A true-false metaverse – Over our Meta-Hebdowe have regularly analyzed the growing interest of the giants of the Web 2of the Internet as it is today, for the metaverse. Monopolizing its entire concept, even if it means diverting its fundamental principles, Meta, Microsoft, Sony and many more have set their sights on this virtual world, the counterpart of our reality.
Decentralizationinteroperability, economic freedom of users are therefore so many principles flouted by these financial giants which sweep away these essential problems thanks to the creation of centralized and closed places. In his report Metaverse Sector Reportt (Metaverse Sector Report) written for CoinShares and published on July 15, 2022, analyst Max Shannon points out the flaws of these multiples false metavers to become.
So as not to get lost in the Meta-Hebdo:
Definition of the metaverse: hope versus reality
From the outset, in his report the author defines the metaverse as we can see it today. It is clear that two definitions of the concept are opposed. Not very enthusiastic, the author thus rightly deplores the development of a metaverse seen as a social space, an extension of the Internet as we know it in a 3D space. several virtual worlds, hermetic to each otherexacerbated by massive use of advertising.
To this is then opposed, the definition of metaverse in concept. It was first mentioned by Neal Stephenson in his novel Snow Crash in 1992. Interconnected, unique, specific to all: so many principles that have built the definition of the metaverse well before the creation of the blockchain and its king : Bitcoin.
Refined by Web 3 technologies, the notion of metaverse in its own sense is then to be a space of free exchange. Its economy, transactions and interactions are mastered and directed by its users. The metaverse would thus in no way be a game or an application: it would be much more.
A metaverse that worries future users
Big Tech giants, exhausted by the progress of Web 2, have therefore redefined the metaverse. They made their job easier by forgetting some of the issues raised by users. According to some data, the latter are refractory, worried and not very interested in the version offered by GAFAM.
Data Google Trends are then witnesses. The interest of the metaverse on the search engine giant is, almost, non-existent. The number of mentions collected is not more amazing. In a hollow, the metaverse would only seem to be carried by the lesser, but still existing affection of the users for the NFT.
According to a panel of 4,420 adults from the United States, the report explains this lack of public enthusiasm. Indeed, to the multiple-choice question: “What are your concerns about the metaverse” the results were as follows:
- 35% believes that the metaverse will have an impact on mental health;
- 37% thinks that moderation to avoid behavioral drifts will be necessary;
- 38% fear sexual harassment in the metaverse;
- 39% fear for their personal safety;
- 44% fear a cyberattack;
- 55% are not confident about the fate of their personal data (fear of identity theft for example).
The metaverse: investment inequalities
In addition to the fear of potential users, there are geographical disparities. A real obstacle to a global adoption of the concept, the fundraising are representative of a disparate craze for metaverses. The report’s data thus underlines that entrepreneurship in the United States concerning the metaverse is 3.54 times higher than that of Asia.
Master of the virtual worldventure capitalists and other iAmerican investors therefore hold more than half of so-called Web 3 companies. These disparities raise questions, especially since they do not necessarily correspond to the disparities specific to theadoption of cryptocurrencies. For example, theSouth Americagenerally favorable to cryptocurrencies, remains not very sensitive to the metaverse.
A metaverse that actually doesn’t exist
If we unfold the thought of the report, we can then understand that the metaverse proposed by GAFAM and other BigTech giants is only the continuity of a growth policy seeking maximum profit. Also, the development of virtual helmets created by Meta is an opportunity and a possible significant fortune given the number of users on Facebook for example.
This conception of the metaverse is the “fastest way” to propose a botched metaverse, a true trompe l’oeil of our reality. Indeed, the centralized metaverse approach as proposed in Horizon World from Meta or Roblox ignores the benefits of decentralization.
Max Shannon’s discourse can then be compared to that of Vitalik Buterin who lamented on Twitter this week, a non-metaverse dominated by the Web 2 giants:
Half-fig, half-grape regulation
The report also recalls that regulation is lagging behind the evolution of technologies and that the latter has been overtaken by the giants of Web 2. The only role that regulation has thus given itself at present is therefore not to educate, but protect consumers. The reactions of the SEC and international financial police regarding theTerra Luna case is the obvious example.
Regarding the metaverse, some governments are also starting to launch into the other world. the Department of Digital Regulation in Dubai, VARA, real policeman of the metaverse has settled in The Sandbox. A political program in its own right in Dubai society, the metaverse has become a real economic and political issue.
The Central African Republic, with its Sango Coin and the accompanying metaverse sees Web 3 as an economic opportunity. It would offer him independence and financial freedom. The governmental, isolated and self-interested approaches do not, however, offer an open metaverse.
Ownership and Privacy
The notion of private property, the proof of its existence and the control of its security are also essential. It allows users of the metaverse to evolve in a circle of trust. NFTs have an essential place here.
Tamper-proof proof of ownership, the non-fungible token addresses the issue of ownership and identity. real avatar, virtual representation of your ego, the latter can be true to yourself, to your image. Conversely, it can be the image of what you want to be – or what you can’t be – in reality.
NFTs are however ssubject to scams and other scams which remind us too much of the importance of being careful in this ecosystem. The insecurity related to the property is then a brake on the adoption of this technology. The closed metaverse makes it easy to ensure user security.
Blockchain interoperability: Achilles’ heel of the metaverse
Also, to be able to go beyond the definition of the metaverse proposed by the giants of the Web 2 the report of CoinShares underlines the necessary progress that we must achieve on the communication and the support of the blockchains with each other: it is theinteroperability. This progress would then allow transactions, exchanges and social relations in a single metaverse. MetaMask, Animoca Brands, The Sandbox and many others are working to develop interoperable worlds.
However, bridges, bridges from one blockchain to another allowing this interoperability are wearing the dunce cap at the moment. As explained by latest report published by Chainalysis these are one of the main security problems of a protocol. the historical hack of the Ronin ChainWormhole, and the recent Harmony blockchain hack are just damning examples.
Cryptocurrencies and Monetization: Slow Blockchain Adoption
It should be understood then that designing a metaverse as it should be, made possible by the blockchain, will take time. the investor skepticism accompanied by a harsh crypto winter can discourage. Faced with the impossibility of an open metaverse accessible to all, some are proposing favorable outcomes for the development of a decentralized and interoperable exchange space. Tomorrow’s solutions may be in their hands.
The report then takes as an example the ENS, Ethereum Name Service, real nominative gateway on the blockchain Ethereum, sold at gold price. They have, indeed, the wind in their sails. They make it possible to determine a broader property beyond the NFT alone.
Moreover, the success of certain emerging metaverses, we are thinking, for example, of The Sandbox, is correlated to cryptocurrency. The metaverse then encompasses an entire ecosystem. Ownership of the governance token thus makes it possible to participate in decisions that are important to the ecosystem of the metaverse.
We can then wonder if the metaverse as we know it does not represent the agony of a Web 2 which tries to survive. Early, still unknown, the idea of a virtual world intrigues. It also frightens some, disgusted to see brands such as Carrefour settling in the virtual world. The observation is then bitter: the slow adoption of the blockchain will make it possible to offer a metaverse closer to its truth. What shape will it have? How will interoperability and security issues be overcome? Faced with an equation with so many unknowns, only one certainty persists: the metaverse of 2022 will not be that of 2035.
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