Hold on—most people don’t even know what the metaverse is. Here’s a little backstory, plus some Metaverse 101 thrown in for good measure.
The word metaverse is a mash-up—Meta comes from Greek and means “next” or “beyond.” So metaverse means the next universe or beyond the universe. In 1992, Neal Stephenson authored the sci-fi novel Snow Crash. In the novel, he describes the metaverse as an “all-encompassing digital world” that exists in a parallel universe to the one we know as our normal, day-to-day physical world.
Another way to understand the metaverse is to think of it as the Internet we know and love today but in 3D. It’s a digital universe we’ll be able to enter as individualized avatars and then interact with other people’s avatars.
Sounds a little out there, doesn’t it?
Nevertheless, the metaverse is coming whether you’re ready for it or not. And the metaverse will impact all areas of our lives once it’s up and running. This is no time to shy away from the inevitable. The metaverse is no longer a fictional sci-fi concept anymore. It’s here, and it’s only getting bigger. Here are 10 ways the metaverse will change the world.
The Powerful Call of a Digital Reality
When a person puts on virtual reality goggles and enters a digital reality of their design, they’ll be able to live their dream reality. It will become so real that people may not want to return to physical reality, or if they do, they won’t want to stay in it for very long.
Virtual reality will hold greater options and greater chances to live your dreams than the physical reality we are living in now. Individual digital worlds will, at some point, be able to interact with each other.
But first digital sovereignty will need to be sorted out. Who will control the metaverse and set the parameters for participating in it?
Do we even want to know?
Recently, Mark Zuckerberg changed the name of Facebook to Meta. In doing so, he was essentially planting his flag in the metaverse. This is not unlike the explorers who once planted flags at the north and south poles to lay claim to them. Google, Microsoft, and Apple want in on the metaverse, too, to get their piece of the pie. That means designing an enhanced user experience is the name of the game when it comes to attracting the masses.
Travel and Connection Through the Metaverse
If you love to travel but never have done it, in the metaverse, you’ll be able to travel anywhere, meet new and interesting people, and even interact with them and the native environment. You will no longer be held back by space and time. Of course, you will have to pay for travel or various services, and that’s where cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin will come into play.
If you have to travel for business, you could travel in the metaverse from Singapore to Australia and then onto London simply by moving from one room in the metaverse to another.
You’ll even be able to socialize in the metaverse. Whether you want to get together with friends from across town or meet a friend for coffee at a cafe when you are in Seattle and your friend is in Paris, you’ll be able to meet up in the metaverse. Online dating will take place online.
Goodbye Zoom, Skype, and Tinder—hello metaverse!
Reshaping the Global Economy
The market value of the metaverse is currently estimated to be around 800 billion dollars by the year 2025. True believers in the metaverse think it will soon hold the majority of the world’s wealth. They are already making investments in it.
One way people are investing is by purchasing virtual real estate. It’s a lot like investing in domain names. Investors purchase domain names, slap a price tag on them, and wait for someone to come along and want that domain so badly they will pay hundreds or thousands of dollars for it.
Virtual real estate works the same way. If you get into this kind of real estate investing early, you could make a killing down the line.
The New Face of Entertainment
The Covid pandemic did serious damage to the entertainment industry. Concerts were cancelled, and well-loved TV shows were cut short.
But a new way of delivering concerts emerged. A digital reality concert was engineered starring rap artist Travis Scott. His concert attracted 27 million people who entered the digital reality concert as individual avatars.
This single concert attracted more people than the 20 biggest concerts of all time combined. Concert goers were able to purchase skins for their avatars and other types of digital merchandise while in the metaverse. Supposedly, this one single concert netted Travis Scott 20 million dollars.
But it doesn’t stop at ticketed events. What about going to the zoo? You could gaze at the animals or choose to be one of the animals. If you love riding roller coasters, enter a theme park in the metaverse and ride to your heart’s content. Experience the thrill without getting sick from cotton candy overload.
Death to the 2D Internet
The 2D Internet we are all presently using will be replaced by a 3D, fully immersive digital world Internet. The metaverse will change how we learn, how we earn our livings, and how we connect, just like the emergence of the 2D Internet did in 1995.
The metaverse is evolving out of the gaming world. The gaming platform Fortnite attracted 350 million gamers in just three years. These gamers alone are spending three billion hours a month in virtual reality. They are driving the development of the metaverse like a locomotive engine thundering down a train track.
Get in, Loser, We’re Going Meta-Shopping
You will be able to do your shopping in the metaverse. Your avatar will be able to try on clothes, buy them and have them shipped directly to your physical reality address. Do you know what this means? No more crying in the dressing room because you can’t zip up that pair of jeans you tried on.
Or let’s say you are shopping for home decor. In the metaverse, you’ll be able to place the item in your digital reality home to see how it looks before actually purchasing it and having it shipped to your physical address.
Money Makes the Metaverse Go ‘Round
Cryptocurrency allows for the digital transfer of assets. It is 100% virtual and will likely replace all other types of money. In the metaverse, digital currencies will be used in place of standard physical currencies and even credit cards. Crypto will become the most convenient way of all time of exchanging currencies for goods and services.
There will be no gold, silver, or paper money needed to back up digital currencies because of the ingenious system that keeps track of all digital buying and selling transactions. Systems like Blockchain keep everyone in a particular crypto network honest. Scamming the system is nearly impossible—no fishiness here. All transactions are open and traceable.
The advantage of crypto is that it’s decentralized. All transactions are recorded on a digital ledger, and everyone in a given network has a copy of that ledger. This eliminates the need for the middlemen—banks. International payments can be made instantly. With banks, it takes much longer. There are no spending limits other than the balance in your crypto wallet, no exchange rates, and no interest rates.
Cryptocurrencies have the potential to revolutionize money and value creation. Tokens can represent anything from physical goods to digital goods. This is the next generation of all worldwide currencies, and you might want to start wrapping your mind around what it is and how it works.
The structure of education will be altered. Students may or may not choose to attend universities in the physical world. Instead, they can attend virtual university classes in the metaverse.
Let’s say you are studying the Roman Empire. In the metaverse classroom, you can have a fully immersive experience. You can enter the period of the Roman Empire and experience life as it was then. So those lucky kids a few decades from now won’t have to sit through another boring lecture.
Do you want to learn the Theory of Relativity? Why not sign up for a class being taught by Albert Einstien in the metaverse?
One aspect of work that the metaverse will impact is that people within the same company can be spread out all across the globe. And yet they will be able to meet up in the metaverse to brainstorm at highly creative levels to solve problems. The metaverse will make interactions between people much more personable and connected than they are on the 2D Internet world. The result? No more awkward Zoom meetings where someone spends the entire conference as a potato.
Corporate hierarchies will be put aside so every person, no matter what their position in the corporation, will have equal standing in a corporate metaverse environment to express their talents. The creativity of individuals will be more easily and readily tapped.
The metaverse will serve as a platform to break down corporate boundaries, building highly creative and innovative problem-solving teams.
Sports and Exercise
You could hook up your exercise bike from the physical world to your computer, enter the metaverse, and race in the Tour de France. Or compete in the Olympics against Usain Bolt. Will the metaverse make football coliseums obsolete because people can attend games in the metaverse? Who knows. Only time will tell.
How about working out with a personal trainer? Schedule an appointment and meet up in the metaverse. No longer will you have to arrange a time to meet at the gym in the physical world. And you won’t have to bother with gym jerks slamming down weights or breathing down your neck while you finish your reps. We’re talking about the freedom to exercise effectively without leaving your living room.