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Gate.io Blog Into the Metaverse, Where Sci-fi Meets the Reality
Industry Analysis

Into the Metaverse, Where Sci-fi Meets the Reality

09 August 15:34


Author: Gate.io Observer: Ashley. H

[Abstract] In the first half of the year, the NFT trend picked up momentum. The market is growing rapidly while gaining popularity in art collection, sports, games, music and other fields. In order for the NFT trend to continue to thrive, the problem of inadequate liquidity and lack of practical applications needs to be solved. The "resurrection" of the Metaverse concept can help build NFT applications, use cases and community foundations, while providing a digital asset ownership solution for the Metaverse. What exactly is an NFT? And what is a Metaverse? What kind of spark will come out of the collision and fusion of these two concepts? This article will take you through all the steps, one by one.

[Keywords]
Non-fungible Token (NFT) ; Metaverse; CryptoPunks; Cryptokitties; Gate.io NFT Box


Introduction

“ In the future, there will no longer be an ontological distinction between virtual reality and natural reality if each of us is born and lives in a virtual world, and can not identify the external world” , taken from Get Real: A Philosophical Adventure in Virtual Reality, written by Philip Zhai.

Recently, many internet giant companies, whether at home or abroad, have joined the Metaverse. This concept, which was first introduced 30 years ago, has dominated the online market with the growth of the crypto industry and NFTs in particular. On July 27th, Mark Zuckerberg,Facebook’s founder, said he would transform his company into a Metaverse company over the next five years. At the end of 2020, Ma Huateng also said that “mobile internet is about to usher in the next wave of upgrades and the era of real internet has arrived”. In March 2021, Roblox, a sandbox game platform, wrote the concept of the Metaverse into its prospectus and successfully landed on the New York Stock Exchange. On the first day of listing, its market value exceeded $40 billion, which became known as the “first Metaverse share”. It was a landmark event to prove that the Metaverse ignited investment circles with the Internet industry.

NFTs play a crucial role in the popularity of the Metaverse in the market. This is because the Metaverse is not based on the existing internet environment. If it was, giants like Facebook, Google and Tencent would have access to user’s data and control user’s behavior in the virtual world. This would go against what the Metaverse stands for. The technology of NFTs together with its scarcity and uniqueness will allow users to truly acquire the ownership of digital assets and trade them in the Metaverse.

What is an NFT ?
NFT refers to a non-fungible token, as opposed to a Fungible Token (FT).



img In the blockchain area, fungible tokens have long been dominant. Most of the available tokens are fungible tokens, like BTC. If you and your friends each own one bitcoin, your bitcoin is essentially the same. This is called the homogenization of fungible tokens. The characteristic of fungible tokens is that they are interchangeable with each other and can be split almost indefinitely. It’s similar to how two $100 bills of the same value can be exchanged by different people without changing their value or the value of their owners' wealth.

As the name suggests, non-fungible tokens are irreplaceable and not divisible. The most important feature of NFTs is that each NFT on the blockchain has a special and unique identity.

The Past And Present of the NFT
In 2017, Matt Hall and John Watkinson, founders of a New York software company, created a software program that can generate thousands of different and odd-looking characters. It is now known as CryptoPunks. It is a pixel head portrait project. At the time, CryptoPunk had 10,000 head portraits with 24 by 24 pixels, and anyone who had an Ethereum wallet could pick up the head portrait for free and trade them on the secondary market.
Six months later, a virtual pet nurturing game called Cryptokitties appeared on Ethereum. Users could buy, breed, sell and collect virtual cats after registering an Etherum wallet online. These cats are unique with identified features. More interestingly, the genetic algorithms used to breed these cats are similar to biogenetics, allowing two kittens to produce a new breed that combines the genes of their parents. The lower the generation, the more it costs to breed cats. Such cats are also relatively expensive, and those with rare traits can be even more costly.



Cryptopunks and Cryptokitties are a form of NFT. This shows the unique value of NFTs compared to other cryptocurrencies. Because of their non-fungible, unique and scarce nature, NFTs can be tied to real-world goods and can be used to create unique digital artworks that can be traded and collected. They are providing a way to mark the ownership of native digital assets.



NFTs are sweeping the virtual world and interacting with the real world. In March, Twitter's CEO put his first tweet of 2006 up for auction as an NFT and it fetched 2.91 million dollars. Christie's Auction Housesold "Everydays - The First 5000 Days", a collage by artist Beeple, for 69.3 million dollars. It set a new record for a piece of digital artwork sold at auction.

All of a sudden, NFTs became one of the hottest assets in 2021. Everything from art collections, to music recordings, to game assets could be economically confirmed through NFTs. The NFT platforms and products ushered in a new era with a booming ecosystem and the formation of a relatively complete industrial chain. The entire NFT ecosystem can be divided into underlying public chains, trading platforms, and specific projects and their producers.



The infrastructure for NFTs is built on a variety of public chains such as Ethereum (ETH), Flow, and WAX. ETH is still the most mainstream public chain with a mature and strong ecosystem. The main distribution platforms of NFTs include Opensea, Rarible, Nifty Gateway (Art trading platform), makersplace and Async Art,etc.

Gate.io NFT Box platform is the world’s first central NFT platform. It provides high-performing blockchain technology support for global artists and NFT institutions with low-cost. It is part of the independent innovation of the Gatechain public chain and cross-chain protocol.

Metaverse
While the NFT market is booming, another concept is beginning to build a reputation in technology and gaming, the Metaverse. It has played a significant role in the NFT market's evolution from digital collectibles to a much larger and more complex domain and system.

Before exploring the relationship between NFTs and the Metaverse, it is necessary to introduce the reader to the concept and origin of the Metaverse. At a time when the Metaverse is widely discussed, we still need to start with the most basic question: what is the Metaverse?

The word Metaverse is made up of two parts; “meta, “meaning “beyond” and “after” in Greek, and the suffix “ verse”, meaning “universe”. Combining the two makes the word, “Metaverse”.

The concept was first proposed by American writer Neal Stephenson in his 1992 science fiction novel, Snow Crash. Neal described his imagined Metaverse in this way: "Just put on a headset and eyepiece and find a terminal to connect to another three-dimensional reality simulated by a computer. Everyone can have an Avatar in this virtual space that is parallel to the real world. It's a virtual world where everything in the real world is digitally copied, where people can do everything they do in the real world, like shopping, eating, tweeting, and accomplishing things they can't do in the real world, like teleportation......."

In the novel, the Metaverse is a virtual space independent of the real world. You can think of it as a parallel world. In this artificial parallel world, there are virtual characters, economies, societies and social activities. Each of which exists in the form of a program, which sounds similar to the Matrix.

In 2018, Steven Allan Spielberg's “Ready Player One” brought more and more people closer to the Metaverse. “Ready Player One” gives a glimpse into the shape of the Metaverse by describing an "oasis" of virtual space born out of the real world. This "oasis" has a complete economy that is separate from the real world, a thriving city with buildings that resemble the real world, and characters, players and superheroes from different dimensions. All people need to do is put on a VR device and enter the oasis to socialize freely.



Open A Parallel World Metaverse

At present, the Metaverse may not be as mysterious and fantastic as it is portrayed in science fiction and movies. Although with further development of VR and AR technology as well as people's extensive exploration and practice of using the brain to directly interact with computers, those advanced technologies described in science fiction have become part of reality. The Metaverse, however, is still a rudimentary concept. To some extent, we don't fully understand the content and form of the Metaverse yet, and it's hard to predict where it will eventually evolve to.


Although the definition of Metaverse is widely debated, it has a number of accepted features that are as follows:

1. The Metaverse functions as a digital world that is freely accessible through the Internet and compatible hardware devices. The world is always online in real time and can accommodate a large number of users at once. In addition, it provides users with rich content for consumption, a fair creation platform, a reliable economic system, and an immersive interactive experience.

2. Aside from its obvious functions, the most important feature of the Metaverse should be the construction of reliable virtual identities. This would allow users to socialize in the Metaverse and provide an immersive and realistic sense of user activity.

3. As for its technology, the Metaverse requires connectivity with low-latency and cross-platform capabilities to ensure that users can log in anytime, anywhere.



But others have raised doubts. They argue that since the Metaverse is based on the real world with rules and architecture that are derived from the real world, then it is just a copy of the real world. Therefore, leaving aside whether it's technically possible to do this, why was the Metaverse built in the first place?

Social resources were limited before the arrival of the new technological revolution. So was Metaverse built to reshuffle the social landscape? Will technology 1634721023228286erbate the growing digital divide and become a catalyst for widening the gap between the rich and the poor? Or will it, as science fiction suggests, kick-start the evolution of human life from carbon-based to silicon-based? These questions are worth thinking about.

In general, the Metaverse is by no means the sum of the existing digital worlds, nor is it a simple copy of the real world. It should be an extension of the current world, a bridge between the real world and the virtual world, expanding our senses of sight, sound and touch, and leading us to a prosperous new existence.

NFT & Metaverse: Coexistence and Shared Prosperity
From 2018 to 2020, the NFT market continued to grow in size. In the first half of 2021, NFTs have been in the spotlight as a result of a series of hot events, with the market reaching $2.5 billion. NFT applications have changed from single to multiple and more diverse, ranging from art collections to digital records, from computer games to sports.



Roblox was listed on the New York Stock Exchange in March. It entered the limelight by reaching a market cap of more than $40 billion and is now known as the "first Metaverse share." It put the Metaverse, which had been in the concept stage for years, into action.

However, it is no coincidence that both NFTs and the Metaverse have become new favorites in the crypto industry around the same time.

On the one hand, the Metaverse needs the attributes of NFT technology. In the digital world, everything boils down to a string of data, a line of code that can be easily copied with no scarcity, no uniqueness, and naturally, no real value. Based on the three features of the Metaverse mentioned above, it's hard to build a real digital economy and really run the Metaverse without NFTs to anchor the value of digital assets.

NFTs have always been a technical device, a protocol layer that sits between the infrastructure layer and the application layer on the blockchain. While NFTs have made a magnificent impact in art collections, the NFT market is still lacking liquidity and a wide range of applications. Therefore, building an application environment that can accommodate NFT projects and enable interaction between its different projects is key to stimulating the NFT market. The Metaverse is one of the best applications of NFTs.


Summary
Now, games have become an important carrier of Metaverse and NFT technology. The blockchain gaming market has attracted nearly 1 billion dollars in investment this year. It seems like the Metaverse has gone viral overnight, but is it another bubble blown up by venture capital? Or the key to the opening of the new Internet era?
Let's wait and see!


Author: Gate.io Observer: Ashley. H
*This article only represents the views of observers and does not constitute any investment advice.
*The content of this article is original and the copyright belongs to Gate.io. If you need to reprint, please reference the author and source, otherwise legal action will be pursued


Further reading:
Gate.io NFT Magic Box (NFT Creation and Auction Platform) Magnificent Launch
Looking at the Past and Present of NFT from "CryptoPunk #7523"
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