- Bit.Country dubbed as the metaverse of metaverses.
- Metaverses create their own tokens, governance, and economics.
In the last two years, humans have collectively realized that it’s very hard to beat a face-to-face interaction. However Several years ago I was at a space industry conference and a company was showing off its software that is used in virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR) headsets. I got to try it on, and though I could still see the space around me, a life-size CAD drawing of the NASA Curiosity Rover was sitting in front of me. The size of a large car, I was able to walk around it, see all the specs, and use my hand controls to highlight a part and see specific data. I could even stick my head into the vehicle to see interior parts. At that moment I realized that, if I could have this in a virtual room with my clients, and we could all walk around the model to point, discuss, ask questions, and take notes… then face-to-face meetings have become overrated.
It seems that time will soon be here—thanks to the metaverse.
Now that we know it is headed this way, it’s probably a good time to ask: what exactly is the metaverse?
Based on some of the marketing the last few months, you would be excused for thinking that the metaverse is just a VR platform. What makes the metaverse unique isn’t the VR, though that is a key element. The metaverse is the merging of digital spaces, social outlets, and an overarching economy; and it is all experienced in an interconnected, immersive way. Because the idea as a practical application is so new, we have to look at science fiction to see imagined versions of it. While some versions are hopeful, others are dystopian. One that actually seems most likely (at some point) is the version seen in Ready Player One, because that version shows so many use cases of what a metaverse can be.
The biggest question to get out of the way is this: Is the Metaverse the new Facebook?
Facebook’s new branding, Meta, is meant to show users that they are working to adopt the metaverse model. Based on what they’ve said and how much they are investing, the “Meta metaverse” will be big. But is it the only metaverse? Not even close. Many other big companies are coming up with plans for their own versions. It may result in something similar to what we see today with social media: many different platforms, with many of the same features but with different flavors of what they offer and who their target market is. How interconnected they will be is anyone’s guess at this point. But Meta’s version of the metaverse does have some representative features: a virtual meeting environment, a gaming platform, social features, and various ideas on how businesses will interact with customers.
The downsides will likely be the restrictions businesses might face in terms of Meta’s regulations, transaction fees, and the ever-present privacy and data tracking issues that have plagued Facebook/Meta more and more. However, businesses will likely have plenty of potential customers, as Meta will be able to use their massive user base to bring mass adoption into the metaverse.
While Meta’s version may be more mainstream, at least initially, it is important to look at the full range of metaverse versions under development.
Bit.Country, a decentralized, blockchain-based platform, couldn’t be more different. Dubbed the “metaverse of metaverses”, Bit.Country’s goal is to enable individuals, groups, companies, or other organizations to create their own metaverse.
The citizens of Bit.Country who are part of the network governance create new slots, and each slot is auctioned. Winners of the slots have the capacity (land) and the user-friendly tools they need to start developing their own metaverse, which can be as interconnected as they’d like. The platform supports both WASM and Ethereum-compatible smart contracts, meaning that developers of many different existing chains can build dApps and games as part of their metaverse. Because the ecosystem is decentralized by nature of being on the blockchain, the platform is not a toll gate or a middle man.
Metaverses can create their own tokens, governance, and economics. This could potentially be the best version of Ready Player One, as it shares many of the “free economy” aspects. The key challenge for Bit.Country will be reaching non-crypto audiences to show them that “decentralized” means much more than cryptocurrency.
Seeing that 2022 may very well be dubbed as the Year of the Metaverse, let’s look at a few sample use cases for what benefits a metaverse could hold. Keep in mind, many, many different businesses could have a presence in a metaverse.
What is more interesting though is to look at what a metaverse does well, and imagine use cases that add value a business couldn’t achieve otherwise. When a business can bring remote clients into an experience that rivals or surpasses a face-to-face interaction, the metaverse is doing its job well.
Imagine wanting to view a real estate listing. If you can’t make it, your avatar can visit the metaverse office, where you speak to a real estate agent (real person in avatar form) about which listing or what parameters you are looking for. Instead of setting up appointments, driving from location to location, or flying into the city you want to look, you can visit as many listings as you’d like, right in the office. Through high-definition graphics you could see a near-perfect representation of the location, walking freely through it with your partner or colleagues, having discussions about what you like and don’t like.
In school today, your class paid a small fee to visit a “destination history” location from a specialized provider. Today your lesson is on the Colosseum in Rome, and each student is virtually transported there, where they walk around and see each detail. Then they are transported back in time where they see the Colosseum at its prime, getting a tangible experience they won’t soon forget.
Digital Twin Factory
As a manufacturing engineer, you are responsible for your company’s facilities in three different countries. Today your facility in Germany is having issues, so you log into that facility’s digital twin, which is fed with vast quantities of real time information. Your avatar walks the virtual factory seeing a plethora of data and metrics from each machine, with issues highlighted. As you walk up to the machine, you ping the technician, who puts on their headset at their station. Their avatar appears, and the two of you discuss the data, the root causes, and the solution.
While you might not solve all the world’s problems with a yoga studio, you can make a lot of people’s lives a little better each day. Members of your studio all have their mats set up at home, where they log in to your virtual studio. While some sports are too chaotic for today’s VR sets, yoga is perfect. You are able to see your virtual arms and legs performing the moves, and you can see your other classmates next to you (and talk with them during the breaks). The best part, however, is that today’s session is on a small platform floating a few feet above a Hawaiian beach, with the sun slowly rising out in the distance.
With the advent of the metaverse, the possibilities are limited less by technology and distance, and only by our imagination. Meta’s version will see some truly innovative features in the next year. However, we are especially excited to see what a decentralized “metaverse of metaverses” will offer, as creative minds develop more and more use cases every day.