Web3++: The Metaverse

What Is the Metaverse?

  • It will be persistent. The Metaverse will never be “reseted”, “paused”, or “ended”, it just continues indefinitely, as is the case for the Internet (or even blockchain networks ;) ). This is one of the reasons why it is not just an “immersive Fortnite”. Websites in the Internet are dynamic, and they may have changed the next time you visit them. The same will happen with the different worlds in the Metaverse, they are dynamic, as they may change and evolve in your absence.
  • It will be synchronous and live. Pre-scheduled and self-contained events will happen in the Metaverse just as they do in “real life”, but the core will be a real-time common experience between users in the same part of the Metaverse.
  • It won’t be limited in the number of concurrent users that can “exist” at the same time in the Metaverse, while giving each of them an individual sense of “presence”. This will open a set of potentially interesting technical challenges. How can we build an infrastructure whose quality of service is not impacted by the number of users? Or a more philosophical one, how would we model space, time or the laws of physics in this new universe?
  • It will be a fully functioning economy on top of the real economy. Individuals and businesses will be able to create, own, invest, sell, and be rewarded for “work” done and “value” produced in the Metaverse and recognized by others. We may even get to the extent where you are “paid to play” in the Metaverse (if this is something other individuals value). And we can’t talk about a digital economy without mentioning the blockchain, cryptocurrencies and DAOs. I will leave this for the next few sections, but web3 technologies will happen to be core for the realization of the Metaverse.
  • Is being “inside the Metaverse” and “outside the Metaverse” two excluding experiences? Probably not. Due to the current state of the technology you may be thinking of the Metaverse as this universe in VR, but the Metaverse will span both the physical and digital world through AR (Augmented Reality). Certain worlds of the Metaverse may be tied to physical locations and be only accessible when you are physically located somewhere. These are the kind of experiences any one will be able to build over the Metaverse. So the Metaverse is a platform where creators will be able to build (and own) these digital experiences, the same way the Internet became the platform for the distribution of 2D content. Have you ever dreamed of a world where everyone could fly? Well, this may be closer that you think.
  • It will offer unprecedented interoperability: Digital assets are currently scattered in silos over the Internet. Even our data is siloed in the information systems of all the companies we interact with. Your favorite song may only be living in Spotify, while the collectible you unlocked in League of Legends is not there for you to use in Fortnite. Today, the digital world basically in the current Internet acts as if it were a mall where every store used its own currency. The Metaverse will aggregate all of these worlds and experiences under the same set of protocols, the same way IP gave the basic protocol layer for the interoperability of heterogeneous connected devices. The Metaverse is not just “a virtual space” or “virtual reality” as the ones we currently experience with the Oculus Rift. It is not a “game”, a “virtual theme park”, or a new “app store”. When you read the mainstream media you may feel like this is the Metaverse, but the truth is that we better look at the Matrix than read the media to get a real sense of how the Metaverse could look like. It will be a platform where anyone will be able to build their own worlds and experiences (even ones that defies the laws of physics) the same way the Internet has become this platform where anyone can build their own web applications to improve human capabilities.
  • It will be decentralized. Anyone will be able to access it and interact with it independent of their location, Internet provider, or device they are running.
  • Finally, it will be populated by “content” and “experiences” created and operated by an incredible range of contributors (from individuals to big organizations). And this is the key reason why what Facebook is building is probably not a Metaverse. Does anyone own the Web? Not really. Anyone is free to publish their own service or app. The same will happen with the Metaverse. Anyone will be free to create their own world, experience, content, or sub-economy. And here is where DAOs may have a key role to orchestrate the ownerships and interactions between members of the same world or community. As you create your own world in the Metaverse, you’ll be able to deploy its own DAO to orchestrate the economy of the world, and govern its evolution. No need for any centralized governance entity to ensure the long-term operation of the world, the DAO will implement the rules for members o the community to govern the world.

The role of the Web3

  • A decentralized identity. The metaverse is a continuum that never stops, and any individual is free to access. If we want this universe to be interoperable we can’t afford having to have a different identity according to the world you enter (as is currently the case for the Internet). Your identity may have different traits dependent on the world, but your core identity shouldn’t change. Even more, for digital assets to be interoperable throughout the whole Metaverse, they should be tight for your own identity, which means that this should be unique. There are already several proposals for a decentralized identity in the blockchain world, and there is even a standard being promoted by the DIF (Decentralized Identity Foundation) that is defining the “OSI model” with the stack of protocols required for a decentralized identity.
  • Decentralized storage: For the Metaverse to be interoperable, open, and have no downtimes or be affected by the load in the system, it needs to rely on decentralized infrastructure. All the content, the worlds, and the digital assets from the Metaverse need to be hosted somewhere, and I don’t think AWS S3 buckets will be the chosen place for this. Decentralized storage platforms like Filecoin or IPFS will definitely thrive once the Metaverse starts to become a reality, as the needs for storage close to the device will be deemed a requirement.
  • Cryptocurrencies and NFTs as the core for the Metaverse’s digital economy. At this point, we can’t think of a digital economy without cryptocurrencies and NFTs. These digital assets have already attracted an impressive amount of capital and paved the way for new financial markets with DeFi and NFTs. Imagine what they could achieve once they become the economy of a new digital universe.
  • In the end, DAOs are a set of smart contracts to help orchestrate the decisions of individuals in the community. Thus, whenever a community formed in the Metaverse needs to handle property over a set of digital assets, the interaction of voting and governance, or the distribution of reward to members contributing to the world, they’ll be able to deploy a DAO to orchestrate these. Funding a state in the metaverse and rewarding the actions of individuals in this world through a DAO should be something straightforward in the Metaverse.

Metaverses, DAOs and DACs

  • Roles and reputation: In “traditional” DAOs, every member has the same role, there is no way of setting special permissions or “powers” over different participants. DACs support this, allowing implement something like a DAC for a business in the Metaverse, where according to your position in the business, you have a different role, and thus you can influence in a different way how the business (and thus the DAC works). This links with another nice feature from DACs, an embedded reputation system that allows other DAC members to evaluate other members’ contributions within the ecosystem..
  • Scalability: As mentioned above, organizations in the Metaverse should expect millions of transactions a day, and the system shouldn’t be affected by the number of parallel users, which means that interactions in the Metaverse and the DACs deployed in it should be able to scale seamlessly.
  • Finally, no one knows how HR, payroll, or corporate governance will work for digital organizations in a digital universe where users can come and go, and you can’t trust a single “corporate governance entity” always available and connected to the system. DACs payroll, HR, and management will offer the capabilities to start designing what HR, payroll, and organizations look like in the Metaverse.

What are the use cases?



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