What is metaverse?
Metaverse is the term used for defining virtual alternative worlds. Unlike our planet, there is not one but multiple metaverses in existence today. However, the essence of each of these are basically the same: To provide online spaces that allow people to interact with each other in a more immersive & comprehensive way. This “new” type of interaction is of course unparalleled when compared to the interactions we make with our current online activities and tools. Metaverse can be considered as the next stage in the development of the Internet and with the capabilities of this technology the necessity of being together can very well be eliminated by this technology.
Currently, Virtual Reality & Augmented Reality headsets are being developed to increase the volume of immersion, and people already developed their digital representations (avatars) to navigate in this world. However, it is not the only way one can interact with the metaverse. You can simply use a regular smartphone or a PC that has a decent Internet connection. Which brings us to the argument that the Metaverse is not about people wearing these headsets and walking around in their living rooms. In essence, metaverse provides a new digital frontier with new ways of interacting with each other. Needless to say, this new digital world will create a new set of economic relations. New digital spaces and a new economy of the goods and services that can be provided, sustained and improved by the metaverse development. For example, it is estimated that a company like Meta (formerly Facebook) will create 10.000 jobs in the EU with its’ metaverse services alone.
As we mentioned before, the metaverse is not one single space and there are multiple of metaverses in existence today and they can be distinguished by their centralized and decentralized characteristic. The prime example of centralized metaverses are the ones that belong to and developed by big tech companies (like Facebook, Amazon, Microsoft, Google etc.). The newly developed centralized metaverses/digital spaces are owned and operated by these companies. They can be considered as another digital platform they provide. Like an e-mail host or a social media account service, you use today. So, you can create a user account in these metaverses and you will be able to start using it. However, you will not fully own or benefit from your existence in these centralized metaverses because in the end they are operated by companies controlled by shareholders and driven by profit. The community members do not have a say in the decisions or rules used to shape this digital space.
What are the alternative metaverses?
The decentralized metaverses are the alternative to the ones owned and operated by tech giants. This means, if some community member is part of the decentralized metaverse, that individual has a voting power to determine the future of that digital space. This is of course made possible by blockchain technology, the same digital technology Bitcoin is based on. Thanks to blockchain technology, every digital information, every digital asset and digital product like avatars, clothes and metaverse property for sale is stored in decentralized computers that are connected to the Internet. This is fundamentally different from other central approaches to the metaverse where every bit of information and asset is stored in private company servers. It is also different in philosophy and in essence. This fundamental difference also explains why most of the decentralized metaverses have their own digital currencies and others don't.
Let’s demonstrate a scenario to better understand why metaverse is the buzzword of the recent years and why we heard too much about lands and properties sold for millions of dollars in this digital space:
Imagine you are part of the metaverse created and developed by a tech company. Say, Facebook and you want to develop a game that can be played in Facebook’s metaverse. You have bought a shop in this metaverse and you are selling this game to the members who visit your shop with their avatars. Your game gains a lot of attention and popularity to a point of being a competitor to the very games developed by Facebook itself. At this point, you have zero guarantees that Facebook will not take down your account or restrict your interactions with the community members. This is due to the centralized nature of the metaverse developed by a company owned by investors and not by community members.
How is decentralized metaverse is different?
The decentralized metaverses are spaces of the Internet that is powered by blockchain technology. That is why it belongs to no one and at the same time, it belongs to everyone. In decentralized metaverses, any community member can join in and interact with other community members just like in centralized metaverses. However, the rules of interacting with other members and the rules that govern that digital space is decided by the community members themselves. This is a huge difference compared to centralized metaverses. Also, because the decentralized metaverses has their own value system, their own currencies, it also offers an alternative economical model and activity to that of the real world where we make trade using national currencies.
Today, there are two popular examples of decentralized metaverses are: The Sandbox and Decentraland. These are two different metaverses with different community members, however, they share the same philosophy that of decentralization. This means, only the members of these communities can decide what to change or what to modify in these digital spaces and not the CEO of that company.
Why people are buying a property in the metaverse?
In order to be a part of that metaverse and have voting power to decide which changes to that digital world will take place, you need to already own a land or a buy metaverse property in the metaverse of your choice. You also need to own a land in order to conduct business, open your shop or office in the metaverse. That is why we have witnessed so many news about companies or celebrities paying millions to buy a digital land or property in the metaverse. This is the only way that they can secure their existence in that world. Just like we buy houses to provide ourselves the sense of security and stability, people buy land and property in the metaverse for similar reasons.
Buying a metaverse property for sale can be likened to getting your own domain name for your website. It makes you a native, a part of the world called the Internet. No one owns the internet, but anyone can be a part, a native citizen of the Internet. To become a native citizen of the metaverse people buy land and property.
Why we will want to use metaverse?
Once we become a native to the metaverse, this will change every possible interaction we make as humans. Trade, entertainment, education, communication and especially politics. Because we will be interacting with other people without the need to physically be together. We can also ask the same question for the Internet: Why would we want to use the Internet? –For convenience, mediation and interaction to others. That applies for the metaverse too.
In the metaverse, you can own a plot of land, interact with other people and objects, also own digital assets such as your avatars, clothes, your house etc. This aspect of the metaverse covers a wide range of human conduct. It offers a new, digital world, a new economy also a totally new space for goods and services.
How can I use the metaverse?
Anyone can use the metaverse with a simple device like a smartphone. For more extensive interactions and experiences, a VR or AR headset may also be used. But, because metaverse essentially is a digital space on the Internet or the blockchain, a simple web browser and an Internet connection will be more than enough.
How to buy land and real estate in the metaverse?
In order to buy metaverse property, the first thing to do will be to decide in which metaverse you want to buy a land or real estate in. Then you can navigate to any online marketplace that currently lists a property for sale in the metaverse. The most popular of these marketplaces is Opensea. Currently, the cheapest property for sale in the metaverse called Sandbox is listed for more than 6.000 $. The cheapest land for sale in the metaverse called Decentraland is listed for more than 10.000 $.