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What is the Metaverse?

Ephraim Austin

Ephraim Austin

October 05, 2022

A popular topic in science fiction is the concept of the metaverse. The term was coined by the author Neal Stephenson in his sci-fi novel Snow Crash in 1992. The metaverse is a 3D world that is a merger of the physical and the virtual. The concept has been the focus of many science fiction novels, movies, video games and anime series. A metaverse is a virtual world that is a vast collection of interconnected, three-dimensional spaces. This space can be copied and altered by the inhabitants. In most of the stories, the metaverse is a virtual reality that is accessed through a set of avatars.

In this article we’re going to do a deep dive into what is the metaverse, its history, the main players and how it relates to gaming. Buckle up as we’re heading into the future…which is now.


As stated previously, the first mention of the metaverse comes from the science fiction novel Snow Crash, by Neal Stephenson. In the novel, the metaverse is a virtual reality world that allows users to interact with each other in a realistic way. Another notable novel that involved the metaverse is Ready Player One by Ernest Cline. Interestingly, most fictional depictions of the metaverse have been dystopian.

The first virtual world to actually be called the “metaverse” was Second Life, created by Linden Lab in 2003. Second Life allows users to create their own virtual worlds, and many users use it to create virtual versions of their real-world lives.

Other virtual worlds that could be considered part of the metaverse include World of Warcraft, Minecraft, and Sims 4.

The idea of a virtual world is still a relatively new concept. However, one way to think about it is as the next step in the evolution of the internet. The first iteration of the internet was born in the late 1960s, and it consisted of a network of computers that could share information with each other. In the 1990s, the internet began to be used for commercial purposes, and it started to become more widely accessible to the general public. The 2000s saw the development of social media networks, which allowed people to communicate and share information with each other online in new and innovative ways.

The metaverse is the next logical step in the evolution of the internet, as it builds on the concept of social media by allowing people to interact with each other in a virtual space that is 3D and immersive. We are now seeing players from all industries including fashion, technology, gaming and even sports stars and celebrities embrace the metaverse.

The Metaverse and Blockchain Technology

The metaverse is a virtual world that can be built on centralized or decentralized technology. For example, Meta’s Oculus’ virtual world is built by a centralized company. However, other players like The Sandbox have built their metaverse on decentralized blockchain technology. In the metaverse, users can create their own avatars and interact with others in a virtual environment. Critical transactions related to ownership of items in the metaverse are conducted using blockchain technology, which allows for enhanced security and transparency.

Blockchain technology allows for true ownership of digital assets. Before the arrival of the blockchain we didn’t have any way to prove ownership of something digital. This is a crucial piece of the puzzle that is helping to develop these virtual worlds.  

What is the Difference Between the Metaverse and the Internet?

There is no single answer to this question as the metaverse is a concept that is still in development. However, the general idea is that it is a virtual world that is built on top of the internet, and that it allows for users to interact and engage with each other in a more immersive way than traditional websites and online platforms. 

How do NFTs fit into the Metaverse?

The metaverse is a future internet-based world where users can interact with each other and create or use digital objects. In this world, these digital objects, called non-fungible tokens (NFTs), would exist as unique, one-of-a-kind items. Users could trade, sell, or gift NFTs just like they would any other digital asset.

NFTs are a perfect fit for the metaverse because they offer a way to represent digital assets in a way that is both unique and secure. NFTs can be used to represent anything from digital artwork to virtual property. This makes them a good fit for use in games, virtual worlds, and other online communities. For a deeper look at how the metaverse drives NFT demand click here

Who are the Key Players?

We are still very early in the development of the space and the key players are constantly changing. There are two broad categories of participants: Web2 companies and Web3 projects. 


Here are a few major Web2 metaverse companies: 


Here are a few major Web3 metaverse projects: 

Gaming and the Metaverse

Many industry experts and participants believe the metaverse has long existed in gaming with shared virtual worlds and avatars. With the advent of play-to-earn and play-to-own we are already seeing how gaming and digital ownership are forming the building blocks of the metaverse. Indeed, many believe the path to mainstream adoption is through gaming. It will be interesting to see how Web2 companies, artificial intelligence, virtual reality, and Web3 gaming converge in the future to form one or many metaverses.

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