The metaverse and Web 3.0 movement is booming, reinventing how people interact with the digital realm. The incorporation of blockchain technology and Web 3.0 in the development of the metaverse promises user-centric, transparent, and democratic platforms shy from corporate control. The metaverse, for instance, presents several possibilities that several Silicon Valley firms and CEOs have become vocal about it.
Facebook’s parent company rebranded to Meta, creating an immersive digital world. Meta envisions creating an internet that everyone is inside of rather than utilizing it from the outside. However, Meta is expected to be centralized, controlled, and maintained by middlemen. Blockchain technology plays an integral role in creating the metaverse, enabling the distribution of control to users rather than a single or selected entity.
The metaverse continues to gain popularity as the limitless possibilities of users becoming anyone, going anywhere, and doing anything lures them to escapism. As the metaverse becomes a common term amongst millions worldwide, leading companies like Microsoft and Facebook have not resisted the urge to join the metaverse boom. There are already blockchain-based metaverse projects, like The Sandbox and Decentraland, providing transparency and enabling users to interact in the ecosystem’s digital worlds.
A decentralized internet
The internet began as static web pages with no interactivity. Then, the internet advanced to a social web, Web 2.0, bringing interactivity and emphasizing user-generated content and interoperability between platforms and websites. New opportunities were presented to businesses and individuals, stemming from social networking and mobile applications. However, this new edition of the internet is controlled by corporate juggernauts, the likes of Google, Facebook, Twitter, and Youtube, allowing middlemen exploitation. Now a new generation of the internet, Web 3.0, is knocking at the door to change the narrative around the modern internet.
The inception of blockchain technology brought new functionalities, governance models and created a new ecosystem, becoming a significant pillar and new infrastructure for the future of the internet. Web 3.0 has not yet fully arrived, but the powerful features it brings into play will change how people interact with the internet. Everyone seems to agree on some features: ubiquity, semantic web, artificial intelligence (AI), the internet of things (IoT), and 3D graphics. This internet will eliminate the middlemen that exist in Web 2.0 while reducing censorship risks from corporations and governments. In return, the decentralized web will enable trustless ability, secure peer-to-peer (P2P) transactions worldwide. These capabilities and features will benefit the booming creator economy as they will freely and securely transact without needing a middleman dictating the terms. In addition, the decentralized internet aims to bring users, spaces, and assets together in a digital realm. The possibility of Web 3.0 iteration is already evident through dApps, DeFis, and NFTs. However, the decentralized web will not come to replace Web 2.0 but rather bring more equity.
The metaverse and the blockchain
The pandemic forced everything online, from simple social activities to work. People have begun appreciating online interactions, illustrating the possibility of operating remotely. The need for a virtual world where people can connect whenever and wherever they want has never been this dire. This need for remote working, socializing, teleconferencing, and so on can be made possible by Web 3.0’s interoperability and functionalities. The metaverse will be built around these activities with the likelihood of becoming a part of our daily lives.
Web 3.0 and the blockchain will support a unified, interoperable, and generalized metaverse. The metaverse is perceived as a tokenized cyberspace with the NFTs acting as the economics. The NFTs in the metaverse represent different virtual commodities and assets in 3D virtual and augmented reality games inside the metaverse. The NFTs are the incentive behind the decentralized internet. Digital identities or avatars that can go anywhere, be anyone, and do anything that the users cannot do in the physical world, will represent the users.
The metaverse is sandwiched at the intersection of augmented reality, virtual reality, Web 3.0, and the blockchain. It will allow users to experience the web through a variety of devices, technologies, and connectivity types. The metaverse aims to allow users to shop, play games, communicate, trade, work, attend concerts, host meetings, and a myriad of possibilities within a fully synthetic digital world. In short, the metaverse bridges the digital world and the physical world. A free virtual environment will soon eliminate the walled gardens created by corporate juggernauts. The narrative around digital economics is about to change.
Blockchain technology brings an innovative structure of decentralized governance, infrastructure, and functionalities to the digital realm. The users in the metaverse are not merely users but owners, and they can participate in making the changes in the metaverse.
The new wave offers opportunities for existing tech players and new players. Some blockchain-based metaverse projects already exist in the gaming industry, including Decentraland, The Sandbox, and Blockcities. On the other hand, some are bringing the real world into the virtual world by creating products and services within these platforms. Companies like Nike are already experimenting with NFTs on the metaverse, selling their merchandise to Roblox players who can earn them.
Blockchain technology has enabled people to reinvent rules and protocols based on the decentralization ideology. Therefore, the inception of Web 3.0 and the creation of metaverse will be a revolutionary event. Developing more inclusive and distributed applications on top of the new web will, in return, be possible. Another technological transformation is imminent as these new inventions embrace blockchain technology as the infrastructure upon which they will be built. Therefore, it is time for the world to embrace the possibilities of the next edition of the internet and the convergence of the virtual world and reality in a democratized and transparent environment.