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THE METAVERSE  (Web 3.0)

The metaverse is one of the most exciting landscapes in the new world of web3. Most people know about play-to-earn gaming and Non Fungable Tokens (NFTs). Nearly everyone has heard about cryptocurrencies and Decentralized Finance (DeFi). The metaverse contains all of these sectors and more. And the exciting thing for everyone involved is that it’s just getting started. Blockchain technology has enabled people to create the next iteration of the internet. Some people call it web3 and others are calling it the metaverse. What’s different about this new form is how much regular people will contribute to its development.

What is metaverse?

The metaverse is a collection of every virtual world built using blockchain technology. They can be gaming planets or NFT galleries, curated lands or digital streets. The main thing to always remember when you think about the metaverse is that it is not one place. It is the aggregate of the new digital spaces that people are calling the next iteration of the internet. Media companies, music publishers, sportswear brands and cryptocurrency analytics platforms all have a presence in the metaverse. So too do rock stars, rappers, Care Bears and Smurfs. So it’s a broad church and there’s room for everyone. What makes the metaverse different from online social platforms like Second Life and Minecraft lies in the space between centralization and decentralization. Those earlier iterations of digital spaces were tightly controlled by a single company from their own servers. Each time you left their world and went to a different one, you needed to sign up with a new identity. The metaverse allows you to use a single identity to travel across and through the growing network of virtual landscapes. This makes it more like a mirror of the real world. When you travel to new towns, cities and countries, you don’t need a new passport every time you arrive at a new destination.

Who owns the metaverse?

Asking who owns the metaverse is a bit like asking who owns the internet. No single person or organization has total control over the metaverse. Rather, there are multiple stakeholders and developers who, all together, create the metaverse. Saying this, some platforms inevitably have to be the gateways to the metaverse. Through blockchain technology, these platforms grant users the ability to manifest as an avatar inside the metaverse. But while places like The Sandbox and Decentraland exist as virtual ecosystems, creators can build and curate their own sections of it. If a person or a company creates an entertaining place that people want to come to, they can monetize this and keep the revenue. So although some companies act as gatekeepers to certain virtual worlds, everyone is an owner inside that world. Whether you own land, in-game assets, avatars or digital fashion items, blockchain technology gives you ultimate ownership over them. Also, metaverse platforms have governance tokens that give holders decision-making power. Depending on how many tokens someone holds, they will have a greater and lesser say in how a platform develops.

How can you access the metaverse?
Firstly, you need to know which metaverse platform you want to enter. There are hundreds of these virtual worlds, and more are being developed every day. Here are some of the most popular and biggest virtual worlds currently building the next iteration of the internet:
#The Sandbox
#Decentraland
#Otherside
#Voxels
#SecondLive
#Bloktopia
#Mirandus
#Worldwide Webb
#Phantom Galaxies
#Isotile
#Somnium Space
#Nifty Island
#Star Atlas
 
Once you’ve found the one that suits you, find their websites online and follow their sign-up instructions. As we’ve already seen, there are often costs associated with entering the metaverse. You may need to mint a new avatar, find one on the secondary markets, or perhaps buy an in-game item as an NFT to join in the fun. Another way to get into the metaverse is by buying into tools that allow you entry via their own protocols. Metakey, for example, is a platform that owns land in multiple virtual worlds. They have an NFT that gives the holder access to Metakey’s metaverse land. Metakey also has its very own virtual world called New Ganymede which acts as a ‘home for the brand and community, the proof of vision, and a bridge to the brightest worlds in the metaverse.
 
How much does it cost to enter?
This depends on which platform you’re on and what you want to do when you’re there. Some virtual worlds are free to walk around in. But if you want to participate in events, own a piece of digital land, or go on in-game missions, you’ll probably need to part with some cash. To walk around and engage with other people in virtual worlds, you will usually need an avatar. These will cost you money to mint – the minimum you will pay is gas fees. A Decentraland avatar costs 100 MANA plus gas. And for NFT Worlds, you’ll need to spend 0.4 ETH to mint your avatar. Buying a plot in Decetraland can cost over $1 million. One user paid $862,998.42 for a 24×24 estate in The Sandbox. And even though cryptocurrency values have recently plummeted, metaverse land is still expensive. The good thing about buying a plot of land in a virtual world is that it will always remain yours. It comes in the form of an NFT, so it can’t be copied or stolen (unless you’re the victim of an exploit). And once you own some land in the metaverse, you can create your own little world for people to visit. As a creator, you can even earn money if people buy what you’re selling.
 
What can you do in the metaverse?
All metaverse platforms are slightly different. Some are built for gaming and others focus on education. Some parts of the metaverse are digital storefronts where companies advertise and sell their products. You can attend conferences, fashion shows, work meetings, sporting events, and chess tournaments inside the metaverse. Many famous web2 brands have been open about supporting the technology or even building their own metaverse. One of the most anticipated is the Disney company itself. Aside from the obvious restrictions that come with users not being physically present, it seems the only limitation on what people can do in the metaverse is our collective imagination. The possibilities are nearly limitless and the next five to ten years will be an exciting time as people experiment with the form. One thing all virtual worlds have in common is that they’re trying to draw in an audience. The best way to do this is by providing entertainment. So in theory, the metaverse should be a fun and vibrant place, where everyone can find their own niche.
 
Does the metaverse have its own cryptocurrency?
Yes, the metaverse has cryptocurrencies. But each virtual world has its own one, and they are all worth different amounts.
 
Why is the metaverse built on the blockchain?
For a truly decentralized metaverse to exist, we need to have an open network that collectively confirms what each individual owns, sells, buys, and swaps. This is where the blockchain comes into play. It’s a distributed ledger of records that no single entity controls and no one can unilaterally rewrite. Everyone, together, is a network of validators. This system doesn’t rely on trust but on mathematical certainty. It’s the foundation on which thousands of developers are creating all kinds of applications that together make up the metaverse. The great thing about that metaverse is that you only need one web3 wallet, which is your digital identity, to play across thousands of different virtual worlds.

 

Crypto Wallets

A cryptocurrency wallet is a device, physical medium, program, or service that stores the public and/or private keys for cryptocurrency transactions. In addition to this basic function of storing the keys, a cryptocurrency wallet more often also offers the functionality of encrypting and/or signing information. Signing can for example result in executing a smart contract, a cryptocurrency transaction, identification or legally signing a ‘document’.

Private and public key generation

A cryptocurrency wallet works by a theoretical or random number being generated and used with a length that depends on the algorithm size of the cryptocurrency’s technology requirements. The number is then converted to a private key using the specific requirements of the cryptocurrency cryptography algorithm requirement. A public key is then generated from the private key using whichever cryptographic algorithm requirements are required. The private key is utilized by the owner to access and send cryptocurrency and is private to the owner, whereas the public key is to be shared with any third party to receive cryptocurrency. Up to this stage, no computer or electronic device is required and all key pairs can be mathematically derived and written down by hand. The private key and public key pair (known as an address) are not known by the blockchain or anyone else. The blockchain will only record the transaction of the public address when cryptocurrency is sent to it, thus recording in the blockchain ledger the transaction of the public address.

 

Wallet access permissions

When choosing a wallet, the owner must keep in mind who is supposed to have access to (a copy of) the private keys and thus potentially has signing capabilities. In the case of cryptocurrency, the user needs to trust the provider to keep the cryptocurrency safe, just like with a bank. Trust was misplaced in the case of the Mt. Gox exchange, which ‘lost’ most of its clients’ bitcoins. Downloading a cryptocurrency wallet from a wallet provider to a computer or phone does not automatically mean that the owner is the only one who has a copy of the private keys. For example, with Coinbase, it is possible to install a wallet on a phone and to also have access to the same wallet through their website.

 

Vulnerabilities

A wallet can also have known or unknown vulnerabilities. A supply chain attack or side-channel attack are ways of a vulnerability introduction. In extreme cases even a computer which is not connected to any network can be hacked. When using a software wallet for receiving cryptocurrency, access to the receiving wallet is not needed—the sending party only needs to know the destination address, thus anyone can send cryptocurrency to an address. Only the one who has the private key of the corresponding (public key) address otherwise has access.

Prepared by: Asuma Dennis (CryptoSupremo)