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What Is Metaverse? Here Is Everything About It

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Metaverse, Facebook VR Horizon Workroom App

You definitely have been hearing about Metaverse. Everyone is talking about it.

But the question remains, What is Metaverse?

Why is the world so interested in the Metaverse?

How can you too be a part of the Metaverse?

What are the issues around the Metaverse?

How do you make money in the Metaverse?

What are the challenges and fears about the Metaverse?

Who is championing the Metaverse?

What are the components of the metaverse?

Will metaverse replace human relationships?

 What are the gains?

What are some interesting Metaverse projects that are ongoing?

These are many questions that need answers.

However, this news report will make you understand them.

What you must know is that the word Metaverse is an idea so, it won’t have a general definition.

It is a virtual universe that lets users create avatars of themselves to replicate their experiences from real or physical world on a virtual.

It is a futuristic idea of a world of without limitations.

The Metaverse is a universe where anybody can be anything and have any kind of ability.

So, if you are poor in real world now, you could be rich in Metaverse.

If you are ugly in the world, you could be the most beautiful in Metaverse.

You could also change your gender, colour, height, country, religion, anything. The Metaverse allows all of them.

To understand Metaverse clearly, look at this scenario.

First, the COVID-19 pandemic hit the world during 2020.

The pandemic forced most employees and businesses and offices to shut physical operations and work virtually from homes.

People worked from homes using ZOOM and other virtual video and audio assisting technologies.

However, people became bored about using some of this technologies as they yearned a return to offices.

Why? Many people said they missed the office environment, the lunches together, and the coffee machine banter.

They missed the work desk, the boardroom, and the canteen.

Meanwhile, Zoom and other virtual assisting remote working technologies lack a pair of virtual reality glasses that are windows to access the Metaverse.

Consequently, Meta developed the Horizon Workspaces which uses Virtual Reality Headsets to access the digital spaces.

Meta also working on haptic gloves, which will allow people even create the sensation of touch while in the Metaverse.

But, how did the term Metaverse coined?

Well, the term has become the next big thing after internet. It is the next revolution forming popular global discuss.

Meanwhile, the term Metaverse became a popular discourse after Facebook rebranded and changed its name to Meta.

Facebook said it changed to Meta to widen its reach beyond social media into areas like virtual reality.

“Right now, our brand is so tightly linked to one product that it can’t possibly represent everything that we’re doing today, let alone in the future… It is time for us to adopt a new company brand to encompass everything that we do, to reflect who we are and what we hope to build,” Zuckerberg said.

The tech giant also said it would create over 10,000 jobs in Europe to develop the “metaverse.”

ALSO READ: Why Meta’s Metaverse Could Be Dangerous – Former Google CEO

The word was coined by science fiction writer, Neal Stephenson in his 1992 novel “Snow Crash.”

The word also featured in Ernest Cline’s novel, “Ready Player One.”

Although the term has been existing before Meta, it became popular as it aligns with Meta’s dream of a virtual world.

So, what is Metaverse?

Simply put, Metaverse is the creation of a virtual universe where humans can interact like they do in everyday life using avatars of themselves.Metaverse, Facebook VR Horizon Workroom App

Also, it refers to online spaces where people can interact like they do physically in a more immersive ways.

Metaverse is the use of headsets instead of computers to enter virtual spaces connecting all digital environments.

In the Metaverse, various companies and individuals can create spaces or experiences for entertainment, education and business purposes.

It is a communal cyberspace where augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR) converge.

With this convergence, avatars of people can move from one activity to another seamlessly.

According to analyst, Victoria Petrock, in a chat with Associated Press, she said thus:

“It’s the next evolution of connectivity where all of those things start to come together in a seamless, doppelganger universe, so you’re living your virtual life the same way you’re living your physical life.”

Uses of Metaverse:

You can use the Metaverse for work, play, social gatherings like wedding celebration, birthday parties, graduation ceremonies.

You can also use the Metaverse for even hanging out with friends, dating, travelling, shopping, just anything you can do in physical life.

Already, a company, Forever Mood, allows users buy digital and physical versions of its candles.

Game platform Roblox is also drafting plans for the metaverse where people would interact “to learn, work, play, create and socialize.”

What Can You do or benefit and How Can businesses use Metaverse?

You can do anything in the Metaverse.

Meta’s CEO, Mark Zuckerberg explained as follows:

“A lot of the metaverse experience is going to be around being able to teleport from one experience to another.”

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If you have never visited any country before, you can do that in the Metaverse.

You can take a trip online to any part of the world.

Also, you can join meetings and board elections, discussions or AGMs (Annual General Meetings) digitally.

Similarly, you can attend and listen to a virtual concert.

So, if Cardi B, Wizkid or Tecno is holding a concert, you can attend while in the comfort of your room.

Also, you can create artworks and sell in the Metaverse.

Surely, you can shop digitally while in the Metaverse.

Brands will have digital shops, products and services for you or anyone to buy.

You can also meet celebrities you like, attend interviews, church services, play games or anything.

So, it is a virtual universe of possibilities without limitations.

How Can You Join the Metaverse:Metaverse, Facebook VR Horizon Workroom App

Well, currently, you can join the Metaverse using Virtual Reality headsets.

The VR headsets allow users to move between real world and virtual world like the Metaverse.

To enter Metaverse, you will use the VR headset and then use a dedicated software to to create avatar of yourself to appear in the virtual world.

The headsets act as your eyes.

They allow you see yourself and the virtual spaces as well as  other people in the Metaverse as Avatars.

Meanwhile, Meta has software for companies that it calls Horizon Workrooms.

The software uses Oculus VR headsets to conduct virtual meetings using avatars.

The headsets are priced at $300 or more.

So, right now, you can only access the Metaverse through VR headsets and by creating avatars of yourself.

You can create avatar of yourself while changing your looks, gender, specie, colour, physique, etc.

You can change your accent too in the Metaverse.

Why is the world so interested in the Metaverse and How can businesses operate in the Metaverse?

ALSO READ: UK Competition Regulator Orders Meta To Sell Giphy

The world and everybody is interested in the Metaverse because it is the next big thing.

Metaverse has been the buzzword in Silicon Valley for some time.

Everyone as well as the big techs and investors are getting excited as they all want to be a part of the futuristic idea.

Apart from Meta, Microsoft and chipmaker Nvidia are also talking of the metaverse.

Microsoft has said it would roll out its version of the Metaverse in 2022.

Richard Kerris, vice president of Nvidia’s Omniverse platform, while in a chat AP said thus:

“We think there’s going to be lots of companies building virtual worlds and environments in the metaverse, in the same way, there’s been lots of companies doing things on the World Wide Web.”

They will create businesses, products, shows, brands, currencies, and run businesses in the Metaverse.

Brands will create virtual products, digital shops and services where people can purchase.

These digital products, services or things are represented as Non Fungible Tokens (NFTs).

NFTs are ways to show in the real world, ownership of digital products, services and things.

Billionaires will arise and people would be able to do what they have never even imagined in real world before.

So, no one wants to be left behind.

On the flip side, the fears of too much powers and control of the virtual world in the hands of Mark Zuckerberg alone is another reason for the buzz.

Also, the world doubts the capabilities of Meta to handle all the needs of Metaverse.

Currencies used in Metaverse:

In Metaverse, you can work, shop, exercise, do business, buy land or even make art.

However, like every economy needs a currency, the metaverse, also needs a currency.

Since it is a fully immersive virtual economy, it needs a mode of virtual currency or payment system.

Also, all activities and interactions in the virtual world are all done through an avatar of the user.

So, it is not possible to transact in fiat currency.

Consequently, the reasonable currencies to use in Metaverse are the cryptocurrencies.

Metaverse and cryptocurrencies work in close association and unlock a vast possibility of experiences that can only be lived virtually.

Cryptocurrency makes all virtual transactions spontaneous.

Because cryptocurrency runs on blockchain technology, the digital transactions are highly secure and trustworthy.

Also, the blockchain platform provides security and safety to digital transactions.

It also makes the concept of virtual ownership of assets possible.

For example, Decentraland, Axie Infinity, and SecondLive are Metaverse applications that run on cryptocurrency.

They allow users to own virtual lands, play-to-earn, and experience much more.

Also, NFT are used to own digital assets in Metaverse.

NFTs are codes or cryptographic tokens that house details of virtual assets that someone can physically show as proof of ownership of the assets.

NFTs can be in in the form of digital art, any in-game property, etc.

Examples of Metaverse currencies:

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  1. MANA:

This is a form of currency used in the Metaverse, particularly a virtual gaming project, Decentraland.

Decentraland is a virtual world where players develop parcels of land and manage them like real estate.

Investors can buy these virtual plots for a price.

You can visit by using your internet browser.

Meanwhile, MANA  is the native currency to use here.

MANA is a cryptocurrency-based currency.  It is currently priced at $4.72.

MANA has a market cap of roughly $9 billion.

So, it is a currency to use in the Metaverse.

  1. SAND:

SAND is another currency to use in the Metaverse. It is already used in a virtual game, Sandbox.

Sandbox is a virtual gaming world where players can earn tokens for completing various quests.

Players earn tokens in forms of SAND.

You can then use these SAND tokens to buy land and other virtual objects.

SAND is trading at around $7. It has a current market cap of over $6 billion, per coinmarketcap.

  1. AXIS:

This is another digital currency for the Metaverse.

It is already in use for a game, Axie Infinity.

In this game, players can bread, sell, buy, trade and battle with monsters to earn the AXS tokens.

The monsters themselves are NFTs that are unique.

Currently, AXS is priced around $132 with a global market cap of over $8 billion, according to coinmarketcap.

  1. GALA:

Gala is another virtual currency.

It is also ideal currency for Metaverse as it is already in use in the game, Gala Games.

GALA is priced at $0.635 currently, but it has seen a rise of nearly 90 percent in the last week.

It has a market cap of roughly $5 billion.

  1. ENJ Coin:

ENJ Coin is another blockchain digital currency for the Metaverse.

It is based on the game, Enjin.

It is an online gaming platform that lets people manage and create their NFTs.

ENJ is currently priced at $3.5. It has a market cap of roughly $3 billion.

These are all Metaverse projects currently existing and utilizing the these currencies.

With Meta and Microsoft coming fully into the show, it becomes even more interesting.

Below are the Metaverse projects also existing:

  1. Decentraland (MANA):

Decentraland is a virtual reality space where people sell and buy virtual property called LAND.

People can also develop, manage and maintain the digital assets (LAND) in anyway they like.

You can develop LAND either through phone, laptop, or desktop.

So, graphics designers, architects, and UI/UX designers can play huge roles in developing LANDs in Metaverse.

MANA is the currency used here. It is based on the Ethereum blockchain.

It is the native crypto of the game.

You must have MANA to pay for goods and services that they choose to avail in the game.

It was founded in 2015 as a 2D reality. It later evolved into a 3D world.

Decentraland has over 90,000 land parcels that people can buy with MANA.

As interesting as it is, Tokens.com, a Canadian investment firm that focuses on decentralized finance (DeFi), bought nearly $2.5 million worth of virtual land in the platform Decentraland.

Meanwhile, Decentraland is also expanding its NFT space with art galleries.

At the galleries, users can buy and sell art and even directly interact with the artists.

It has also partnered Sotheby, one of the biggest auctioneers in the world to auction some assets.

For instance, 914 Wonder Woman NFTs from former DC comic artist, Jose Delbo, sold for $1.85 million.

  1. Another Metaverse project is The Sandbox (SAND):

It is a virtual world where people can buy lands and other digital assets.

CNBCtv explains it thus:

“Sandbox is unique as it allows people the freedom to use SAND – be it in conceptualising their own game, using it in other games, or managing other virtual assets. SAND is powered by the Ethereum blockchain as well that makes it highly safe and secure. Moreover, SAND is backed by SoftBank through its Vision Fund, one of the most popular tech-investment names in this space.”

  1. Axie Infinity:

This is another Metaverse project that runs on blockchain technology.

It is a game involving NFTs and on blockchain technology.

Here, users can buy players can buy, sell and trade Axies which is the game’s cartoon monster.

Players can then use the Axies to battle with others.

Each Axie gets its powers from its type (plant, bird, bug, etc.) and its body parts.

Users create new Axies by spending currency earned in the game to ‘breed’ the Axie monsters.

Users can also sell the earnings in the open market for real money.

In all the projects, you can buy their assets using cryptocurrencies.

So, these are ways you can make money in Metaverse.

For instance, a virtual land plot in the Axie Infinity NFT game sold for a record price of $2.4 million (550 Etherieum).

Ownership and control:

Right now, there is no control as regards the Metaverse.

Since it also depends on the blockchain technology in terms of its currency, it is decentralized.

Also, While Microsoft, Meta and other entities are championing the Metaverse, anybody can have their own Metaverse.

Just have the components necessary for launching into the digital spaces such as VRs, blockchains and NFTs.

Funding for Metavers:

Although Meta plans on investing heavily in the futuristic ide, it is not the only one investing in it.

For instance, Fortnite video game maker, Epic Games, has raised $1 billion from investors for building the metaverse.

A research firm believes the size of the metaverse could grow to $829 billion by 2028, up from $48 billion in 2020.

Meanwhile, many brands and individuals are greatly interested in the Metaverse and some have invested hugely in Metaverse projects.

Fears and Challenges of the Metaverse:

The metaverse would require standardisation and cooperation among tech giants to help them connect their online platforms to each other.

This is going to pose a challenge for competing for technology platforms.

Also, there are fears that Metaverse could be dangerous to the society.

For instance, former Google CEO Eric Schmidt has expressed this fear.

According to him, the Metaverse is “not necessarily the best thing for human society.”

He gave the statement while speaking with the New York Times about his concerns about the future of artificial intelligence technology.

The former Google CEO said he believes AI technology like the metaverse will eventually replace human relationships.

According to him, “All of the people who talk about metaverses are talking about worlds that are more satisfying than the current world — you’re richer, more handsome, more beautiful, more powerful, faster,” Schmidt told the Times.

He also noted saying,   “So, in some years, people will choose to spend more time with their goggles on in the metaverse. And who gets to set the rules? The world will become more digital than physical. And that’s not necessarily the best thing for human society.”

Schmidt gave the concerns while reacting the news announcing a name change from Facebook to Meta.

These are some of the challenges and fears about Metaverse.

Implication:

This article has shown you What Metaverse really is.

It has also shown you opportunities in the Metaverse and how you can tap into them.

Also, the dangers, currencies to use in the Metaverse and many other issues have become clearer.

So, what do you think?

Share this article and type your comments below.

Anthony Chinonso Ogbonna is the editor of Techuncode media. He is a seasoned journalist whose stint cuts across broadcast, print and, especially, the online media. A graduate of Mass Communication from the University of Nigeria, Nsukka (UNN), Anthony holds a Masters Degree in Multimedia Journalism. He aligns his belief with those of world tech communities, holding tenaciously that the world is solely driven and can only be best with tech. Furthermore, Anthony believes that technology is simple, fun and is not what one, especially Africans, should be scared of, hence, his passion for telling compelling stories about tech in ways relatable to the ordinary user. He has his hobbies in reading and designing (new hobby though.)

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