What is blockchain to the metaverse?

Blockchain games, NFTs, and crypto payments all share in the development of what we call the “metaverse”. The concept of Metaverse and blockchain use cases in virtual world development are discussed in this article.

 

Key Takeaways

  • Metaverse is an alternative reality that allows people to work, socialize, learn, and play in the online world

  • Cryptocurrency and blockchain technology are the enablers of the metaverse. Digital proof of ownership, secure transfer of value, digital collectibility, and interoperability are several aspects of blockchain which would help users in the metaverse.

  • Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg revealed plans to develop a metaverse project to enable remote work and financial opportunities in developing countries

What is Metaverse?

From the internet to smartphones, technology has become unavoidable to perform daily activities. Recent developments in the industry connect different aspects of the financial, virtual, and physical worlds. The next big thing in this digital age is the “metaverse”.


What is metaverse?

In simple terms, the metaverse is a digital world. Just like how the internet connects different websites in a single browser, the metaverse connects different virtual spaces. People can work, socialize, play, and do business in the metaverse.


The metaverse concept was originally introduced in the science fiction novel Snow Crash written by Neal Stephenson. It used to be a fictional concept but is soon growing into a reality. For instance, multiple video games like Second Life, Fortnite, and work socialization tools like Gather town provide a virtual world experience to the users. Gather town is a web-conferencing software like Zoom. But unlike Zoom, users can move around in the virtual conference room while interacting with other participants. Though these applications are not the metaverse, they are very closely related to the concept as they bring various aspects of our lives into the online world.


In addition to gaming and social media, other aspects like assets, digital identity, decentralized governance, and applications of finance can also be a part of this virtual world. User creation and ownership of valuable items like digital assets and currencies are essential to create a metaverse. Blockchain technology can play a vital role in incepting these into the metaverse.


How does the crypto world fit into the metaverse?

Video games provide a 3D aspect of the virtual world, while a complete metaverse provides 360 degrees of interactions — work, socialize, and purchase virtual items in the ecosystem. A secure way for displaying the ownership and transferring the digital assets is required in the virtual world.


Reasons why blockchain is a huge enabler for the metaverse:

  • Digital proof of ownership - By owning a digital wallet that can be accessed with private keys, users can prove the ownership of an asset. For instance, users can show accountability at work by showing an exact transcript of their transactions on the blockchain. A digital wallet is a robust method to establish digital identity and proof of ownership that can be implemented inside the metaverse.

  • Transfer of value - A safe method is required to transfer digital items and currencies in the metaverse. In-game currencies in today’s virtual reality platforms are less secure compared to the blockchain. If users are able to earn money in the metaverse, they would need a secure and reliable way to transfer currency which can be implemented with the help of blockchain technology.

  • Governance - The voting system is carried out in the real world to elect governments. It is also essential to have governance to control the interaction in a metaverse as well. Having a decentralized architecture, blockchain is already proven to implement fair governance.

  • Interoperability - Blockchain bridges such as Polkadot (DOT) and Avalanche (AVAX) allow users to develop interactive custom blockchains. Interoperability enabled by blockchain technology helps the metaverse to connect different virtual platforms to build a single unified virtual world.

Metaverse examples

Even though a single linked metaverse is not fully developed yet, there are plenty of platforms and projects that offer a similar experience as the metaverse. These platforms incorporate NFTs and other blockchain elements to provide an immersive gaming experience to the users. Let us have a look at these platforms.


Second Life

Second life is a 3D virtual environment where users can control avatars to socialize, learn, work, and play. The platform hosted the Harvest Festival of Binance Smart Chain in September 2020 as a part of its first anniversary. The virtual exposition showcased different projects available on the Binance Smart Chain for users to know and interact with. It also has an NFT Marketplace which allows users to swap digital collectibles.


Axie Infinity

Axie Infinity is a play-to-earn NFT game that allows players in developing countries to generate a consistent additional income. To start playing the game users need to either purchase or be gifted three Axies. Users can start farming a smooth love potion (SLP) token which can be bought and sold on the in-game marketplace or the open marketplace. Players can make anywhere between $200 to $1,000 depending on how much they play and the market price. Even though the game does not provide a 3D virtual creature or avatar, it gives an opportunity for a metaverse-like job.


Decentraland

Decentraland is an online platform that combines social elements with cryptocurrencies, NFTs, and virtual real estate. Besides, players can take an active role to control the governance of the platform. On this platform, NFTs are used to represent a piece of land that can be purchased in the game with the cryptocurrency MANA. NFTs also represent cosmetic collectibles on the platform. A crypto-economy is created on this platform by combining all these aspects.


Future of the metaverse

Several leading companies in today’s world like Facebook, Microsoft, Apple, Google are also working on the development of the metaverse. Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg has announced plans to develop a metaverse project. He aims to build a platform that will support remote work and improve financial opportunities for developing countries. Integrating NFT marketplaces and 3D virtual worlds is the next big step in creating a unified virtual space.


Next-generation frontier of 360-degree alternate reality

The development of a single unified metaverse will come into existence sooner or later with the help of advanced technology like blockchain. Modern-age projects like metaverse and play-to-earn video games will bring blockchain technology, cryptocurrencies, and NFTs more into our daily lives.