The Future of Metaverse: How Blockchain and Crypto Can Help It Expand
AI, Metaverse, Blockchain, and NFT are some of the most often used terms in the tech world today. CEOs of many global tech giants like Meta, Google, Microsoft, and Apple have referred to the Metaverse as the future of the internet. But what exactly does it mean?
The term "metaverse" was mentioned in the early '90s in the sci-fi world in a 1992 science-fiction novel Snow Crash by Neal Stephenson.
Over time, the Metaverse as a concept has evolved significantly due to recent technological innovations. With the rise of technologies like virtual reality (VR), augmented reality (AR), and artificial intelligence (AI), the Metaverse is becoming more immersive and interactive. But what's truly revolutionizing the Metaverse is blockchain technology. It is gaining increasing attention as a potential digital platform for social and economic activities.
Many projects already explore it, using these technologies to create decentralized and immersive virtual worlds.
Key Milestones in the Evolution of the Metaverse
Scientist Sir Charles Wheatstone seed the world of Virtual Reality (VR) through his ground-breaking research on "binocular vision," which enables the fusion of two images into a single 3D one. It formed the cornerstone of VR technology and eventually paved the way for the development of stereoscopes, a technology that uses the illusion of depth to create an image — the same technology in VR headsets today.
American science fiction writer Stanley Weinbaum expanded the imaginative world of Virtual Reality in his book, "Pygmalion's Spectacles."
Weinbaum inspired readers by presenting a character fully immersed in a fictional universe, stimulated by goggles that recreate all human senses, mirroring reality.
Jaron Lanier and Thomas G. Zimmerman, the pioneers in VR technology, establish VPL Research, Inc. This innovative company played a critical role in the commercialization of VR by launching pioneering products such as VR headsets and data gloves.
Neal Stephenson's sci-fi novel, "Snow Crash," introduces the term "metaverse" into popular culture. Stephenson's dystopian universe allowed people to use digital avatars to transport themselves into a superior alternative reality.
Linden Lab presents the multimedia platform Second Life. This platform enables users to explore, interact, and build within a shared virtual space using their PCs without requiring goggles or gloves.
Second Life reinvents online interaction as a digital venue for social gatherings rather than a conventional game.
Entrepreneur Palmer Luckey unveiled Oculus, a VR headset that immerses users in a 3D digital universe.
Facebook acquired Oculus in 2014, laying down ambitious plans to make VR technology accessible to the broader public.
The emergence of Decentralized Autonomous Organizations (DAOs) and the phenomenal success of Pokémon GO mark this year.
Pokémon GO, an AR-based mobile game, became an overnight sensation, achieving over 500 million global downloads by the end of the year.
Sky Mavis, a Vietnamese Web3 studio, introduced the play-to-earn game Axie Infinity. This video game sparked widespread interest by using Non-Fungible Tokens (NFTs).
By the height of the pandemic in 2021, it had over 2.7 million active users, boasting the highest collective value among all play-to-earn games.
Fortnite by Epic Games became the most widely engaged shared virtual universe, boasting over 250 million active users. Epic Games enriched the platform with more virtual games and experiences.
In 2020, rapper Travis Scott's virtual concert drew a crowd of more than 12 million.
Microsoft unveiled Mesh, a groundbreaking platform intended to facilitate synchronized virtual collaboration. Microsoft endorses how the metaverse experiences offered by Mesh could enhance enterprise operations for meetings, construction, and filmmaking.
In the same year, the concept of the Metaverse became more concrete when Facebook's parent company changed its name to Meta. The tech giant committed billions in resources to develop and acquire assets pertinent to the Metaverse, including content, software, and AR and VR technologies.
Siemens and NVIDIA join forces to build the Industrial Metaverse. The partnership leverages Siemens' expertise in industrial automation and software and NVIDIA's accelerated graphics and AI capabilities. Siemens CEO envisions the collaboration giving rise to an immersive, real-time metaverse that unifies hardware and software.
Apple finally launched its eagerly awaited mixed reality headset, the Vision Pro, capable of seamlessly transitioning between augmented and virtual reality. Apple CEO Tim Cook characterizes the device as "The first Apple product you look through, and not at."
The Vision Pro is a controller-free device allowing users to navigate apps and AR/VR by looking at them.
The Role of Blockchain and Cryptocurrency in the Metaverse
Blockchain technology and cryptocurrencies are playing a crucial role in developing the Metaverse. Blockchain provides a secure, transparent, and decentralized ledger system that can facilitate transactions and interactions in the Metaverse.
Blockchain and cryptocurrencies are not just facilitating transactions in the Metaverse but also ensuring the security and transparency of these transactions. They provide a trust layer to the Metaverse, ensuring all transactions are secure and transparent. For instance, the Metaverse faces data acquisition, data storage, data sharing, data interoperability, and data privacy preservation. Blockchain technology can address these challenges and enhance the efficiency of the Metaverse.
Cryptocurrencies are essential for implementing an economic system in the Metaverse. With blockchain and Crypto, it becomes easier to have real economy equivalent value and interactions of resources or goods used in the Metaverse.
Blockchain's immutability and transparency make it an ideal technology for verifying ownership of virtual assets. Non-Fungible Tokens (NFTs), unique digital assets stored on a blockchain, are used to prove ownership of digital assets in the Metaverse.
NFTs have opened up a new world of possibilities in the Metaverse. They've allowed users to own unique digital assets, like virtual real estate, digital art, and virtual goods. It has created a new digital economy in the Metaverse, where users can buy, sell, and trade unique digital assets.
Blockchain-based Metaverse Projects
Some of the most prominent Blockchain Metaverse Projects are listed below —
Decentraland is a virtual world where users can buy, sell, and trade virtual land and assets using MANA, an Ethereum-based cryptocurrency. It's notable for being the first fully decentralized virtual world.
The Sandbox (SAND)
Another virtual world, The Sandbox allows users to create, own, and monetize their gaming experiences using SAND, its native cryptocurrency.
Axie Infinity (AXS)
This blockchain-based game allows players to earn cryptocurrency while playing. Its native tokens, AXS and SLP, serve various roles within the game, from governance to breeding Axies.
Enjin Coin (ENJ)
Enjin is an Ethereum-based platform that allows game developers to issue fungible and non-fungible assets as Ethereum tokens in-game.
Star Atlas (ATLAS)
A metaverse project set in the future, Star Atlas allows players to conquer land and acquire resources in a futuristic setting. It uses two Solana-blockchain-based coins, ATLAS and POLIS.
These projects represent just a fraction of the potential of blockchain in the Metaverse. As this space continues to evolve, we can expect to see more innovative applications of blockchain technology.
The Metaverse represents a new frontier in digital innovation, and blockchain is well-positioned to play a crucial role in its development. From providing the infrastructure for a decentralized, secure virtual world to enabling a thriving virtual economy, blockchain technology is set to transform how we interact with the digital world, i.e., Metaverse.
The future of the Metaverse and blockchain is bright, and we are just beginning to scratch the surface of what's possible. As these technologies continue to evolve and mature, we expect to see many new applications and use cases that will transform our digital lives in ways we can't imagine.