Metaverse is the word on everyone’s lips these days. Ever since Mark Zuckerberg announced that Facebook will be making plays in the field, and even renamed the parent company to “Meta,” the industry and the wider public has been speculating on what this brave new digital world will bring.
Different metaverses have been popping up all over the place, attracting many users who are now participating in these online worlds. They offer everything from just chatting with friends, to meeting new people, to shopping and online casinos.
But what is the metaverse, anyway? And what are the activities you can do in it? What can you expect once you don the VR headset and take the plunge?
That’s why at Sigma Play we’ve prepared this in-depth guide to the whole phenomenon. We’ll take you on a deep dive into this new way to use the Internet and when you emerge: you’ll be a metaverse pro.
The Basics of the Metaverse: Getting Started in the Virtual Jungle
Many consider the metaverse to be next big thing: it’s immersive, virtual and interactive — it could easily become as big as smartphones. But unlike smartphones, which we all now understand, the metaverse is still an emerging technology so for newcomers it can be a bit hard to figure out how to get started.
Do not fear, however, because here’s a rundown on the basics of the Metaverse to get you started right.
What is the Metaverse?
Metaverse comes from the Greek “meta” meaning beyond and the word universe. So, then, a universe that’s beyond our current one. It’s as good a description as any, as the metaverse combines technologies such as virtual reality (VR), augmented reality (AR), blockchain, and NFTs to bring forth a new online experience that’s unlike those that have come before.
Note that the technology itself is called metaverse, but also each individual “world” is called a metaverse too.
A metaverse is a virtual world that can be accessed on computer and mobile devices. Within the world, you can perform various activities such as games or enjoy virtual shows and events. For many people, the metaverse is also a place where they hang out with their friends represented by different user-customizable avatars.
For a more technical answer we could say that the metaverse is a virtual reality space where users can interact with each other within a persistent computer-generated environment. It is a space where digital objects represent real people.
And the uses are virtually unlimited: a digital meeting and venue space, a place to buy digital goods, a place to enjoy video games and VR experiences or meet new people.
Where did the idea of the Metaverse originate from?
While many people have first heard of this concept when Mark Zuckerberg clearly signaled that this is his company’s new focus, it is not actually the brainchild of the Silicon Valley billionaire and his social networking behemoth.
The idea of a virtual world on top of the real one is a mainstay in science fiction. But two works in particular have captured imaginations on this specific issue: Neil Stephenson’s 1992 novel Snow Crash and more recently Ready Player One by Ernest Cline.
It was actually Stephenson who coined the phrase “metaverse” to describe the virtual world found in his book. And with Ready Player One being made into a blockbuster Hollywood movie, the concept of a fully immersive digital realm has certainly been thrust into the spotlight.
In some ways, everything that the Internet represents has been building up to this point. You can consider even a Zoom a kind of metaverse experience. And even more so the very popular MMO (Massively Multiplayer Online) games and online competitive experiences such as Fortnite.
For a very long time, people, and especially younger generations, have used the online sphere as a meeting place.
That means that this new iteration of the idea is a culmination of many different technologies coming together. Virtual reality, blockchain, and NFTs are no longer just buzzwords — they may soon be as well-known and understood as web browsers and social networks.
How do I get on to the Metaverse?
It is not as hard as you might think. The first step of course is to select one of the currently available metaverses and that’s not very hard since new ones are popping up all the time (and look further below for our breakdown of the most popular choices).
Once you’ve found a world that looks interesting to you, all you’ll need to do is to create an account, design your avatar, and pick a name.
Some metaverses that are based on the blockchain technology will ask you to connect a crypto wallet so you can make purchases within the world, but most also offer the opportunity to play as a guest. The features may be limited but it’s a great way to check them out without making any commitment whatsoever.
One you’re ready to start calling metaverse your digital home, finish setting up that account, choose some nice fits for your avatar (you’ll soon see that fashion is kind of a big deal in the metaverse) and go explore.
As you get more comfortable in the virtual realm, you will begin to buy (and sell) various goodies, talk to the people around you and join them in various games. It’s a whole new world at your fingertips.
Of course, you will need the right equipment to do all this…
What equipment do I need to enjoy the Metaverse?
The good news is that you already have most of what you’ll need to start enjoying digital hangouts with your friends (or strangers who might become friends).
Your computer or laptop most likely already has more than enough computing power to run these virtual playgrounds. But a beefier machine is always best, especially for those metaverses that run on the blockchain. This way you will ensure a smooth experience. Most importantly, you will want to be sure you have a fast and stable internet connection and then as good a graphics card as you can get.
With these two things, and a relatively recent computer you can start running the Metaverse worlds that are currently on offer.
On the software side of things, the news is even better. Many of the most popular implementations of the concept don’t require you to download or install anything. Instead, they run in your web browser. As long as it’s an updated version of a popular browser such as Chrome or Firefox you should have no issues.
Just go to the site and follow the instructions, it really is that simple.
Of course, one of the main draws of metaverse is the integration with virtual reality (VR) headsets. But you should note that not all of the available versions support VR. While on the other hand some are VR only.
Do I absolutely need a VR headset to enjoy Metaverse?
The short is answer is no. The long answer includes a “but”.
No, you do not absolutely need a VR headset but if you do have one your experience will be markedly better. For those metaverses that support such headsets, of course.
Right now, the biggest hope in VR metaverse is Meta’s (formerly Facebook’s) Horizon Worlds. To get into that world you will need the standalone Oculus Quest headset. As well as a Facebook account, naturally.
VR headsets are essentially very sophisticated small screens that you strap to your head. Once you do, there’s a sense of immersion as if you’re actually there in the digital space. Better headset models also have features such as head and eye tracking to enhance the experience. Recently, the Oculus Quest (owned by Meta) has emerged as a good choice of headset for those who want a standalone system. And one that won’t break the bank.
A thing to keep in mind is that most platforms that currently do not support a VR headset (such as Decentraland) plan to add support in the future.
So, it is a good idea to have a VR headset at the ready if you’re planning to really get into the metaverse scene. Really, the metaverse is all about the VR integration. That is what this trend is building toward and it’s likely that once the space matures further, most platforms will either require or be much better with the use of a VR headset.
But, for now, unless you specifically want to give Horizon Worlds a crack, you can hold off on a headset.
Which are the most popular Metaverse platforms right now?
Currently, there is an explosion of companies offering different Metaverse experiences. We are in the middle of a boom and a new technology is emerging that has great potential to transform how we engage both with technology and each other.
In this race to offer the best virtual world experience, some contenders have already emerged to take center-stage in the metaverse landscape.
First up is Decentraland, launched in 2017. It is a 3D virtual space which players traverse using customizable avatars. Decentraland, like most current offerings, opted for a cartoonish aesthetic that’s admittedly a bit rough around the edges but still quite appealing.
To get into this world all you need is a web browser. In order to get the full experience, you must connect a crypto-wallet (MetaMask is a popular option). This is will allow to buy and sell things in this digital world.
Decentraland’s currency is called MANA and you use it for buying plots of LAND, apparel for your avatar and other items. Users buy it on several crypto-exchanges and once you have some in your digital pocket you can go on a shopping spree.
A great feature of Decentraland comes from the included Builder. Through this interface the users can build their own creations such as 3D models, NFT art, and wearables for avatars. These can then be sold (and bought) through the built-in MANA marketplace that runs on the Ethereum blockchain.
As such, Decentraland, is really a functional world and marketplace that users can really inhabit and enjoy.
After some time in closed beta, Meta’s Horizon Worlds has finally launched in open beta mode. As long as you have an Oculus Quest VR headset, are over the age of 18, and are located in the US and Canada.
What can you do in this metaverse right now? Not much. Group hangouts (up to 20 people) are available, a handful of games, and prerecorded virtual events.
Also, for reasons that can be charitably called aesthetic and otherwise called bizarre, avatars in this world have no legs.
Yet, Horizon Worlds, is an interesting look into what the metaverse could become one day when it fully integrates with both VR technologies and the blockchain-powered user generated content and transactions. Not to mention all that juicy data that Meta (née Facebook) has been collecting about you for more than a decade.
Right now, Horizon has VR but doesn’t have the player economy features of Decentraland. And the former has the blockchain but no VR.
But this is quite illustrative of the phase of development that the metaverse is in. It hasn’t all come together just yet.
What originally started as a 2D building video game that was recently reimagined as a metaverse experience.
As a lot of others, The Sandbox is also in alpha phase. Just like in Decentraland, players can use a coin called SAND to purchase and sell and monetize their creations.
Coming from video game developers, The Sandbox focuses more on the videogaming aspect of the metaverse experience. Users are actually able to create their own games and then monetize them as well.
A very popular game on this platform is Dungeon of Dum-Yz, in which players take on the role of a fantasy warrior and to through battle and puzzle challenges.
It’s a great showcase for the videogaming potential of the metaverse.
On one hand offering those who want to play a one-stop-shop of different experiences and on the other offering talented game makers to earn money from their creations.
Of course, The Sandbox also has social features. One of the most popular activities is the Club XYZ. It’s a virtual nightclub with a futuristic design and with popular EDM artist deadmau5 as its brand ambassador.
In fact, The Sandbox has attracted interest from a lot of famous brands: Adidas and Atari have had a presence in the virtual world as well as celebrities such as Snoop Dogg. The metal band Avenged Sevenfold has purchased land in this metaverse too. And so have the Winklevoss twins.
There is a lot of investor interest in this platform as well. In November of 2021, Softbank has led a $93 million investment round in the project. The international gaming company Square Enix has also invested around $2 million in The Sandbox.
For those who are excited about the videogaming potential of metaverse, The Sandbox is an excellent choice while it also has all the other stuff people love about the concept — cryptos, NFTs, and a user-driven virtual economy.
And now for something a bit different. Zepeto is a metaverse app, playable on Android and iOS phones. The main focus here is self-expression through cartoonish yet extremely fashionable avatars.
“Another me in another universe” is the tagline here and that’s pretty much why Zepeto has become very popular — especially in South Korea.
In Zepeto, it’s all about fashion with items such as clothes and hairstyles that you can purchase via a premium currency. Players can meet and chat and play various games.
With Zepeto Studio, those who sign up can create content for the metaverse world such as items to worn by avatars or even new landscapes and virtual environments. The creators are able to monetize what they make.
This has given rise to the “virtual influencer” phenomenon where popular Zepeto content creators are able to earn a living with what they do. One such influencer interviewed by the BCC reportedly makes a six-figure income from the sales of digital assets through the Zepeto metaverse.
Zepeto is essentially a 3D social network that capitalizes on the metaverse trend and the desire of people to express themselves digitally. As such, it represents one possible development for the metaverse concept.
Roblox, Fortnite, and Other Games
Roblox started out as a fun little sandbox for kids where they could meet using crude blocky avatars and play a bunch of user-created games whose quality ranged from serviceable to questionable.
Nevertheless, Roblox emerged as something of a social hub for the tweenager crowd, and now the Roblox Corporation seems committed to building a metaverse around this.
Admittedly, the game already had many of the hallmarks of a metaverse. User generated content, avatar customization, and a thriving social atmosphere.
Now, game creators are able to make money from their creations by charging for game access in the Robux currency and then cashing out later.
Fortnite is a video game that needs no introduction, but is it a metaverse? Opinions vary. Offerings like Roblox and Fortnite do have some of the features associated, primarily that they are virtual worlds where players meet and interact.
But both lack the user-driven blockchain economy that has come to define the more “serious” metaverse projects.
Still, these social-feature-heavy video games do remain part of the metaverse landscape and it’s clear that their developers are very keen on adding more metaverse-related functions.
What exactly is Web3 and how does it fit with the Metaverse?
If you have been following news around metaverse, you may have heard the term “Web3.” But what exactly is that?
The Metaverse is not the entirety of Web3, but it is an important part of it. In essence, it means a new and decentralized web outside of the control of the so-called “Big Tech.” It based heavily on cryptocurrency and blockchain and it also represents a vision of the future of metaverse.
In this Web3 vision, data between different metaverse worlds would be portable and would belong to the users. Meaning you can transfer, sell and buy, etc. It would also mean the possibility of visiting more than one metaverse world with a single avatar. Side-chains such as Polygon that can bridge multiple blockchain networks would be a key component of this.
Of course, in reality, Big Tech is already heavily invested in metaverse and Web3 and it’s highly unlikely that the full utopian vision will actually come to pass.
Nevertheless, this guiding principle is already visible in some of the metaverses such as Decentraland and Cryptovoxels that aim to offer a decentralized vision of the metaverse where users have a lot more control than they do on a typical Big Tech network such as Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter.
Is Metaverse the biggest step in the evolution of Internet and VR?
Only time can tell how influential the metaverse concept ends up being. For now, metaverses are the culmination of several exciting and groundbreaking technologies. Specifically, virtual reality, blockchain, cryptocurrencies, and non-fungible tokes (NFTs).
Put together these technologies enable the metaverse, a world both unlike and like our own. Where digital ownership of unique items become possible and where thanks to tech like DAOs (decentralized autonomous organizations) users can actually exert real power over how the digital space is governed.
Imagine an Internet that you traverse with a digital representation of yourself. Your tastes, your favorite brands, everything that makes you yourself reflected. All your digital assets tied to yourself too, so you can take them from one world to the next, trading or selling them as you wish. And with DAOs you would actually have a real stake in your favorite worlds, shaping how they are developed and governed.
This is what Web3 and Metaverse are all about. In theory, at least.
However, tech experts also point out the areas in which current metaverse projects are lacking. Specifically, they are not yes as interoperable as they should be (especially according to the Web3 standards). If this type of metaverse is even to become reality, companies will have to adjust the way they do things and offer greater freedom to their clients and users.
Overall, it is still too early to tell what final shape will this new technology take. But one thing is clear: it has tremendous transformative potential and it may very well become the dominant way we use the Internet.
Activities in the Metaverse: Things to See and Do
All that fancy Web3 and blockchain tech that powers the metaverses would be useless if there wasn’t anything to do once you actually log in. Luckily, that’s very far from the truth. Today’s metaverse platforms offer a host of different activities, from just hanging out to shopping and even online gambling.
After all, the whole point of all this is to create a virtual space that people would want to spend time in and call their digital home. In order to do this, developers and users have created many different virtual attractions to explore and enjoy.
So, whether you’re into dressing up your avatar and showing off your good taste or meeting new people or playing games, you will find something interesting to do in your favourite meta space. In this part of our metaverse guide we go over some of the most popular things to see and do to.
What kind of activities are there in the Metaverse?
Right now, there are a lot of things you could once you step into the digital realms offered by the likes of Decentraland or Horizon Worlds (or really, any of the other ones).
But in general, the things you do inside these worlds will fall under one (or more) of these categories: social, shopping, events, games, and yes even working.
Metaverse worlds can be, and are intended to, be used as social hubs. If there’s a world that appeals to you and your friends aesthetically and you also like some of the other features it offers, it’s only logical to spend time in it. Most platforms support private and public text and voice chat so it’s easy to communicate with friends and strangers alike.
When it comes to shopping, there’s a lot to buy and sell in these worlds.
In worlds such as Decentraland and Cryptovoxels, you can sell and buy a number of things. From wearable items to adorn your avatar to NFT art. Joining a metaverse is a great way to start building your NFT art portfolio, for instance.
The bulk of what you’ll be doing in the metaverse, however, comes from the games and events. Games are pretty self-explanatory. They are experiences just like the ones you’d find in a traditional video game. Racing, shooting, role playing, etc. Expect here it’s all within the same world and using the same avatar.
Events come in live form and in pre-recorded form. Big brands and celebrities, and also communities, organize these high profile events. At Decentraland, there’s a handy website page that lists all the upcoming events and other platforms tend to have event lists too. There are virtual nightclub concerts, poker tables, and much more.
Finally, you can use metaverse apps as workspaces too and several companies have already dipped their toes into this kind of online remote collaboration.
What are the most popular Metaverse games?
In the last 30 years video games have emerged as the premier pastime, especially for the millennial generation and younger. They set their dominance to continue in the metaverse, as well.
Someo of the metaverse games are standalone experiences that incorporate blockchain tech while some games happen within metaverse platforms. Whichever may be the case, there are a lot of fun and exciting offerings to dive into. Here we’ll look at some of the most popular ones.
If you’ve played World of Warcraft before then you don’t really need a guide to the metaverse (but keep reading anyway) and you’ll immediately recognize what Magic Craft is all about. It’s about heroes and magic and duking it out to be best.
But where it differs from traditional MMORPGs is in the implementation of the blockchain. The game has its own multi-chain token that you earn by winning battles. All the hero characters the players use as well as their equipment and items are NFTs too.
Magic Craft is a pioneer of the so-called “play to earn” model where they reward players with blockchain tokens for completing in-game objectives. There is of course a marketplace as well where players can buy and sell their stuff.
From fantasy kingdoms to outer space, there’s a lot of different flavours to games in the metaverse. An open-world space exploration strategy game, Star Atlas is built on the Solana blockchain. And since it’s powered by Unreal Engine’s Nanite it can also be experienced with a VR headset.
Piloting a starship, players must explore and seek resources. In-game things can be purchased with the $ATLAS token while $POILS is the governance token which entitles holders to participate in governance decisions in this world.
As is customary for games like these, there is an NFT marketplace too.
Star Atlas is a great choice for all fans of science fiction and space exploration and may just become your metaverse home if you watched a lot of (or too much) Star Trek as a child.
One of the first metaverse games, launched back in 2018, it remains the most popular game for NFT trading fans. Inspired by Pokémon, players collect and battle the titular “axies” which are fearsome yet cute creatures that totally love to fight each other (it’s in no way similar to cockfighting, okay?).
Axie Infinity was the pioneer of the play to earn model. Players can earn a governance token for their activity which lets them affect decisions by the developers.
But the real money in the game comes from trading the creatures themselves. The most expensive one was sold for $820,000. That’s quite a sum for a digital critter, but it illustrates just how desirable digital objects are within the Metaverse economy.
And big companies have started paying attention to Axie Infinity. Ubisoft, Samsung, and Binance have already partnered with the developers, among others.
It’s the RuneScape of the blockchain! At least that’s what the developers are saying. In this 2D pixel-art-style world players can own NFT homes where they can hang out and display their NFT art collections.
As time went on, more features were added such as a play to earn feature using the $ROOT (governance) and $SEED (currency) tokens. A marketplace for collectibles and in-game assets is also under development.
Treeverse is a good example of the Web3 standard applied to a video game world thus transforming it into a true metaverse offering.
Running on the Ethereum blockchain, Illuvium will be (it’s not released yet) a metaverse game that aims to take on the big names of the online videogaming world. With stunning graphics and engaging gameplay, it’s going for the likes of Destiny 2 and Godfall.
Of course, it will feature NFT assets and a token as well as the possibility to buy in-game land. Little else is known, but a $1 billion market cap is expected and it has generated a lot of buzz.
This is one to look out for once it gets released.
What sort of events happen in Metaverse?
Even if you’re not a fan of video games, there’s still plenty to do in the metaverses. Events are one of those things, and there have been some very interesting ones with more to come.
The Covid-19 pandemic shifted how people meet and interacted. With physical events banned or limited, many turned to virtual ones. Zoom happy hour, Roblox birthday parties, expos hosted on platforms like Hopin.
Well, metaverse is the logical upgrade to this trend. Instead of just sitting in front of a screen, what if you could actually interact with the other attendees and move around the space like you can in real life? Enter metaverse.
During the pandemic, for instance, Epic Games hosted a concert in their Fortnite online video game (or metaverse, if you will) where those attending virtually through their game avatars enjoyed the music of Travis Scott.
These kinds of big events are just one of the things happen on the metaverse. Smaller events happen too, regularly. NFT art exhibits are very big on Decentraland, for instance. So are virtual nightclubs, often featuring real live DJs.
And of course, online gambling has found its way to the metaverse too. In several of the metaverse worlds, one can find poker tables where one can gamble using cryptocurrencies.
Can you do business in Metaverse?
Yes, you can. And in fact, some companies have already explored this option in the Covid pandemic era. As remote working became the norm, many have embraced the concept of working from home.
But, in the process, something was definitely lost. Conferencing over Zoom or Microsoft Teams simply isn’t the same as actually being in the same space as your teammates and coworkers.
Again, enter Metaverse.
Facebook has made a significant play for this slice of the market with their Horizon Workrooms. It’s a fully 3D VR experience where teams can meet and work. With a pleasant flat and pastel feel it promises you the experience of “meeting in-person, from home.”
Productivity features are on point with remote desktop placing your computer screen within the virtual reality space, a virtual whiteboard, and the option to dial-in with a video-call (if you don’t have a VR headset handy).
But where Horizon Workspaces really shines is in the avatar customization. Creating a cartoonish version of yourself is both fun and expressive. And we all know workplaces could use more of that.
But it’s not just virtual meetings that can take place in the metaverses.
Neustreet, a data start-up, has recently been profiled in Fortune as a company that has decided to build a dedicated and persistent virtual office space in the Cryptovoxels platform.
It’s a true digital headquarters, actually. It cost the company 5.75 ETH (Ether) or bit over $13,000 to purchase the land. And now their metaverse HQ has a meeting room as well as an NFT gallery on the second floor.
The founders of the popular crypto-wallet MetaMask also opted for a virtual HQ but in Decentraland. They even hired a professional architecture firm to build the 3D model. The venue was used for a party to celebrate the app reaching 10 million monthly active users.
As more and more companies realize the potential of the metaverse it’s likely that more business will be conducted in it. Given the focus on collaboration and virtual events as well as the shifts in corporate culture brought on by the Covid pandemic, metaverse is the perfect way to conduct business meetings and other functions.
How do I buy and sell things in the Metaverse?
By now you know that there are many things to buy and sell in the Metaverse. But how do you do that? If you’ve never used cryptocurrencies, it can seem daunting, but it really isn’t.
But you will need it, as metaverse markets typically do not accept fiat money (for non-crypto fans, that’s your dollars, euros, and yens).
The first step is to set up a crypto-wallet. Now, there are so many options here that we could write a whole guide just on that, but for the purposes of metaverse you will want an online wallet. The already mentioned MetaMask is a very popular choice as it works on your smartphone and also through a simple browser add-on.
Then you will need to visit an exchange, buy some crypto with your fiat money. Most metaverses accept Ether (the currency that runs on the Ethereum network) so it’s a good idea to get some of those. Some metaverses have their own currencies which you will need to buy as well.
The best idea is to read the documentation of the world, where you learn what currency you need and where you can buy it.
Items such as wearables you can typically buy and sell on the marketplaces within the metaverse world while any NFTs you might come across display will be available on the NFT marketplace called OpenSea.
Cryptovoxels bucks this trend somewhat as the entirety of its economy is done through OpenSea.
So, in general, you will need a supply of crypto, a wallet to hold it in, and that’s it. The rest you will easily pick up once you’re in the world itself.
For selling, you will also need a wallet to receive the payment. Any items or NFTs that you want to sell you can list either on OpenSea or in the internal marketplace. Other users can buy or bid on your items.
Even though most of the metaverses are in the so-called alpha or beta testing phases, most already have a very active and developed user-driven economies that run on the blockchain and use cryptocurrencies as a means of payment. For those who are early adopters of crypto, the metaverse economy really has a lot to offer.
What can I buy and sell in the Metaverse?
What can’t you? Pretty much everything that’s in these worlds is up on the market. Moreover, you can buy and sell wearables for your avatar. So can virtual pieces of land where you can then build your virtual house.
If you’re playing a metaverse game, then you can also typically buy and sell most if not all of the in-game items. Axie Infinity lets you trade with the fictional creatures (represented as NFTs) and some have fetched princely sums.
Many people with design skills are making good money in the metaverse economy. Their designs of virtual clothes and other objects are sold on the blockchain to players who wish to make their avatars unique. Makers can set the “rarity level” of these objects which correlates to how many will be “minted” on the blockchain. Think of this is a “limited series” kind of thing.
Of course, another way to spend (and if luck allows, make) money in the metaverses is gambling. Gambling in these worlds is still in its beginning stages, but it’s very much present. And wouldn’t you guess it, it’s also done in cryptocurrencies.
What captures the most attention right now, though, are NFT art pieces. Many people are very into building their virtual collections both as a pastime and as investment.
What other business opportunities does Metaverse offer?
Simply trading stuff is not the end of commerce in the Metaverse. Entrepreneurs and big companies alike are finding ways to profit of the new virtual craze.
The famous sportswear brad Ralph Lauren has made an NFT collection for Roblox while the luxury label Hanifa put out a digital show that didn’t use human models, opting instead for floating figures wearing 3D versions of the garments.
Then there is DRESSX, billing itself as the portal into metaverse fashion. Here users can buy digital designs, in the vein of sci-films like The Matrix. Users upload a photo and then company does the rest of the work. The result is stunning fashion photography featuring physics-defying designs that is perfect for an Instagram fashion influencer’s feed.
The Dematerialised is a web fashion store selling NFT items that can be worn in AR and in certain VR metaverse environments (such as Sansar). Collections are limited (and can be pricey) but world-famous designer Karl Lagerfeld has signed on as well as the prestigious fashion publication Vogue.
For fashion labels, NFTs are the next frontier and big brands are jumping on the metaverse trend.
Gucci and Prada have entered the space as well as the luxury designer Rebecca Minkoff (Minkoff also sells on The Dematerialised). Recently, Nike has acquired the virtual design collective RTFKT known for making digital sneakers.
Gucci entered the digital footwear market too, with a pair of digital-only sneakers selling for $12.
Fashion has embraced the metaverse, but that’s only the beginning. As the technology matures, more companies from different sectors will undoubtedly want to have a presence in the new virtual frontier.
Imagine getting virtual NFT collectibles to go with the purchase of a limited-edition music album or Blu-Ray. And what if when you bought a car, you also got a virtual version to use in the Metaverse? Or skip the physical car altogether and just get the NFT model that isn’t constrained by reality or physics.
Will Metaverse replace some social activities in real life?
With all this talk about the Metaverse being a totally new way to interact online with other people, it does beg this question. Will we end up abandoning some real-life social activities in favor of doing it though in virtual meeting spaces?
It’s a very speculative area, of course. It is true that some companies have been exploring the Metaverse as a medium for remote work collaboration. And in the Covid-19 pandemic, many people have had to make do with virtual versions of their favorite activities whether that’s happy hour or a board game night.
We already mentioned the cute idea of a Roblox birthday party for children. Then there are the virtual galleries, nightclubs, etc.
But we are still far away from the full potential of the Metaverse being realized. As discussed before, issues around equipment necessary, optimization, and interoperability have created a metaverse that’s fragmented right now.
However, those in the field are working very hard to change that. One day, as soon as within the next 5-10 years, getting onto the metaverse may be as easy as slipping on a small pair of VR glasses that connect to your smartphone.
Still, it’s unlikely that the Metaverse will replace real-life activities totally. It is more like that it will extend and enrich them with digital data and content. Augmented and extended reality are parts of the equation too. A coworker who can’t make it into the office today may be digitally overlaid in the real world with the use of AR glasses.
The possibilities are truly endless in how the Metaverse technology can be applied to literally every facet of social life.
Crypto and Metaverse: A Match Made in Digital Heaven
Pretty much any discussion of the metaverse these days also talks about the blockchain (for those that still don’t know: the blockchain is a cryptographic technology that enables cryptocurrencies among some other things) and the various cryptocurrencies that are traded on it.
Simply put — metaverse, cryptocurrency, and the blockchain simply go together. Blockchain is what powers most of the interesting features of the Metaverse such as Dapps, DAOs, NFTs, and the virtual economy. Without all this, metaverses such as Decentraland and Cryptovoxels would just be glorified 3D chat rooms.
And nobody needs that. The real promise of these digital worlds lies in the possibilities opened up by user engagement though ownership of digital assets and their trade.
Of course, everyone knows that there are many (some would argue too many) crypto tokens floating around the Internet, so which of them can you actually use in the metaverse? Do all metaverses have their own tokens? Which currencies are the most popular ones and will let you buy some sweet NFT art?
If you’ve got questions like these, you’ve come to the right place, because we’re answering them and more in this section. Whether you’re a crypto neophyte or have lost more wallets that most people own, this primer is for you.
Can I use cryptocurrency in Metaverse?
You can absolutely use cryptocurrency in the metaverse. In fact, with a few exceptions most found in mobile-first social apps like Zepeto, most of the current metaverses only have transactions in crypto.
Some of them, such as Decentraland have their own tokens (in this case it is $MANA) and their own integrated marketplaces. But, for instance, Cryptovoxels takes a different approach using Ether and conducting the transactions on the OpenSea marketplace.
Whatever the way buying and selling is handled technically, you will want a supply of cryptocurrencies
Getting some crypto has never been easier. You can choose some of the popular wallets like MetaMask or Exodus. The former is a popular choice right now as it is one of the wallets that integrates seamlessly with Decentraland.
An important note is that for metaverse, you’re going to want a cloud wallet rather than so-called “cold storage.” It’s just simpler to do everything online when you’re in an online world. Makes sense, right?
Whatever wallet you end up choosing, you then need to fill it. Some of the wallets (like MetaMask) have integrated coin exchanges into their apps to make this process easier and more streamlined. But do not worry if your wallet doesn’t do that — any proper crypto exchange such as Coinbase will send your currency to any wallet address you indicate.
Once you have the currency — it’s time to spend, spend, spend!
What are the most popular cryptos in Metaverse?
While it is true that most crypto tokens you can convert to most others, there are fees for these operations and it’s much easier to simply buy the right currency (for the world you want to play in) from the start.
So which ones should you get, then? Here are some of the most popular cryptocurrencies among metaverse citizens.
The Ethereum network is practically synonymous with metaverse due to the fact that many of the most popular implementations run on its blockchain network. Quick cheat sheet: Ethereum is the blockchain network and Ether (ETH) is the currency running on it.
If you’re looking to add to your NFT art collection, this is the currency you will be using. In most metaverses, displayed NFT art is linked to its page on the OpenSea exchange, and ETH is what OpenSea takes predominately.
And if you’re in Cryptovoxels, all of the transactions are performed in ETH. It’s a widely-used and reputable token so there’s absolutely nothing to worry about.
It’s also available at any of the major (and most of the minor) coin exchanges so it’s pretty easy to buy it and get rid of that pesky fiat money that’s clogging up your bank account.
All in all, if you want a currency that’s simple and quick, and can be exchanged for most others you’ll ever need, it’s a good idea to invest in Ether.
MANA is the coin you can use in Decentraland (and for some Decentraland-related items on OpenSea) to purchase LAND (digital land spaces basically on which you can build your virtual home) and collectibles your avatar can wear inside the world.
You can easily purchase on exchanges such as Coinbase, Kraken, Binance, and others. Once you have it, you can spend it. But, given the value of it that has been rising recently, it may be a good idea to also hold onto it.
Another reason to hold on to this currency is that it is also a governance token. Those who have MANA can decide on the future on Decentraland as it functions like a Decentralized Autonomous Organization (DAO).
SAND is essentially the version of MANA that The Sandbox uses. Pretty much everything we said about MANA applies to this token as well. You can buy LAND and items with it, and it is also a governance token.
Since The Sandbox is still in alpha, the future of the platform is very much out in the open and those who want a stake in it should stock up on SAND.
And maybe get some NFTs too. As we understand, those NFTs are getting really popular these days.
Remember those battling critters of Axie Infinity? This is their cryptocurrency. As most game crypto it used to complete various transactions within the game. You can purchase AXS on platforms such as Binance, Coinbase, Gemini, and others.
There’s a twist with AXS however. It comes from the game’s play to earn model. You can actually earn AXS tokes by breeding the digital animals known as Axies, so there’s a lot of incentive to keep coming back to the game and being an active participant.
How do I connect my crypto wallet to a metaverse?
If you want to visit a metaverse as more than a guest you’ll need to create an account. Since most metaverses are based on blockchain tech, they tend to require a wallet to be connected to them.
This process is very easy, however. While different metaverses will give you different options, several services have emerged as a standard. WalletConnect supports nearly any wallet you can think of while with WalletLink you can connect your Coinbase wallet.
But if you prefer to have it all in one place, you might want to consider MetaMask. This is a wallet that can directly connect with Decentraland, The Sandbox, and CryptoVoxels.
In any case you will simply click “Sign in” on the start page of the metaverse and then follow the on-screen instructions.
This part of the process is super easy, because why wouldn’t it be. There’s some very deep tech powering all this so you can be sure it’s all on the level.
And once you have connected your wallet to the metaverse of your choice (or five metaverses of your choice, we’re not judging here) you can be a fully-fledged citizen of this brave new digital frontier and participate in all the activities and games that it has to offer.
Will Metaverse accelerate the wide adoption of cryptocurrencies?
It is very likely that that will happen exactly. For a very long while, cryptocurrencies were kind of in a limbo. They were originally meant to be currency for transactions.
There was a time when people truly believed that Bitcoin could be one day used to buy pizza and beer. That reality didn’t really come to pass. Instead, Bitcoin became a largely speculative asset that people purchase as an investment.
Most other tokens have faced similar destinies.
Until the Metaverse came along.
With the Metaverse economy and also NFTs, suddenly tokens are used for their stated purpose — buying and selling.
Not that people aren’t investing in metaverse-related coins, they are. But when a currency is used as a proper currency, that can definitely speed along its adoption.
Another key thing is the interest of large companies and brands in this newly emerging digital space. So far, most big names have been reticent to get into crypto. It was actually online casinos that were pioneers of accepting payments in these currencies.
That is now changing as large gaming companies like Ubisoft partner with metaverse game developers, Gucci and Prada offer NFT items, and venture capitalists pump money into the entire sector.
As most people get interested in crypto through their adventures in the metaverse, and have wallets full of ETH, MANA, and SAND… eventually we may be buying pizza and beer with cryptocurrencies. Just like Satoshi Nakamoto intended.
What is a Dapp?
No, it’s not a shorthand for calling someone dapper. Instead, it means “decentralized application.”
So, what are they? If you’re familiar with classic everyday apps (and who isn’t these days) you probably know that they typically run either on your local device (a computer or a smartphone) or they are so-called “cloud” apps that run on a server somewhere.
Well, these types of apps are centralized. That is because they run on somebody’s hardware or somebody’s cloud servers.
But with decentralized apps or Dapps, this isn’t true. They run on a distributed network which usually means a blockchain.
While there are Dapps on many blockchain, Ethereum is the heavyweight champion when it comes to this section of the crypto-scene.
So why has Ethereum emerged as the go-to for this rather than say, Bitcoin? That’s because of the fundamental difference between these two blockchains. Bitcoin essentially stores only numbers, but the smart contracts that Ethereum is made of actually store executable code.
So, basically, that opens up the opportunity to have actual applications run on the network. Which is exactly what metaverses like Decentraland and Cryptovoxels do.
A typical Dapp consists of a frontend (that’s what you see as a user) and smart contract backend. They are written in Ethereum-specific programming languages such as Solidity, Vyper, or Serpent.
All this means that metaverses are uniquely suited to being connected with crypto and blockchain and it is with these technologies that they will probably reach their fullest potential.
What is a Decentralized Autonomous Organization (DAO)?
If you’ve been doing your own reading on the metaverse you might have chanced upon the initialism DAO. It’s short for Decentralized Autonomous Organization.
And what are those? Glad you asked. A DAO is essentially the formalization of a design ethos that has been present in the “cryptoverse” since the very beginning. That everything should be decentralized and user-owned.
So instead of a Mark Zuckerberg or a Bill Gates at the helm of a Big Tech-style organization calling all the shots, it’s the users that do so.
DAOs have something called a governance token (in Decentraland that’s MANA for instance) which entitles those who hold them to representation in decisions concerning the organization.
In practice, different projects may set different rules on how that’s done, but this is the general idea.
Of course, not all metaverses function like this. Cryptovoxels and The Sandbox do, but Meta’s (formerly known as Facebook) Horizon Worlds do not and in all likelihood never will.
It’s the freedom and customization vs a walled garden approach. It’s Android vs iOS all over again, in a sense.
It will be up to users and ordinary people to decide which concept they like better. Who will win the metaverse wars that are certainly coming? Nobody knows and that’s just one of the things that makes the space so exciting.
What does “decentralization” mean?
We mentioned that decentralization is kind of the ethos and guiding principle of a lot of these metaverse projects.
But what does that mean, both in theory and in practice?
In theory, the idea of decentralization is kind of the “ideology” of the crypto world. The whole point of a distributed network is that nobody can own it, and so there isn’t a central authority to control what goes on.
This has been the guiding philosophy behind the success Bitcoin, the world’s premier cryptocurrency and it is the general idea of blockchain-powered metaverses too. Through organizing them as DAOs and taking advantage of governance tokens, it’s possible to involve the actual users in deciding the future of the world.
In practice, we’re a bit far from this ideal right. As most of the blockchain-related metaverses are in alpha phase right now their DAOs are not yet fully implemented. But it’s coming soon!
When it’s all put together at last, users can expect a different experience than the ones on the Big Tech platforms. When you hold a governance token of a DAO, you can actually participate in how it’s run and have your voice heard in deciding the future of the platform.
Of course, this only holds true for some metaverses that run on the blockchain. For those platforms such as Horizon Worlds and Zepeto, it’s more of a traditional service model. There’s a company at the top that’s in charge of the whole thing.
It’s really up to personal preference.
What is Polygon/MATIC and the internet of blockchains?
There is a lot of discussion about so-called “interoperability” in the metaverse space. This is the idea of different metaverses being able to interact with each other in various ways.
Specifically, interoperability means to be able to move digital data between different platforms. Think of how a text document made in Microsoft Word can be read and edited later in Google Docs. That is interoperability.
In order for that to be possible in the blockchain and metaverse world there will have to be technology underpinning the whole thing.
Polygon is one of the possible ways to address this along with other projects such as Polkadot and Cosmos.
So, then, Polygon is a blockchain scalability platform for connecting blockchain networks compatible with Ethereum. There are befits other than interoperability. For instance, the technology allows for faster transactions and lower gas fees (those are transaction fees in Ethereum parlance).
Polygon also has a utility token called MATIC.
Which, is the main transactional currency on the network and is a financial incentive for those who wish to contribute. It is also used in a process called “staking” where users can participate in the network’s consensus mechanism to validate transactions in return for MATIC tokens.
Many in the crypto space as well as investors are already catching on to how huge all this could be. Mark Cuban is an investor for instance.
Networks such as Polygon could one day from what is now called “internet of blockchains.” In this vision of how things should work, all blockchains are interoperable and all user NFTs, assets, and data is portable.
As far as the metaverse is concerned, this could mean exactly what we’ve been talking about so far. A true digital world where users’ data can be free and that same data can be transferred without any middle-men. In that way the metaverse could be like real life. When you buy a hat at an H&M you can wear it anywhere and not only in H&M-compatible spaces, after all.
What is “play to earn”?
It’s almost like something out of a gamer’s dream. Being paid, with currency that actually has value, for the act of playing games?
Too good to be true? Think again. Players are already earning tokens in games such as Axie Infinity. Those colorful creatures we’ve mentioned before can be a source of fun but also a source of profit as the most expensive one was sold for the equivalent of over $800,000. How’s that for mixing business and pleasure?
That’s not the only game operating with this model. Other metaverse games have adopted it too. Essentially, in this model players can be rewarded with the game’s token for completing certain tasks, staking, or simply from selling the NFT game assets.
Since these tokens run on the blockchain, they can be exchanged for others or even “cashed out” for fiat money.
It’s quite different from the framework that’s most popular right now in console and mobile videogaming called “pay to win” where players pony up real cash for digital items (that aren’t even NFTs to boot) and developers try to hook whales to bleed dry.
Instead, here the player is rewarded for supporting the game and its economy.
And given the fact that a lot of metaverse-based games are also run like DAOs, that means that playing the game actually means the players have a real stake in the world.
Play to earn is a new vision both for videogaming and for the metaverse itself. Even now people are earning money from their various activities both in the games like Axie Infinity and in the Metaverse in general.
This is a trend that will undoubtedly increase with the further adoption of the metaverse concept? Will people one day simply not get a “real” job and eke out a living virtually? It’s more likely than you think.
What are some of the most popular play to earn games in the metaverse?
Aside from the already mentioned Axie Infinity and The Sandbox, there are currently a whole host of games where players can play to earn.
So, let’s take some quick looks and set you on the path to earning while playing videogames.
Have you ever dreamed of making money as a race car driver? Racing exotic cars in even more exotic locations?
Well, here’s the next best thing. It’s REVV Racing, a play to earn metaverse racing game. And just like in real life, you will need to buy a car before you can race it. As a side note, one thing you will quickly learn about the metaverse is there are scant freebies in this world.
As with any such play to earn games, it has its own token, REVV. What’s interesting is that you can actually use this token in several other games by the same developer: F1 Delta Time, MotoGP Ignition, and Formula E: High Voltage.
Essentially, REVV is about building a whole metaverse for fans of motorsports.
A trading card game based on NFTs, and currently thought of one the best of its kind. It’s kind of like Magic: The Gathering and has the same mythological-epic vibe.
You can get some free packs from signing up and then later you can buy and trade cards on the marketplace using Ether. So, if you get lucky enough to get some super rare cards you can even make some money off it.
Some people’s dreams go beyond race cards and mythological creatures. For those who to be a bona fide city planner, this is the play to earn game to enjoy.
This game runs on the Ethereum and TRON networks and lets players buy plots of land, buildings, citizens, and other things needed for a city. The game also supports “staking” to earn tokens.
It’s an exciting time for Megacryptopolis, as a newly announced update is set to transform it into a true metaverse experience with customizable avatars, buildings, you can enter and cars you can drive. And of course, it will all be NFTs.
Now is the time to get in on the ground floor of the Main Tower of this budding metaverse experience.
Blankos Block Party
Made by some of the same people behind Call of Duty, World of Warcraft, and Guitar Hero so you know this will be a good one.
Or at least, very graphically intensive. This isn’t a browser game, so get your gaming laptops and i7 processors ready.
Then, register, get your season ticket, complete challenges and you may even get an NFT. BBP doesn’t have a token (at least not yet) but it does have a premium in-game currency you can use to buy the titular Blankos with.
After that, play the various mini-games that are available, kit your Blanko out with accessories, or start trading them on the in-game peer-to-peer marketplace.
Earning here is possible, as you can cash out your in-game currency into crypto. In some countries, a bank transfer is supported too.
Coin Hunt World
How about something really simple, also very healthy, and something that’s going to give you small amounts of Bitcoin and Ether?
It’s called Coin Hunt World and it may actually be better than Pokémon Go, really.
Just like in the augmented reality game that made the world go crazy a few years ago, in Coin Hunt World you will also be doing a lot of walking.
So, you’re this little blue guy on a map. In the mobile app, that is. In reality, you’re still you, don’t worry.
Walk around your city, find the keys floating around (they are also blue). After you collect enough there will be a quiz question and then you will earn some Bitcoin and some Ether. Not a lot though. Expect payouts of tens of cents. But, hey, it’s free crypto. And it gets you walking, which is healthy.
CHW is a great way to get into the play to earn (P2E) games. Check it out on your Android smartphone. Apple users will have to wait a little while, but a version for iPhones is planned.
What other ways are there to earn money in the Metaverse?
Play to earn games are one way to earn money in the Metaverse, trading NFTs is another. But that’s really only the beginning of what the Metaverse offers.
Staking is another way to make money in the DAO metaverses. Buying and selling LAND is another and lets you be a virtual land baron.
Of course, some people are simply buying up coins related to popular metaverses and hoping to profit off the price difference when they blow up. That’s a totally valid strategy for crypto-investors.
And that’s just on the side of the crypto itself.
Professionals of various stripes have found that they too can make money in the metaverse.
One obvious example are the people designing NFT items for places like Decentraland. A wearable for avatars such as a hat or a digital pair of pants can fetch a good amount of MANA if you’re talented enough.
Actual art collectives such as Mutani have popped up around the idea of offering designers the chance to make money with their virtual clothes and fashions.
NFT art is a big deal in the metaverse, too. Many collectors like to display theirs in virtual galleries or their virtual homes. Decentraland and Cryptovoxels are full of them. That means that if you’re an artist you might want to look into getting your stuff into the metaverse. Make a virtual exhibition with all your pieces purchasable on OpenSea.
The sky is the limit, and people are discovering new ways to get paid in the Metaverse all the time. It is the next frontier of e-commerce and right now those with an entrepreneurial spirit could be among the first pioneers.
The Metaverse is still waiting for the first meta-billionaire.
Gambling and Metaverse: The Future of Games of Chance?
It’s no secret that gambling is popular on the Internet. In fact, the iGaming industry has often been the pioneer of embracing new technology. Online casinos were the first to embrace HTML5, and among the first to start offering the option of using cryptocurrency for gambling.
So, it’s not surprising that there is a lot of interest at the moment in how gambling and the metaverse might meet. What will this look like? What does it look like already?
While it’s very early days for gambling in the Metaverse, there are already those who are exploring this space. And the big names of the industry are definitely interested in getting in on the ground floor.
It will probably be some time until metaverse gambling is an everyday occurrence and until you can visit Cryptovoxels or Decentraland and walk into the virtual digs of the likes of Ladbrokes and William Hill. But even now, players are organizing poker tables and other games in the various metaverses.
It’s definitely a field to watch. With all the virtual assets and tokens floating around the metaverse, gambling with all that is just the natural progression of things.
Can I gamble in the Metaverse right now?
The short answer is yes. The longer answer is that yes but the gambling going on in the Metaverse right at this moment is limited in scope and function.
Not that fun cannot be had, mind you.
Right now, the two most promising gambling-related projects in the Metaverse are Decentral Games and Gambling Apes.
Decentral Games is running a casino-style space in Decentraland. Players who visit these locations can play poker, blackjack, and roulette. At the moment, poker is limited to free play while the former two can be played using cryptocurrency.
Like most metaverse-related projects Decentral Games functions like a DAO, and has its own token known as ICE. Players can earn ICE by completing daily challenges and competing against each other in the free-to-player poker game. This makes the offering from Decentral Games a “play to earn” game.
Decentral Games has partnered with the famous gaming company Atari, as well. There is already an Atari Casino in Decentraland. Right now, visitors can play the same games that Decentral offers. According to Atari’s plans, however, the casino is set to be expanded with Atari branded games and with the Atari Token, the company’s own entry into the blockchain.
Overall, gambling in the Metaverse is still in its infancy. Interest obviously exists, as Decentral Games is backed by AU21 Capital, a notable venture capital firm involved in blockchain tech, with several other such funds participating.
Decentral Games is promising a lot of new features to come soon, including actual video slots in their Decentraland locations.
What kind of gambling happens in the Metaverse?
As we mentioned before, gambling that goes on in the “proper” Metaverse, that is in places like Decentraland, is a bit limited at the moment.
In the Decentral Games locations players can play ICE Poker (a play to earn structure powered by the ICE token) or play roulette and blackjack. Free play and playing with crypto (ETH, DAI) is supported.
Going into a virtual location with all the dazzling lights and 3D models definitely has a different quality than just visiting a website. It’s more immersive and fun and if you’re someone already into the crypto scene and an early metaverse adopter, you’ll love being able to get some gambling action on in the same world that you call your digital home.
In addition to this type of gambling that is still in its infancy, casinos have popped up in the crypto space that offer their own tokens and even the possibility to gamble using NFTs. One such casino is Rollbit, that has launched its own NFTs and a token which can be staked to participate in the casino’s profits.
But, it’s very likely that more options are coming very soon. Gambling is a natural extension of what goes on in the Metaverse. And with all that crypto and those NFTs floating around, it’s clear that many players are itching to stake them on various games of chance.
Is Metaverse the future of gambling?
It very well may be. Many in the industry are abuzz about the metaverse and it what it could mean for the future of gambling.
Right now, online gaming is huge, and many of the top online casinos accept cryptocurrencies such as Litecoin or Ether. The gambling industry has never shied away from innovation and new technology and it’s not likely the Metaverse will be an exception to this.
In fact, the metaverse could solve some problems that have plagued the online iGaming industry since its inception. One of them is an issue of “posture” or to put it plainly, it’s kind of boring to sit in front of the computer or tap the smartphone.
What if instead you could put on a pair of VR glasses, walk around a nice 3D space and interact with the video slots and roulette tables directly?
Then there’s the issue of “feel.” While online gambling has revolutionized access and distribution of games of chance, there is something to be said for going to a place, sitting at a table with other people and taking in the atmosphere. That isn’t really possible at a classic online casino that’s basically just a web page.
Finally, there’s the issue of money.
Depositing and withdrawing funds at an online casino is kind of cumbersome even in the best of times. Different e-wallets, waiting for the funds to clear, various procedures and so on.
Being able to just use the same crypto-wallet you use to access the metaverse would be so much easier.
That, basically, is the vision that metaverse gambling proponents imagine. Easy access, easy crypto transactions, a fun and vibrant feel to everything.
Are we there yet?
There are a lot of things that will need to happen for metaverse gambling to truly take off.
To get it out of the way right now: there aren’t any “true” metaverse casinos yet. Not that gambling in the metaverse doesn’t happen.
And not that some big and small players are not interested in the idea. Atari, of the videogames fame, has made plays in this area. They have established a token to power their games and RNG games of chance, and they have announced plans to open a real metaverse casino in Decentraland, to be located at the world’s Vegas Plaza.
But, so far, the most interesting happenings in the metaverse when it comes to gambling have come from the community itself.
Is sports betting going to be a part of Metaverse?
All signs point to yes. While you cannot bet on real life sports events through the metaverse just yet, it’s logical to expect that sports betting will, just like pretty much everything else, become a part of the metaverse.
This is due to the fact that there is a lot of interest currently in finding ways to bring live events into metaverse spaces. Concerts were held in Fortnite, and the music publisher Warner Media Group has invested into the virtual concert platform Wave already.
For sports and their transition into the metaverse, Metacast is an interesting project. It’s the latest innovation from Unity (the maker of the graphics engine that currently powers most of the metaverse projects) and it allows for 360-degree interactive images using a technique called “volumetric capture.”
Already, they have managed to capture a UFC fight with stunning detail, real fighters turned into very realistic 3D models.
What’s best, because natural motion is captured through the technology, the “uncanny valley” effect of artificial 3D graphics is avoided.
More in line with gambling, the NFT racing horse breeding game Zed Run will interest all who have ever placed a wager on the outcome of a horse race.
In this game, players can buy, breed, and race horses. And some of those horses have already been sold for six figure sums.
While Zed Run isn’t sports betting in the strictest sense, it does point to how the intersection of the metaverse, NFTs, and sports could look in the future.
And as eSports have shown, once there’s digital competition going on, betting is not far away.
Additionally, with the technologies such as Metacast, the boundary between real life and digital events could end up being completely erased. In the future, matches and fights could be hybrid. Taking place both in the world and transmitted in real time into the Metaverse.
Do some casino brands have plans to expand to the Metaverse?
As mentioned, and many times, the iGaming industry has always been ready to embrace innovation and new technology.
This industry has accepted the blockchain and cryptocurrencies with open hands, with many online betting venues taking crypto as payment.
When it comes to the Metaverse, it’s clear that industry insiders believe there’s a huge opportunity.
Lloyd Danzig of the Sharp Alpha Advisors (a VC firm specializing in sports betting and online gaming) opined that there could be “an entire DraftKings metaverse” while praising the potential of the technology to bring forward new and more immersive experiences into sports betting.
Waterhouse VC Chief Investment Officer Tom Waterhouse said in a recent interview that that the Metaverse could be the “biggest market of all” but also added that “most people haven’t woken up to this yet.”
Maybe that’s why existing casino brands have been quite reticent in announcing Metaverse-related plans. Or maybe they are keeping it under wraps until they’re ready to dazzle the world.
A few brave pioneers have emerged, however. Decentral Games is already hosting gambling action in Decentraland.
Gambling Apes is DAO that wants to launch an NFT-powered venue both in the Metaverse and on a classic website.
Atari, the famous gaming company, has entered the blockchain with its new token, $ATRI and unveiled ambitious plans for an Atari Casino where punters can enjoy games and video slots. Right now, the Atari Casino is live in Decentraland (through a partnership with Decentral Games), with somewhat limited functionality. But a trailer that Atari put out shows what could one day be — a thriving and immersive casino-based metaverse full of customization and intense gaming action.
XR Casino is another pioneer in this space. The company has recently received an undisclosed amount of funding from the Brazilian tech conglomerate BOTS. According to the company’s statement, BOTS will launch augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR) casinos on their online version of Las Vegas. XR’s platform will use AI and blockchain.
Both companies seem very committed to the idea of VR and AR connecting people to the Metaverse and to opportunities for the iGaming industry within it.
As the sector grows, there is no doubt other companies will start making plays. The Metaverse is simply too big to ignore.
How will the Metaverse affect our gambling habits?
It’s clear now that the Metaverse will affect the entirety of society and gambling will not stay unchanged by the new trend of society moving more and more into the digital realm.
And as the online iGaming industry proved, gambling and the Internet are a match made in heaven. And gambling and the metaverse? Mostly likely the same.
While it’s early days, there are already projects that sketch the outline of what metaverse iGaming could look like very soon.
Gambling Apes is a series of 7,777 unique NFT apes on the Ethereum blockchain. Now, holders of the NFTs will soon be able to participate in the profits of a metaverse casino. It will be an establishment co-owned by the community that will get a share of the casino’s revenue.
Gambling Apes has already acquired a 14-parcel piece of LAND in Decentraland.
Founders have also promised a more traditional online casino and are seeking to be regulated in the jurisdiction of Curacao.
One day, the people who play at a casino could very well be its co-owners through the DAO governance tokes. Gambling Apes is one possible future of how the Metaverse will change the way people gamble.
As for individual gamblers, once metaverse gambling truly takes off, action might become both faster and more immersive.
If you’re already inside the persistent and always-online virtual world that metaverse enthusiasts are promising, it’s trivially easy to teleport to a casino or a sports arena and start playing games or sports betting.
Unlike a traditional online casino where you’re at the end of the day just clicking on stuff on a screen, metaverse gaming can be enhanced with virtual and augmented reality, fancy 3D graphics, live 3D transmissions of sporting events happening half across the globe…
Think of the ease and speed of online iGaming with the atmosphere and ostentation of land-based gambling. The Metaverse could marry the best of both worlds into one amazing package.
Is gambling in the Metaverse regulated?
There is one thing that may put a big damper on the dreams of a thriving metaverse iGaming industry. Regulation.
As it is right now, no country or territory has made explicit regulations aimed at either the Metaverse or gambling in this new digital space.
But, if online gambling was any indication, a regulatory sweep is coming. Especially when it all becomes truly popular and many people start enjoying everything that the Metaverse has to offer.
So, the short answer is that right now any metaverse casino would need to be regulated the same way as an online non-metaverse casino. This does offer players a strong level of protection (especially if the casino would be licensed in one of the stronger jurisdictions such as Malta or Curacao) but leaves some metaverse-specific issues out.
For instance, if a player de-facto owns a part of the casino through a DAO and its governance token, should that person actually be allowed to be a player? These are the questions that regulating bodies will soon have to grapple with.
As far as playing at one of the current metaverse casinos goes, players should exercise just a bit of caution. The blockchain is a very safe technology that makes it really hard to cheat when it comes to payments, but all of this, after all, is still technology in its beta phase.
How far away we are from true Metaverse gambling?
First, we need to define what “true” metaverse gambling would be. Most industry experts expect that once it really takes off, iGaming within the Metaverse will be very immersive, very similar to land-based gambling (just virtual) and will take advantage of VR headsets and motion tracking to allow punters to move through the casino floor, sit down at tables, and interact with other patrons.
This level of interaction and immersion is still quite far away.
At the moment, the few casinos that are happening in the metaverse still lack video slots, rely on rather primitive graphics. And possibly most importantly, you still have to click things and press buttons.
In a true Metaverse, clicking, tapping, and button pressing would be relicts of the past. Instead, everything would be controlled via mostly natural motion, thanks to motion tracking.
But this is a quite a bit more futuristic than what’s on offer now. However, technology moves fast. What’s science fiction today often becomes reality tomorrow. Nobody expected that mobile phones would eventually become small powerful computers without which modern life would be impossible.
And that’s the world we live in today. Tomorrow’s world may very well be dual. The real life as one layer and the Metaverse as one on top of it — persistent, interactive, immersive, and equipped with everything needed to have a good time. Including gambling, sports betting, video slots, and other iGaming delights.
NFTs and Metaverse: The Future of Digital Ownership is Now
NFTs, or non-fungible tokens, are all the rage these days. Everyone is talking about NFTs, from the New York Times to crypto investors to teens on TikTok.
Just like cryptocurrencies and blockchain before them, NFTs are also highly technical and actually solve a very important problem in computer science and cryptography.
But that’s not really why they got so famous recently. It’s the gold rush of NTF-backed art pieces that is rocking the world right now. The ownership of these pieces is verified on the blockchain through the NFT.
Many of those pieces have ballooned in value, with many art collections having minimum prices (referred to as the floor price) of upwards of $100,000. Whether or not this trend will continue, time will tell.
But NFTs have a lot of implications for the Metaverse too, and for gambling within the Metaverse.
NFTs can represent unique wearable items for avatars and really any kind of digital item. Digital horses in Zed Run? Axies of the famous Axie Infinity? Hats that you can wear in Decentraland? They are all NFTs.
Essentially, the Metaverse and NFTs are peas in a pod. Right now, it would be impossible to imagine the Metaverse without all the NFT trinkets that adorn avatars and NFT art that hangs on the walls of digital art galleries.
What are NFTs anyway?
In all this furor about NFTs, many people are feeling kind of left behind. NFT fans talk about how it’s the future of art and best investment you can make right now.
We already said it stands for non-fungible token. What is non-fungible, you may ask. Fungible means that two (or more) items are mutually interchangeable. The best example of fungibility is fiat money. A $10 bill is just like any other $10 bill. It doesn’t matter which of the millions of such bills you have, any will do when you’re paying for your soy-matcha latte.
It’s the same with cryptocurrency itself. Each Bitcoin or Ether token is the same as any other. When you buy Bitcoin, you’re not buying any specific Bitcoin.
NFTs are the opposite of that. Each of these tokens is unique, like a snowflake.
In that way, they solve that important problem we mentioned. Specifically, the problem that all digital data is easily copied perfectly. Unlike a designer handbag that needs to be painstakingly made by artisans and is difficult to knock off, it is trivial to copy any digital file. And each copy is always as good as the original.
Not when NFTs are used. They certify, through cryptography, that the digital item you have is the one you purchased, and that only you possess the right to sell it to someone else.
That’s why the first usage of NTFs to truly take off was in proving the ownership of digital art.
In the Metaverse is where these special tokens really take on their true meaning. If you’ve paid let’s say 0.05 ETH (which is nearly $4,000) for a special wearable for your character you’ll want to be sure not every Tom, Dick, and Harry can turn up rocking the same fit.
What do NFTs do in the Metaverse?
What don’t they do might be the more pertinent question. As we explained previously, NFTs solve a very important problem. How to make digital data, inherently copyable — unique.
And now that this problem is solved, NFTs have found their home in the Metaverse. In most applications of the concept, in-world items such as wearables are minted on the blockchain in a certain series. Oftentimes, there is a classification going from “common” to something like “legendary” which tells how rare the item is. A common item may be minted in a quantity of 100,000 while there may only be a few pieces of a “legendary” item.
Prices are set accordingly, of course. The rarer an object, the more crypto you have to shell out to possess it.
Standard economics plays a part too. If an item gets particularly popular, it will then a fetch a higher price in resale. In the Metaverse, users can freely trade between themselves items on the blockchain.
NFTs also play an important role in metaverse games, especially of the play to earn kind. Games such as Axie Infinity and Zen Run are good examples. Unique NFT horses and creatures provide a sense of ownership to the players. As well as an option to make money when they sell them.
Essentially, NFTs add a lot of value to the Metaverse as they enable digital items to have real exclusivity and real-world value.
What are some of the most popular NFT artists and collections?
Currently, the most widespread use of NFTs is in digital art collections. Collectors and investors have been pumping money into the space for a while now.
Many are hoping their investments will pay off, while some are calling the whole thing a bubble. As always, time will tell who’s right. But for now, NFT art investment is the hottest segment of the crypto-investing world.
And of course, as it always happens in buzzing sector, some things have become really hot right now.
Beeple is the nom de guerre of artist Mike Winkelmann who has been topping the NFT charts after a landmark auction with the famous auction house Christie’s. His NFT art collection sold for a stunning $69.3 million.
It was also the first time a major and mainstream auction house has sold crypto assets and accepted cryptocurrency as payment.
Beeple’s art is a mix of realism and absurdity with a distinct political bend. But getting your hands on one of them won’t be cheap. According to the Cryptoart database, the average sale of a Beeple piece is $129,300.
Nobody knows who Pak is. Is it a person or collective? What’s known is that Pak has been making digital art for the last two decades, has sold more than 66,000 pieces and is beloved by Elon Musk.
Pak’s art is abstract, featuring complex three-dimensional shapes. Metarift is the best-known piece which has sold for an impressive $1.9 million.
Bored Ape Yacht Club
And then there’s the bored apes. It’s a collection of 10,000 unique computer-generated cartoon apes, it lives on the Ethereum blockchain, and you can have one too — at about $273,420 floor price.
Interest in BAYC has skyrocketed as it became viral, and once celebrities such as Eminem started buying them, the total sale volume has flown past $1 billion.
BAYC is also connected to the Mutant Apes Yacht Club, which are special apes specially minted on the blockchain. They are also very expensive.
But people don’t buy these apes just to have JPEGs on their computer. BAYC/MAYC are also a community and NFT holders get access to exclusive events.
So, if you shell out the Ether, you may get to meet Eminem himself.
A visual artist from Austin, Texas working primarily with algorithms, plotters, and paint. He is also, at the time of writing, the third top artist on Cryptoart by total artwork value, right behind Pak and Beeple.
Hobbs programs custom algorithms that are used to generate visual imagery.
“Often, these strike a balance between the cold, hard structure that computers excel at, and the messy, organic chaos we can observe in the natural world around us,” the artist explains.
You can admire Hobbs’ pieces at his website, but if you’d like to actually own one of them, get ready to loosen the purse string on your crypto-wallet. Average piece sales are at $141,948.
Digital collages are all the rage and nobody does them quite as uniquely as Mike Parisella, known as Slimesunday. Based out of Boston, he explores topics bizarre yet erotic and has gathered more than 500,000 Instagram followers.
Slimesunday has sold nearly 7,000 NFT artworks. These interesting digital collages are also a great option for would-be NFT art collectors on a budget. Cryptoart lists the average sale at around $2,000.
What is OpenSea and how do I use it?
When you want to buy some NFT art or trade your in-game items from various metaverse worlds and games, where do you go exactly?
Well, it’s not your local flea market.
It’s OpenSea, the platform that has emerged as the one-stop-shop for art, assets, and really anything that can be made into an NFT (which is literally anything digital).
Getting to the OpenSea is easy enough. Just go to their website or download their smartphone app. Then you can browse and start buying. OpenSea supports many wallets including MetaMask and Coinbase. It also supports WalletConnect meaning pretty much any online crypto-wallet will work.
And when say it’s a one-stop-shop we really mean it. You can buy Decentraland wearables and unique usernames.
If you’re into Cryptovoxels, you already know that all transactions pertaining to that world are done on OpenSea. Such as buying LAND parcels or other in-world items.
And perhaps most importantly, this is where you can get some of those Bored and Mutant Apes that are all the rage right now.
Using OpenSea is easy, but do mind the gas fees, since it does all run on the Ethereum network.
Will NFTs create opportunities for new digital content creation in the Metaverse?
It will and in a lot of ways, it already has.
Artists like Beeple, Pak, and Slimesunday were not as well-known before the NFT craze. NFTs have connected digital art with real-world value through cryptocurrency.
In that way, they are a godsend for digital artists as their pieces are now attached with permanence and uniqueness. Not just another JRPG. Not to mention, NFTs make it really easy to make money off art and still retain your intellectual property and copyright.
But Mutant Apes and algorithm-driven art are just one small piece of the whole story.
Fashion brands and designers are getting into the Metaverse and NFT fashion. Actually, designers of all stripes can benefit from the Metaverse and NFTs. Digital worlds will need digital clothes, people, animals, buildings, cars, etc.
Someone has to design and build all of that. And with the way the wind is blowing, at least in the blockchain and crypto spaces, all of this will be underpinned with NFTs. Meaning all that digital bric-a-brac will be bought and sold by Metaverse users.
Therefore, a whole economy is about to pop up here and offer many opportunities for those with the know-how and entrepreneurial spirit.
How will the Metaverse and NFTs change the face of monetization?
Monetizing digital activity and assets is a special mix of economic science and art. The Metaverse and NFTs offer a new way of doing this.
Historically, we have went from advertisement being the dominant way of making money online (that’s how Google became what it is today), then to subscription models, and then to premium in-app purchases.
All of these models, of course, still exist. And most of them will find their way into the Metaverse as well.
But what could come to dominate this new digital frontier is actually the play to earn model. If you’ve played any mobile phone game in the last ten years, you’re familiar with the pay to win model. Where you pay real money for in-game trinkets that power up your avatar.
Play to earn turns this on its head. Now, by playing, you can actually earn money in various ways.
Sometimes, it’s trading the digital assets obtained in the game like in Axie Infinity or Zed Run. Other times, it’s through holding a stake in a DAO (such as what the Gambling Apes Casino plans to do).
There is however a deeper implication of play to earn. What this system could do in the future is attach real-world value to digital activities in general.
During the Web 2.0 emergence (that’s social networks, basically) many have pointed out that if a service is a free — you’re the product. It does make sense. Instagram is free, but how does Meta make money out of it? Selling ads. So, the people who buy the ads are clients, and you, well… you’re the product.
Metaverse and the play to earn structure could upend this as well. If metaverse projects end up adopting the DAO structure, then you could be paid for contributing to the world in a meritocratic and transparent way. Maybe you help organize virtual events or provide various help to other users.
But, all of this is very speculative. The Metaverse itself is so new and its economic structure is in its infancy. Nobody knows how it will eventually look like, but the transformative potential is definitely there.