What is the metaverse, and why should you care?
The metaverse has been expanding for quite some time now. From early movers like SecondLife to major players like Meta Platforms–Facebook’s recent rebranding to pivot into the sector– the metaversification of the world is here and happening.
But what exactly is the metaverse? Who are the major players and where is this ground-breaking technology heading? Read on to find out…
What is the metaverse?
The metaverse is the dream of an ever-expanding digital universe in which people are free to be who they want to be and do what they want to do without the limitations of physical reality.
It is a shared virtual world that accommodates many virtual realities including communities and workplaces. Humans can interact, participate and explore in this computer-simulated environments using personalised avatars, sharing experiences and much more.
A world of unlimiting Possibilities
Some metaverse developments focus on replicating the real world, while others seek to be completely different — the possibilities within the metaverse are only limited by one’s imagination. Everyone building the metaverse all share the same basic goal — to connect people in a virtual world.
While the blockchain world is abuzz with the metaverse, the concept predates crypto. For example, SecondLife, which went live way back in 2003, afforded users an engrossing new world. In this world they could choose who they wanted to be, meet people from all over the globe, travel to space, build businesses and interact with in-game items with real world value.
SecondLife has been heavily criticized and demeaned over the years because of the perceived escapism it offers. But as our digital and real lives became increasingly enmeshed, the virtual lives of SecondLife’s many citizens have stopped seeming so bizarre. Particularly with recent advancements in virtual reality (VR) technology, the idea of interacting with others through a virtual avatar is quickly becoming accepted, and is in fact what Meta is pushing its billions of users towards.
While these idea of virtual versions of ourselves interacting in strange 3D lands is provocative, in reality the metaverse is already familiar to most of us. Anyone who has played an online video game has most likely participated in a metaverse — popular Battle Royal title Fortnite is a classic example, as are MMORPGs like World of Warcraft or Genshin Impact. When you interact with other people, in chat or in a game, and there’s an avatar involved: it’s probably a metaverse.
Why should you care about the Metaverse?
Despite some familiar beginnings, the idea of the metaverse that has been pitched by companies like Meta is still strange: interacting with others in VR seems better suited to a sci-fi movie than it does to our social media networks. But what is becoming increasingly clear is that the metaverse is here, and it’s here to stay — and it demands our attention.
Developments like the metaverse have always been met with skepticism. The internet was widely considered a fad until it became integral to our lives, just as people believed social media would eventually die out. In some ways they were right: social media as we know it is changing, but it’s future will almost certainly be in the metaverse. When the largest social network in the world and one of the most powerful tech companies in the world changes its name to reflect this pivot, we should listen.
Get Involved at the Start
But the metaverse is still early — it needs to grow, and adoption is still quite low. Compared to the number of users on traditional social media, metaverse users are negligible (for now). Getting involved in the metaverse at this stage means getting your foot in the door right when it’s beginning. Businesses that position themselves correctly now will be able to grow with the metaverse. Imagine being in the position of Amazon or Google when they first started — this is where the metaverse is right now.
Other than its growth potential, what is most important about the metaverse for business is the fact that it has no geography. Particularly for African businesses looking to attract international attention (from within Africa and beyond), the metaverse is the perfect place to look. There are no borders in the metaverse — you’re free to grow and connect with anyone, anywhere and at any time. For more details on how you can achieve this with crypto, check out our article on DeFi for your business.
Crypto and the Metaverse
Crypto and the metaverse are separate things, yet they have become inseparably linked. Something about the idea of a virtual world appeals to tech-savvy crypto entrepreneurs and users, many of whom thrive on disruptive business ideas. The technology supporting many crypto markets also lends itself perfectly to visions of the metaverse — cryptocurrencies are the perfect basis for virtual economies, and NFTs enable luxury and scarcity to be imported into a digital realm.
As it stands, various tokenised projects are already on it, and at Adaverse we’re particularly interested in those building metaverse projects on Cardano blockchain. Cardano itself is perfect for metaverse applications — it’s fast, scalable and affordable. The kind of transactions that sustain the metaverse can easily be put through on Cardano without prohibitive fees, and the network itself has the throughput necessary to sustain virtual worlds.
In some ways, the vision of Meta’s metaverse is the antithesis of the crypto metaverse — one centralized and controlled by a megacorporation, the others decentralized and free to grow as it needs. There’ll probably be space for both visions, although the future looks to be embracing more decentralisation — where you are in charge.
We are a Cardano ecosystem accelerator providing funding and investment support to impact-driven crypto startups with game-changing projects across Africa. We’re helping to grow DeFi in Africa through the Adaverse Accelerator program — where you get all the support you need for a globally successful tech solution.
We are open to applications from African-based startups with a crypto-native edge and a proven concept. Apply here
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