The fifth episode of Untangling Web3 with hosts Alec Burns and Jack Davies, it tackled a less tangible and more abstract topic than previous episodes: the concept of the metaverse.
“The metaverse is both tangible and intangible. It can mean a lot of things to different people, but it’s quite difficult to understand some concepts,” Davies said immediately.
He described the the metaverse as an idea of virtual worldsrealms and realities that may or may not be mixed with our visual perception of normal reality.
“It’s basically a way to do new things in immersive environments,” he said.
Burns defined the metaverse as a fully interactive digital reality that merges the physical and digital worlds. He explained that there are different levels of immersion, from VR to AR and XR, and that to experience the magic of these digital worlds, some sort of hardware is needed, such as Oculus headsets, HoloLens, Google Glass (NASDAQ:GOOGL), or even something as simple as looking through a cell phone camera lens.
The metaverse is actually an intersection of several disciplines; some people call it a 3D Internet, as Burns pointed out, not counting AI, blockchain and, of course, Web3 technology woven also.
Before expanding on these disciplines and their relationships, the presenters provided a brief history of the origin of the metaverse concept.
Davies began by pointing out that the concept of a metaverse goes back much further than Facebook’s rebranding to Meta (NASDAQ:META), bringing the concept into the mainstream.
“A lot of people go back to this science fiction novel by Neil Stevenson called Snow Crash from 1992, and I think that’s where you would have that first description in fiction of what the metaverse is,” Davies said .
Burns added that Big Data’s next big thing was a life simulation video game called “Sims” that was created in 2000 and six million copies of the first version were sold. Then there was “Second Life”, not a game according to the creators, but rather an experience in creating a virtual life in a virtual world. It was all about the creator economy, Burns said.
Burns and Davies then spoke about the influence “Ready Player One“—both the book and the film—had a perception of the metaverse.
“(Ready Player One) captured the philosophy of the ideas in the most striking way for me, this idea of connecting to a new virtual world where you can do anything. The possibilities are endless in there,” Davies said.
Both men agreed that gamers would likely be the first to adopt the metaverse, but real utility is coming. An example of this is trying something in the virtual world and having it delivered to you in the real world, just like in Ready Player One.
So how are businesses and large organizations adopting and growing the Metaverse, and how exactly does it relate to Web3?
“The metaverse in my mind right now is effectively the gateway to Web3…Web3 is the foundational protocol that allows this space to operate at the lower levels,” Burns explained.
Davies said he sees Web3 as the technological means to achieve real utility in the metaverse.
“So without Web3, the metaverse might just be this smaller, narrower, more focused thing where you could have metaverse for games. But with Web3 and the tech stack, enabling micropayments, enabling ownership of digital property, that’s where I can definitely envision the metaverse becoming this much bigger thing that provides all of this utility and can be used in many ways. many different applications beyond just gaming,” he said. .
Burns spoke about digital ownership and how Web3 enables ownership, creating a pathway for peer-to-peer engagement and value exchange.
“There’s obviously a lot of overlap between what Web3 will enable and how it will directly encourage use of the Metaverse through digital ownership and ownership,” he said.
Davies added that better engagement is something businesses will be interested in; they will want to use this new “digital real estate” as an entry point for new customers.
“Instead of going into the physical Apple Store and trying or playing with a new product, if you can get a good enough experience, then you can see how you could do it entirely, virtually… if you “We could try before you buy without having to go to the store, it will make people more likely to buy from these companies. I think that’s a really big proposition for them,” Davis said.
Other examples of use cases related to the metaverse include attending a virtual concert, a virtual wedding, buying advertising around the digital territory, youth education, medical procedures and a more powerful desktop setup. The possibilities are truly endless.
But before we go too far, the two also discussed some of the biggest challenges in the metaverse space and the technology that powers it, the first being interoperability: There are many individual developers with metaverses individuals in enclosed gardens.
“It’s going to be really difficult to have a lot of different versions of the metaverse. People want a seamless transition from one place to another,” Burns said.
“Interoperability is a really pressing issue right now. People are really trying to develop standards, and I think in the areas of augmented reality and virtual reality, standards are emerging, I think Disney actually, and Pixar have been pushing those standards, but we really need to see normalization at all levels of resolution. this interoperability problem so that we don’t have these walled gardens which are one of the current problems with Web2,” he added.
Davies agreed and said this is where Web3 needs to step in.
“By baiting things onto a blockchain, by having digital assets that are themselves interoperable, then we have a shared common currency that can at least circulate between these different worlds,” he said.
“I don’t necessarily think it will be a universal world, but it will sort of be a universe of worlds, and having a currency that can be used between them makes sense. Have essentially common archives, common databases shared by these worlds, that the blockchain can provide, is also extremely important,” added Davies.
Both men agreed that the start of the party has been slow and difficult, but they predict that in the next 10 to 15 years we will reach that critical mass that will make the metaverse extremely fun and immersive.
“In the metaverse, you face a similar problem to what you had in Web3: what will be the flagship application. It could even be that the metaverse as a concept is the killer application of Web3 that gets it off the ground,” Davies suggested.
Watch: Web3 is a natural progression of technology
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