What is the Metaverse?

An introduction to a nascent virtual realm known as the Metaverse, and how it could change the way we work, play, and interact with one another over the coming years.

Token Takeaways

The Metaverse refers to a next-generation Internet where people can work, play, and connect with others within immersive virtual realms.

Many NFT-based token projects are hoping to accelerate the growth of the Metaverse by offering novel virtual gaming experiences.

The Metaverse shows promise but is still in its infancy today.

The Metaverse has become one of the crypto universe’s most popular buzzwords. After an explosion of interest in NFT technology in 2021, attention soon turned to the promise of the Metaverse, attracting major companies from the mainstream world and token enthusiasts alike. While it remains to be seen how the Metaverse will evolve, it’s apparent that blockchain technology and the token and cryptocurrency economy will play a fundamental role in shaping its future, with the help of crypto exchange platforms. That’s why we felt it was important to curate a Collection dedicated to the Metaverse on token.com, the details of which we’ve unpacked in this easy-to-read guide.

The Metaverse explained 🌌

“The Metaverse” takes its origins from science fiction. In the 1992 novel Snow Crash, Neal Stephenson used the term to create a portmanteau of the words “meta” and “universe.” 

While the Metaverse remains a loosely defined concept many years later, it has started to develop and gain wider interest over the past few years. At its core, the Metaverse typically refers to a next-generation iteration of the Internet. Although the Metaverse has not yet fully developed, it’s believed that it will encompass immersive Internet-based 3D virtual worlds in which users can connect, interact with others, work, play games, relax and more, using tokens and cryptocurrency. If it lives up to its potential, the Metaverse will combine virtual reality and augmented reality technology, blurring the lines between the virtual and physical worlds like never before.

The Metaverse can be described as an evolution of the Web2 era in which social media platforms transformed the way humans interact with one another. But where social media existed mainly on browser-based applications, the Metaverse encompasses expansive virtual realms that resemble the physical world. 

The Metaverse is often used interchangeably with the term “Web3” because the crypto economy is expected to play a key role in its development. Crypto enthusiasts believe that blockchains like Ethereum will underpin the Metaverse, creating ways for people to spend, earn and use tokens in their day-to-day lives. Such as finding the best crypto to invest and the best crypto exchange.

Where Web2-based social media platforms used extractive business models in which the users became the product, the Metaverse could offer a way for users to earn tokens for their online activities. 

The Metaverse of today 💥

While the Metaverse has gained traction since NFTs went mainstream in 2021, the space is still in its very early stages. 

Early examples of successful Metaverse worlds include hit MMPORG games like Runescape and Fortnite, which gave players the opportunity to interact with each other over the Internet within large virtual spaces. 

RuneScape gameplay (Source: RuneScape)

In more recent years, several blockchain-based games that incorporate their own tokens have emerged in hopes of creating popular Metaverse worlds of the future. They include the likes of Decentraland, an expansive world that hosts virtual concerts, galleries, events and more. The Sandbox is another example of a popular Metaverse game, with virtual land plot owners including Adidas and Snoop Dogg. The most successful NFT collection of 2021, Bored Ape Yacht Club, is also working on launching a Metaverse world called Otherside. 

Although several Metaverse projects have found early success, it remains unclear how the space will develop in the future. The Metaverse could eventually attract 1 billion users across multiple virtual realms, some of which may not exist yet. As such, those following the space closely believe that the Metaverse still has decades of growth ahead, potentially presenting a huge opportunity for early adopters. 

Decentraland gameplay (Source: Decentraland)

For the Metaverse to hit mass adoption, it will need to offer a user-friendly experience that anyone can use. Like the broader crypto economy and the cryptocurrency economy, this remains one of the most crucial hurdles for the space today.

The future of the Metaverse 🔮

While the Metaverse is still in its early experimental stages, the recent rate of adoption among big mainstream corporations hints that the space is set to grow at a rapid rate. 

Arguably the biggest catalyst for the development of the Metaverse came in October 2021 when Mark Zuckerberg announced that Facebook had rebranded to Meta in a bid to help “bring the Metaverse to life.” With around 3.71 billion users globally, Facebook is one of the world’s biggest companies and could potentially usher in mass adoption of the Metaverse. 

Mark Zuckerberg introduces Meta (Source: Meta)

Since Facebook’s Meta rebrand, many other major corporations have indicated that they are interested in moving into the Metaverse. In the future, we could see traditional companies that boomed in both the physical world and Web2 selling virtual goods and other services within the Metaverse. 

Many token-native Metaverse projects have also emerged in recent years. While each of these projects differ, all of them have aspirations of creating virtual worlds where players interact with one another in a way that was never possible in Web2. Just as importantly, these Web3 games all incorporate in-game NFTs and native tokens as a way to reward their users. 

It’s not only major companies and crypto enthusiasts that have taken notice of the Metaverse’s potential. Many banking behemoths have also published in-depth reports on the Metaverse in recent months, with both Goldman Sachs and Morgan Stanley forecasting that the market could grow to a value of $8 trillion. Today, the total global crypto economy is worth around $1.2 trillion, and the Metaverse represents only a fraction of that sum.

The Explore the Metaverse Collection 💫

We believe in the future of the Metaverse, and our Explore the Metaverse Collection has been curated to feature all of the most promising token-native projects in the space today. 

It includes Decentraland and The Sandbox, the two standout Metaverse games on the market. Both games have seen rapid adoption since NFTs gained popularity, hosting unique events on their virtual land plots. 

Our Collection also features the pioneer of the token economy’s “play-to-earn” trend, Axie Infinity. By leveraging NFTs and in-game tokens, Axie Infinity created a way for players to earn tokens for their participation in the game. It boomed as NFTs did in 2021 and remains one of the leading Metaverse-leaning projects in the space. Another of the play-to-earn trend’s most promising titles, Explore the Metaverse also includes Illuvium, an Ethereum game where players catch rare beasts and earn tokens in an alien-like Metaverse. 

Axies in Axie Infinity (Source: Axie Infinity)

With a host of leading NFT-based play-to-earn games, an NFT marketplace, and an abundance of opportunities to earn NFTs and other token rewards, Vulcan Forged really does offer a unique way to Explore the Metaverse—so it also features in our Collection. 

We’ve also added My Neighbor Alice, which focuses on allowing players to build out their own business on farmland plots. 

Player-owned games are set to become an important part of the Metaverse, which is why we included Gala Games, a project focused on creating a universe of NFT-based games. 

Finally, Explore the Metaverse features the Metaverse rendering project Render and two of the Metaverse’s most successful gaming guilds uniting play-to-earn gamers, Yield Guild Games and Merit Circle. 

As the Metaverse is set to grow at a rapid pace over the next decade, the crypto universe is likely to see many new and exciting projects emerge in the coming years. As promising projects land, we will evolve our Explore the Metaverse Collection to ensure it always represents the bleeding edge of the space.

Discover more 👀

The crypto economy has already created a revolution in finance and technology, but it’s possible that the Metaverse will expand the space further than even the biggest token enthusiasts imagined. Although it’s still early days for the space with major onboarding challenges to overcome, the rapid development and adoption already shows huge promise. By giving users access to token-based virtual worlds, the Metaverse could transform our society forever. Head to token.com to learn more about the space and Explore the Metaverse today.

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