The Metaverse will likely become a $1 trillion market according to a November 2021 report from Grayscale. Just two years after the concept gained traction, virtual worlds have become mainstream among crypto natives, celebrities, and big tech companies including Meta and Microsoft. Today, this nascent crypto ecosystem is touted as one of the promising niches, combining the power of artificial intelligence (AI), virtual reality (VR), and blockchain.
So what exactly is driving adoption in the Metaverse? First and foremost, blockchain-oriented virtual worlds are perhaps the closest to unlocking the possibilities of Web 3.0, also known as the Decentralized Web. In this new internet paradigm, users will have autonomy of control, allowing them to vote on critical developments based on an incentive economy model.
More importantly, the metaverse enriches the Web 3.0 experience by introducing a way for people/institutions to replicate real-world activities in a virtual world. A concept that will offer enormous possibilities for advanced interactions in modern work environments or at occasional events. Imagining a virtual world where one can move around as an Avatar or acquire property to develop and host virtual events is the idea of the metaverse.
“When we talk about metaverse, we are describing both a new platform and a new type of application, similar to how we talked about the web and websites in the early 90s. only to play a game with friends. You can be in the game with them. Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella explained during a opening speech address.
A new paradigm of digital interactions
The world of technological innovations is constantly evolving, from the Yahoo era to Web 2.0 and now the long-awaited decentralized Web. Is it possible that future Internet users exist within virtual cities? At first glance, it seems that globalization is not just about connecting economies, but also about bridging the gap in social interactions. Well, the Metaverse is gradually proving to be a perfect vehicle for the latter.
What began with the launch of non-fungible token (NFT) frameworks paved the way for the development of virtual worlds such as Decentraland and The Sandbox. These two ecosystems were the first metaverse platforms to launch and now host some of the most expensive virtual plots of land. In one case, an investor separated from $450,000 just to acquire a property next to Snoop Dogg on The Sandbox.
While such an investment might not fit most people in today’s world, it certainly makes sense for celebrities and creatives. To that end, we have more advanced metaverse ecosystems such as CEEK which primarily focuses on adding value to the creator economy. The project recently launched an exclusive land sale, featuring 10,000 plots of land where owners (creatives and celebrities) can host virtual events or showcase their work.
“This is the first step to launching the first truly community-based metaverse where creators get a meaningful share of their hard work.” noted CEEK CEO Mary Spio.
For a long time this was not the case, celebrities and artists were often limited by geographical boundaries. Additionally, Web 2.0 service platforms end up taking the lion’s share of a creator’s revenue when pushed through channels such as Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter. With the arrival of the metaverse, the tides will gradually change in favor of creators; no wonder tech giants are also trying to capture a share of this growing market.
“Our hope is that over the next decade, the metaverse will reach one billion people, house hundreds of billions of dollars in digital commerce, and support jobs for millions of creators and developers.” said Mark Zuckerberg in Meta’s Founder’s 2021 letter.
Look towards the horizon
As it stands, it may be too early to predict the direction the metaverse will take. Will it be built by centralized intermediaries or on decentralized blockchains like Ethereum? The perfect scenario would be a combined effort to create interoperable worlds, but only time can reveal what the future holds. That said, one thing is almost certain; we are heading towards an era where people will live inside computers.