Into the Metaverse
The idea of a virtual reality based successor to the internet was first being discussed by internet pioneers in the late 1970s and early 1980s. They envisioned the internet of the future as a shared virtual space – a place where our physical world blends with the virtual and creates new digitized spaces somewhere in between.
The term “metaverse” first appeared in 1992 when Neal Stephenson released his science fiction novel Snow Crash. In this book, humans interact with each other and with software agents such as avatars in a three-dimensional space that acts as a metaphor for the real world.
This at the time of utopian technological future is today at its dawn: a future where digital systems and services fuse into one interwoven and interoperable (virtual)reality. A digital world that no longer exists merely on devices, but steps out of them and fuses with the physical world around us. It expands outside the digital, virtual realm, with the help of advanced technologies such as AR (Augmented Reality), VR (Virtual Reality) and XR (Extended Reality). Digital and physical spaces will overlap, and as the physical real world and digital virtual world converge, we have entered the Metaverse.
The Internet is at the heart of the evolution, with its digital meeting places – for both social interaction and new ways of working – and its endless & boundless world of services. Decentralised web, spearheaded by blockchains, are the essential building blocks of Metaverse. They enable humans to exchange information, goods and services seamlessly between digital spaces that can be superimposed on physical places. The Metaverse enables humans to extend their "self" beyond their physical being. We can recreate & reinvent ourselves in the Metaverse made up of shared spaces we can use for social interactions, games, and even work.
We are already well on our way transitioning from web pages to web spaces. Static two dimensional pages on the web are evolving into interactive 3D spaces that allow us to meet people of similar interests, live our social lives, explore new ideas, learn, build connections, work, do business and exchange goods & services. The possibilities are endless, as they are no longer bound by the restrictions of physical places or our physical form of being. In the spaces of Metaverse, the rules change. People can become what they dream of in their everyday lives. They can express their inner selves through digital avatars and make their abilities, skills and knowledge available to others.
One way of understanding the Metaverse is to think of it as a kind of multiplayer social space in virtual reality; think Second Life or Playstation Home – a place where virtual versions of people live virtual lives. Proponents say it's like a copy of the real world, only better, since users don't have to abide by the laws of physics. For skeptics, it's cringey at best and dystopian at worst: a comprehensive new framework for intrusive digital control and surveillance.
Metaverse will be what we build it to be. It can be as true as possible to the real world – or a better version of it. Today, we have already been sucked into the digital world, yet so far just about everything we have been using is applications, mostly lifeless. Metaverse will integrate many of the current digital applications into its realm in rich and engaging ways.
NFTs – cryptographically unique tokens representing objects, art, services, digital real estate and even experiences – play a crucial role in the Metaverse. They are the way to assign ownership to digital assets, do business with them and trade them. In the Metaverse, a NFT is not tied to a certain service, place or environment. Instead, it can be transferred, traded and used seamlessly across the spaces of the entire Metaverse. The borderless economics of Metaverse are built with NFTs.
We at NFTstore.Gallery are determined to build on the development of the Metaverse. It is on our roadmap. The purpose of art is to be seen, heard and experienced – anywhere. It should not be bound to or restricted by the constraints of physical places. In the not-too-distant future, the Metaverse will allow us to set up a virtual gallery anywhere, anytime.
We are heading into the Metaverse, faster than many people realise. In October, Facebook rebranded as Meta, with founder Mark Zuckerberg announcing that the company is "moving from being Facebook first as a company to being Metaverse first." Microsoft is also experimenting with the Metaverse, overhauling its Microsoft Teams productivity app to include 3D avatars and virtual meeting environments. And earlier this month, Nike applied for a number of patents relating to virtual goods as part of its own Metaverse push.
Interesting times ahead.
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