No Money, No Metaverse.

"The metaverse is a loosely defined term referring to virtual worlds in which users represented by avatars interact, usually in 3D and usually focused on social and economic connection." (Wikipedia definition)

Social AND economic.

Most things claiming to be a/the metaverse, and what most people refer to a/the metaverse aren't that. Because they don't have BOTH things. A lot of incumbents (and extremely well-funded startup) platforms are trying to co-opt the idea to build yet another walled garden where users do not have full control of their digital assets or how they engage in the economy.

No money, no metaverse.

Or more specifically, no open economy, no metaverse. Money is not the most important part of any society (physical or virtual) but it is a symptom/tool of an interoperable world. A simple bridge that allows for the easy transfer of everything people want, or have to provide. (Free trade). What are some categories people are mistaking as or worse, false claiming to be the metaverse?

1) Video games: Social connection is there, economic freedom is not. Money flows in, and generally is stuck inside the very specific parameters set by the game publisher. Very little trading, and certainly no p2p purchasing of goods.

2) VR/AR: The most confusing reference people bring up when talking about the metaverse. A pair of screens near your eyeballs is just another consumption format. Like a phone, or computer. Has nothing to do with social or economic layers.

3) Existing online networks (like this one): People like to half-jokingly say that our internet and social media sides are the metaverse. But again, while they have the social part the economic layer generally isn't there. You have glimmers of economic trade through marketplaces and auction sites, but the current internet is primarily centralized and owned by a handful of companies. A free economy can exist on the internet, it cannot exist on a single platform owned by one entity (this was my main problem with Ready Player One by the way).

Ok, so what IS the metaverse then? I think we are still trying to figure that out, but what's clear to me is what it isn't. None of three areas above feel accurate, and the point of this post is to encourage you not to fall into the trap of thinking they are. Or letting someone sell you something by tapping into popular buzzwords.

Looking forward to figuring it out together!

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