The Metaverse and Cryptocurrency

Learn about the potential impacts of metaverse in the crypto world and why we're excited to be a part of this community.

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We’re living in an exciting and transformative time. Although the metaverse may be a new concept to many people, its existence presents tremendous potential not only for the cryptocurrency industry but for the wider world of human experience. Experts speculate these digital worlds will change our everyday lives, and with COVID-19 further accelerating the role of digitalization in our society, implications for the metaverse are epic. 

Tech giants such as Facebook, Google, and Microsoft are already forging ahead, trying to shape the future of the space. Meanwhile, cryptocurrency is proving to be an integral component. Below, we’ll explain what the metaverse is, the role crypto plays in the metaverse blockchain, and what the future holds for metaverse cryptocurrency. 

What Is the Metaverse?

The metaverse is an open-source, interoperable platform that supports the programming of digital assets and digital identities. The Metaverse is the natural evolution of Web3. When it is completed, it will be a series of decentralized, interconnected virtual worlds with a fully functioning economy where users can complete transactions using cryptocurrency. It is essentially a set of shared virtual universes that can be explored in various ways. The metaverse is being called the future of the internet, and it will allow our physical and digital lives to further overlap.  

The term “Metaverse” originated in Neal Stephenson’s novel Snow Crash, which was published in 1992. The novel envisions an online world that succeeds the internet where people explore using digital avatars. The novel’s main characters access the Metaverse by wearing goggles and headphones, but people who lack the technology can access the Metaverse using public terminals. Interestingly, the Snow Crash digital world features encrypted electronic currencies.  

Although this novel is decades old, the Metaverse in the book has striking similarities to our current day metaverse. Much like the characters in the novel, we have multiple ways to access the metaverse, and they include: 

  • Virtual reality headsets
  • Augmented reality headsets
  • Personal computers
  • Smartphones

The hope is that our actual metaverse avoids the more negative consequences evidenced in the novel’s dystopian world

While our digital universe is still quite new, the vision for the future is the existence of a virtual world where we can all play, work, socialize, travel, and enjoy a wide variety of experiences. Crypto-powered platforms and protocols are working furiously to ensure that the version of the metaverse that comes to market is the permissionless, open source version. In the open, permissionless vision of the metaverse, anyone can build upon it. Presently, there are various experiences and environments available such as: 

  • Video games
  • Art 
  • Concerts
  • Conferences
  • Social events
  • Landscapes
  • Real estate

Metaverse Attributes

So, what are the attributes that make the metaverse what it is? Well, the main characteristics are the following: 

  • Endless: The metaverse does not “pause,” “reset,” or “end.” Instead, it persists continuously. 
  • Live and synchronous: Much like “real life,” the metaverse is a synchronous living experience for everyone, adaptable, and exists in real-time. 
  • Overlapping experience: It encompasses both digital and physical worlds allowing for public or private experiences. Physically persistent virtual spaces are merged together with augmented reality (AR) that layers over and enhances the real world. 
  • Multiple contributors: Content and experiences will be developed by many contributors. Some creators will be self-employed, and commercial businesses will employ others. 
  • Experience as an individual and at the same time as others: The metaverse is not closed to anyone, and it allows people to participate in events, locations, or activities with others. 
  • Interoperability: Content, data, digital items and assets, and more should be interoperable between experiences in the metaverse. 
  • Functional economy: Goods, intangible objects, and experiences can all be created, owned, and exchanged by individuals and businesses using recognized value. 

As the metaverse further develops, it has many of us asking what role cryptocurrencies will play. 

​Where Crypto and NFTs Fit Into the Metaverse 

In the metaverse, cryptocurrency functions as the currency and NFTs function as assets of the digital economy. Because the metaverse is online, cryptocurrency’s unique attributes make it ideal for a virtual world. Crypto is verifiable and immutable, enables high-speed exchanges, and delivers equal access to all regardless of location.   

Meanwhile, NFTs enable a digital representation of scarcity and effectively enable property transactions within the virtual world. Much like in the real world, scarcity in the metaverse results in rising and falling property values reflective of supply and demand. NFTs also demonstrate undeniable ownership of property rights.   

As the metaverse and the number of people who participate in it grow, the technology primed to support its massive growth is the metaverse blockchain infrastructure. Eventually, it will be possible to exchange virtual goods on various interoperable marketplaces using cryptocurrencies.    

While NFTs could represent all intangible items and virtual metaverse objects, from fashion to virtual real estate, cryptocurrencies are a likely candidate for everyday transactions. To better understand why crypto is capable of facilitating the widespread implementation of the metaverse, we’ll discuss examples of metaverse projects and the main features of crypto-powered metaverses. 

Examples of Crypto-Powered Metaverse Projects

Multiple metaverse projects are powered by crypto and the blockchain. Currently, some of the most popular virtual worlds include Decentraland, The Sandbox, and Axie Infinity.

Decentraland

The Decentraland metaverse has been running since February 2020. It provides users with an intuitive virtual world where they can explore evolving user-created worlds, create their own scenes, art, and challenges, and trade digital assets in the Decentraland Marketplace. Digital goods, including parcels of land, can be purchased as NFTs. 

The Sandbox

Another popular metaverse game is The Sandbox. In this virtual world, while players are free to play and build, they are also able to monetize their experiences on the blockchain. In-game items can be created and sold as NFTs. 

Axie Infinity

In the NFT-based online video game Axie Infinity, gamers use crypto to buy digital creatures called Axies, which are non-fungible tokens (NFTs). Axie Infinity functions as a play-to-win game, and players earn assets by battling, building, and engaging in the platform. 

Features of Crypto-Powered Metaverses

The features of crypto-powered metaverses that make them ideal for enabling the advancement of the digital universe include their decentralization, governance, provable provenance, and economic value.

Decentralization

Decentralization is typically one of the key features of crypto metaverses. In the crypto metaverse, blockchain technology is what components are built on, making in-world places, experiences, and games accessible to more participants.   

Not only does decentralization make crypto metaverses more equitable for participation, but it also results in shared ownership among the participants themselves rather than businesses or corporations.   

In addition to shared ownership, decentralization means that regardless of whether the original creator of the metaverse blockchain stays in the metaverse, it will continue to exist.  

Crypto communities have joined together to advance a decentralized metaverse. However, one of the biggest questions in the coming years will be whether centralized companies (like Meta) or interdependent decentralized metaverses will win out.

Governance

Another feature of crypto metaverses is that metaverse users are who control the platform’s future. Updates and changes can be driven by voting, which comes in the form of decentralized autonomous organizations (DAOs) and governance tokens.   

Voting gives metaverse blockchain greater potential to go beyond crypto games and to become full-fledged societies with leadership and economies. 

Provable Provenance

Crypto tokens, including non-fungible tokens (NFTs), function as items and intangible objects in crypto metaverses. These tokens provide transparency because their provenance is provable and recorded on the blockchain. Any transfer of tokens on the metaverse exchange is guaranteed to be safe, secure, and legitimate.

Economic Value

Although crypto metaverses exist on the blockchain, their use of crypto tokens links metaverse economies directly to the real-world economy. In-world holdings such as metaverse tokens, digital real estate, and avatar skins can be traded on DEXs and NFT marketplaces.

This means in-world, metaverse exchange investments can be turned into real-world value. Some experts, such as Cathie Wood, predict the metaverse economy could be worth trillions.

How to Invest in the Metaverse

With metaverse blockchain value estimations in the trillions, you may find yourself eager to participate as an investor. There are multiple ways to invest in the metaverse.   

One of the most direct ways is to invest in metaverse cryptocurrency. One of the big questions is what crypto will be used in a metaverse? Platforms such as Decentraland or The Sandbox operate using their own cryptocurrencies, MANA and SAND respectively, that can be purchased at crypto exchanges. Of course, as the metaverse involves, the crypto used may do so as well.   

You can also invest in metaverse real estate. Decentraland and The Sandbox offer a limited number of virtual land plots users can buy and sell.  

Yet another way to invest is by purchasing metaverse game NFTs on exchange platforms like FTX

And for investors who are more interested in investing in the technology behind the metaverse, purchasing stocks in certain companies are other ways to hold a stake in the future.   

While we don’t yet know what the metaverse will look like in its entirety, we are certain it will have far-reaching consequences.  

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