The “metaverse” is a relatively new term that we’ve all heard at least a little bit about. We’re all curious about what it is, how it works, and what it all means. It can be challenging to grapple with the constant changes of the digital landscape, but I’m here to help clarify (at least) some of the confusion! Let’s jump into more about what this all means, how it works, and why it’s important.
What is the Metaverse?
According to Investopedia, the metaverse is a digital reality that combines aspects of social media, online gaming, virtual reality (VR), augmented reality (AR), and cryptocurrencies to allow users to interact virtually. Here are some key takeaways:
- The metaverse is a “shared virtual environment.”
- Popular emerging technologies such as AR glasses are used with the metaverse to create a virtual presence.
- The term “metaverse” signifies a new frontier in the digital world.
The term itself doesn’t refer to any specific type of technology but rather a significant shift in how we interact with technology. What the “metaverse” means in the present day may become antiquated as the technologies associated with the metaverse become more commonplace.
In short, the meaning of “the metaverse” continues to evolve!
When Can We Expect The Metaverse To Be Mainstream?
We’ll probably start to see significant changes to technology in mainstream society within the next five to ten years! As multiple elements such as VR headsets collide with technologies such as AR, where users can “live” within a digital universe, the metaverse will take hold even further.
Supporters of this new trend, such as Microsoft and Facebook, envision users working, playing, and staying connected with family and friends through all types of events. This includes concerts, work conferences, and even virtual trips around the world- all through the metaverse. This new reality is bound to change the way we interact with others virtually!
What Companies Are Involved in the Development of the Metaverse?
Facebook officially staked its claim on the metaverse last year by shipping 10 million of its virtual reality headsets, the Oculus Quest 2 by rebranding the parent company name as Meta and their VR product, the Meta Quest 2, which starts at $299.
“I believe the metaverse is the next chapter for the internet,” said Mark Zuckerberg, Co-Founder and CEO of Meta*
Additionally, Google, Microsoft, and Apple are all working on metaverse-related technologies too. And it’s not just the tech giants! Video game makers like Epic Games, the developers of the popular video game Fortnite, are also investing heavily in metaverse technologies to be integrated into their products. VR headsets will probably become as common as a smartphone in our pockets!
How Will The Metaverse Change the Digital Economy?
When we speak about the “digital economy,” this new technology will certainly tie into and change how the economy works. For example, it’s possible to buy virtual items such as clothes for your digital avatar or even a virtual car. You might buy a shirt at the mall and then wear it to work in the real world. Now, most VR and AR platforms allow you to create an avatar or persona that you can buy things for, just like a piece of clothing in real life, but all virtually. Trust me: if you’re having trouble wrapping your head around this concept, I get it! It seems abstract and confusing (and it is), but it will become more prevalent as the years go on.
How Is Ethereum Related to the Metaverse?
With the rise of the metaverse, there will also be a rise in the popular blockchain, Ethereum (ETH). Why? The emergence of new crypto trends like non-fungible tokens (NFTs) and DeFi (deregulated finance) assets has fueled the development of the metaverse. This, in turn, has furthered the chance for people to make investments in Ethereum. And so, as the metaverse gains popularity and momentum, so will crypto blockchains such as Ethereum. In fact, according to Crowd Wisdom, the metaverse is expected to rise in value to about $800B by 2024. The point is that cryptocurrencies, and similar blockchains like ETH, are heavily involved in developing AR and VR technologies. So, cryptos will rise in value as this new digital frontier gains popularity.
The Bottom Line
Like non-fungible tokens (NFTs) and blockchain technology (like cryptocurrencies), the metaverse is taking the world by storm and reshaping our digital reality. My take? Whether you’re ready for more technological and societal change or not, get ready because it’s already here. I firmly believe that adopting VR and AR technologies in our daily lives will shape the future of the world as we know it.
*Mark Zuckerberg quote: Inc.