The birth of a new universe: Metaverse | BlokGezgini #5

Metaverse has recently become one of the hottest topics. Especially with Facebook bringing a new dimension to this topic and introducing the metaverse, it was placed among those topics at the top of the agenda.

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So, what is this Metaverse?

Metaverse is a concept consisting of two words as ‘meta’, denoting the beyond, and ‘universe’, which is self-explanatory. It means ‘beyond the universe’.

One can define it as a digital universe encompassing every reality we can think of, including those we come across and experience in the physical world as we know it. It exists somewhere beyond all universe that we have literally known so far.

Essentially, we are talking about something like “a unique metaverse for each and everyone!” It is possible to create your own universe and live there however you like, whoever you want to live with, and by such standards as you choose.

With such an experience, your real-life identity and real life may begin to make you unhappy and may even bring you on the brink of depression. This is probably a harsh statement, but there is some truth in it. Of course, both worlds would give you nothing but joy as long as you have it under control. This is one of the fine lines: the control. However, this is a topic for another article, so it is time to examine Metaverse more closely.

Where did Metaverse come from and where is it heading to?

As far as it goes, this concept was first mentioned in ‘Snow Crash’, a science fiction novel written by Neal Stephenson in 1992. That is to say, the concept is older than blockchain although we may think that we have only recently heard of it.

Even though it was long forgotten by many since its first appearance in a sci-fi novel, Metaverse has already established a foothold in the gaming world. Artemis as a virtual universe, which was created in the Prologue series of the game called Player Unknown’s Battlegrounds, is one of the best examples of the Metaverse concept.

Beeple’s NFT artwork, “Everydays: the First 5000 Days”, which was sold by $69 million, was one of the integral elements of the Metaverse.

How so?

The digital artwork collector MetaKovan, who purchased “Everydays: the First 5000 Days”, displayed it together with various other NFT works of art in a digital exhibition called ‘The Souk’. The same exhibition also included such other activities as speeches and concerts. More importantly, this exhibition space was designed by actual architects and came to life as part of a digital universe.

In addition to events, galleries, and games, various countries also began to become interested in the metaverse concept. The government of South Korea announced that it formed a metaverse alliance and did this with an aim to resolve ethical problems in virtual platforms. The mere fact that one of the world’s governments takes such an initiative can be considered to reflect the magnitude of the impact radius of metaverse.

So, what does Facebook do, or should we call it Meta?

Facebook is the number one reason why metaverse is high on the agenda. Recently, announcing its rebranding as ‘Meta’ during a spectacular launching event, Facebook pointed out that it also changed its technology together with its name.

The history of such news that raised great hype and curiosity actually dates back to a long time. In 2014, Facebook acquired the company called Oculus VR by $2 billion in order to lay the foundations of Metaverse. Since then, both companies have combined their forces and began their efforts to create Meta.

The acquisition of Oculus raises the question, “Will everything be experienced by VR headsets on Meta?” However, no one knows the answer yet. Follow-up questions come to one’s mind one after another such as “If this is the case, then will only be those who have the financial means to purchase VR headsets able to experience Meta?” and “will economic privileges also exist in a so-called multiverse?” Until we get definite answers, such questions seem to continue preoccupying our mind…

Facebook has created an investment plan that costs around $5 billion a year for the development and implementation of Meta. It maintains these plans through its company called Reality Labs. Although the outcome of the efforts that have been ongoing for a period of 7 years has not clarified what, how, or in which way this happens yet, Meta launch could still be considered as a successful event.

Despite the lack of details, we can predict based on the insights developed from the definition of Metaverse. On Meta, we would be able to go shopping with our friends in our profile, purchase their NFT collections or products using our virtual avatar, be able to participate in virtual events organized, travel from one metaverse to another, and even create our own metaverse.

Although all of the above sound like a sci-fi movie, these would become a reality in the near future. On the other hand, there is an issue that many people are concerned about: Mark Zuckerberg’s not so bright past.

As you know, Zuckerberg is notoriously remembered by some events associated with a breach of confidence. He is known to have previously exploited user data for unethical events to such an extent that it could have had a significant impact on the results of the elections. For that matter, the fact that the company was rebranded as Meta could arguably be considered as a form of perception management effort to nullify the unfavorable events in which it was involved in the past.

How safe would it be to entrust someone who have previously played such dirty games involving our personal data with a virtual version of the exact replica of us as flesh and blood? Who knows how would they take advantage of us and use our data as various means to an end? We do not know for sure.

These concerns are the scary part; however, considering the fact that billions of people still continue to use Facebook or Instagram even today, it is highly likely that we would become a part of Meta despite such fears whether we like it or not.

Is it fine not to become part of Metaverse?

If the future is heading to Metaverse, then we will probably become part of it sooner or later. Moreover, our first experience might as well be driven by someone like Zuckerberg, who has the power to extend his reach to billions of people around the world. Unfortunately, it appears that such great technology might be first developed in the wrong hands, and they may make us adapt to it.

Probably, Meta would be the virtual reality universe of Facebook and we would become an integral part of it. Only time will tell what our experience would be like in this matter.

Will Metaverse bring Web 3.0?

We have come to one of the most crucial questions! A great number of experts answer this question as ‘yes’. However, there has not been any tangible development so far.

Web 3.0 will be built on a decentralized and distributed system like blockchain. For this reason, it may be introduced by Metaverse and even, it is possible that such Web 3.0 becomes a financial benchmark for cryptocurrencies. It is not impossible and it is not a challenge, but it has not become a reality yet. Like everything else, only time will tell.

If you ask how long it takes, it is probably something that will not take its final form within a few years judging from the current situation. We would need more time; it is not too close, but it is not too far either.

In essence, it is possible for your virtual avatar to end up in Mars organizing a party one day in the blinking of an eye in the quick sands of time.

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