Metaverse is a term we are all familiar with. But what it is and exactly how it will change our lives remains unclear. However, before addressing these points, we must first ask a basic question. Does the Metaverse exist now?
In short, the answer is no.
This is true according to the definition outlined in author Matthew Ball’s recent book, The Metaverse and How It Changes Everything. In his book, Ball argues that the full realization of the Metaverse will require what he calls an “interoperable network.” It refers to the ability for unlimited users to seamlessly transfer data between real-time 3D rendered virtual worlds.
There is currently no computing power available to host such a network.Look no further Recent reports We know that technical limitations are slowing the performance of Horizon Worlds, Meta’s flagship “metaverse” app. So, while the number of users with access to the internet is unlimited, the closest thing we can think of to the Metaverse at the moment is in the gaming world.
Gaming industry as a proto-metaverse
Online open platform games such as Fortnite, Roblox, and Minecraft exist as independent 3D worlds that build the foundational technology that pioneered the Metaverse.
The industry is also driving big business. In 2021, consumers will spend nearly $100 billion on in-game purchases. This revenue will be split between the various large independent companies that host these platforms. The high profitability of these games is also why these different platforms have remained separate, and here lies the challenge.
The fact that these various online communities are not interlinked means that the number of users trapped in a limited virtual world cannot be qualified as a metaverse. So what happens within those games stays within those games and cannot be moved or used across platforms.
For the metaverse to proceed successfully, each of these virtual worlds must communicate with each other and allow users to transition from one virtual world to another.
The concept of ownership is another important component of how the metaverse works. The envisioned metaverse should be “a parallel plane for human leisure, labor, and existence in general.” For it to succeed, it needs a thriving economy, which requires competition, profitable business, and trust in the rules. This is why the concept of ownership is so important.
In the gaming industry, most of the profits currently come from purchasing costumes and other items for in-game avatars. However, since the virtual worlds are not connected, these items are restricted to use within their respective individual games.
In-game purchases are also licensed items. So technically you can always take it back and it doesn’t actually belong to the buyer. This raises major issues of ownership and another challenge in creating the interoperable networks and data continuity required for the existence of the metaverse.
The concept of “NFTs” represents an opportunity for ownership to become a reality, but relatively speaking, NFT adoption is still in its very early stages. But this could be a digital ownership solution that becomes interoperable.
Another challenge that needs to be overcome to realize the full potential of the metaverse is the ability to make payments across networks.
Currently, there are various “payment rails” that allow online transactions. However, these payment rails are still very restrictive and mostly controlled by big companies such as Apple and Google, which leaves a wide variety of games set within these different payment spheres. increase. It is in the interest of these organizations as it is important to maintain this control in order to maintain their profits.
However, for the metaverse to succeed, it needs an agnostic payment rail that can operate across different virtual worlds. To make this happen and achieve better consistency, regulators would need to split or unbundle these operating systems, but this action is unlikely to happen anytime soon.
However, there is a technology that Payment Rail could potentially provide support across platforms: blockchain-enabled networks that power cryptocurrencies.
Blockchain and metaverse
Blockchain offers a potential solution to existing payment impediments due to its “trustless” and “permissionless” technology. The fact that a blockchain operates in an open ledger fashion means that the information stored within the blockchain is decentralized and not subject to the usual rules that limit centralized databases.
The main implication of this is that no company or government will be able to exercise control when blockchain technology is used in the Metaverse. Bearing in mind the fact that there are many different blockchains out there today and one of them should emerge as the dominant choice, this technology, once implemented, could turn the metaverse into its own truly independent parallel universe. can be established as
The spirit of blockchain could also help overcome the challenges of computing power needed to bring the metaverse to life. To create the interconnected 3D worlds of the Metaverse, as Bell describes in his book, consumers must voluntarily provide excess capacity available through home computers to power parallel worlds. may require a sharing agreement with As ambitious as that may sound, it is. But once upon a time, so was the Internet.