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Deconstructing the Metaverse and the Role of Avatars by@metaversenpc
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Deconstructing the Metaverse and the Role of Avatars

by RFOX September 2nd, 2022
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The Metaverse is an immersive alternate digital reality where the physical world as we know it converges with virtual and augmented realities. It is the next iteration of the Internet where people can walk around, hang out with each other, buy goods and services, and participate in events. Metaverse has the potential of creating opportunities for people all over the world to have equal access to a global market regardless of background, status, or experience. Many companies are now in the process of developing AR and VR technologies to provide users with a more immersive and seamless experience in the metaverse.

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Back in the day, the idea of the physical world converging with augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR) was that of science fiction.  

Imagine Neo from “The Matrix” getting plugged into the Matrix while lying unconscious on Nebuchadnezzar, a ship that’s navigating its way to the last refuge of free humans.  

Or imagine Wade Watts, the avid Gunter in virtual reality OASIS, who became both a virtual and real-world hero through his avatar Parzival.  

Whether it’s “The Matrix” or “Ready Player One,” there were a lot of different takes on how the physical world would eventually meet with digital reality.  

Today, that is not just the stuff of science fiction anymore - it’s here, and it’s called the metaverse.  

Breaking Down the Basics of the Metaverse  

The term “metaverse” is a combination of the prefix “meta”, which means beyond, and the word “verse”, which refers to the universe. It was coined by Neal Stephenson in his science fiction novel, Snow Crash, which came out back in 1992.  

The book was beyond its time, with Stephenson envisioning the metaverse as the successor of the Internet of today - one that he projected to eventually become virtual-reality-based in the future.  

Almost three decades after the author first introduced the term, there is still no universally accepted definition of a real “metaverse”, but the word has definitely evolved into something more than just a dystopian setting in Snow Crash.   

While Stephenson’s metaverse hones in on it being a “virtual reality”, today, the world is looking at the metaverse being built not as a coin flip between AR and VR, but as a digital world that encompasses both and more.  

In a nutshell, the metaverse can be summed up as an immersive alternate digital reality where the physical world as we know it converges with virtual and augmented realities.   

You can think of the metaverse as a digital environment where people can walk around, hang out with each other, buy goods and services, and participate in events. It is the next iteration of the Internet where instead of just going online and clicking away on your computer, you will actually be in cyberspace interacting, socializing, and functioning through your avatar.  

The Value of the Metaverse in the Real World  

In a world fighting a global pandemic, it would have been easy to dismiss something as unfamiliar and strange as the concept of the metaverse.  

Instead, the COVID-19 pandemic forced countries to go into lockdowns and people had no choice but to stay at home and go online to go about their day - whether it be working, attending classes, playing with friends, shopping, ordering food, or even just buying basic supplies.   

It was a new kind of reality that blurs the line between what we can do in the physical world personally and what we can do in the physical world virtually - and that provided a perfect setup for the metaverse to thrive.  

Yet if we take the recent pandemic out of the equation, what lasting and sustainable value does the metaverse have for it to be considered the next iteration of the Internet? Why should we care about it?   

The answer to that is actually pretty simple: the metaverse has the potential of creating opportunities for people all over the world to have equal access to a global market regardless of background, status, or experience.    

The State of the Metaverse   

Many companies are now in the process of developing AR and VR technologies to provide users with a more immersive and seamless experience in the metaverse.   

While it still remains to be seen to what extent a universally shared and accepted metaverse is possible, the fledgling industry is already off to a promising start.  

In October 2021, Meta announced that it expects to invest $10 billion towards the research and development of its own metaverse.  

Other big tech firms have also set their eyes on the metaverse, with both Google and Microsoft investing in cloud computing and VR companies in anticipation of its growth.  

The accountancy firm PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) noted in its report last year that the augmented reality and virtual reality market is poised to boost the global economy from US$46.4 billion in 2019 to US$1.5 trillion by 2030.   

Meanwhile, Technavio in February 2021 forecasted that the global AR and VR market will grow by US$125.19 billion during 2020-2024, with the APAC region seen to emerge as the major market.   

This is partly due to the APAC area dominating the AR and VR market with a 37% share in 2019, with factors such as key vendors, a growing gaming industry in Japan, China, and India, and increasing investments in AR and VR technologies figuring into the equation.  

In Southeast Asia, the expanding AR and VR market is also poised to see exciting growth. For instance, Indonesia welcomed a variety of startups exploring augmented reality solutions in the country, Cambodia partnered with Singapore-based Hiverlab with the goal of making AR and VR tech more accessible in the region, while the Philippines’ Museo Pambata collaborated with a health-tech company to launch a mobile app that uses augmented reality to foster education, among others.  

Real Interactions in a Digital World  

Perhaps one of the most relatable ways to understand how the metaverse works is to look at it from a gamer’s perspective where you enter the space to play and interact with other players.   

What makes the metaverse different is that instead of your interactions being limited to pre-programmed gaming functions, you have the autonomy to do whatever you want, which can go beyond just playing games.  Shopping? Fully immersive. Checking out a new art exhibit? Seamless.   

Queue in projects like Decentraland, The Sandbox, and RFOX VALT, which are just some of the key players bringing the value of metaverse to the forefront.  By using blockchain technology, these platforms have built entire worlds that exist completely online, but which creates value that translates in the real world - whether it’s through NFTs, cryptocurrencies, and beyond.   

For example, you want to hang out with your friend but there are travel restrictions or maybe he lives too far away. The thing with the metaverse is that physical limitations like distance and travel are never a problem. To meet up, you can both decide to go to a virtual platform like Decentraland, The Sandbox, or RFOX VALT. In these virtual spaces, you and your friend can decide to meet up there through your avatars and attend a virtual concert by an up-and-coming artist that would be happening in a few hours. You can also check out virtual stores that turn out to be the same stores that you’ve always wanted to check out in real life but never got around to visiting.   

You can also buy a virtual T-shirt paid for with your chosen metaverse’s transactional cryptocurrency: maybe MANA, SAND, or RFOX. In that store, you can purchased limited-edition merch in the form of NFTs to get custom items. About an hour later, you hear the doorbell ring in your apartment and there on your front step was the shirt you ordered from the shop within the metaverse. This convergence of virtual and actual worlds can be made possible through the metaverse. 

Avatars in the Metaverse 

Now, how do you actually go around a metaverse? You do that through avatars, which are virtual representations of yourself in the metaverse. When you explore the metaverse, you operate these avatars, like you do on games like Minecraft or Fortnite, to do whatever you like that is possible in the part of the metaverse where you are.  

Avatars are typically VR-enabled 2D and 3D avatars that usually form the core of a metaverse’s civilization and governance. These avatars are considered important elements in the success of the metaverse, as these NFTs come with their unique sets of random characteristics, appearance, gender, and more, therefore energizing people’s interest in the metaverse. A select few avatars will bear special crystals that set them apart from the rest rarity-wise.  

In addition, avatar holders can have use cases such as access to Creative Commons (CC0) IP rights, unlocking premium opportunities for commercialization, creativity, and more. Other benefits that can come with each avatar include governance and voting rights in a metaverse, NFT staking privileges, access to minting more NFTs, membership clubs, and other potential privileges that may emerge in the future. 

These are just some of the scenarios where the use of avatars in the metaverse can come into play, but the possibilities are infinite - think being able to participate in tournaments of your favorite play-to-earn game without bothering with logistics or going to school without leaving your home whether you’re the student or the teacher, or even partying with friends online.  

The metaverse is the next big thing because within its AR and VR ecosystem, anything is possible - and it is here.  

Every now and then, avatar sale events emerge in the market. One upcoming avatar sale that can give you an opportunity to experience NFT avatars first-hand and unlock huge opportunities in the metaverse is the RFOX VALT metaverse’s CitiXens.

These VR-ready avatars, which possess a lot of the avatar characteristics mentioned above, are available for purchase through the whitelist sale on September 9 and public sale on September 10, which will both feature the much rarer OG CitiXens, as well as the Dutch auction for additional CitiXens on September 30.