Metaverse is the creation of a virtual universe where avatars of human beings will be present through technology. Such metaverses can be created by various companies for entertainment, education and business purposes
The word 'metaverse' catapulted into the collective consciousness of the world after Facebook recently announced it was rebranding itself as Meta. The renaming was undertaken as a nod to the term metaverse, which has been discussed in tech circles as the next big revolution after the Internet.
So what exactly is the metaverse, why is it so hyped and what are some interesting projects that are ongoing?
Simply put, the metaverse is the creation of a virtual universe where avatars of human beings will be present through technology. Such metaverses can be created by various companies for various reasons: entertainment, education and business.
Here's a quick example to understand the metaverse better. The COVID-19 pandemic forced most officegoers to work out of their homes. Several companies realised their staff could work as well from home. But fast forward nearly two years, and many workers are yearning to get back to the office. Why? Many people would say they miss the office environment, the lunches together, and the coffee machine banter. So much so, that the term 'Zoom fatigue' has its own Wikipedia page.
Now, what if Zoom developed a pair of virtual reality glasses, which could simulate your office environment while you’re sitting at the desk in your home. The work desk, the boardroom, and the canteen. It won't be the same as the real thing, but it will be close and will keep getting more and more real over time as technology evolves. In fact, Meta (previously Facebook) has even been working on haptic gloves, which will even create the sensation of touch.
Now all of this may sound a bit futuristic, but companies have begun work on this in earnest. In fact, a research firm believes the size of the metaverse could grow to $829 billion by 2028, up from $48 billion in 2020.
Where will this growth come from? It will be from giant metaverses that will have thriving economies of their own. For instance, you will not just enter the virtual world to meet and interact with people, but you will also try out experiences (read: gaming, entertainment, shopping) and even buy stuff. In fact, the booming world of cryptocurrencies appears to be the perfect medium of exchange for transactions in this virtual world. And companies such as Meta, which have a captive user base of billions, will be best placed to take the race ahead of others with the creation of their metaverse.
Meanwhile, multiple cryptocurrency creators have been working towards creating their own metaverse projects, with their cryptocurrency tokens becoming the native money in that universe. As of now, many of these projects revolve around creating gaming universes but over time, their size, scale and imagination will only expand.
In fact, Caribbean nation Barbados has become the first sovereign nation with an embassy in the metaverse. The island nation is working with multiple metaverse companies to establish digital sovereign land. The Barbados' Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade is also seeking to finalise an agreement with other metaverse platforms such as Somnium Space and Superworld.
The metaverse embassy, which is scheduled for launch in January next year, will include identifying and purchasing land, developing facilities to provide services such as "e-visas", architecting the virtual embassies and constructing a "teleporter" that will allow users to transport their avatars between the various worlds, per a Coindesk report.
Below are the top three metaverse projects.
Decentraland is a virtual reality platform where users can buy, sell and manage virtual property called LAND and other NFTs using its native cryptocurrency MANA (based on the Ethereum blockchain). MANA can be purchased on exchanges like WazirX. Since Facebook’s rebranding as Meta, MANA’s price has risen fivefold.
Founded in 2015 as a 2D reality that later evolved into a 3D world, Decentraland has over 90,000 land parcels that can be bought with the native token MANA in its marketplace. Just days ago, a Canadian investment firm that focuses on decentralized finance (DeFi) called Tokens.com purchased nearly $2.5 million worth of virtual land in the platform Decentraland.
Decentraland is also expanding the NFT space with art galleries where users can buy and sell art and even directly interact with the artists. It also recently partnered with Sotheby, one of the biggest auctioneers in the world. Many lucrative sales have occurred inside these virtual galleries, like the sale of 914 Wonder Woman NFTs from former DC comic artist, Jose Delbo, for $1.85 million, according to a report by datadriveninvestor.
Decentraland is backed by more than 20 investors and reportedly has a trust created by Grayscale with over 20 million MANA tokens locked in it, per datadriveninvestor.
Sandbox, a play to earn metaverse, allows users to buy and sell land and other assets using SAND cryptocurrency. The Sandbox Alpha is expected to launch on November 29. It is expected to have around 5,000 games by the end of 2021 with funding from the Sandbox Foundation.
Sandbox has among the most traded NFT marketplaces in the space. SAND has a total supply of nearly $3 billion with roughly 900 million in circulation. It has partnered with Skybound Entertainment (the company behind The Walking Dead show), Big Fan (esports project), Ubisoft, and even Snoop Dogg. The Sandbox has also been recently supported by SoftBank, one of the biggest investment companies in the world, with a $93 million funding round.
The Sandbox aims to be more and has already initiated integration with the more energy-efficient Polygon besides buying carbon credits, among other things, per a report by datadriveninvestor.
An NFT-based blockchain game, players can buy, sell and trade Axies, the game’s cartoon monster that they can use to battle with others. Created by Sky Mavis, a Vietnam-based company, the game offers combat between teams of three Axies. Each Axie gets its powers from its type (plant, bird, bug, etc.) and its body parts. To create new Axies, existing owners must spend currency earned in the game to 'breed' the Axie monsters. The earnings can be sold in the open market for real money.
The eight-step process described in the company’s online guide involves downloading not one but two crypto wallets; buying and depositing Ethereum onto the company’s own blockchain; and purchasing at least three Axies, among other tasks, per a Verge report.
Axie also saw the sale of a virtual land plot in the Axie Infinity NFT game for a record price of $2.4 million (550 ether). The plot is part of the "Genesis" land type, which Axie Infinity described as "extremely rare." Genesis land is located in the center of the Axie Infinity map and is capped at 220 plots, a report by blockcrypto pointed out. In February, nine plots of land on Axie Infinity were reportedly sold for over 888 ETH (around $1.5 million at the time and nearly $4 million at current prices).
Since Facebook’s rebranding as Meta, metaverse cryptocurrency prices have taken off. All the metaverse crypto tokens can be bought on the WazirX platform.
Note: This is a partnered post.
(Edited by : Jerome Anthony)