Atoms are the smallest building block of our physical world. We can think of bits as the smallest building block of our virtual world. Billions of bits cleverly assembled into information products, digital platforms, and virtual infrastructures. A virtual cosmos with digital galaxies and planets that you can visit and experience. Do things that cannot be done on our physical planet. Travel millions of miles with a single click. Be in a different location with one click. Connect with acquaintances with one click and talk, discuss, do business and celebrate with them. Just as we as humans in the physical world are made of atoms, in the metaverse we are made of ‘bits’. Bits in the form of data, information, products, money, and even your own identity.
That’s why the metaverse is a true paradigm shift: both are made of bits and own their own bits.
We have already known a little about the metaverse in the last decades. With the first digital games like Pong, sega, Nintendo, Atari and many others. In 1994 the Digital City, a freenet initiative of De Balie and Hack-Tic (the predecessor of XS4ALL) started in Amsterdam where 100,000 visitors were registered. In 1996, the city of Helsinki launched the first virtual version of the city in the Arena 2000 project. In 1999, whyville.net was the first game-based virtual world for children, followed by Habbo, which had millions of users for a long time .
In 2003 Second Life began, a first stable metaverse that still exists. There where he developed his own economy, based on the virtual currency ‘Linden’. Developer Linden Labs emphatically states that Second Life is not a ‘game world’ but rather a meeting place with a virtual economy in the form of stores with virtual goods such as houses, clothing and utensils. With producers from the physical world present with their virtual stores, where you can go directly to our own web stores in our analog world through a click.
Second Life was an alternate reality for its users, but it was core and limited in scope and scale. The idea behind the metaverse is the roadmap for the actual open combination of many virtual worlds. The fusion of the virtual with our daily reality. So the metaverse is really something new; a manifesto for that new virtual reality. An alternative and open digital world that can be used for a wide variety of personal and business applications. That’s what makes development so challenging.
Virtual techniques shape the metaverse and the associated human experience, such as virtual reality (VR), augmented reality (AR), and brain-computer interfaces (BCI). It is understandable that large technology companies are launching into this new market to develop products and applications for it. Although the metaverse initially only resembles “connected virtual spaces”, there is a fundamental distinction. The possibility of applying blockchain technology means that these virtual worlds can be decentralized into personal environments. Not being ‘guests’ in someone else’s virtual environment, such as Second Life or Meta, but using your own virtual world to visit other worlds.
Ownership of users
The big difference is that blockchain-enabled decentralized applications can make use of data and crypto assets that are and will remain owned by users. You own parts in the metaverse! Bits that are recorded in an open accounting system. So you can always test which bits relate to you. And just as important: which bits are yours. By becoming a ‘bit owner’, each person in that metaverse can create their own digital identity. And there capture their own intellectual property and earn, manage, transfer their own money to third parties.
The development of cryptocurrencies (money) and tokens (evidence) is fast. Large companies are still trying to play a role at the center of this development in order to (continue) exerting their influence. When the largest crypto exchanges run on the Amazon cloud, you can’t really call them independent. It will only become independent when the internet goes back to work in its original decentralized form. See also my blog ‘Becoming Self-Reliant’ where I explain how the use of the cloud has made us digitally dependent on some of the world’s biggest players.
Own your own bits
With the advent of the mobile phone, every citizen has been given a computer with their own applications, data and identities. Also, ‘things’ get their own identity and IP address through the Internet of Things. What could be more logical than having your own computer and IP address in your own home, behind your secure front door, in a privacy-protected environment? That you receive your friends and digital visitors on that private server behind your door. And through that server, without the intervention of third parties, you can communicate digitally with everyone. Mine, produce, trade and sell your own bits.
That’s the thinking behind the new metaverse. That also means a digital identity for everyone, see my blog ‘decentralized identity’. Once you have obtained an identity through the government, you can never lose it. Always be able to show who you are. If I can prove every transaction I make on the blockchain, I don’t need an escrow from a bank or other third party if that transaction is disputed. That’s the gist of the new metaverse: you can formally and arguably own bits in the virtual world. Bits that form your own identity and bits that formally belong to you. Just as we have arranged it in the physical world with identity and property documents.
After all, you want to build those virtual worlds with technology that doesn’t belong to anyone else. Which is open, from the community. Where no CEO decides if you can use it or not. Where patents do not apply or where government use is restricted. It is interoperable and usable between metaverses. Where you can always use the blockchain to authenticate who you are, what titles you own, and access your crypto wallet.
The only open source blockchain currently is Digibyte. Developed by Jared Tate in 2013 and owned by the open source community in 2014. A decentralized blockchain with a focus on cybersecurity, DigiAssets, payments, and secure communication techniques. The application of code changes every 15 seconds allows fast and secure transactions. And by doing that code change with 5 different cryptographic hash algorithms, the network is extremely resistant to attack.
Digibyte is the world’s longest, fastest and most secure PoW (Proof of Work) UTXO (Unspent Transaction Output) based blockchain in existence. Therefore, Digicorp Labs decided to develop and build its enterprise applications for the metaverse on the Digibyte platform to provide robust and independent products and tools for the business and corporate world. Be less dependent on the big technology players as a company. And to enter the new metaverses from behind that front door of privacy to meet customers and do business there.
By: Hans Timmerman (photo), Chief Data Officer at DigiCorp Labs and Director of Fortierra