The Metaverse: Abstracted Reality And The Future Of Tokenized Life
Digital asset trading is changing the way we interact with our surroundings — both online and offline — and is giving rise to a new era of virtualized, decentralized capitalism in which everyone can participate.
What is the Metaverse? The idea of a metaverse has been around for over two decades now, yet it's only recently that we've started to see its features realized in blockchain tech. With the tokenization of assets and economies, everything you interact with online can begin to resemble an extension of your identity in a virtual world, with digital assets and items that can be bought, sold, traded, used for game purposes, etc.
The Metaverse is best thought of as an ecosystem in which all these virtual worlds are connected through the internet; it's a universe of universes that gives rise to an entire economy of virtual assets. Some have interpreted it as the next phase of the internet - as an information network - while others compare it to Facebook - a social media network - but the Metaverse is both of these together, and much more.
The Metaverse will become increasingly important in our daily lives.
Blockchains will inevitably constitute a digital record of our entire lives. Our identities, businesses, everything we own or interact with could one day be stored on a blockchain ledger. With the Metaverse, every asset you use, from your toothbrush to your home, can have its own virtual representation. No, I don’t know why you want a toothbrush on the blockchain. That doesn’t mean it won’t happen.
It’s a future that could see digital assets becoming commonplace, and it also means you can finally own your data. Why does Facebook get to hold all the information you post on their site? Why should Google prevent developers from using the content you put online but then sell them to advertisers? Under blockchain-based technologies, users of these platforms can interact directly and own their own data.
You can even use your digital assets to make or receive payments, and the Metaverse will enable seamless interoperability between different platforms. One day, you might wake up with a new "born" avatar (who you created yourself), and as such, they'll be indistinguishable from an ordinary person... or perhaps even a celebrity.
What if you owned a fraction of Lebron James's avatar, and he allowed you to trade that asset on a particular platform? What if your avatar performed the same role as the models who currently advertise products on Instagram, but instead of being paid in USD or EUR, they're paid in a native token? The avatar's client (who's paying them) can buy in-game items to enhance the avatar's image with, or perhaps the avatar will earn royalties when their likeness is used on other platforms (where they're rendered in an animation). Suddenly, your digital self has real value. This is all possible when you consider that blockchains are programmable and that digital assets can be used for many more purposes than just financial transactions.
How will the Metaverse enable non-edge case users to benefit from blockchain technology?
The Metaverse evolves from tokenization — tokens can represent many different types of assets, and the possibilities of what you can achieve with all this data are endless.
Not only will we be able to use avatars in virtual worlds — given that they're stored on a programmable blockchain, they'll also be able to represent anything that has value, and assign value to previously devalued classes.
That includes all of our online data, too, that presently lies in the hands of large corporations. In the future, as more data is generated and as our devices become increasingly interconnected, there will be a massive demand for processing power.
If you're going to develop a platform that can handle large amounts of data, you'll also need an enormous amount of computing power. This demands an entirely decentralized internet architecture, and blockchain provides this solution.
We live in a world where we're surrounded by virtual objects and services, and in the future, this will be even more prevalent. There's also an enormous amount of data generated — from our browsing history to all the Tweets we've posted — and we're not in control of it.
If you follow someone on Twitter or interact with their avatar in a virtual world, they would likely like to make money from this.
The majority of existing virtual worlds have been built on top of large corporations' infrastructure, so developers must pay a considerable sum to store their avatars and data. With tokens on the blockchain, there's no more need for a centralized server — the Metaverse is free to use and accessible by anyone. It brings out all of the promises that decentralization holds: censorship resistance, transparency, immutable ledgers, and so on.