When the digital assets space boomed in 2021, there were many big moments that took me by surprise. El Salvador adopted Bitcoin as a legal tender, Elon Musk helped Dogecoin soar to record highs, but the thing that shocked me the most was Facebook’s rebrand to Meta.
Facebook rebrands to Meta
Mark Zuckerberg memorably appeared in a video message to say that the Big Tech giant was rebranding as part of a wider vision “to help bring the Metaverse to life.” Within weeks, Metaverse hype was everywhere, and other big corporations were looking to jump onto the bandwagon before it was too late. Top investment banks released reports suggesting that the virtual space could become a multi-trillion dollar economy.
The buzz started to fade as crypto prices fell in 2022; Meta also reported that it had sunk $10 billion on its virtual reality arm in 2021 with no sign of a return on the horizon. But I think it’s important to look beyond Zuckerberg’s world when we talk about what the Metaverse could become. In fact, depending on whom you ask, we may already be living in the Metaverse today.
The origins of the Metaverse
The Metaverse became a hot buzzword late last year, but it’s certainly not a new concept. It was first coined by Neal Stephenson in his 1992 science fiction novel Snow Crash as he created a portmanteau of “meta” and “universe.” More recently, hit games like Fortnite and Runescape have been recognised as early examples of virtual worlds.
With the evolution of social media and smartphones throughout the 2010s, our society has increasingly spent more time in what could be described as “the Metaverse.” But the Metaverse will truly transform our lives as tokenization becomes more widespread.
Crypto projects building virtual worlds
The crypto space has already seen the emergence of some early examples of Metaverse projects like Decentraland. We believe that many projects building the space today will grow in the future, which is why we created a Collection of tokens inviting users to Explore the Metaverse.
“Many projects building the Metaverse today will grow in the future.”
Powered by the MANA token, Decentraland is a popular virtual world game that lets people socialise, play games, and even attend concerts in a futuristic digital realm, and its community has grown at a fast pace over recent years. While dancing to your favourite DJ virtually sounds space-age, you wouldn’t have predicted that you’d stream those same DJs on Boiler Room back when the Internet first started.
Tokenization promises to usher in the next evolution of the Metaverse because it will create a way for people to earn from their online activities and interactions. In the Metaverse of the future, you won’t just be playing a game with your friends—you’ll be able to play a game and get rewarded with tokens.
How tokens will change the Metaverse
Last year we saw an explosion of interest in NFTs, tokenized assets that represent an early iteration of how the Metaverse may look. New token adopters flocked to the space to trade animal-based avatar images, but in the Metaverse, we might wear those same avatars to represent our digital identities.
“The Metaverse will create all kinds of use cases for crypto tokens.”
With the emergence of tokens, the Metaverse will create all kinds of use cases for crypto and new ways to use the Internet. That brings me back to Zuckerberg: while I think he was right to see the potential in the Metaverse, unless Meta embraces tokenization, it may fail on its mission along the way. I guess what I’m saying is yes, the Metaverse is already here, but tokens will change it forever. And that will happen with or without Zuckerberg.
Mel Gelderman, CEO of token.com
Read more via CoinTelegraph here.
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