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First thing’s first: What is the metaverse?
According to the Oxford English Dictionary, the metaverse is “a virtual-reality space in which users can interact with a computer-generated environment and other users.” Still unclear? I’m not surprised.
Breaking Down the Metaverse Concept
Think of the metaverse as a virtual world where beings are able to work, play and interact with each other through the use of audiovisual equipment and internet devices. In essence, the metaverse is an extension of our everyday lives in the physical world. However, in this digital reality, possibilities are virtually endless given that the physical limitations of the real world no longer constrain human interaction.
So you might be thinking: It’s basically like Xbox Live, but for everything? In the simplest form, yes. Unbeknownst to most, society has been advancing toward this virtual reality for at least two decades. Our dependence on internet-based collaboration has primed society for what appears to be the next logical step in the evolution of the internet — a broader, more recognized connection with the metaverse.
Over the past twenty years, we have ever-increasingly grown to live within the realms of virtual reality. We’ve traded in-person lunch meetings for online Zoom sessions, spent less time outdoors and more time in online chat rooms and opted to connect with each other from behind screens and on headsets rather than going down the street for a quick game of Madden NFL. As diligently pointed out by Shaan Puri on Twitter, this transition has turned workforces “from factories to laptops,” and more significantly, transformed people “from neighbors to followers.”
While this sounds somewhat discouraging, the fact of the matter is online interconnectedness has now opened up realities that were once seemingly impossible. The depth of creative expression and collaboration that is now instantly available to us due to these technological developments is truly incomprehensible. Therefore, whether it was the meteoric rise of social media, the creation of elaborate online gaming worlds or even the internet itself, we have unknowingly been in preparation for the inevitable: the metaverse.
How Does Crypto Fit Into the Metaverse?
Similar to how our experiences have slowly transitioned toward the intangible world over the last twenty years, the way in which we assign value to assets has shifted to things we cannot always feel or touch. This has been exemplified by the hot non-fungible token (NFT) market. The constant validation we are seeing in that market is an analog to where we are diverting our attention as a society. What’s more, the investor base for NFTs has widened to such a substantial level that we are seeing traditional bond and equity strategy financial services firms raise capital specifically for the digital asset market.
With Facebook’s recent organization rebrand to Meta, society is seeing yet another colossal push into the digital future of human interaction. This rebrand is proof that Meta has capitalized on bullish crypto markets to utilize its database and global positioning to become a first-mover in the mainstream adoption of Web 3.0’s metaverse. Furthermore, by including NFT support, Meta is moving to holistically integrate two of the largest neoteric digital movements: cryptocurrencies and the Internet of Things (IoT).
The critical question posed here is will Meta’s next chess move be the purchase and leveraging of other metaverse projects once they reach maturation? We have previously seen buy-or-bury strategy allegations brought to the social media behemoth before. We may just have to sit back and watch fervently as it beckons toward its next metaverse match move. As of right now? Well, I guess, all bets are off.