In the midst of blockchain and Web3 gaining wider adoption and cryptocurrency becoming more common, the wave of businesses moving to the metaverse will only continue to grow. Here’s how the metaverse economy is replacing the physical-verse.

While the metaverse is not a new concept, being driven by the gaming industry (at over $100 bln per annum) amongst others, its development is being accelerated since the advent of Covid, most notably when Facebook Inc changed its name to Meta with the intention to monetize the virtual reality of the metaverse. Since then, many companies are asking essentially the same question: Where is the metaverse going and do I need to invest valuable resources to be a part of it?

What is the Metaverse economy

Everybody talks about it, but what does it actually mean? Everything that touches virtual space can be called metaverse, it’s the next generation of the internet and how we will interact in the 3d space. The metaverse is defined as an extensive virtual world where people interact via digital avatars.

The metaverse concept was first described and named by science-fiction writer Neal Stephenson in the novel “Snow Crash” way back in 1992. He was one of the first to establish concepts like 3D digital space and “proof of work” leading inevitably to the concept of cryptocurrencies, the genesis of Bitcoin, the Blockchain and now Non-Fungible Tokens (NFTs). 

Today, the world’s biggest companies like Coca-Cola, Samsung, Ferrari, Nike, Ralph Lauren are starting to buy virtual lands, set up shops, and create office spaces in the metaverse, sketching out an early blueprint for how people might eventually make real money in the much-hyped digital realm of Web 3.0.

Currently, the most popular metaverse platforms such as Decentraland, Sandbox, Roblox, Horizon Worlds, Microsoft’s AltspaceVR uniform the simulated world of “Ready Player One” where everything from shopping, business and living a social life will go online in the form of single or multiple digital avatars. 

Moving from websites to 3D spaces

Soon enough, instead of websites, online shops, or instagram pages, businesses will move to 3D spaces in the metaverse platforms. What makes a metaverse world different from a website is that instead of watching things on a 2D screen, we’re getting immersed into an entire 3D virtual world that can be full of experiences.

Replacing zoom with a virtual environment

As the recent pandemic has forced companies to adapt to remote working spaces, the metaverse will offer the ability to replace zoom with a virtual environment, perhaps choosing to have a meeting in a virtual café, an AI algorithm creating a natural café environment, and perhaps even a good latte, or a group meeting in a conference room and so forth.

What gaming will look like in 2025

With the global gaming market set to reach around $256 billion by 2025, the metaverse would attract more users with monetary rewards. In the new world of play-to-earn Metaverse gaming, NFTs will represent the assets of games that can be traded, letting users earn cryptocurrency and NFTs while playing games, and new blockchain-based genres of games will thrive through massive hits. 

Factors that facilitate the mass adoption of the metaverse

Gartner expects that by 2026, 25% of people will spend at least one hour a day in the Metaverse for work, shopping, education, social media and entertainment. However the future value and shape of the metaverse may have changed course since 2020, its development accelerated by the following; 

  1. Resource depletion. 
  2. Environmental concerns
  3. Health concerns
 

Clearly the ability for my metaverse avatar to take a virtual flight to a virtual tropical island so that I may experience swimming in a virtual ocean with virtual tropical fish, or experience a realistic attempt to climb a virtual Mt Everest, or visiting art-galleries, fashion shows, music festivals in the 3D space will relieve pressure on the physical environment.

These will push the development of the 3-D smart phones and multi-sensory haptic suits as the interface to the Metaverse. 

Governments will be reluctant to allow their tax base to disappear into the virtual world and we will see CBDC’s (central bank digital currencies) crossing both the physical and metaverse spheres, and as soon as the advent of tangible CBDC coins appear in the virtual realm, the metaverse economy will be able to successfully compete with and eventually dominate over, the far more limited traditional physical economy.

Investments into metaverse will jump

As the meta-verse replaces more of the physical-verse, users will demand high quality innovations and be willing to pay for them, and so developers will have more incentives to add value applications, to spend a week on a physical tropical island presently costs in the $1000’s, financing a climb of the physical Everest is even now beyond the average budget, and so we may anticipate a massive investment by venture capital into application development as companies find it cost-effective to rent a virtual café or conference room and tourists experience the depths of the oceans and the peaks of mountains or travel through time at the click of a ‘virtual mouse’.

Written by: Marianne Legrelle

Photo: Unsplash

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