Metaverse, the term, is likely to become one of the most popular buzzwords of 2022. All because of Facebook’s decision to rebrand itself to Meta. But Mark Zuckerberg’s company is not alone in focusing on building virtual worlds – other tech giants are also working on their own translation of these worlds. Metaverse and crypto are also increasingly combined, and they will not only disrupt industries costing billions of dollars, but also change every aspect of our daily lives. In a world where the COVID-19 pandemic has forced us to work and play remotely, we may have to migrate to virtual worlds sooner than we think.
What exactly is metaverse, what is the relationship between metaverse and crypto, and which projects are most likely to change our lives in 2022? We explain all that and more to you on this page.
The word ‘metaverse’ is used to describe virtual worlds, and it became popular in Q4 2021 with Facebook’s rebranding to Meta. However, the term metaverse is not new and was not invented by Facebook – in fact, the word metaverse was coined by science fiction author Neal Stephenson in 1992. In Stephenson’s novel “Snow Crash”, the metaverse is a vast virtual reality that people can enter with specially created devices. Another popular example of a virtual world in fiction is Steven Spielberg’s film “Ready Player One” (2018), in which the protagonists enter a beautiful virtual world because the real world is in ruins.
In simple words, metaverse means an immersive virtual world created with solutions like Augmented Reality (AR) and that can be supported by crypto and non-fungible token applications on the blockchain. Because of the use of these advanced technologies, metaverse is also known as Extended Reality (XR) – a combination of Augmented Reality (AR) and Virtual Reality (VR) that can provide a fully interactive experience, and can be used for leisure and entertainment as well as business.
Many people compare Extended Reality (XR) to simple 3D virtual worlds, such as the video game Second Life, which has been around since the early 2000s. However, this comparison is only partially valid. Virtual worlds like Second Life were only useful for entertainment and had no connection to real life. The metaverse, on the other hand, is different – thanks to the applications of blockchain like NFTs and crypto, virtual realities will be able to bridge the gap between virtual spaces and the real world.
While it is expected that the metaverse will eventually be widely used by companies and corporations for business, and by schools and universities for learning, entertainment is still important for virtual realities and crypto projects. Many of the currently existing blockchain and NFT games are considered pioneers of building virtual worlds – although it is worth noting that these projects are not really the actual metaverse, as they are not currently using VR (Virtual Reality) or AR (Augmented Reality) solutions.
The sudden spike in the popularity of the term ‘metaverse’ can only be attributed to the announcement of the largest social media platform rebranding from Facebook to Meta. Until now, the company Facebook has primarily focused on traditional social media platforms such as Facebook and Instagram. After the rebrand, Facebook’s Meta will focus mainly on innovative and groundbreaking solutions based on metaverse, Virtual Reality (VR) and Augmented Reality (AR) and most likely NFTs and crypto. Although no fully functional Extended Reality (XR) solutions have been launched yet, Facebook’s Meta can give us a good idea of what the metaverse will look like and what it will be used for. According to Facebook’s Meta promo videos, Mark Zuckerberg’s virtual world will be able to provide a virtual environment used for remote working and learning as well as meeting people.
Employees of a company will be, for example, able to enter the virtual world to hold a board meeting, rather than making a conference call on Zoom. The metaverse will be much more interactive and immersive than a typical video call. People will be able to communicate and collaborate with each other in a beautiful 3D virtual world, using advanced NFT avatars, clothing and accessories of their choice. The main significance of Facebook’s metaverse is simply that it has conclusively proven that virtual worlds are something to be taken seriously. Until now, metaverse blockchain projects were quite small, and were considered a novelty that only interested blockchain enthusiasts.
Facebook rebranding to Meta sent a clear message to the whole world: virtual reality is the future, and very soon metaverse-based solutions could well become a multi-billion dollar industry. Currently, Facebook has almost 3 billion active users – if only half of them enter the virtual world, it will have huge cultural and economic implications. Unfortunately, there is only one problem with the metaverse: we still have no idea when fully functional and usable Extended Reality (XR) applications will be released. In a recent interview, Mark Zuckerberg said that it may take 5 or even 10 years for virtual worlds to become truly popular and mainstream. In other words, we still have to wait a while before we will be able to enter this virtual world and “Ready Player One” will become a reality.
The main element of the metaverse is Virtual Reality (VR) and Augmented Reality (AR). However, to make Extended Reality (XR) complete, virtual worlds will also use decentralized technologies on the blockchain such as crypto and NFTs.
It is important to note that Mark Zuckerberg is personally very interested in blockchain applications. Facebook has previously experimented with its own crypto called Libra. Because of this, it is almost certain that Facebook’s Meta and crypto will be very closely related. The reason why companies will integrate crypto and other blockchain applications into their metaverse is because Extended Reality (XR) is meant to be a complete, virtual world. In other words, people in the virtual world will be able to do everything they can in the real world, including e.g. buy clothes and accessories by using financial transactions, but through crypto. Since virtual worlds will not only be used for entertainment but also for business purposes, the need for crypto in the metaverse becomes obvious.
Another technology closely related to the metaverse are NFTs: Non-Fungible Tokens. Blockchain-based virtual worlds of today make great use of these tokens. Almost every item in these virtual realities is ‘tokenized’ on the blockchain. Originally, most NFTs were simple, static 2D images. However, even these tokenized images managed to gain enormous popularity, and hundreds of thousands of people began showing off their NFTs as profile pictures on social media platforms such as Twitter and Facebook.
Today, NFTs are much more complex and have become the backbone of interactive blockchain games. When Extended Reality solutions become widespread, it is likely that tokens will become even more sophisticated. Instead of using an image as their profile picture, enthusiasts in the metaverse will soon be able to dress up their fully interactive 3D avatar with branded clothing, their favorite sneakers and jewelry in the form of NFTs. Metaverse, crypto and NFTs are thus very closely linked. For now, projects that combine metaverse, crypto and other blockchain applications are still in development, and we have to wait a while until we see and understand what it will look like in Facebook’s Meta.
It goes without saying that Facebook’s Meta is the most talked about metaverse project. However, Mark Zuckerberg’s company is not the only major company working on solutions that combine Virtual Reality (VR), Augmented Reality (AR) and blockchain applications such as crypto and NFTs.
Other tech giants that have announced that they are working on a metaverse include Microsoft and Nvidia. Google hasn’t revealed anything yet, but it’s only a matter of time that they too will introduce their project to the world. Unfortunately, as with Facebook’s Meta, we don’t have many details that reveal what those virtual worlds will look like according to Nvidia, Microsoft and other companies. While it may be a while before these tech giants release fully functional versions of their virtual worlds, some Extended Reality (XR) crypto projects can already give us a glimpse of what combining Metaverse, crypto and NFTs will look like in the future.
Popular blockchain-based NFT games or projects such as Axie Infinity, The Sandbox, Decentraland and Enijn are considered by crypto experts to be pioneers of metaverse solutions. In these immersive virtual worlds, players are able to use crypto coins and tokens, collect NFTs, buy, sell and interact with others. However, there is one major difference between these projects and Facebook’s Meta: while blockchain games are generally used only for entertainment, Facebook’s virtual reality will also be used for professional reasons.
The previously mentioned four projects Axie Infinity, The Sandbox, Decentraland and Enijn are currently the most popular metaverse related crypto projects with all having their own metaverse coin. For example, the Axie Infinity coin is called ‘AXS’, The Sandbox coin ‘SAND’, Decentraland coin ‘MANA’ and Enijn Coin ‘ENJ’. Technically, they are all tokens because the projects do not have their own blockchain. Coincidentally, all four coins use the Ethereum blockchain. One emerging project is Star Atlas which does not run on Ethereum, but on Solana’s blockchain. However, the Star Atlas token is not yet offered by our partners. We therefore do have information nor prices for this project.
You can buy the four metaverse coins cheapest with the euro (€) at Bitvavo. Click on the logo of the coins to go directly to Bitvavo and buy the coin. If you are not yet registered at Bitvavo, you can qualify for a welcome discount when you register! Read more about the welcoming discount on our crypto deal page.
Axie Infinity coin
The Sandbox coin
It is hard to underestimate how big of an impact the metaverse will have on our daily lives. Some experts even compare virtual worlds to social media and the Internet – it is a groundbreaking technology that will likely be used by billions of people around the world.
The metaverse will change the way we work, learn, play and interact with others. However, there is one problem – we still do not know when exactly we will be able to enter this virtual world. So far, we only have announcements from companies like Facebook, Microsoft and Nvidia. We know that these tech giants are working on their own worlds, but no date has yet been announced for when these projects will be accessible.
Although we do not know exactly what the virtual worlds will look like, and when we will be able to enter it for the first time, one thing is absolutely certain: Extended Reality (XR) in the form of virtual worlds is one of the most important tech trends and has the potential to grow into one of the biggest industries in the world.
You could think of it as a video game developer owning the metaverse they developed. There will be multiple worlds developed, but ultimately only one developer can own the dominant virtual world. Considering that Meta has billions of users it is theoretical to conclude for now that they will own the largest virtual world.
It will be a while before the metaverse will be an everyday occurrence. For the time being, there is nothing to fear. You can certainly prepare yourself by reading up on what you need to pay attention to in the virtual world you use. In general with the internet, privacy is a sensitive issue and what happens to your data. When you use Meta (ex Facebook) you can imagine that you have to fear for what happens to your personal data.
The software giant Microsoft does not yet have a metaverse, yet. But according to the latest reports, they are in the process of developing one. When it is announced it will be one of the biggest next to Meta’s.
After the announcement that Facebook will from now on go through life as Meta, it is waiting for the next big tech giant to announce that they are stepping into the world of the metaverse. Not much later Microsoft and Nvidia announced that they want to conquer the virtual world. Google hasn’t revealed anything yet, but it’s only a matter of time before something comes out.
It is expected that this will not be possible in every metaverse. The blockchain based worlds like The Sandbox, Decentraland, Axie Infinity and many others it is possible to buy, sell and even rent land. The longer the virtual world is live, the more users it will have, the higher the prices of land will be.
You can invest in the metaverse in two ways, direct and indirect. Direct investing is when you buy land or in-metaverse accessories as NFTs. Indirect investing is when you buy the project’s metaverse coin or token.
The most well-known metaverse coins are Axie Infinity, The Sandbox, Decentraland and Enjin. And so there are nearly 100 other blockchain-based metaverse coins in circulation that you can invest in.