When people talk about a Metaverse, they're referring in many ways to what I see as a parallel universe. A fully digital reality that connects all people, objects, and things, and allows individuals to engage with all parts of the Metaverse through various forms of technology.
At the cross section of crypto and gaming, whole industries such as entertainment and egaming will see new business models and benefits as the blockchain becomes a counterfactual to the meta-universe.
NFTs began to gather significant traction in January 2021; however, it's impossible to pin down one exact thing or moment that caused the boom. A close examination of the market reveals that there may be a few factors that contributed to its expansion; Bitcoin prices began to rise in the first quarter of 2021, causing a ripple effect throughout the crypto ecosystem and the market. This increase drew in a slew of new retail investors and cryptocurrency users. Innovative and unusual identities and avatars, such as Cool Cats or Bored Apes, emerged in the NFT arena, helping to form close-knit online communities that offered consumers a compelling sense of purpose and enough incentive to buy these NFTs.
As a surface level introduction to how gaming has already been impacted, let's take a quick look at some notable movers to get an understanding of scale.
Idle Cyber is a 2088 frontier defense game in which humans command a squad of mutants to defend mankind by defending the wall, killing cyborgs, and conquering enormous bosses. The game is based on Binance Smart Chain (BSC) and appears to offer a lot of potential for gamers to earn, stake, and trade NFTs for a profit. This idea is robust, and investors can profit handsomely from their investment.
Axie Infinity is a non-financial token (NFT) game based on the Pokémon mythology and built on the Ethereum network. Millions of charming fantasy creatures known as Axies are available for players to acquire, raise, combat, and trade as digital pets. Its main principle is “play to earn,” in which players receive compensation for their time and work.
The Sandbox is a virtual metaverse where you can own territories, play games, and even create your own game. You can govern the huge virtual universe as a collector, artist, game decider, or simply as a gamer who rambles through the metaverse, jumping from game to game. The sandbox is on the Ethereum blockchain and includes its own cryptocurrency, $Sand.
It all seems too good to be true (and maybe it is) but NFTs have their detractors too.
A Licensing Solution for Digital Works: NFTs cannot be duplicated or copied endlessly. Because each non-fungible token resides in a decentralized digital database based on blockchain technology, each one has a unique value.
Investing in and Trading Non-Fungible Tokens: When digital files convert into non-dispensable digital assets, distribution limits arise. This in term creates a supply squeeze and if there's enough demand, you'll likely see prices rise - just as in any other market where a resource is finite or limited. You only need to look as far as CryptoPunks whichhave soared in value. CryptoPunk #3100 was first sold for a little over $2,000 (USD) in 2017, and just this year that collector was able to sell on CryptoPunk #3100 for over $7 million. And so you have assets that can appreciate significantly, the likes of which we haven't seen before.
NFT Hype and Uncertainty Concerns: Those who have purchased NFT-minted digital assets believe they have made a good investment. However, numerous experts have compared the present mania for buying these assets to an economic bubble that would eventually burst in NFT investments. Those who 'buy the top' could stand to lose significant amounts if demand decreases for a certain NFT collection. This is a high risk industry.
While NFT collections have been the talk of the town in the first half of the year, the metaverse has been steadily growing in development and number just as Facebook dropped the biggest news of all - something that sent interest in the metaverse through the roof. Here's some of the well established players in the field:
In Decentraland users explore an open world and interact with other users in 3-dimensional reality. As a result of the pandemic, which drove individuals to spend more time online, environments such as Decentraland have gained tremendous popularity with a market cap of over $1.5 billion thanks to it's native token $MANA.
Starlink is seen as an important initiative due to its' unique way of combining two significant concepts in today's society: blockchain technology and the lack of centralized online programs.
Starlink is a virtual environment where you can exist and customize your own online attributes. Choose from a variety of options and possibilities that will alter your interaction with the virtual environment. You have complete control over all aspects of your online life which allows you to tailor it to conform as closely (or not) to your real world life.
Ultimately whether NFTs or the metaverse takes your interest, these areas of technology are only going to grow exponentially in the coming years with multiple mainstream brands already looking to enter the space.