During the 19th century gold rush, thousands of fortune hunters flocked to the West Coast of the United States, building villages that became cities and eventually metropolises like San Francisco, leaving behind ghost towns in search of gold. The Golden. The boomtowns, some of which are still intact today, tell stories of the desire for prosperity, the rise and fall, the prospect of a better life, and the bitter realization of having hunted a ghost. Most of the El Dorados turned out to be mirages.
200 years later, the search for the new El Dorado has begun: the metaverse, the virtual space in which the boundaries between the physical and the digital are blurred by augmented and virtual reality (AR/VR) processes, new economies emerge and networks, is expanding Relocate parts of social life – and the big techs stick their pickaxes.
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Who comes first…
Microsoft has let the future business with the acquisition of Activision Blizzard cost 69 billion US dollars, while Facebook is developing a supercomputer that is supposed to handle the computing power for the virtuality that connects everything, and it is no longer called Facebook , but goal. Game developer Epic Games is entering the Metaverse with its acquisition of Harmonix, and chipmaker Nvidia has already set foot in the virtual economy with the Omniverse platform.
Why it’s better for companies to establish their platform monopolies in VR too early than too late can be explained by looking at profit prospects. Noisy Bloomberg the “global revenue potential of the metaverse” will grow to $800 billion from 2024. Analyst firm Market Research Future attests that the market will grow 41 percent by 2030. And the largest digital asset manager, Grayscale, concludes in a report that “the market opportunity to bring the Metaverse to life could generate more than $1 billion in annual sales.” Everyone agrees: The metaverse is growing, and tech companies want as much of it as possible.
Virtual reality is becoming socially acceptable
The Metaverse effort is finding a growing response from the community. The willingness to use the still new AR and VR technologies is increasing rapidly, as a study by digital association Bitkom shows. According to the survey, 16 percent of all Germans over the age of 16 already have AR experience and more than a third want to use the technology in the future.
Germans seem even more receptive to virtual reality. 17 percent already use VR glasses, 41 percent have an “interest in using them”. The main area of application for both technologies is in gaming, but the technologies are also increasingly used in education and for social activities such as visits to concerts and exhibitions.
The smartphone thanks you
AR, VR and MR may still be exotic, the integration and implementation so far is more of a “demo version” than is possible, but their presence in everyday life is increasing, and the other hype technology of the last few years is gradually disappearing suppressed from the public. “In ten years, the center of our digital life will no longer be the smartphone, but perhaps devices that look like ordinary glasses but have settings for virtual and augmented reality,” says another Bitkom report.
According to the digital association, when viewed through the glasses, “reality and computer-generated illusion” will be “so blended that they can barely be distinguished from each other.” Reality is catching up with the science fiction literature: “We will make things happen through eye movements or brain waves”, and although spatially separated, we can “touch and feel each other through haptic technology”. ”.
Cryptoeconomics instead of platform capitalism
Massive metaverse or orphaned virtual reality boomtowns: Ultimately, it is the users who decide on the success of 3D worlds. While demand is growing, “mass participation will only be possible if businesses are trusted and consumer behavior change is encouraged,” asset manager CoinShares predicts in a report.
This is where the crypto economy shows its strengths as a decentralized counterweight to the platform capitalism of the big tech data octopuses. Decentraland, Axie Infinity or The Sandbox: On the back of blockchain technology, the first VR worlds suitable for the masses show what community-controlled alternatives to monopolists are opening up. In them, the users who benefit in the first place are those who are an active part of a growing economic simulation according to the play-to-earn principle, with real benefits.
In the Philippines, the Pokémon-meets-crypto game Axie Infinity has already established itself as a source of income. Many of those who have lost their jobs due to the pandemic are using the revenue from the blockchain game to cover their daily needs. Before the typhoon disaster in December, about 40 percent of all Axie Infinity players came from the Philippines, where the island state made profits from a tax levied specifically on Axie profits.
moths in the light
The gigantic money-printing machine is also powered by Gen Z digital nomads and content creators animating virtual spaces. “The transition to the Metaverse will be determined primarily by the speed of development of personal avatars and virtual worlds and what they offer,” Fabian Heuschele, CEO and co-founder of content monetization platform Fanbase, tells BTC-ECHO. While the platforms benefit first and foremost, “the shift from creator dependency on brands and campaigns to free design without relying on ad partners has long since begun.”
Rory Kenny, CEO of AI-powered music platform Loudly, told BTC-ECHO that “one of the strongest bridges to the Metaverse is creators, who create their own virtual spaces where their communities reside, connect and access directly to the creator. They have a magnet function, they build networks and link their followers to platforms. “Creators have a high interest, zeitgeist, and influence over audience behavior and virtual location, so when creators start migrating to Metaverse platforms, there’s a high probability that their audience will follow them. ”.
NFT as a link in the metaverse
A gradual process, says Kenny: “The transition from current social networks to the Metaverse will be a challenge for many creators.” Social media business models couldn’t just slide through the metaverse. “Creators who thrive in the Metaverse will likely pick up on emerging trends that are specific to the Metaverse and have nothing to do with what’s happening on YouTube or Instagram and TikTok.” The Metaverse is “an entirely new terrain, and a new category of creators will emerge.”
NFTs play a key role in this. Digital Certificates of Authenticity enable the direct trade, distribution and merchandising of digital content, from music to art to collectibles (digital artifacts to avatars), and already serve a mass market. According to CoinShares, 80.5 million NFTs have been sold through the two largest NFT markets on Ethereum, OpenSea and Rarible. A total sales volume of 10.3 billion US dollars.
“A win-win-win situation”
For Kenny, the Metaverse offers a great opportunity that is not only profitable for the big platforms. “The win-win-win situation will be this: a win for the creators, a win for the audience, and a win for the commercial platforms.” The respective earnings expectations are closely intertwined.
“Creatives are only successful when they reach a large enough audience and find a way to monetize the value they create through the business infrastructure. Audiences only appear when they can see the value of the creator’s content, which is provided by the infrastructure. The infrastructure can only exist if it facilitates the relationship between the creator and the audience”.
Prosperity for all in the Metaverse?
Whether the sales are actually distributed fairly remains to be seen. By choosing one of the two opposite poles, users have a decisive influence on the design of the metaverse. Cryptoeconomics provides the basis for self-contained business cycles, in which users also participate, but struggles with graphically rather clunky implementations that are not yet able to compete with triple-A publisher development studios and IT companies. There are investment gaps here that could possibly be filled by DAOs, decentralized counterparts of venture capitalists.
For-profit companies, on the other hand, have no interest in redistribution and will largely dictate the apps, the media content, the monetization of it, and the way data is shared on their platforms. They have the biggest network effects and investment funds to build a metaverse for the masses.
The question of who benefits most from the Metaverse remains open at first. In many ways, the Metaverse is still a dream, and VR worlds have yet to live up to the hype. Even in virtuality, not everything that glitters today turns to gold. Whether the Metaverse can deliver on the promises expected by the advertising and entertainment industries, or meet the same fate as booming cities, is ultimately up to the users.
This article was published on January 29 of this year. It has been revised and adjusted accordingly for republishing.
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