Metaverse Sites and How They Work
If you have been surrounded by news in regards to the crypto space and the world of non-fungible tokens (NFTs), then the chances are high that at some point in time, you have encountered the terms "metaverse."
Currently, due to the fact that NFTs and blockchain technology has seen a huge increase in regards to their overall value, utility, and real-world adoption, there have been more people than ever before who are fully interested in investing, buying, creating, and selling NFTs within the metaverse space.
Furthermore, due to the technological advances we have seen in both the realm of hardware as well as software, there has been a huge increase in the number of creators who are starting to gain interest in exploring the Metaverse.
In fact, the Metaverse has seen a huge level of growth as well, as there is a consistent push from companies who are starting to get into the world of building their own metaverses.
Each Metaverse is fully unique, and aims to provide users with a completely different and unique overall experience; today, we are going to go over everything you need to know about the Metaverse, as well as the best metaverse websites that everyone should know.
What is the Metaverse?
Before we dive too deep into metaverse websites, we first need to understand what the Metaverse is, how it works, and why it's important.
The Metaverse is essentially a term that describes an all-encompassing digital world that exists alongside our real, outside world.
Another way through which we can describe the Metaverse is as a 3D model of the internet, where anyone can spend time living their digital life.
This is a place where any individual, alongside people, that they know, or do not know, can have an avatar that can interact with a world, other people, and anything else created for that specific world. However, this is a world that was developed to be a 3D version of the internet and is seen by many as the next logical step in the evolution of the internet.
The Metaverse has been connected to the world of gaming due to the numerous similarities between them. Specifically, in most video games, players are given the opportunity to create a personal avatar through which they can engage and interact with the world, alongside other people, where they can essentially earn virtual currency, after which they can unlock specific outfits, weapons, and gear for their avatar. However, the goal of the Metaverse is to differentiate itself from this through the implementation of web3 technology.
Let's look at how traditional games and systems work, so you can have a better perspective of how the Metaverse aims to disrupt this.
Within a traditional game, or better yet, a traditional virtual world that has been created by a company, the player is given the opportunity, typically, to explore the world, earn items, buy other items, buy specific boosts, and essentially earn in-game items while playing the game, such as armor sets, or cosmetic items.
Well, while all of these items are tied to the account of the player, the player has no direct ownership over them. They are all hosted on the company's server, and the company does not give the player control or access to sell them or trade them for real-world money. They could only, theoretically only, sell their account, but this would result in the ban and removal of all of the items, where the player would be unable to access anything.
What this means is that players can pour money into the virtual world and only get enjoyment out of them, not the ability to earn real money.
The Metaverse aims to disrupt this by giving control back to the players. Typically, these metaverses are built on top of a specific blockchain network that does not have a central authority that controls it but instead is fully maintained by a distributed network of computers through peer-to-peer (P2P) technology.
Additionally, through the implementation and addition of non-fungible tokens (NFTs), which serve as authentication for ownership of a specific in-game asset or item, each player now has the freedom to essentially trade or sell anything that they earn in the game. Not only is the player's time valued a lot more this way, but they have full ownership over everything they earn and buy in the virtual world, similarly to what would be the case in the real world as well.
With all of this in mind, we can look at the Metaverse as a virtual world that is based on blockchain technology, one that is not controlled by a central company that has full ownership over it. Instead, this is a world where players can enter and create their own avatar and earn the in-world cryptocurrency token whilst also utilizing non-fungible tokens (NFTs) that can represent anything to earn even more. Each visitor of the Metaverse can buy land, host parties, get married, go to work, start a farm, or do anything else that is simulated in the world, just as they would in the physical, real world.
By working and experiencing most that the Metaverse has to offer, players are able to also earn, which will power its economy.
Now that you have a heightened perspective as to what the Metaverse is, we can move on to what metaverse sites actually are.
What Are Metaverse Sites?
Metaverse websites are essentially any website that aims to showcase the possibilities of a specific metaverse and provide visitors with information about how that specific Metaverse differentiates itself when compared to other metaverses.
There are numerous types of information that metaverse websites have to share properly with the end-user. Specifically, the underlying technology behind them.
Metaverses can be developed on top of numerous blockchain networks. The main criteria that the blockchain network needs to fulfill in order for developers to build a metaverse on top of it is to allow and have smart contract functionality, as well as non-fungible token (NFT) development support. This is why you would typically see metaverses developed for the Ethereum (ETH) blockchain, for example, and not for the Bitcoin (BTC) blockchain. However, there are numerous blockchain networks that have support for smart contracts and NFTs, so the websites need to tell you which blockchain the specific Metaverse you are interested in runs on.
This is also important for a variety of different reasons. Specifically, every cryptocurrency wallet will typically only support a specific blockchain network, so you might want to find a metaverse that supports your specific wallet and cryptocurrencies available.
Furthermore, there are other things that the website in question needs to tell you. Many metaverses will typically accept one main cryptocurrency token and have their own, in-world second cryptocurrency token. In some cases, they might even have a two-token system.
Let's go over how all of this works so you can have a heightened perspective as well as a better level of understanding of how all of this works.
Typically, the Metaverse would, by default, accept the native cryptocurrency of the blockchain network it is built upon as a means of letting users transact. This can occur within the metaverse's built-in marketplace, or the NFTs would get taken out of the Metaverse within the player's cryptocurrency wallet and then sold on secondary marketplaces for, let's say on Ethereum, the Ether (ETH) cryptocurrency.
However, some metaverses might even have their own native cryptocurrency token that can be used within the virtual world specifically. The Sandbox has the SAND cryptocurrency token, while Decentraland has the MANA cryptocurrency token, for example.
Others might implement a two-token system, where one token can be earned in-game while another token can be exclusively gained by trading another cryptocurrency for it.
All of this needs to be disclosed on the main page so that players know what they are getting into prior to entering the Metaverse for the very first time.
Furthermore, metaverse websites need to essentially explain the main terms that players will encounter within these digital worlds or at least have some form of educational content for those who are just entering the metaverse space for the very first time, so they can have a heightened perspective as to what they are getting themselves into.
Specifically, players will encounter terms such as interoperability, decentralization, NFTs, digital twins, extended reality, web 3, decentralized autonomous organizations (DAOs), and augmented reality or virtual reality.
In this case, interoperability refers to the ability for a virtual experience possession or identity to travel unchanged across different platforms. Then there's decentralization, which refers to distributed ownership, where a metaverse cannot be regulated.
Then there are non-fungible tokens (NFTs), which fill the role of a digital certificate of authenticity that forms the basis of digital ownership.
Alongside this, there are digital twins, which are physical spaces that have been cloned with the Metaverse that aim to promote familiarity. Extended reality is a term that comprises augmented, virtual and mixed realities, while web3 is a decentralized, blockchain-based internet that has the ability to enable seamless connections between the real world and virtual world.
Decentralized autonomous organizations or DAOs are community-led digital organizations that utilize blockchain technology in order to complete their specific tasks or goals. Augmented Reality or Virtual reality, or AR and VR for short, is a reference to any computer-generated simulations that integrate the real world or, in the case of AR, are entirely self-contained.
How Do Metaverse Sites Function?
While the metaverses themselves are fully decentralized in most cases, the websites that showcase the capabilities of the Metaverse are typically centralized. What this means is that they are built by software development companies that specialize in the field of web development, which typically results in the fact that these websites are hosted on a centralized server, either bought by the company that created it or rented by that company.
In any case, these metaverse websites have specific functions associated with them. For one, they have a plethora of content that is written with the main goal of educating the visitor about what kind of specific Metaverse it is and how it works, but most importantly, it needs to have an outlined whitepaper roadmap and information regarding the team behind it.
The main role of the metaverse website is to inform you about the development team, their experience, and how legitimate the project actually is, and you will need to go through all of this information in order to get an estimation as to how good the project actually is.
However, some websites have an additional level of functionality associated with them.
Many of the metaverses currently available can run through a web-based client. What this means is that the games can run on top of the web browser and load through the browser. Some metaverse might require players to download the software client on Windows, macOS, iOS, or Android devices, while others do not require a download at all.
All players have to do is connect their cryptocurrency wallets, after which they can wait for the game to load directly on the browser.
So this means that a metaverse site can function in two ways. It can host the download links associated with the software required to run the Metaverse, or it can host the metaverse client directly on a server somewhere through centralized or decentralized means and allow players to directly access it.
It also needs to establish a connection with the cryptocurrency wallets that are owned as well as operated by the players. Typically, each metaverse user will have a cryptocurrency wallet connected in the form of a browser extension. What this means is that the website will only need to facilitate a connection at a point in time when the player or user connects their wallet, so they can confirm or deny transactions to and from it.
The Different Types of Metaverse Websites
There are numerous types of different metaverse websites that exist out there. Typically, they are split across the type of Metaverse, the blockchain network they are based on, and the cryptocurrency token that they feature.
There are game-related metaverse websites, for example, which are metaverses exclusively developed for gaming purposes. Then there are explorational metaverses, which enable players to simply explore the worlds and have virtual experiences within them without much emphasis on action or loot-gathering.
There are also metaverses that require players to buy a specific NFT in order to access, such as clubs that only accept those with a virtual ticket and open metaverses that let anyone join them and explore the world provided by them.
The Evolution of Metaverse Websites
Metaverse websites have existed for quite a long time now; however, they truly blew up in popularity at the point in time when we saw the exponential level of growth in regards to non-fungible tokens (NFTs).
In fact, the Metaverse as a term was originally showcased in a novel by Neal Stephenson in 1992 known as "Snow Crash," where the author explains the Metaverse as a virtual space where people can interact with digital avatars.
In fact, the novel combines the terms "meta" and "universe" to form the phrase or term "metaverse." Then in the 1990s. Sega ended up introducing a VR arcade machine known as the SEGA VR-1 motion simulator that users enjoyed in the arcades. Then in 1998, Sportsvision broadcast the first-ever NFT game with a yellow yard market and the idea of overlaying graphics over real-world views spread to other sports broadcasting.
Then Palmer Luckey, who is an 18-year-old Entrepreneur, and inventor, created the first prototype for the Oculus Rift VR headset in 2010, which had a 90-degree field of vision and the use of computer processing power.
Then, Meta (formerly Facebook) ended up acquiring Oculus VR in 2014 in a deal worth $2 billion.
Sony and Samsung also announced in 2014 that they were creating their own VR headsets, where Google released its first Cardboard device and Google Glass AR glasses.
Then in 2016, we saw Microsoft's HoloLens headsets hit the market, which gave us mixed reality (AR and VR) for the first time. IKEA then joined the Metaverse in 2017 with an innovative app known as Place, which allows users to select a piece of furniture and view what it would look like in the home office.
Then in 2020, Apple added Lidar (Light Detection and Ranging) to iPhone and iPad devices.
Facebook rebranded to Meta in 2021 and put its main focus on shaping the future of the Metaverse. This brings us to today, where in 2022, there are numerous metaverse projects that run on top of blockchain technology.
How Metaverse Projects Work
A metaverse creates solid experiences through a combination of virtual reality, augmented reality, gaming as well as other Web3 digital components within a virtual 3D environment where the 3D digital personas work, communicate, can shop, bank, learn and play with other digital persons.
The most popular ideas surrounding the Metaverse have come from science fiction. The Metaverse is depicted in this context of a digital internet which is a manifestation of reality but one grounded in a virtual world.
There are key components and attributes that make metaverse projects work the way they do, and we are going to go over them individually.
The project needs to be synchronous and live. This means that there need to be pre-scheduled and self-contained events that will occur in the Metaverse as a means of ensuring that it can deliver a living experience that exists continuously for everyone and in real-time, similarly to how it works in the real world.
Then it needs to be persistent. What this means is that it should never reset, pause or end, and it needs to keep going endlessly. Furthermore, it needs to be available both individually as well as concurrently. What this means is that everyone can be a part of the Metaverse and take part in a specific event, place, or activity both simultaneously as well as with other people within that virtual world.
Then there needs to be an economy that is fully functional. What this means is that individuals and businesses need to be able to create, own, invest in, sell, or even be compensated for a vast array of efforts that can produce value that others can recognize.
Alongside all of this, there needs to be a solid experience on offer. This means that the Metaverse needs to span both digital and physical worlds, private and public networks or experiences, and open and closed platforms. There needs to be a wide range of contributors as well. The Metaverse needs to be filled with content and experiences that are developed and operated by many contributors, some of which can be self-employed, while others can be informally organized or commercially-oriented business efforts.
Then the Metaverse needs to offer unprecedented interoperability. What this means is that it needs to offer data, items and assets, content, and other types of interoperability between each of the experiences on offer.
There are also two main ways in which the Metaverse is split.
The first is the type that involves the addition or leveraging of non-fungible tokens (NFTs) and cryptocurrencies as a means of creating blockchain-based metaverse startups. In this case, people are given the opportunity to buy and sell virtual land and create their own settings, and even rent that land out.
The second type is one where the Metaverse is used as a means of just describing a virtual world, where people might meet for a business, birthday, event, or anything else enjoyment-related.
The users that end up buying, selling, or virtual trading assets on blockchain-based platforms will typically use cryptocurrencies to do so, despite the fact that there are metaverse services out there that offer free accounts. Users are also given the opportunity to trade NFT artworks or charge for admission to a virtual show, concert, or any other experience within the virtual world. This gives them the opportunity to essentially make money by trading land, which is seen as a significant increase in utility.
Is Blockchain Technology and Cryptocurrency Essential to the Operation of a Metaverse Platform?
The main goal surrounding the Metaverse is to provide people with access to virtual experiences that can mimic and, in many cases, enhance real-world experiences in regard to opportunities.
The hard-to-hack aspect of it, when combined with the immutability of blockchain technologies, are critical properties for any virtual reality technology that aims to gain a global adoption rate.
This means that data breaches are common; however, if people aim to operate in an entirely online and virtual environment, the underlying platform must be secure enough to prevent these attacks.
This is exactly the reason why blockchain technology was chosen for this specific task, as it allows for fast confirmation times of information and enables cryptographically secure and protected transactions. Blockchain and crypto assets are fundamental and play an integral role in how virtual reality can be deployed. The Metaverse aims for transactions to be completed on demand, which blockchains and cryptocurrencies can provide as a functionality.
There will also be a requirement for transactions for a virtual reality environment to work and perform as they are stated, which means that they have to be secure and virtually fast. Individuals within this ecosystem will need to be provided the opportunity to transact and engage whenever they want to and to have trust that each of the transactions will be completed and secure.
What this means is that any payments that are enabled by crypto and blockchain technology can be prevalent within a virtual ecosystem, and it makes sense for them to be a part of the future. This is due to the fact that each user can conduct transactions in a virtual, traceable, and real-time way through cryptocurrency transactions, which are feasible and proven methods. Even without the continued use of blockchain technology, the trend toward virtual payments is increasing consistently.
This means that the best way through which metaverse platforms can function in terms of the technology that they have is by utilizing cryptocurrency-based payments, as they have low fees, quick transaction times, and are fully accessible by anyone.
Why Metaverse Projects have Grown in Popularity
Metaverse truly exploded in terms of popularity at the point in time when non-fungible tokens (NFTs) did. However, a lot more contributed to the growth of the Metaverse.
The primary element that established value within the Metaverse is the fundamental infrastructure behind it. The possibilities associated with the emergence of the Metaverse as a new internet might enhance the overall way we utilize it. The Metaverse provides a whole new universe of completely unique, imaginative, and different marketing changes, and various metaverse technologies have enabled the formation of fully customized virtual workplaces.
However, let's go back to NFTs for a second. There are numerous ways through which NFTs have assisted in the process of building the Metaverse. NFTs can introduce disruptions in the conventional social networks of user interaction, transaction, and socialization in the Metaverse.
Individual users, and even enterprises, can represent their real-world sets as well as solutions in a digital, decentralized environment. The Metaverse can also open up to more real-world assets through the usage of innovative gaming models in synchronization with interoperable blockchain games.
Specifically, within the play-to-earn (P2E) gaming model, metaverses have exploded in popularity. There are literally thousands of games being developed to utilize this model, where players are provided with a fair and transparent gaming experience and are allowed complete ownership over their assets.
The role of NFTs within the Metaverse is one of the main contributing factors to its overall growth in popularity, as blockchains offer transparency and immutability, and the fair and open economy in the Metaverse is dependent on these properties.
Investing in Metaverse Sites
There are numerous ways through which someone can engage and begin their overall procedure of investing in metaverse sites.
Typically, each metaverse project will have its own set of NFTs or native cryptocurrency token that investors can buy. However, the main way through which many experienced investors end up buying or investing in the metaverse project that they like is through the process of buying virtual land. Many metaverse projects will have virtual plots of land. These can be built on, rented out, or simply used for the process of hosting events or showcasing virtual experiences. They can climb in value, similar to how real-world real-state would climb in value, and this is the main reason why they are bought by investors and have blown up in terms of popularity.
It is recommended for each investor to first read up on a project and learn as much about it as possible prior to making an investment in it as a means of ensuring that they are buying land in a metaverse that has a high level of popularity, a varied user-base and that there is genuine interest in that virtual world.
Risks of Metaverse Sites
There are, however, risks with investing in metaverse projects, especially new ones. Within the cryptocurrency and blockchain technology sphere, there have been numerous cases where developers have pulled off what is known as "rug pulls," where they would essentially create a concept or a project, get investment, and pull out of the project by selling all of their cryptocurrencies and ultimately abandon it. This is why it is important for you to do solid research prior to investing within a metaverse project and get to know as much as possible about the project, as well as its community, prior to making any investment.
Are Metaverse Sites Legal in Your Country?
Given the fact that cryptocurrencies have blown up in terms of their popularity on a global scale, most people might already have some level of understanding when it comes to the legal standing of cryptocurrencies as well as cryptocurrency mining within their country of residence.
There are numerous countries out there that have created strict regulatory standards in regard to cryptocurrency trading and will restrict the activity of exchanges. What this means is that investments in blockchain-related technologies, such as the Metaverse might be restricted.
Any cryptocurrency enthusiast that wants to invest in metaverse projects needs to analyze the legal aspect surrounding this within the country where they are located.
Make sure to take the time and ensure that trading cryptocurrencies are legal within the country you reside in. If buying, selling, and trading cryptocurrencies are legal where you reside, you can easily and safely invest in metaverse projects.
Do Metaverse Sites Offer a Solid User Experience?
Most of the time, metaverse sites will go out of their way to give you the most streamlined and solid user experience out there. At the point in time when you visit these websites, you will be greeted by a lot of information that showcases what you can do within the specific virtual world and what kind of utility the native cryptocurrency has over the functionality behind some of the aspects of the virtual world.
You will gain consistent access to data surrounding things such as the value of the NFTs, the number of lands on sale, and other associated information of interest within the platform.
Do Metaverse Sites Offer Advanced Information About Their Functionality?
When it comes to metaverse websites, they will indeed typically offer a lot of in-depth information in regards to their underlying technology, blockchain network they are built on top of, native token and its utility, as well as advanced information about how they function. This means that you will essentially be able to find information surrounding each and every aspect of how the virtual world works and what you need in order to connect to the world, enter it, and earn within it, assuming it is a play-to-earn (P2E) type of Metaverse that provides you with that specific functionality.
What About the Security of Metaverse Sites?
Metaverse platforms are secured by their underlying blockchain technology, as well as the various security procedures that go within the safety of users' cryptocurrency wallets. This means that if the Metaverse in question is built on a well-respected, reputable blockchain platform that has never been historically compromised, it will have a high level of security. However, keep in mind that while this is based on the underlying blockchain technology, developers can implement additional layers of security to the websites.
Do Metaverse Sites Have Native Cryptocurrencies, and How Do They Work?
Metaverses do indeed have a native cryptocurrency token associated with them. Decentraland has the MANA cryptocurrency, while The Sandbox has the SAND cryptocurrency, for example. Each native cryptocurrency token within a metaverse has a specific utility to it and enables users to do specific things they would otherwise be unable to do without it. They can list NFTs up for sale for that specific cryptocurrency, use it to craft things in the world, or get it through participating in specific events. Each of these native cryptocurrency tokens will also have a value associated with them.