The word “metaverse” has taken over the headlines of big-name news portals in recent months, plus, discussions on the evolution of virtuality in various social networks are becoming more and more frequent. such as Twitter.
A similar phenomenon happened in the 70’s, when the rumors of a new platform called Internet began, since the development of this new means of communication provoked some controversy referring to its scope, the benefits it would bring to the community when it became a reality, and how social interactions would develop from it; just like when the BlackBerry smartphones were created at the end of the last decade.
The introduction of Meta (formerly Facebook) was the trigger for many to become interested in the next generation of the internet. Companies such as Microsoft have detailed their views regarding how the metaverse will have a great positive influence on the community in the coming years. However, we do not yet have the opportunity to know how close their approach is.
The accelerating evolution of the technological world goes hand in hand with the emergence of terms with which people are not very familiar. The definitions of NFT and Metaverse can still be quite confusing for many, so, in this article I will make a brief guide about these two to keep abreast of technological developments.
📋 What you’ll find….
Although the first time many people heard this term was thanks to Mark Zuckerberg’s past presentation, the word “metaverse” was created in 1992, thanks to the science fiction book “Snow Crash.” as a synonym for cyberspace; textually, it refers to “the physical and virtual world in an online space.”a sort of fusion between the two. Movies of this genre in past years have talked about the possibility of people making their entire lives in virtual worlds (e.g. Ready Player One).
Contrary to what many believe, the metaverse does not refer to a specific technology. Experts refer to it as a virtual world in which users, through 3D avatars, can perform social activitiessuch as interacting with other people who are active at the time. This is basically the next step in the evolution of the Internet based on open 3D spaces; it is proposed that the tools that will facilitate the perception and sensation of “reality” for users will be Virtual Reality (VR) and Augmented Reality (AR) headsets.
The goal of this is to give people the opportunity to have an AR experience that can surpass physical reality, Meta exposed in its presentation that it will not only include social experiences, but also work, entertainment and economic spaces. Big name companies see a great potential for profit in the metaverse, a case of this is that the company Epic Games, makers of the game Fortnite raised a billion dollars to create their own metaverse, so, we can see that it is not the initiative of a single company.
The metaverse is expected to be based on the use of NFT (Non Fungible Tokens) and blockchain technology. blockchain; Thanks to these two, users would buy virtual assets on platforms based on this technology with cryptocurrencies to use them in this one. But, to understand what an NFT is I must first talk about tokens.
A digital token is known as a set of data issued by an entity founded on cryptography and blockchain, designed for the purpose of providing users with a product of value so that they can interact with this entity.; the entity that provides the tokens are the ones that designate their value.
There are two types of tokens; Fungible tokens are defined as assets exchangeable for real money, while non-fungible tokens are non-exchangeable assets (e.g. Bitcoin), these refer to a scarce blockchain-based digital asset, often associated with items of a limited nature.
An NFT is known as any digital object published on the Internet (e.g. an image, a video, a GIF, a tweet, etc.) that was associated to the blockchain or “tokenized”; by joining any file to the blockchain it cannot be manipulated, fractioned or exchanged due to its nature, so it represents something unique and unrepeatable, such as a ball autographed by a renowned baseball player or a work of art of great value.
The purchase of any NFT comes with a certificate of authenticity that allows you to prove the authenticity of the object.however, this is nothing more than a signature of the author of the product on the blockchain; many that the creation of NFTs is contributing to the development of digital art. Generally, these are found on the Ethereum blockchain, so, the Ether cryptocurrency is necessary to acquire one.
The value of an NFT will depend on the uniqueness of the item for sale, and the person placing it. To understand people who are willing to pay a fortune for a single item, as was the case with the world’s most expensive token worth $1.54 million, belonging to the Crypto Punk project, it should be noted that. many people seek to have the authority to say that they own something that the rest do nota phenomenon similar to the auctioning of art pieces in real life.
Their market has done nothing but grow in a short period of time; in 2020, the NFTs market increased 3 times its size in 2019, and, by the end of 2021 the operations involving the purchase of these exceeded $15 billion in transactions, the current year is expected to follow this trend. So, the sales model of many companies is adapting to NFTs, or they intend to do so soon, influencing this also the creation of the metaverse.
There are cases such as that of the Louis Vuitton company, which. prosper thanks to the scarcity and exclusivity of the products they sell.They are currently exploring the world of branded NFTs so that, in the near future, they can be launched in the metaverse and users can buy their products and customize their 3D avatars.
Users in the metaverse will be able to share a 3D space with other users, go out to a live concert of a famous artist at the Spotify Performing Arts Center, then go to an NFT art gallery, and then go to a virtual shopping mall to buy items from different brands to customize their avatars.
Today we can see NFT-related games that give us a glimpse of what the future of the internet would look like; there’s the play-to-earn such as Axie Infinity, and those based on Ethereum such as Decentraland, a game that combines social elements with NFTs, virtual real estate and cryptocurrencies.
The decentralized internet (e.g. Web 3) would play a big role in the next generation of the internet and the merger between the metaverse and NFTs, which consists of being a blockchain and cryptocurrency based version of the web.
There is a lot of uncertainty as to whether the metaverse will be as envisioned by the big players, nor how long it will be before we can visualize the end result. But, we know that every year the investments made by large companies such as Meta, Microsoft and Apple are increasing. so that the 5 to 10 year gap that the experts suggest will be reduced. Similarly, many companies are working to make AR and VR headsets affordable for everyone, as well as cell phones to support 3D technologies.
And, although years of work are still required on the metaverse infrastructure, it is very likely that we will be able to see it materialize in the near future and enjoy the new era of the Internet.