6 Things You Didn't Know About the Metaverse
Welcome to the new frontier.
FOMO hits hard. The "metaverse" is here, myriad articles on LinkedIn and Facebook seem to race by, it's hard to keep up—too much is happening too fast. It feels like a legitimate gold rush, and to be behind is to be irrelevant. So, you bought a Meta Quest 2, or you've lifted your phone to see if you can catch Pokémon outside. You think you're ready to bring your business, your brand—your future—into the metaverse. Well, hold on a minute, partner. You need a survival checklist.
I've beamed into the metaverse and returned intact to bring you back this list of considerations you might not have considered to help you on your journey.
There can't be only one.
You didn't know there's more than a baker's dozen. The metaverse is a concept, not a place. Meta (Facebook) does not own it. There are many different platforms with their own code-base, rules and inconsistencies. Once called the internet, the metaverse will soon contain every digital way we interact and be synonymous with "world wide web." In-depth world building will require C#, C++, or Java while front end Web3 platforms will require HTML and CSS. Both Python and 3-D modeling will be ubiquitous across platforms.
Persistence is not guaranteed.
You didn't know your cool Fortnite Skin doesn't work on Roblox. There are metaverse platforms launching every day, and boundaries that need to be accounted for up front when planning a metaverse event or product launch. Who you want to engage is just as important as where and how. Each platform has slight variations on how you'll integrate your experience, requiring knowledge of 2D/3D formats, Web 3.0 and Blockchain. New protocols like the "InterPlanetary File System" are trying to solve for cross-verse consistency vs. transmutability. Organizations like The Metaverse Standards Forum (of which Astound Commerce is a founding principal member) help track and build consensus across myriad specialties and industries.
Leave your wallet in El Segundo.
You didn't know most items and purchases require a crypto wallet and alt-coin. While solving for commerce in the metaverse is on the horizon, at the moment you cannot easily use your Discovery or American Express card without exchanging fiat currency into NFT or alt-coin. Gucci accepts "ApeCoin" for transactions. Blockchain ownership is encoded with a public/private key combination. The public key is what signifies your ownership to everyone else. The private key is what you store in your crypto wallet and is used whenever you want to move or spend those coins. It's incredibly important to keep these keys safe—whoever has the private key, owns the associated coins.
No one knows "what's next."
You didn't know The Metawars have begun. We are in the very beginning of the boom, and innovation will happen fast and in unexpected ways. Champions will rise and fall. Someone's bold predictions in the present may prove to be fiction in the future, but that doesn't mean we can't be part of shaping the ever-evolving constellation of metaverse experiences right now.
Non-fungible tokens are your friend.
You didn't know you don't hate NFTs. They are not just for Bored Ape JPEGs. NFTs have an astounding variety of uses. Liquid democracy becomes possible with trackable, evolving contracts. Sustainability actions from corporations can be verified. It's truly exciting to see all the innovation blockchain brings to the metaverse. The power of NFTs is the verifiable purchase and ownership of a "thing." That thing could be a metaverse piece of clothing—in the future it could be a concert ticket or the deed to a house.
The metaverse is not new.
You didn't know humans have been designing spatially for centuries. Australia's first people developed practices called "Songlines" and "Dreaming Tracks" that help them teach others how to traverse long distances over the continent. Ancient Greeks architected rooms dedicated to their ancestors within their estates, full of sculptures and busts that helped them remember the legacies of their family's past. Today, similar psychology applies as we see buildings and experiences take shape in the metaverse.
Nobody knows everything about the metaverse, because it is still forming. Like supernovas beget galaxies, we are witnessing the cosmic beginnings of a digital evolution that will change our planet forever. Isn't it exciting to see how much we did and didn't know? The first step is knowing your audience and the platforms you'll most likely find them. All platforms will have similar steps—set up a partnership with the platform or go down the development route yourself. If you ever find yourself stuck somewhere in the vast reaches of the metaverse of things, we're here to help.