The Metaverse, Explained
If you are actively involved in the world of blockchain technology, then you must be familiar with the metaverse. And even if you are new to blockchain technology, you still may have heard about the metaverse. It is a concept that has been birthed out of the wonders of decentralized networks. While we grapple with decentralization becoming our new way of life, whispers of this new virtual reality dubbed the metaverse seem to be getting louder, especially following Mark Zuckerberg’s decision to change Facebook’s name to Meta.
But it isn’t just Mark making a move; other businesses, including Microsoft, Nike, and Samsung, have all made certain bold moves that herald what’s to come — a world built on the Internet. These moves beg the important question — what is the metaverse? In this article, some clarity will be brought to the concept of the metaverse, including how NFTs tie into the metaverse concept, and how Solarr plays a crucial role in the metaverse.
What is the Metaverse?
A quick Google search would show you a lot of confusing definitions of the metaverse. Some say it is a 3D version of the Internet; others say it is a virtual reality, while others describe it in gaming terms, referring to games like Second Life.
The truth is, the metaverse is still a new enough concept that it has differing definitions depending on who you ask. However, the underlying core is the same — the metaverse is a digital world that exists in virtual reality and mirrors the universe we know.
Think of the metaverse as a social platform that mirrors our reality, except that instead of interacting with each other behind social profiles, we take on identities called avatars and live as we would in real life.
Like the Internet when it first came out, no one truly knows for sure what the metaverse would be like in a few years. Still, the idea is that we could have two worlds, one we inhabit physically and another one we inhabit in our digital bodies or avatars.
Contrary to some opinions, the metaverse is already here. Small pockets of virtual realities have started popping up, and as the conversation gets more serious, it’s clear that NFTs have a lead role to play.
What are NFTs?
In case you’ve been living under a rock the last three years, NFTs are rare digital assets embedded with unique codes that make replication impossible. This is why when people talk about NFTs, they emphasize proof of ownership. The unique codes embedded in NFTs make them impossible to replicate and ownership easy to trace.
Until mid-2021, NFTs were mostly digital collectibles of art, videos, gifs, and tweets sold for millions of dollars. They have evolved to NFTs that have values outside of their intrinsic rarity. These NFTs are known as utility NFTs, and they are at the core of the role NFTs play in the metaverse.
The Role of NFTs In The Metaverse?
Firstly, the metaverse and NFTs are inevitable because they have a common ground — blockchain. But the real buzz on whether NFTs might have a role to play in the metaverse started when utility NFTs started redefining blockchain gaming. Since most of the ideas of the metaverse are rooted in the virtual realities of games like Second Life, it isn’t so far-fetched to see where there could be a connection between NFTs and the metaverse.
The usefulness of NFTs in the metaverse is predicated on the most significant value that NFTs offer — proof of ownership — and this changes everything. With NFTs, people can access the metaverse through their avatars. But giving avatars an identity is just the first step though, NFTs also allow for virtual social gatherings and community building on the metaverse. Businesses haven’t established virtual identities or metaverses yet, but NFTs would surely be significant to the process when they do.
There aren’t many examples of NFTs in the Metaverse yet, because, as revolutionary as the metaverse is, it is still a nascent space. However, the gaming industry is a prototype for what to expect from virtual reality with games like Axie Infinity and Soundbox leading the charge.
The Role of NFTs in the Metaverse
It’s clear now that NFTs are essential for accessing and thriving in the metaverse, but how can you use them in the metaverse? Here are four roles NFTs play in the metaverse.
One of the most extensive uses of NFTs in the metaverse is in virtual reality real estate. People are buying plots of land and using NFTs to indicate and validate land ownership. Decentraland is a popular metaverse game where players buy up and develop real estate properties using the LAND token. In 2021, an estate on Decentraland was sold for 618k MANA, which amounts to about 3.2 million US dollars.
With NFTs, you can do more than buy real estate properties. You can also develop them, rent them out for passive income, or earn a dividend on the activities run on the land.
Investing in real estate might not be the most brilliant move to make when the Interest rates are down, the real estate market hasn’t bounced back fully since 2008, and the market is predominantly a seller’s market. But, on the metaverse, it is worth looking into. Samsung, Addidas, and many other businesses have already started getting in on the action by buying land in the metaverse.
Transparent and Fair Economy
Businesses can expand their reach beyond real-life entities to virtual entities in the metaverse. Already, some companies have started making moves to set up shop in the metaverse. One of the ways real-world assets and services can be represented in the metaverse is through gaming models that have interoperable blockchains.
These play-to-earn games like Sandbox and Iluvium create decentralized virtual economies where blockchain gamers earn NFT tokens and other cryptocurrencies that can be sold, borrowed, swapped, or used to acquire assets in the metaverse.
The metaverse economy is fair to new players by letting them borrow assets instead of purchasing them via the play-to-earn guilds. This reduces the entry cost of operation within the metaverse economy and also allows everyone to participate. NFTs also make economic activities transparent within the metaverse, making it difficult for economies to be susceptible to artificial inflation.
Next-level Social Experiences
The metaverse changes how we socialize with each other. Our social experiences start with our identities and trickle down to our communities and the social causes we choose to support. NFTs play a massive role in these three aspects.
To begin with, having access to the metaverse is dependent on having an avatar, and you need NFTs for that. These avatars represent real-world people and allow them to exist, contribute, and interact socially in the metaverse. Joining like-minded communities or showing support for your favorite causes would require acquiring tokens that give access or allow holders to show their affiliations.
To attend social events like the Metaverse Fashion Show, brands can sell tokens that grant holders access to tickets to these events. The same goes for attending exclusive private parties like the one Snoop Dog hosted in partnership with Sandbox in 2021. The party passes were minted NFTs that gave people access to the party.
How this works does not go beyond hosting parties and shows, but in the future, more real-world social experiences will be replicated on the metaverse using NFTs.
One of the thriving uses of NFTs in the metaverse is in virtual marketplaces. Many games already have something similar where players can trade or sell tokens and rewards. But the possibilities of a virtual marketplace for business brands is by far the most exciting. With fashion shows and auctions already being hosted, it won’t be for long before brands will be able to have entire marketplaces in the metaverse. Nike is working hard towards this goal and has acquired RTFKT, a studio for making NFT products. There’s no doubt that a Nikeland is in the works.
How Solarr Fits Into The Metaverse
Solarr is a decentralized platform for NFT commerce and more, with upcoming services extending towards helping brands port their business to the metaverse (watch this space). On top of unlocking liquidity on NFTs as well as other new income streams, creators, digital asset owners and digital asset projects are able to benefit from services like ISNO-as-a-Service, crowdfunding and more. Solarr ultimately aims to help the world transitioning into its decentralized, digital phase.
The metaverse isn’t such a far-fetched idea from Neal Stephenson’s ‘Snow Crash.’ It is the next stage in the development of the Internet, and NFTs are taking a front and center position. Already many gaming companies are creating their own game metaverses that allow players to ‘live’ and interact with each other in a virtual world.
With the growth of blockchain technology, there will be more advancement in the development of an interoperable metaverse where businesses, content creators, and investors can establish virtual identities for themselves.