What Is the Metaverse, Exactly?

In 1991 the first-ever website went live. It wasn’t much. Just a page with some text on it. In 2004, Facebook started as just a website for Harvard students. A year later a video went live on another website called Youtube. The video was 18 seconds long and it was just a guy standing in front of a bunch of elephants.

Fast forward to the present day, billion-dollar industries are running purely on the internet. There is no one who doesn’t have a Facebook account and people are earning millions of dollars from Youtube.

Throughout history, technology made jumps that created entire new industries and economies. And another jump is happening as you are reading this article. It’s called the metaverse and it’ll change how the world works.

Ever since Mark Zuckerberg announced the Metaverse, every news outlet started to paint out a dystopian future where all of us are doomed to be mindless robots.

So what is metaverse? To understand this concept let’s back up a little. 

Just a few months ago Ariana Grande did a concert. Now, where was this concert? Inside a game. They did a full production concert inside Fortnite. Imagine telling someone a couple of years ago that in 2021 Ariana Grande will tour in Fortnite.

This managed to create a unique experience with a completely new level of interaction. 

Something similar happened with Marshmello and Travis Scott. They both also did a concert inside this game. 

What this type of experience does is connecting something from the real world with something from the virtual world.

Image Credit: Unit 2 Games Limited

Something really interesting is happening right now across many industries at the same time.

BMW announced their new car in the game rocket league. Nike just bought a virtual shoe company that makes NFTs and sneakers and they’ll sell virtual air jordans at some point in the future. You can even buy digital land in video games now. Streaming companies like Netflix are making video games. Video game companies like Riot are making Netflix shows. As a result, it disrupted how we interact with both worlds and what’s really possible. 

Again, what exactly is the metaverse?

Metaverse is a digital space populated by digital representations of people and things. Think of it like a new version, or maybe the new vision, of the internet. Many people talk about the internet as a place. Now we can actually go into that place to communicate, share, and work with others. It’s an internet that you can actually interact with – like we do in the physical world.

Saying what the metaverse is now is like saying what the internet was in the 90s. When the internet began there was no concept of social media, content creators, gaming platforms, trading platforms, marketplaces, and the list goes on. So technically the metaverse is whatever we build on it. Metaverse is a combination of three elements, web 3.0, Blockchain & NFT, and virtual reality.

Web 3.0 – the next revolution of the internet.

There are several versions of the internet. Web 1.0 consists of just pages with a bunch of text and some hyperlinks to more pages with more text. There is no interaction with the user. Web 1.0 is pretty much nothing but text on a screen. What we currently have is web 2.0. It is largely community-based. Most of it is user-generated content and it is highly interactive. 

But there is only one thing you can buy and own on the internet. It’s the domain name.

Just like we own arthro.io nobody in the world can make another website with the same domain name. Everything else is owned by corporations.

which leads us to web 3.0. The most important thing you can do on web 3.0 is own parts of the internet. Everything that you make, buy or sell on the internet is yours and you have the full rights. This happens because of something called blockchain and more specifically because of NFTs.

NFT – the new era of digital art

NFTs are the foundation blocks of value in the metaverse. NFTs can be anything digital. From NBA video clips to tweets to digital toilet paper, anything can be an NFT but a lot of the current excitement is around using the tech to sell digital art.

But why pay millions when you can just download the same digital art from the internet. Well, what you are downloading is a copy, not the original.

You can copy a digital file as many times as you want. But NFTs give you ownership of the work, which can’t be copied. To put it in terms of physical art collecting: anyone can buy a Mona Lisa painting. But only one person can own the original.

For you to better understand how NFTs work let’s talk about money or how money came to be. What makes you think a piece of paper has any value. who told you that? Why would someone give you something in exchange for your piece of paper? 

It’s because, over the years, we agreed that a dollar is worth a dollar and we trust that it always does. It’s a social construct. It’s not even real but it makes it easy to exchange stuff. As a result, we’ve all agreed to use it. So the value of an NFT is how much those who embrace it decide that it’s worth.

This is how individual ownership is happening. Everything in the metaverse works with this formula. That’s what the metaverse really is. The rise of individual ownership.

Virtual reality – dream with your eyes open.

Virtual reality seems to be the only thing people talk about even though it’s just part of the metaverse. Metaverse is a term used to describe the experience of immersive virtual reality, including augmented reality. 

If the last few years have taught us anything, it is that we need flexibility. The world has never been more connected, but lately, we had to distance ourselves physically. The sooner we can go into the digital world with our physical identities, the more of these barriers we can break down.

Teammates can join meetings from anywhere. The gaming industry will never be the same. Real-time translation will allow people from various cultures to collaborate. This is what makes metaverse from a cool idea to a critical one.

The metaverse has the ability to push us beyond the barriers and limitations of the physical world.

Danushka Deshan
Danushka Deshan
Danushka is a junior Software developer at Circlebook Software company. He writes about technology, gadgets & coding in his spare time.

Latest articles

Related articles