Facebook has recently announced that it will shift to a “metaverse company.” This is a big deal, as Facebook has over 3 billion users, making it the largest social network in the world. This move is a powerful propellant for the emerging metaverse sector as a whole, which is bringing businesses into the sector.
The vision of the metaverse is to create a shared virtual space where people can go to do things like meet new friends, play games, watch videos, or shop for products. The idea is to make any and every digital task more interactive and engaging, from online banking to browsing Wikipedia.
Let’s explore why businesses are entering metaverses as well as the crypto world.
Crypto and metaverses belong together
Traditional online ecosystems, like Facebook or Twitter, are powered by user data. Since these networks are free to use, they rely on the “data economy” to pay for their employees, keep their servers running, and turn a profit. As a result, users suffer by losing access to their data, losing their privacy, and being subject to censorship.
On the other hand, metaverses are powered by the crypto economy, which doesn’t rely on user data. The crypto economy is one of the most exciting and novel aspects of metaverses. It offers a way to incentivize behavior in a decentralized fashion, without relying on any single entity or centralized provider.
By using crypto tokens to buy and trade virtual goods like real estate, digital art, or even ads, developers can create entire virtual economies with no middleman. In this way, the metaverse can begin to resemble the real-world economy. We’ve already seen how valuable these virtual assets can be when they are scarce and unique — as is the case with many crypto collectibles.
So what does this mean for businesses?
Businesses are realizing that they can use crypto tokens to represent their products or services in the metaverse. For example, you could use tokens to purchase a physical product from an online store, or even buy virtual land from another person in the metaverse.
These transactions would all be recorded on the blockchain so that ownership can easily be verified, but there would be nothing stopping you from then trading those items back and forth between trusted peers.
Crypto tokens are also resistant to censorship: there’s no centralized provider that could take your assets or tokens. Finally, crypto tokens don’t require banks or other third-party financial intermediaries: everything happens directly between users.
In short, this opens up a whole new market for products and services.
Right now, most people use social networks to keep in touch with friends and family. However, the future of these networks could be closer to a virtual metaverse, where everything from messaging to business transactions are done on the blockchain.
What about decentralized metaverses?
Facebook aims to create a metaverse, but it would be centralized.
Next Earth is a virtual world built on top of the Ethereum blockchain. It has the same vision as a traditional metaverse: To build a digital world. However, Next Earth is completely decentralized. There are no centralized servers that rule what you can or cannot do, or what happens to your data.
What does this mean for the future of business?
Right now, the metaverse community is still very much in its infancy. There are only a handful of these platforms that support crypto transactions (and even fewer that are decentralized).
However, as more and more people enter the metaverse, we will see an explosion in the number of businesses entering to take advantage of this new market opportunity.
The most important thing for your business to do right now is to start experimenting with blockchain technology and explore the opportunities in the metaverse.