Metaverse, a lost illusion? The Web 2 to Web 3 misstep

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

DECENTRALIZATIONinteroperability, economic freedom of users are therefore so many principles ignored by these financial giants who erase these fundamental problems thanks to creation of centralized and closed places. In his report “Metaverse Sector Report” (Metaverse Sector Report), written for CoinShares and published on July 15, 2022, analyst Max Shannon highlights the drawbacks of these multiples fake metaverse in the making.

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Metaverse definition: hope versus reality

From the beginning, in his report the author defines metaverse as we can see today. It is clear that two definitions of the concept are opposite. Not very enthusiastic, so the author rightly condemns the development of a first metaverse as a social space, an extension of the Internet as we know it in a 3D space. Closed in on itself, this notion of the metaverse includes several virtual worlds, hermetic to each otherexacerbated by the massive use of advertising.

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

Refined by Web 3 technologies, the notion of the metaverse in its meaning will then be a space of free trade. Its economy, transactions and interactions are owned and driven by its users. Therefore, the metaverse would not be a game or an application in any way. It would be much more.

A metaverse that worries future users

of the big tech giantsexhausted by the progress of Web 2, therefore redefined the metaverse. They made it easy for them by forgetting some of the issues raised by users. According to some data, the latter are refractory, worried and not very interested in the version offered by GAFAM.

Comparison of NFT and Metaverse term interest.  Source: Google Trends
Title: “Metaverse” in blue, “NFT” in red – Source: Google Trends

Data Google Trends then they are witnesses. Metaverse’s interest in the search engine giant is almost non-existent. The number of mentions collected is no longer amazing. In a hollow, the metaverse would seem to be carried only by the users’ lesser but still existing love for NFT.

According to a panel of 4,420 adults from the United States, 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% believe that metaverses will have an impact on mental health;
  • 37% believe that moderation will be necessary to avoid deviations in behavior;
  • 38% fear of sexual harassment in the metaverse;
  • 39% fear for their personal safety;
  • 44% fear of a cyber attack;
  • 55% are not sure about the fate of their personal data (fear of identity theft for example).

The Metaverse: Investment Inequalities

In addition to the fear of potential users, there is geographical disparity. A real obstacle to a global adoption of the concept, fundraising are representative of a different craze for the metaverse. Thus, the report data highlights that the entrepreneurship in the United States related to the metaverse is 3.54 times higher than that of Asia.

Master of the virtual worldventure capitalists and others iAmerican investors therefore I carry more than half of the so-called Web 3 companies. These disparities raise questions, especially since they do not necessarily correspond to disparities specific toadoption of cryptocurrencies. For example,South Americagenerally favorable to cryptocurrencies, remains not very sensitive to metaverses.

A metaverse that doesn’t actually exist

If we unfold the opinion of the report, then we can understand that the metaverse proposed by GAFAM and other BigTech giants is only the continuation of a policy of growth that seeks maximum profit. Also, the development of virtual helmets created by Meta is a possibility and a significant potential asset given the number of users on Facebook for example.

This conception of the metaverse is the “fastest way” to propose a failed metaverse, a veritable 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 complained on Twitter this week, a non-metaverse dominated by Web giants 2:

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

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Half fig, half grape arrangement

The report also recalls that regulation has lagged behind the evolution of technologies and that the latter has been overtaken by the giants of Web 2. Therefore, the only role that regulation has given itself at the moment is not to educate, but protect consumers. The reactions of the SEC and the international financial police regardingThe Terra Luna case is the obvious example.

Regarding the metaverse, some governments have also started to take off in the other world. of Dubai Department of Digital Regulation, VARA, the real cop of the metaverse is set in The Sandbox. A distinct political program in Dubai society, the metaverse has become a real economic and political issue.

Central African Republic, with it Sango coin and the accompanying metaverse sees Web 3 as an economic opportunity. This would provide him independence and financial freedom. Governmental, insular and self-interested approaches, however, do not provide an open metaverse.

Ownership and Privacy

The notion 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 into a circle of trust. NFTs have an essential place here.

Immutable Proof of Ownership The immutable token addresses the issue of ownership and identity. real avatar, the virtual representation of your ego, the latter may be true to yourself, to your image. Conversely, it can be the image of what you want to be – or what you cannot be – in reality.

However, NFTs are ssubject to fraud and other fraud which remind us very much of the importance of being careful in this ecosystem. Insecurity about property is then a brake on the adoption of this technology. Closed Metaverse makes it easy to ensure user security.

Blockchain interoperability: the Achilles heel of the metaverse

Also, to be able to go beyond the definition of the metaverse proposed by the Web 2 giants, the CoinShares report highlights the necessary progress that we need to achieve in 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, the bridges, the bridges from one chain to another that allow this interaction are covered up at the moment. As explained by The latest report published by Chainalysis these are one of the main security problems of a protocol. of the historic Ronin chain hackWormhole 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 should be understood then that designing a metaverse as it should be, powered by blockchain, will take time. of investor skepticism accompanied by one harsh crypto winter can be discouraging. Faced with the impossibility of an open metaverse accessible to all, some are proposing favorable outcomes for the development of a decentralized and interoperable exchange space. Tomorrow’s solutions may be in their hands.

The report then takes as an example ENS, Ethereum Name Services, real nominative gateway to the blockchain Ethereum, sold at the price of gold. They have, indeed, the wind in their sails. They make it possible to define a wider property beyond just NFT.

Moreover, the success of some developing metaverses, we are thinking, for example, of The Sandbox, is related to cryptocurrency. The metaverse then encompasses an entire ecosystem. Ownership of the governance token thus makes it possible to participate in decisions that are important to the ecosystem of the metaverse.

We can then wonder if the metaverse as we know it does not represent the agony of a Web 2 trying to survive. Early, still unknown, the idea of ​​a virtual world is intriguing. It also scares some, disgusted to see brands such as Carrefour set up in the virtual world. The observation is then bittersweet: the slow adoption of blockchain will make it possible to deliver 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, only one certainty persists: the metaverse of 2022 will not be that of 2035.

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