“The Metaverse” may be the hottest crypto trend right now. Unless you have been living under a rock for the past few months, you certainly learnt that Facebook has rebranded itself to “Meta” in order to underline its vision to build an all-encompassing, VR-enabled digital experience.
Decentralized crypto-projects like Decentraland (MANA), Sandbox (SAND) and crypto-gaming giants like Axie Infinity (AXS) have done their fair share in pushing the narrative for an immersive, VR-enabled digital world.
Yet, the term “Metaverse” remains a grey cloud to most right now. With this article, we want to shed light onto the Metaverse and its potential use cases, answering questions such as:
- What exactly is the Metaverse?
- How can we get there?
- What role do NFTs play in the Metaverse?
- What can you actually do in the Metaverse?
Let’s get started.
What is the Metaverse?
The term Metaverse describes a digital environment in which users come together using virtual reality (VR), cryptocurrencies or crypto tokens and NFTs in order to interact with a computer-generated environment and each other. The Metaverse encompasses elements of social media, online gaming and more to create an immersive digital experience that consists of auditory and visual elements, hence merging physical and virtual world in one.
The vision is to create an entire digital world that consists of land and property that can be bought, rented and used by individuals or companies to offer products and services to Metaverse users. Companies like Meta (formerly Facebook) push the narrative for the construction of a Metaverse and see high-quality VR devices as the entry point into this digital universe.
What role do cryptocurrencies play in the Metaverse?
The Metaverse is a mega-trend in cryptocurrencies and has caused Metaverse-directed tokens and coins to skyrocket over recent months. Yet, how exactly do cryptocurrencies and metaverse go together? Put simply, Blockchain-based cryptocurrencies and NFTs are the underlying technology that power the Metaverse economy.
Every item used and traded in the Metaverse – e.g. entry tickets, in-gaming-items like skins, ammunition, avatars, clothing, etc., they all exist in the form of NFTs issued on a specific blockchain (depending on the respective Metaverse). Cryptocurrencies allow for the cheap and fast transaction of value between users in the metaverse – all in decentralized and tamper-proof form.
Where is the metaverse and how do I get there?
If you want to enter the Metaverse, you will first need to create an avatar. An avatar is a virtual manifestation or character that represents the “you” in the Metaverse. It is a character shown on-screen that moves around, can touch things or interact with elements inside the Metaverse.
Avatars can take many forms, e.g. consisting of humanoid elements, or, as often the case, look like certain animals or creatures depending on the theme of the respective Metaverse. Usually, the avatar is supposed to look very similar to its owner in order to make the experience more immersive and realistic.
It is the avatar that allows the user to express themselves and their identity in the digital realm. Avatars must be interoperable for the true vision of a Metaverse to be realized, users could therefore move between different worlds and lands. Avatars can be customized, adjusted and decorated with elements like virtual clothing, skins, jewellery, accessories and more. Indeed, virtual clothing/digital fashion is already heralded as a big future subsector in the Metaverse.
Before you can create an avatar, you first have to choose a metaverse that you want to engage in (see two following sections).
How do I get an avatar?
In an ideal, decentralized metaverse, a created avatar is interoperable and compatible with every Metaverse out there. Hopefully we will get to this stage, at the time being, there are a few leading Metaverses out there. To explain the process, we will take a look at Decentraland, the leading decentralized metaverse (for the time being).
You register on the platform’s website and can begin setting up your avatar. Choosing from a wide panel of options, you can determine features like body and head, skin color, hair color, outfit (shirt, pants, shoes, etc.). Moreover, you can equip your avatar with certain collectibles.
Once you have created your avatar, you can head into the Decentraland Metaverse and simply explore, check out games or use chat-options to interact with other avatars.
What can I do in the metaverse?
But wait! Why should you even bother entering the Metaverse? What can you actually do there? And is it even worth it? Well, first things first: The metaverse is a buzzword right now, it is in its initial stages and not very far-advanced. Even the best Metaverse experiences right now lack immersiveness and interoperability.
Yet, the Metaverse already allow users to engage in tasks like attending music concerts, trying on clothing, holding virtual meetings or buying virtual land. In the future, it is planned that users will be able to complete activities such as completing administrative tasks, attend 3D, multi-user virtual classrooms or even get the next travel visa in a virtual embassy in the Metaverse – all without ever leaving their physical home.
The Metaverse is an immersive, co-created digital world in which users employ avatars to interact with other users and the merged physio-virtual reality. Yet, the Metaverse is currently more of a buzz word than reality as the technology and user experience is still lagging behind user expectations.
However, the mass adoption of VR devices and development of 3D environments may allow billions of users to enter the metaverse and engage with technology and colleagues or friends in a completely new, immersive digital world. Cryptocurrencies are essential to the metaverse, as they are the fundamental technology of the Metaverse economy, consisting of virtual items as NFTs and cryptocurrencies as payment method for the exchange of goods and services in a decentralized metaverse.