As a virtual reality user, you may think the metaverse will be a collection of interconnected virtual worlds. This is mostly true, but the blockchain is a key component of the metaverse that will distinguish it from today’s internet.
AOL, Yahoo, Microsoft, and Google were just a few of the early Internet service providers (ISPs) that allowed you to search, browse, and interact with a network of interconnected computers and servers known as the “Web 1.0” information superhighway. Social networking sites, blogging, and the monetization of user data for advertising by the centralised gatekeepers of “free” social media platforms like Facebook, SnapChat, Twitter, and TikTok became hallmarks of Web 2.0 around the turn of the millennium.
It is anticipated that Web 3.0 will serve as the foundation for the future metaverse. The economy will be based on user-owned crypto assets and data, supported by decentralised applications built on top of the blockchain.
Decentralized? Blockchain? Crypto-assets?
Our expertise in social media and media technology allows us to explain the technology that will allow the metaverse to come to fruition.
Having a slew of digital tokens
Transactions are permanently recorded in a public ledger, which is a type of blockchain technology. The most well-known cryptocurrency built on a blockchain is Bitcoin. Buying bitcoin, for example, records your action on the Bitcoin blockchain, which is then distributed to thousands of computers all over the world as proof of your transaction.
Deception or manipulation of this decentralised recording system is nearly impossible. Like Bitcoin and Ethereum, public blockchains such as these are also transparent – all transactions can be viewed by anyone with an internet connection.
Unlike Bitcoin, Ethereum’s blockchain can be programmed via smart contracts, which are essentially blockchain-based software routines that run automatically when certain conditions are met. Even if they save a copy to their computer, no one else on the blockchain can claim ownership of a digital object, such as a piece of art or music, that you own on the blockchain. Crypto assets are any digital objects that can be owned, such as currencies, securities, and artwork.
Non-fungible tokens include things like digital artwork and music (NFTs). They are not interchangeable, unlike fungible items like currency, which can be exchanged for any other currency at any time.
There are three women standing in an angled room with images on the walls
Artwork like these images will be shown at an exhibition in Miami Beach in November 2021 using nonfungible tokens (NFT) that use blockchain cryptography to create unique digital items. Photos by Lynn Sladky, AP.com
The Ethereum blockchain’s currency, ether, can be exchanged for a smart contract stating that you are willing to sell your work of digital art for $1 million USD in ether. On the Ethereum blockchain, when I click “agree,” both the artwork and the ether are automatically transferred between us. We don’t need third-party escrow, and if either of us were to dispute this transaction—say, if you claimed that I only paid $999,000—the other could simply point to the public record in the distributed ledger, which is accessible to everyone.
In the metaverse, what does this blockchain crypto-asset stuff mean? Everything! You can begin by owning virtual goods on the blockchain. If you buy this NFT, you’ll be able to use it both in the real world and online.
Another thing to note is that there isn’t one group or company behind the creation of the metaverse. There will be a variety of virtual worlds created by various organisations, all of which will be interoperable in the future, forming the metaverse. In virtual worlds, people will want to bring their belongings with them when they move from one virtual world to another. The blockchain will authenticate proof of ownership of your digital goods in both virtual worlds if they are interoperable. You can access your crypto stuff as long as you have access to your crypto wallet in a virtual world.
Is there anything you’d like to keep in your wallet?
Cryptocurrencies are an absolute necessity in the metaverse. Your virtual goods, such as avatars, avatar clothing, avatar animations, virtual decorations, and virtual weapons, will also be stored in your crypto wallet. Projected on the wall in the darkened auditorium is a cartoon image of a young bearded man wearing sunglasses and a backwards ball cap.
When it comes to their crypto wallets, what will people do next? To name a few things, you can do some shopping. Music, movies, games, and apps will be available for purchase in the same way that you can now on the internet. You’ll be able to view and “hold” 3D models of the items you’re shopping for in the metaverse, which may help you make better decisions.
The ability to link crypto wallets with real-world identities, such as purchasing a real-world car or home, is similar to the way you can use an old leather wallet to carry your ID. Using your wallet’s ID, you won’t have to remember login information for every website and virtual world you visit. Simply connect your wallet with a single click and you are logged in. You can use ID-associated wallets to restrict access to certain parts of the metaverse based on your age group. To bring your social network information with you from one virtual world to the next, your crypto wallet can be linked to your contact list.
“Come to FILL IN THE BLANK-world with me for a pool party!”
In the future, wallets may be linked to reputation scores that determine your ability to broadcast in public places and interact with people outside of your social network. This is a possibility. It’s possible that the system will reduce your influence if you behave like a toxic misinformation-spreading troll. In theory, this could encourage people to be good citizens in the metaverse, but platform developers will have to put these systems first.
Finally, if the metaverse is a source of profit, then businesses will be eager to participate as well. Companies will still have many opportunities to generate revenue, perhaps even more so than in the current economy, because of the decentralised nature of blockchain. People will be able to work, play, and congregate on large platforms provided by companies like Meta.