Episode #25 25
Into the Social Media Future - The Metaverse
What is the METAVERSE? Unfortunately, no-one can be told what the METAVERSE is. You have to see it for yourself.
And that’s EXACTLY what we’re going to do in this episode.
I’m going to show you why it’s the FUTURE of SOCIAL MEDIA. Why Zuckerberg is betting Facebook’s future on it. And why the DECENTRALIZED alternatives might just be the next way you earn a paycheck.
Welcome to School of Block.
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We might not realise it, but most of us are pretty familiar with the METAVERSE already. Ever played Fortnite or Pokemon Go? Or used some filters in Snapchat?
The term ‘METAVERSE’ was first coined by Neal Stephenson in his sci-fi novel SNOW CRASH, describing a convergence of PHYSICAL, AUGMENTED and VIRTUAL REALITY in a shared online space.
SECOND LIFE was an early online version of this – but it’s now superseded by platforms like ROBLOX and FORTNITE. Whose adoption rates, by the way, are HUGE.
ROBLOX started all the way back in 2006, but a major change occurred in 2013 when it allowed creators to exchange the in-world currency for real world money.
This fuelled development (with the game paying $250 million to developers last year) and in the last few years the growth has been explosive. In February it had almost 200 MILLION users monthly, and when it debuted on the New York Stock Exchange this year the valuation was a whopping 38 BILLION DOLLARS.
And as for FORTNITE, well you know all about FORTNITE. 350 MILLION registered accounts. 3.3 BILLION hours in game. And its maker EPIC GAMES is worth just shy of 30 BILLION DOLLARS.
So these CENTRALIZED METAVERSES are already wildly successful. Why?
Because the ways that younger generations socialise are fundamentally evolving. They convey their IDENTITY and SOCIAL CURRENCY through what they create and own DIGITALLY.
Which is why last year players spent over a BILLION dollars on SKINS in Fortnite – character outfits which offer no inherent advantage in the game itself.
In this world, DIGITAL comes first. So imagine instead taking what you own DIGITALLY and then transcribing it PHYSICALLY. My APE – right here – for example. More on exactly what CRYPTO AVATARS are all about, back in Episode 21.
So compare this generation, primed for WEB 3.0 – to WEB 2.0 native millenials and Gen Xers who take how they look PHYSICALLY and then share that DIGITALLY on platforms like Instagram.
It’s a PARADIGM SHIFT, make no mistake.
And this shift is being driven by the limitations of those CENTRALIZED MODELS.
Namely – that CENTRALIZED METAVERSES aren’t owned by the players or users, but by CORPORATIONS.
Which of course means the REVENUE is only going one way, it’s a walled garden when it comes to INNOVATION, and there’s very little CREATIVE FREEDOM for those who take part.
So now DECENTRALIZED PLATFORMS are springing up all over the place, enabled by the technological opportunities blockchain brings, seeking to capitalise on the limitations of these existing alternatives.
In the last episode we talked about how SOCIAL MEDIA is evolving, and the DECENTRALIZED METAVERSES are the natural home for a world where your DIGITAL IDENTITY comes before your PHYSICAL one.
Here your CRYPTO WALLET and your IDENTITY become one and the same. What you own is on display, much like an ID card. And your interactions can be defined by your transaction history.
So you’ve got one of the coolest APES out there? Or a wicked ZOMBIE PUNK? Well, your interactions are likely to be defined by the values your NFTs espouse. So it’s goodbye to racism, sexism, and just about any other kind of ism – here your CHOICES define you, not how you were born. It’s pretty compelling.
And DECENTRALIZED METAVERSES bring a number of advantages over the CENTRALIZED ones out there, currently hoovering up more money than God.
Primarily, that YOU get a say in how they’re run, how they share the revenue, and actually get an EQUITABLE distribution of the pie yourself.
You can OWN the land on which you build. Your INTERACTIONS can be MONETIZED, as can others with you or the things you own. DECENTRALIZED METAVERSES have the potential to be the ULTIMATE DEMOCRATIC environment, in the truest sense of the word.
So compelling is the potential, that BRANDS like ATARI, THE WALKING DEAD and BINANCE are already buying up land in the newest metaverse, SANDBOX – before it’s even launched.
But there are plenty of DECENTRALIZED METAVERSES already out there, up and running.
To name but a few.
Most of these allow you to use your CRYPTO AVATAR in a 3D VIRTUAL environment and seamlessly become it. MEEBITS were designed from the off to work in this kind of space, but 3D versions of APES and PUNKS are coming too.
So how do social interactions change in the Metaverse? How different are they than just texting on your phone, for example?
Well, for a start – with VR, they’re fully immersive. Imagine organising a PARTY or CONCERT in the metaverse. Each of you attending, represented exactly the way you want to be – the way that reflects the real YOU. Not a pouting, airbrushed version of your physical self.
And it’s not just play that happens here – ZOOM MEETINGS have the potential to be blasted into oblivion by the potential for COMMUNAL MEETINGS in the metaverse, where participants can not just interact with each other but also any form of media you can imagine.
But which of these DECENTRALIZED METAVERSES are going to be successful? Which will be the OASIS in Ready Player One, that everyone goes to?
Well, right now we don’t know. Mostly likely, ENDORSEMENTS and NETWORK EFFECTS will drive attention and adoption, and from the crowd a leader will emerge.
But, unlike the Highlander – there will always be more than one.
And that’s because the CENTRALIZED ALTERNATIVES aren’t going anywhere.
Zuckerberg bought OCULUS because Facebook desperately needed a HARDWARE PATHWAY to survive the coming shift. They have openly called out the METAVERSE as being their FUTURE.
And you can bet your bottom dollar, and probably all of your other dollars too, that OWNERSHIP of your IDENTITY, DATA and INTERACTIONS in whatever comes out of this endeavour will be going EXACTLY the same direction as they are at the moment.
TWITTER are making moves too – partnering with SQUARE. We don’t know yet what this offering will look like, but be under no illusion, it is coming.
So when the time comes, as it will for us all in our DIGITAL FUTURE…
The choice will be to go CENTRALIZED. Or to take your CHOICE, FREEDOM and AUTONOMY and reach out into the DECENTRALIZED world.
Do you take the RED PILL, or the BLUE PILL? The young ones, and the enlightened, will choose wisely.
And we’ll be talking about what the benefits of that wise choice might be in our next episode – when we get pumped up to go to WORK and earn our PAYCHEQUE in the metaverse.
You might never have to go for a job interview again.
You’ve been watching School of Block, presented by Ledger and the Defiant, demystifying decentralisation, one block at a time. Don’t forget to subscribe, drop us a like if that’s what you’re into, and as always – here’s to your financial freedom.”