The Metaverse, a Lost Illusion? The error step in Web 2 on Web 3

A real fake metaverse – Above ours Meta-Hebdowe have regularly analyzed the growing interest of the giants in Web 2of the Internet as it is today, for metaverse. Monopolizing its entire concept, even if it means deriving its basic principles, Meta, Microsoft, Sony and many more have set their sights on this virtual world, the counterpart to our reality.

Decentralizationinteroperability, economic freedom for users are therefore so many principles disregarded by these financial giants, which remove these essential problems thanks to creation of centralized and closed sites. In his report “Metaverse Sector Report” (Metaverse Sector Report), written for CoinShares and published on July 15, 2022, analyst Max Shannon points out the flaws in these multiples fake metaverse along the way.

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Defining the metaverse: hope versus reality

From the beginning, the author defines in his report metaverse as we can see it today. It is clear that two definitions of the term are contradictory. Not very enthusiastic, the author thus rightly laments the development of a metaverse seen as a social space, an extension of the Internet as we know it in a 3D space. This notion of the metaverse is closed in itself multiple virtual worlds, hermetic to each otherexacerbated by massive use of advertising.

Against this is so opposite the definition of metaverse in concept. It was first mentioned by Neal Stephenson in his novel “Snowfall” in 1992. Interrelated, unique, specific to all: so many principles that have built the definition of the metaverse well before the creation of blockchain and its king : Bitcoin.

Refined by Web 3 technologies, the concept of metaverse is in its own sense a space of free trade. Its economy, transactions and interactions are mastered and controlled by its users. Thus, the Metaverse would in no way be a game or an application. It would be much more.

A metaverse that worries future users

That big tech giantsexhausted by the development of Web 2, has therefore redefined the metaverse. They made their work easier by forgetting about some of the issues that users raised. According to some data, the latter are refractory, worried and not particularly interested in the version offered by GAFAM.

Comparison of interest in the terms NFT and Metaverse.  Source: Google Trends
Caption: “Metaverse” in blue, “NFT” in red – Source: Google Trends

Data Google Trends are then witnesses. Metaver’s interest in the search engine giant is almost non-existent. The number of mentions collected is no more amazing. In an immersion, the metaverse seems to be carried only by the users’ lesser, but still existing, affection for NFT.

According to a panel of 4,420 US adults, the report explains this lack of public enthusiasm. Actually for the multiple-choice question “What are your concerns about the metaverse?” » the results were as follows:

  • 35% believes the metaverse will have an impact on mental health;
  • 37% believes that moderation to avoid behavioral drift will be necessary;
  • 38% fear of sexual harassment in the metaverse;
  • 39% fear for their personal safety;
  • 44% fear of a cyber attack;
  • 55% are unsure of the fate of their personal data (e.g. fear of identity theft).

The Metaverse: Investment Inequalities

In addition to the fear of potential users, there are geographical differences. A real obstacle to a global adoption of the concept fundraising are representative of a disparate craze for metaverses. The report’s data thus emphasizes that entrepreneurship in the US regarding the metaverse is 3.54 times higher than in Asia.

Master of the virtual worldventure capitalists and others iAmerican investors therefore hold more than half of so-called Web 3 companies. These differences raise questions, especially since they do not necessarily correspond to the specific differencesadoption of cryptocurrencies. E.gSouth Americagenerally favorable to cryptocurrencies, remains not particularly sensitive to the metaverse.

A metaverse that doesn’t actually exist

If we unfold the thought of the report, we can understand that the metaverse proposed by GAFAM and other BigTech giants is only the continuity of a growth policy that seeks maximum profit. Also the development of virtual helmets created by Meta is an opportunity and a possible significant fortune given the number of users on Facebook for example.

This conception of the metaverse is the “fastest way” to suggest a messed up metaverse, a true trompe l’oeil of our reality. Indeed, the centralized metaverse approach as proposed in Horizon world from Meta or Roblox ignores the benefits of decentralization.

Max Shannon’s discourse can then be compared to that of Vitalik Buterin who lamented on Twitter this week, a non-metaverse dominated by the Web 2 giants:

Find the week’s news on the Journal Du Coin Twitter account – Source: @LeJournalDuCoin

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Half-fig, half-grape regulation

The report also recalls that regulation lags behind the development of technologies and that the latter has been overtaken by the giants of Web 2. The only role that regulation has thus given itself at this time is therefore not to educate, but protect consumers. The reactions of the SEC and the International Financial Police concerningTerra Luna case is the obvious example.

In terms of the metaverse, some governments are also starting to launch into the other world. that Department of Digital Regulation in Dubai, VARA, real policeman of the metaverse has settled in the Sandbox. A political program in itself in Dubai society, the metaverse has become a real economic and political issue.

The Central African Republic with its Sango coin and the accompanying metaverse sees Web 3 as an economic opportunity. It would give him independence and financial freedom. However, the governmental, isolated and self-interested approaches do not offer an open metaverse.

Ownership and privacy

The concept of private property, the proof of its existence and the control of its security are also essential. It allows users of the metaverse to evolve in a circle of trust. NFTs have a significant place here.

A tamper-proof proof of ownership, the non-fungible token addresses the question of ownership and identity. real avatar, virtual representation of your ego, the latter can be true to yourself, to your image. Conversely, it can be the image of what you would like to be – or what you cannot be – in reality.

However, NFTs are pexposed to fraud and other fraud which reminds us too much of the importance of being careful in this ecosystem. The uncertainty associated with the property is then a brake on the adoption of this technology. The closed metaverse makes it easy to ensure user safety.

Blockchain interoperability: the Achilles heel of the metaverse

In order to go beyond the definition of the metaverse proposed by the giants of Web 2, the CoinShares report also underlines the necessary progress that we need to achieve with the communication and support of blockchains with each other: it isinteroperability. This progress would then allow transactions, exchanges and social relations in a single metaverse. MetaMask, Animoca brands, The sandbox and many others are working to develop interoperable worlds.

However, bridges, bridges from one blockchain to another that allow this interoperability, currently wear the cap. As explained by latest report published by Chainalysis these are one of the most important security concerns in a protocol. that historical hack of the Ronin chainWormhole and the recent Harmony blockchain hack are just damning examples.

The Harmony bridge hack symbolizes the fragility of chain interoperability.

Cryptocurrencies and Monetization: Slow Blockchain Adoption

It must be understood then that it will take time to design a metaverse as it should be, made possible by blockchain. that investor skepticism accompanied by a harsh crypto winter can deter. Faced with the impossibility of an open metaverse accessible to all, some suggest favorable results for the development of a decentralized and interoperable exchange space. Tomorrow’s solutions can be in their hands.

The report then takes it as an example ENS, Ethereum Name Services, true nominative gateway on the blockchain Ethereum, sold at the price of gold. They really have the wind in their sails. They allow a broader property to be determined beyond NFT alone.

Moreover, the success of certain new metaverses, we think of The Sandbox for example, is correlated to cryptocurrency. The metaverse then includes an entire ecosystem. Ownership of the governance token thus makes it possible to participate in decisions important to the ecosystem of the metaverse.

We can then wonder if the metaverse as we know it does not represent the pain of a Web 2 trying to survive. Early, still unknown, the idea of ​​a virtual world is exciting. It also scares some, disgusted to see brands such as Carrefour settle in the virtual world. The observation is so bitter: the slow adoption of blockchain will allow offering a metaverse closer to its truth. What shape will it take? How will interoperability and security issues be overcome? Faced with an equation with so many unknowns, there is only one certainty that remains: the metaverse of 2022 will not be that of 2035.

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