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The metaverse has become inseparable from Web3 culture. Companies are racing to create their own metaverses, from small startups to Mark Cuban and, of course, Meta. Before companies rush to create a metaverse, it’s important to understand what the metaverse actually is.
Or what it should be.
The “meta” prefix usually means both “self-referential” or “about”. In other words, a meta level is something about a lower level. From dictionary.com:
“-a prefix added to the name of a subject and denoting another topic that analyzes the original but at a more abstract, higher levelI :
a prefix added to the name of something that consciously refers to or comments on its own subject or its own characteristics:
a meta painting of an artist painting a canvas.
The key aspect of both definitions is self-reference. Logically, the term “metavers” should then be “a universe that analyzes the original, but at an abstract level”. In other words, the metaverse will be a layer of abstraction describing our current physical world.
The Metaverse should be an Extended Reality, not a brand new one.
And that is why the trend is heading towards a crypto-based metaverse. Crypto, just like the world, has a kind of physical nature. You cannot copy Bitcoin or NFT. Just like the coffee mug on your desk cannot occupy the same physical space as the mug next to it. Space itself is singular and immutable and cannot be copied. Even if you make a 3D printed replica, it’s not the same mug. Crypto is therefore very well suited to build an immutable layer that describes the real world. In crypto, we can build models of the real world that take on many of its properties.
The natural opportunity will be in digital twins. Digital twins create a universe of information about buildings or other physical assets and are linked to the physical world. In other words, they are that meta-layer. By integrating blockchain technology, in the form of NFTs, all data and information surrounding the physical twin can be verified and recorded, forever, all tracked with the asset itself. When you think about it, digital twins are the metaverse versions of physical twins, and the technology is enhancing real-world features.
Validation is the key to metaverse truth
When evaluating the relationship between crypto/blockchain and the metaverse, it is important to remember that crypto is about verification and validation. So when considering the blockchain’s relationship to the metaverse, it makes sense to think of it as a digital space that can be validated.
So in the metaverse, it’s time to expand on what an NFT is and what it can contain. NFTs cannot be copied as they are tied to the validation and verification process over time, which makes them non-fungible. As the capabilities of NFTs expand, they become a new dimension of real-world information.
NFT domains are going to be at the heart of this idea. They become a non-fungible data space, uniquely related to us and our web activity3. In the metaverse, these domain NFTs can represent a house; register and validate each visitor, repair, event, etc. And this record and this infrastructure can be sold not only with the house, but as a central component of the house, increasing the value.
By clearly defining what a true metaverse is, for both developers and investors, we can begin to move towards a meaningful version of it.
Leonard Kish is co-founder of Cortex App, based on YouBase’s distributed date protocol.
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