The Metaverse can be thought of as an immersive 3D virtual world where people can communicate with all of the things within it. This technology, compared to popular belief, is not new. However, according to Google Trends, its integration into the cryptocurrency ecosystem is a new trend that appears to be the talk of the cryptocurrency market. The term was first coined in Neil Stephenson’s 1992 science fiction novel, Snow Crash, where a pair of delivery drivers travel the metaverse to save themselves from a capitalist dystopia.
The metaverse is being supported by many as the revolutionary technology that will digitalize our everyday world and make the virtual world become a reality. The metaverse is multi-faceted technology consisting of gaming, entertainment, real estate, business, work, goods and services, and other exciting aspects of reality.
Metaverse and the blockchain
Metaverse is considered the next natural evolution of the internet- a model designed to change the internet from a 2D experience that we see now to a 3D experience embodied by the blockchain.
A 2D model of the internet involves setting up a virtual meeting with a remote business partner. The 3D model allows you to communicate freely with people while mimicking your presence on a virtual land where you get to physically choose the form you want to assume, in the form of an avatar. Virtual reality like Pokémon go, Oculus reality has been around for a while, and each of them has seen varying degrees of success.
The blockchain gives metaverse a new world where you can represent ownership in a trustless, decentralized way. You don’t have to rely on any central authority to govern this ownership.
The most obvious use cases of blockchain in the metaverse are money. Like we do in reality, metaverse promises to integrate a virtual world where we can work, interact, and socialize with people from the comfort of our homes. It is the natural order of things for humans to trade goods and services, and money makes this flow of value seamless. The blockchain serves as the bedrock on which this digital monetary economy is built. This is perhaps the biggest motivation behind the metaverse.
NFTs ecosystem is being utilized to make the metaverse a success. Non-Fungible Tokens that came into Limelight in 2021 are tokens created on the blockchain where each has its own identity and can be used to measure identity. This uniqueness of NFTs affords them the luxury of being used to represent a lot of digitized assets like arts, pictures, paintings, animation, in-game assets, etc.
NFTs provides a framework in which digital values are allocated
Facebook’s Meta Idea of Metaverse
Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg came on the air in Q4 of 2021 to announce Facebook’s name change to Meta. He visualized a virtual world full of people with more conceptual, social connection and engagement.
“We will effectively transition from people seeing us as primarily being a social media company to being a metaverse company,” Zuckerberg explained in his words. Horizon home, a project that allows people to own homes and communities in virtual reality, is Facebook’s Metaverse core. Facebook is willing to bet a percentage of its resources and workforce to make this project a success.
Concerns about Facebook’s Idea of Metaverse
Despite being why the word Metaverse is being consistently mentioned over the internet right now, the tech and communication giant has still failed to receive popular admiration.
Many alleged media publications about gurus in the blockchain sphere claim that Facebook’s meta is a ploy at social domination.
Shortly after Mark Zuckerberg’s announcement to delve into the metaverse, one of Facebook’s earliest investors have labelled the social media giant’s plans for metaverse as “dystopian.” He further explained that the metaverse is not safe in the hands of a central power like Mark Zuckerberg.
Roger McNamee, who was interviewed by BBC, in his words said: “It’s a bad idea, and the fact we are all sitting and looking at this like it’s normal should be alarming to everyone.”
Also, Frances Haugen criticized Meta (Facebook) as a company that cannot regulate and moderate content on its social media platform. As such, the projected future of the metaverse is in the wrong hands.
Other expert critics also mentioned the inability of metaverse to a mechanism that regulates and controls users’ experiences in this 3D virtual community without exploiting their data and other information.
Despite social media intrusiveness in data availability across their user base, there has been no significant law regulating how social media companies regulate and use this information. Many fear that these problems created by social media will likely skyrocket if left unchecked.
Metaverse is being described as the height of modern deception. One of the fundamental fears about this technology is talking about all the cool things that metaverse will enable- the avatars that are representations of humans in the virtual world would be able to do what they want and experience anything, but it all leaves some big questions about what happens to us?
As incredible as technology is, we are still people at the end of the day. We need to drink healthful food, work out, meet a partner, have a family, and there is no conviction that metaverse will help us do that. The metaverse might be the next generation of social media with all the positives and the negatives of those platforms taken to the absolute extrema. One will experience the height of immersive shared experiences like never before but also harassment in a way that feels far closer and more uncomfortable, more convincing misinformation and activities that are more addictive.
It’s being pitched as something that will complement our real lives, but hardly is that separable from a world where it won’t become our lives. In a world where this power exists, you won’t be able to pop off your headset and carry on your day as normal. The metaverse will feel no more optional than the internet does now. You’ll need it for work to get the required productivity; you’ll need it for social opportunities because that’s where all your friends are. You’ll need it because relative to your life in the metaverse, your real-life will kind of suck.