coordinated from top to bottom by a centralised entity opposes the whole concept of the Metaverse.
Like Facebook, Fortnite is managed by the centralised entity Epic Games, while Roblox is managed by Roblox Corporation. With companies like Microsoft and other centralised organisations being interested in the Metaverse, it’s clear that tech giants are looking to lead the way.
Blockchain technology (and cryptocurrency) makes the Metaverse an interoperable system, where users can have digital ownership certificates, collect digital assets (such as NFTs), make authorised crypto transactions, etc. If players spend a lot of time in the Metaverse, they need a reliable currency. Blockchain technologies can provide cryptocurrency which is safer than any game currency that can either be lost or stolen if security is compromised in any of the multiple points of attack.
Besides, as the Metaverse is, essentially, a combination of several virtual projects, it requires custom blockchains that can interact with each other and bring interoperability.
As an example, the creator of Epic Games and Fortnite, Tim Sweeney, is a huge blockchain fan and has spoken out in favour of decentralised technologies and cryptocurrencies.
In an interview with the New York Times, Sweeney said it would be possible one day to create “a tunnel” between Roblox, Fortnite and other games in order to connect them in a sort of a futuristic world.
Facebook is also working on a digital portfolio called Novi, which allows users to exchange Diem — a stable currency pegged to the US dollar. This platform offers free transfers from person to person, within the country and across borders.
“The Metaverse has become the newest macro-goal for many of the world’s tech giants. As I outlined in February of 2019, it is the express goal of Epic Games, maker of the Unreal Engine and Fortnite. It is also the driver behind Facebook’s purchase of Oculus VR and its newly announced Horizon virtual world/meeting space, among many, many other projects, such as AR glasses and brain-to-machine interfaces and communication.”, Matthew Ball, Managing Partner of EpyllionCo and Risk Partner of the Makers Fund
Nevertheless, decentralised games such as Axie Infinity, Decentraland and SecondLive show that blockchain technology is essential for small players to actually participate in the Metaverse.
Due to their open world nature, metaverse-like platforms are transforming into digital economies with various types of utility tokens and collectibles (NFTs).
All in all, no matter how the metaverse develops, it will have to combine these economies, digital identities and decentralised governance, which is only possible thanks to blockchain technology.
OVR invents blockchain without limits and implements NFTs in the Metaverse
OVR is a world-wide, open-source augmented reality platform powered by the Ethereum blockchain. It gives users a new way to discover the world and has grown at a phenomenal rate since its inception.
OVR offers an experience of a new “blockchained” world by enabling NFT interoperability. Imagine, for example, owning an NFT art gallery, or customizing your avatar with Louis Vuitton bags. All of this is possible thanks to OVRLand and OVRBuilder which allow you to deploy your NFT without limits.
While NFTs have already made it possible to imagine a new world by creating unique digital assets, OVR is inventing a new way of conceiving a parallel world in the Metaverse. OVR’s plans to become the decentralised platform of the Spatial Web and the “house” of NFTs — an interoperable ecosystem hosting all available content made possible by NFT in the Metaverse.
OVR is indeed ahead of its time as it allows linking NFT with the Metaverse and. Blockchain-based metaverses use NFT to establish ownership of their native assets. These NFTs allow maximum availability of the underlying assets, allowing these assets to leave their original ecosystem to where they have been traditionally confined. You can’t use Fortnite avatars for other VR games, but you can easily bring 3D Sandbox assets to OVR and place them in your OVRLands! But this is just one example. With OVR you can also take any NFT and visualise it in virtual reality. Introduce your crypto punks on a specific geographical location with OVRLand or create geotagged treasure hunting games with your Axies. The DeFi Dapps are often referred to as the “Money Legos”, and an important part of the DeFi success is due to the non-zero-sum game of Dapps’ interoperability; the interoperability of Metaverses will allow network effects of the same magnitude and it is on this niche that OVR intends to revolutionise the market.
OVR is finally creating the 4th dimension and I warmly invite you to follow the news of the project so as not to miss the inception of a new world. Visit Cointribune to learn more about the Metaverse, NFT, and the blockchain.
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Passionnée des nouvelles technologies, et de blockchain ! Dénicheuse de news tendances, des dernières évolutions du marché, et des pépites de l'écosystème, je me fais un plaisir de vous faire découvrir cet univers sous toutes ses couleurs.
The views, thoughts, and opinions expressed in this article belong solely to the author, and should not be taken as investment advice. Do your own research before taking any investment decisions.