Roger Hamilton explores the Metaverse and looks at how it is already impacting our world today.
If you’re not ready, you’re already behind the curve. The Metaverse is already here. To take from the Chinese proverb, the best time to join the Metaverse was two years ago. The second-best time is now.
I believe the Metaverse is our future, and it will change how we live. Towards the end of 2021, Metaverse projects sold $106 mn in value. It’s no longer a specialist area; the big brands embrace the Metaverse, not to mention tech giants like Microsoft, Nvidia, Niantic, Unity – and, of course, Facebook recently rebranded its parent company as Meta.
The technology drivers
Technically, the Metaverse is blockchain. It’s a means of buying items and operating in a 3D world that’s completely virtual. Of course, some people don’t get it, who are still holding their hands up in horror that someone has bought a virtual property for $2.4 million. But in the virtual world, that’s the equivalent of buying Times Square in New York or Oxford Circus in London. Once you own that asset, nobody else can purchase it.
Think of it in the same way as a URL – once you buy a domain name, it’s yours, nobody else can use it.
The 3D world doesn’t use web developers and search engines, but world developers and world engines. For example, Unity provides the tech for Facebook and Pokemon Go. With every iteration, the 3D experience becomes more real.
Values are rising at a phenomenal rate; an asset bought recently for $20 grew to four times the value in just one month. The currency of the Metaverse is non-fungible tokens (NFTs – or cryptocurrency to the neophytes). You use this to buy virtual assets – art, real estate, etc., There’s no commission, no middleman, and own your asset immediately – no long-winded legal paperwork to complete.
You may have heard of Bitcoin, but it’s far from the only cryptocurrency. Platforms where you can make purchases have their cryptocurrencies – so Sandbox has Sand, and Decentraland has Mana.
If you have yet to experience the Metaverse, a first place to start might be Sandbox or Decentraland. If you (or your kids) play Minecraft or Fortnite, the ambiance will be familiar. Some platforms are more ‘cartoony’ than others, but they are improving all the time.
You don’t even need 3D goggles, just get in and wander around, see what is there. Buy something for a few dollars and see how the value changes. Go and experiment. Whether you buy a pair of trainers, a piece of artwork, or a high-rise building – they are all for sale in the Metaverse.
My tip for getting started is to visit the Mozilla hub and create a room. It’s free, and once your space is created, you can send the link to people and invite them to join you.
The Metaverse will expand far beyond the world we know. I see a future where every new building, infrastructure, and advanced technology can be trialed and improved before going live in the real world. Digital creators will make things in the Metaverse only. Every industry and business will be able to collaborate in real-time to understand their operations, processes, and people better.
Education is currently two-dimensional; imagine the difference when it’s possible to learn in 3D. Instead of looking at maps, you can walk through the world’s capitals or visit Niagara Falls or the Sahara Desert in 3D. And that’s just for starters.
With so many different platforms, the secret is linking them up. Like Zapier does for other software, an open-source means of taking the same avatar into various virtual worlds is already in development. This will become a reality in less than two years. Any world that’s not compatible will die. The most significant risk you can take in the world today is not trying and not learning.