More than 10 years after the publication of the Ernest Cline’s novel Ready Player One, humanity, lead by DFINITY’s Internet Computer, is finally poised to begin building the metaverse. For those unfamiliar, Ready Player One — also a hit 2018 movie directed by Steven Spielberg — is the story of a young boy who enters a future virtual reality (VR) daily. This VR world is so vivid and so clear that what’s real and what isn’t seems almost indistinguishable.
Humanity’s metaverse will be, depending on who you ask, part virtual and part augmented. But like Ready Player One, it will change our lives forever. If it resembles anything like Cline’s book, we’re in for the adventure of a lifetime.
However, there remains a lot of work to go “from here to there.” A monumental amount of progress in technology, design, and other specifications must be made before users can enter the metaverse and realize its full potential.
In this regard, DFINITY’s Internet Computer solution is already leading the way. Decentralized in nature, with stronger decentralization goals in place going forward, the protocol offers the revolutionary design needed to make a metaverse “for the people, by the people” into a reality.
Last year, Meta (formerly known as Facebook (News – Alert)) announced plans to pivot toward this digital utopia with co-founder Mark Zuckerberg making it a key priority to get future users of his platforms to work, live, and play in virtual reality. While excited to see how this plays out, future metaverse inhabitants are wondering just exactly what kind of digital world humanity will soon find themselves in.
What exactly is a metaverse? How will this extended reality impact the daily lives of those who eventually become a part of this environment? One thing is certain — centralization and decentralization play a key part in the entire process.
Understanding the Metaverse and What Sets DFINITY’s Internet Computer Apart
There currently isn’t a universally accepted definition of the metaverse upon which all parties can agree. This isn’t for lack of understanding on the part of futurists and technologists, but rather, with such a new and novel concept, it remains a challenge to answer the question of when a digital world becomes more than just a 2D/3D virtual space.
For some, the metaverse is already here. Supporters of this viewpoint believe our technical capabilities of communicating online already demonstrate the metaverse has arrived. While not all agree the metaverse is limited to virtual communications, almost everyone can likely agree that even if the metaverse is limited to only these functionalities today, tomorrow’s metaverse will look significantly different. Tomorrow’s metaverse, at full scale, will be a true virtual and augmented reality experience.
Toward a Mature Metaverse
Fully materialized, the metaverse will be an extension of our everyday reality, combining both physical and digital worlds. In part, this will be enabled by virtual/augmented reality devices, which probably will become increasingly affordable as technology improves, hardware costs drop, and accessibility to such devices increases. These devices will allow us to submerge ourselves into a new digital reality.
Research indicates the metaverse itself will be made up of interconnected 3D virtual worlds. This is made possible by the underlying infrastructure, which will power the metaverse into a type of reality that’s simply not comprehendible with current technologies. Participants will be able to effortlessly move across the worlds, like toggling between tabs on an internet browser today.
Centralization Versus Decentralization in the Metaverse
Centralized metaverses, like those being constructed by tech giants like Meta, will, at the end of the day, have their bottom line at heart. This is natural — after all, companies exist to turn a profit, and activities that go against that objective or significantly negatively impact that objective won’t be supported in the products and services being offered. While Meta will likely claim its metaverse products will be open and interoperable, it’s unlikely such products can be updated and changed unless they continue to serve the interests of the entity.
Conversely, a decentralized metaverse will allow anyone to participate in the digital realm freely and openly. Unbound by any rules set forth by a central authority, the vision of a decentralized metaverse allows the entire world to build what they want, when they want, and how they want. Acceptance of these products would be governed by the metaverse’s decentralized community — versus what a centralized company says or does.
DFINITY’s Internet Computer Framework
DFINITY’s Internet Computer is best positioned to support a decentralized metaverse environment. A truly decentralized solution, DFINITY’s Internet Computer blockchain differs from others in that none of its cloud nodes are centralized. In its current arrangement, there are hundreds of nodes scattered around the world. More are being added throughout this year as decentralization continues to be a strong focus for the DFINITY foundation and its platform.
The metaverse will require an enormous amount of computing power to run from places all around the world to reduce the effects of latency. With DFINITY’s Internet Computer, its infrastructure is truly scattered across every corner of the globe without any reliance on any centralized entities to keep servers up and running. It is, in fact, an unstoppable overall machine that will ensure continuity and decentralization for the years and decades to come.
DFINITY’s Beginnings of the Metaverse — Decentralized Apps
DFINITY is already plowing ahead in laying the foundations of the metaverse. Like the Web2 world today, applications will play a big role in the metaverse realm as it proceeds toward full maturity. These decentralized apps (dApps), which will revolve around social media, streaming platforms, and more, will be critical for users to truly accept and enjoy their time within the metaverse.
DFINITY is already leading the way in these categories. From a social perspective, Distrikt and OpenChat are changing the Web3 game. Distrikt is providing a true decentralized social media network for professionals, while OpenChat offers a decentralized messaging application, untied to any centralized entities or companies.
Research has shown that as of 2022, Distrikt has recorded over 80,000 accounts created since its launch, while OpenChat also crossed the 80,000-user mark during the previous year. Both dApps continue to grow strongly and successfully across the platform.
From a content streaming perspective, DSocial is a decentralized version of a popular video streaming platform looking to rival existing centralized Web2 solutions like YouTube (News – Alert). With research showing that users spend close to 20 minutes daily on YouTube, it’s clear that having a content streaming platform available in the metaverse is of critical importance.
Where DFINITY’s Metaverse Goes From Here
Humanity is still at the very beginning of the metaverse. What it is, what it can become, and what it will eventually become are still very much being defined. It will be critical for designers and future participants to consider the components that will be important in this next-generation digital world. These components will drive the type of development that needs to occur, as well as put into the right mindset the critical factors that need to be considered going forward.
Without a doubt, decentralization of the metaverse will be key. Participants who jump into a metaverse that’s centrally managed and ruled will always be at the mercy of its “owner.” Able to change the rules and access at any time, participants in such a world may not be any better off than the citizens of countries today who impose heavy control over their residents.
Conversely, a decentralized metaverse will be free and open — built in the way that the initial web was meant to be built. In such a world, users will be able to freely interact and work on projects as they please. Other structures which also would follow decentralization (e.g. compensation structures without intermediaries, future direction of the virtual space, and more) would benefit communities, not a centralized entity.
As progress toward a true metaverse continues to move forward, an increasing number of dApps and overall development into this virtual world will soon materialize. As users become increasingly aware of the type of metaverse that Meta and other Web2 companies look to build (one which is centralized and controlled), future participants of the metaverse will see the value and possibilities that DFINITY’s solution can offer. A truly decentralized, unbound, unrestricted experience in the online virtual world will soon be the only meaningful way to experience the metaverse.