One of the biggest talking points in the blockchain space lately has definitely been the metaverse.
Facebook announced that it is renaming the company to ‘Meta’ and plans to pivot towards a metaverse-themed future where its social platform is just a small component of it’s company vision. Microsoft too announced their plans to enable office meetings to take place in virtual worlds.
With this type of validation (and money) coming from the major tech companies, all eyes are most definitely on the metaverse. This is supported by Santiment’s social tracking tools that recorded a huge jump in the use of the term ‘metaverse’ in the week of Facebook’s announcement. But what exactly is the metaverse? And is it something that one or two big tech companies can or should be allowed to dominate? (Hell no.)
What is the metaverse?
The metaverse is a broad term used to describe physical, virtual, and augmented spaces that converge in a shared online space. The concept was first outlined in the 1992 science fiction novel, Snow Crash, by Neal Stephenson. It can also be thought of as the 3D extension of the 2D internet, where multiple virtual spaces are combined in a persistent online world. This new 3D world will be populated by people’s avatars and will allow billions of people around the world to meet, work, game, shop, and socialize together in more engaging ways than the internet currently allows.
Influential venture capitalist Mathew Ball further laid out what he believed were the essential features of a ‘metaverse’. He identified that it should span both the physical and virtual worlds, contain a fully fledged economy, and crucially that it would offer complete interoperability. This means that it enables users to move their avatars, goods, and NFTs from any one part of the metaverse to any other part. This is key because it means that user assets and experiences are free to move around, interact with, and transact with any part of the metaverse no matter who actually owns or operates that portion of it.
This is where blockchain technology and cryptocurrencies play a vital role. They’re an ideal fit for a metaverse because they already allow for fully fledged digital economies, enable decentralised participation that is non exclusionary, and provide robust transparency and governance systems. The cryptocurrency ecosystem provides all of the key pieces necessary to participate in the metaverse — digital proof of ownership, transfer of value, governance, and accessibility. These pieces are all the ingredients needed for true interoperability in open decentralised online worlds.
People will primarily interact with the metaverse via a character or avatar that can be controlled via some kind of virtual or augmented reality experience. We’re not going to suddenly be living in an alternate virtual space, but we are likely to start spending a good portion of each day interacting in the metaverse. So you may participate in a virtual work meeting during the day, relax by playing a blockchain based game in the evening, and manage your crypto holdings or play to earn gaming NFTs at night. And all this will occur inside a connected online space.
As most people are already familiar with 3D games, these offer people the most readily understood aspect of what the metaverse will look or feel like. And gaming is at the forefront of other aspects of the metaverse too as they are increasingly offering other features and services that extend beyond just the traditional gaming experience. It is already crossing over into new spaces and attracting many interested participants. This was clear from the over 12 million Fortnite players who experienced Travis Scott’s virtual music tour that took place within the Fortnite online space.
So gaming is leading the way but the metaverse will extend far beyond gaming and the simple creation of virtual spaces. It will span multiple computing platforms from PC to consoles to mobile devices and extend across VR and AR. It will encompass entertainment, commerce, education, digital art, and new use cases that haven’t yet been created. It offers huge opportunities to artists and developers as well as to people who live away from the urban centres where the majority of social and cultural interactions currently take place.
The next step will see much greater integration between NFT marketplaces and 3D virtual spaces. NFT holders are already able to sell and trade goods on digital marketplaces like OpenSea but there are currently no popular comparable 3D marketplaces.
As evidenced by the announcement by Facebook/Meta, the big tech players are trying to push to the front of the queue to lead the development of the metaverse. However, they are beginning from behind the start line due to many smaller players from the blockchain industry having already gotten the jump on them, and are now trying to rapidly make up ground. Blockchain developers will continue to create new metaverse-like applications that offer specialised services and more organic growth in new directions than large tech giants are likely to be able to achieve on their own.
The reason this battle is important is that big tech, and Facebook in particular, have a history of limiting what third party developers can do on the platforms and services they offer. For the potential of the metaverse to be realised, no one company can have oversized control of the infrastructure that supports it, or limit the interoperability of online worlds. Noone wants to be walled into just the spaces that a single company or a few companies control.
If a few major players were to try and dominate the emerging metaverse, then a few bad decisions or simple corporate greed could limit possibilities for both users and world builders. The ideal scenario is an open metaverse that is operated in a decentralised way and allows for full participation for all. As one of the legendary pioneers of 3D gaming, John Carmack, said “I have pretty good reasons to believe that setting out to build the metaverse is not actually the best way to wind up with the metaverse.”
How Amasa is your ticket to ride
The creation of the metaverse is only just beginning. It can be thought of as a vast amusement park that has only just opened the first few shows and rides but has the potential to be the greatest and most engaging experience ever built. And Amasa can help users not only enjoy the greatest number of rides and experiences, it can help you get paid for it. Blockchain based, metaverse-like applications where users can generate income already exist and offer people the opportunity to earn cryptocurrencies for gaming or engaging in online communities.
Amasa will provide users with a simplified and streamlined way to discover, join, and earn value from metaverse projects and platforms. And Amasa has already established partnerships with gaming and social projects that are building the new generation of metaverse experiences. We are working to inspire adoption of Web3 and metaverse themed projects that enable participants to earn micro income streams for their time, energy, attention, content, data, and interactions.
The play to earn game Axie Infinity is already allowing people to support their income through playing the game. While Axie Infinity doesn’t revolve around a single character or avatar experience, the proven profitability of the game provides people with the genuine opportunity to make a full time living in the metaverse.
Other examples of already existing projects building new metaverse experiences include The Sandbox and Decentraland. The Sandbox offers a virtual space where users can play, build, own, and monetise virtual experiences. Users, artists, and game designers can create new assets and experiences using its free software. These can include games and digital art that they can enjoy themselves or share with others. The Sandbox is powered by the SAND utility token that allows users to buy and sell assets and land within the Sandbox metaverse.
Decentraland is a complete online digital world combining various elements from virtual real estate, NFTs, cryptocurrencies, and social interaction. 16x16 metre land parcels can be purchased and developed using Decentraland’s native currency, MANA. Users can also play an active role in the governance of the platform.
More micro income streams and use cases will continue to emerge rapidly, and not just around individual games. Roblox is creating an online gaming platform that connects thousands of individual games to a larger ecosystem. NFTs will continue to be embedded more deeply into the metaverse, whether for digital representations of real world items like wearables, or as a mechanism for users to buy, trade, and profit from the sale of digital items. And Amasa is perfectly positioned to allow users to benefit from all of these use cases, no matter what they are and where they emerge.
Amasa’s mission is to empower people everywhere to capture and capitalise on the wealth building potential of micro income streams and DeFi. We are working to inspire mass adoption of Web 3.0 platforms that reward participants for their gaming, time, energy, attention, content, data and interactions.
We’re doing that by building the world’s first micro income stream investment app. The Amasa app will make micro income streams easy to capture, combine and access as a stabilised income, then amplify through user-selected DeFi investment options.
Combine. Stabilise. Amplify. All in the background of everyday life.
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