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Top Metaverses: Learn Which Metaverse Is Best For You

Read 8 min
Beginner
digital art of people standing in front of a door way with art coming out of it
KEY TAKEAWAYS:
—  “The Metaverse” refers to a public ecosystem where the world’s users can connect to one another through an open online platform.

— Each of the top metaverses today offer a different experience; and each have their advantages and disadvantages

— Some of the top metaverses today include The Sandbox, Decentraland, The otherside and Somnium Space; Here Ledger Academy explains the difference between them.

The metaverse: Another hot topic and a technological buzzword that’s been making the rounds. But Facebook’s recent rebrand to “Meta” isn’t the first time tech experts have delved into the potential for a comprehensive digital world. So what exactly is the Metaverse and what’s the difference between a centralized, controlled environment and other open-sourced online worlds? Pop on your proverbial headset, we’re diving into metaverses; what they offer, the differences between them and some of the top metaverse platforms today.

Let’s get stuck in.

What is the Metaverse?

But what is the metaverse exactly? The idea and term of a “Metaverse” were born nearly 30 years ago in a cyberpunk novel by Neal Stephenson. In the book Snowcrash, Stephenson talks about an imaginary place available to the global public over some sort of worldwide network. (Yep, he was WELL ahead of his time.)

Amazon.fr - Snow Crash - Stephenson, Neal - Livres

The way we see and talk about the Metaverse is fairly akin to Stephenson’s vision: It’s a public space for a global network made possible through digital means. In the Metaverse, people can build and interact in a world based loosely on reality—with a surreal twist.

While there are different degrees of Metaverses, the basic concept ticks a couple of boxes:

  • A public digital space featuring unique, customisable avatars representing individual users,
  • Where digital ownership ranges depending on how decentralized the platform is,
  • where you can engage with other users,
  • interact with elements of the digital world, and
  • share experiences with others based on the platform

Basically, a Metaverse is an online platform that adds layers and layers of creation on a digital platform, adding in the ability for a user to build a character (or avatar) and establish and lead a digital life. From digital fashion and digital careers, to looking after pets and property, the Metaverse imitates reality while throwing in the world of opportunity the imagination can only dream of. 

Decentralized Metaverses: Why it Matters

While there are web2 metaverse platforms, such as Second Life, these platforms don’t allow the users to shape the future of the game. Plus, assets in these games are siloed. In short, you can’t sell items for real money or use them in any other games. This is where blockchain-powered metaverses come in. Using blockchain tech, these top metaverse platforms can offer players a way to actively participate. Put simply, Blockchain technology allows these users to make user-generated content and even monetize their creations.

What are The Top Metaverses Today?

So, now you know why blockchain metaverses are so interesting, let’s explore some of the top metaverses today. These are the types of metaverses that allow you to buy and sell in-game items, and even pieces of digital real-estate in some cases.

Axie Infinity: The Top Play-to-Earn Metaverse Style Game

Axie Infinity is a play-to-earn gaming Metaverse that uses an Ethereum sidechain called the Ronin network. It’s a little more than a game and just a little less than a full Metaverse. To clarify, Axie Infinity focuses on social interaction. And as a blockchain game, it offers true ownership, since the Axies themselves are NFTs. Then, Axie Infinity also offers gamification. Put simply, you can battle the little creatures to recieve in-game rewards.

Built up by the community, Axie Infinity combines offering users open sharing experiences across the platform and throws in an opportunity to earn from the game’s rewards while ticking the box of full virtual ownership. Yes, in Axie Infinity you retain true ownership of the Axies and other assets of the platform. While the platform itself is currently governed centrally, it plans to pass governance into its users in the future.

Image credit: Axie Infinity

The Sandbox: The Best Metaverse For User Generated Content

The Sandbox is one of the biggest Metaverse platforms on the Ethereum network. The long-term aim of the project includes establishing a fully decentralized world, entirely governed, created and controlled and created by users within the Sandbox community.

Beyond that, the Sandbox caters to creatives. Firstly, it’s designed to allow digital creators to display their work and experiences. Plus, with celebrity backers like Snoop Dogg and Deadmau5, The Sandbox is one-of-a-kind. Imagine a reality where you can log in, walk out of your digital house, wave to your neighbour Snoop and head to work on your virtual vocation. With The Sandbox, this isn’t necessarily a far-off reality.

Another important element of the platform’s ’s vision was expressed by CEO Arthur Madrid when he commented “We are developing an entire ecosystem that opens new digital job opportunities for players and creators in our open NFT metaverse.” 

To explain, the Sandbox offers a variety of employment opportunities; from digital tour guide, showing newcomers around the platform, to content creators enhancing the ecosystem as a whole, all of which come with a real world salary.

But the Sandbox doesn’t only open up metaverse jobs. In fact, it also shows how the ecosystem and environment mimics reality, right down to career opportunities in the system.

Image credit: The Sandbox

Decentraland: The Top Metaverse For True Decentralization

Decentraland is a social world where users can interact with one another, play games, and build up and manage digital property on an open platform. Decentraland’s main focus is digital art, offering a plethora of thriving art galleries and auctions open to the public. In June 2021, Sotheby’s opened the digital doors to its Decentraland gallery launching a space where users can view, bid on, and buy high-end NFTs. Once you walk into a gallery, you can start bidding on digital art immediately.

Interestingly, Decentraland already operates via a decentralized autonomous organizatiom (DAO), making it 100% decentralized and user-run. Another interesting nuance in Decentraland is how users claim plots of land. To explain, land plots in Decentraland follow ERC-721 token standard. Then, its in-game currency, MANA, is a fully-fledged ERC-20 token, MANA. Both of these are Ethereum tokens, which means users can develop items and flip them for profit on any Ethereum-compatible marketplace or exchange.

Image credit: Decentraland

Somnium Space: An OG Metaverse Platform

Somnium is a virtual reality world built on Ethereum, which hosts every player in one open world. In the Somnium system, players can buy digital land (which they own absolutely), play games in the world, interact with other players and create digital assets to use on the platform. As an open world, the potential to create and engage with the environment is pretty much limited to the imagination. 

Somnium’s main factor that sets it apart from other VR games is that players are not scattered across sub-servers. Rather, they are all on the same playing field and can all engage with one another and the broader environment. Somnium Space also uses NFTs, which empowers players to own parts of their experience

By integrating blockchain with VR, Somnium’s open ecosystem allows users to interact with one another, to monetize their VR experience on the platform, create and earn digital assets, mint NFTs and enjoy social interactions. Plus, users can create and “live” in their digital land; bridging the gap between digital and real life.

Image credit: Somnium Space

Each Popular Metaverse Offers Something New

As the Metaverse expands with new projects and platforms, new opportunities will continue to arise. Getting involved and contributing to the online community depends on the platform. But for most, it’s as easy as owning a digital wallet and buying some of the currency (like SAND or MANA) to get started. 

With the different degrees of Metaverse, each offering a unique purpose and a different level of community governance. Using these platforms you have enormous power to determine where the online space can be taken. With true, absolute control without central intervention, the online world really is your digital oyster. By putting control and ownership right into the hands of users, the metaverse is a true expression of its community, rather than being the product of an out of touch, top-down corporate vision.

Knowledge is Power.

Trust yourself and keep on learning. Check out our School of Block episode all about NFTs and why we can’t get enough of them.


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