The term “Metaverse” is not new. It was first used by author Neal Stephenson in his 1992 novel “Snow Crash.” But as technology improves, and we spend more of our lives online, more people are starting to think about what’s next — and how the future might revolutionize both the digital and the physical world.
Recently, our team put together an internal presentation about the Metaverse, who’s working on it, and how crypto will help make it real. I thought the presentation was well done, so I’m sharing most of the slides here.
Defining the Metaverse
At Coinbase, our thinking about the Metaverse has been heavily influenced by venture capitalist and writer Matthew Ball (you can find his work here). Like Matt, we define the Metaverse as:
The future of the internet: A massively-scaled, persistent, interactive, and interoperable real-time platform comprised of interconnected virtual worlds where people can socialize, work, transact, play, and create.
The earliest version of the internet, Web1, was about accessing static web pages. Web2 is about interactive, social experiences within closed ecosystems. And Web3 will be about digital ownership within an open, decentralized environment.
The Metaverse is the distant evolution of Web3. In its most complete form, it will be a series of decentralized, interconnected virtual worlds with a fully functioning economy where people can do just about anything they can do in the physical world.
Importantly, the Metaverse is not the same thing as gaming (an activity you can do within the Metaverse), or virtual reality (a way of interfacing with the Metaverse). It’s also not the same as Web3 (a distant ancestor of the Metaverse).
To illustrate this, here’s how some current platforms stack up against our definition of the Metaverse:
Elements of the Metaverse
While the full Metaverse is years away, it will rest on a foundation that’s being built right now.
Like the internet today, the Metaverse will rely on hardware and infrastructure, tools and standards, and regulatory frameworks — most of which haven’t been fully developed yet.
But unlike today’s internet, there won’t just be one Metaverse. There will be many Metaverses, and they’ll be interconnected. That’s why it will be important for any Metaverse to be trustless — meaning people can interact directly without going through an intermediary — and permissionless — meaning anyone can participate without authorization from a governing body.
To achieve this, the Metaverse will rely on blockchain to transfer identity and ownership across virtual worlds, attestation to verify them, and payment rails that allow people buy, sell, and earn income within a decentralized economy.
Who’s building the Metaverse today?
While we can’t build anything close to the full Metaverse yet, different companies and organizations are experimenting with different elements of it. Most fall into three categories:
The Metaverse ecosystem is still very much in its infancy: emergent and yet to be defined. That’s its beauty too. There’s a heavy focus on gaming, mostly because it’s easy to monetize. But we’re beginning to see glimpses of what the future might look like.
Identity determines who you are, what you can access and do, and how you’re represented across the worlds of the Metaverse.
In the Metaverse, our identities will have to include an easy login, a unique ID, an avatar that represents us, metadata that follows us, and attestation so we can prove who we are. Here’s where each of those pieces stands today:
Where Coinbase comes in
At Coinbase, we want to help pull all the pieces of identity together — essentially creating an identity on-ramp into the Metaverse.
That’s the idea behind our work with ENS, which makes it possible to create a unique username NFT that resolves to a wallet. Eventually, this will allow users to carry a unique ID across different worlds in the Metaverse.
We’re also working on technology that will allow you to purchase your avatar, define and maintain your public profile, and establish trust. And we’re working on features like Sign in with [Eth/Coinbase], which could allow users to sign into every app in the Metaverse.
At the end of the day, this isn’t about expanding our business or making money. It’s about building a critical piece of the Metaverse ecosystem, and helping crypto grow in the right way.
We know that the Metaverse will exist, and we know it will be a series of interconnected virtual worlds. Our goal is to make it easy for anyone to establish their identity and gain access to those worlds in a way that’s simple, trusted, and decentralized.
If we succeed, it will allow the Metaverse to reach its full potential — and keep it free and open to everyone.
Bitcoin continues to underperform as a general “risk-off” sentiment has investors driving toward gold as a safe haven asset.
Not Risking It
Concerns about the Russo-Ukrainian war continue. The U.S. inflation struggles at a four-decade high and Fed rate hike fears prevail. The uncertainty extends to the world economy as a recession is expected instead of a recovery. The IMF’s managing director Kristalina Georgieva called it “a crisis on top of a crisis.”
“The war is a supply shock that reduces economic output and raises prices. Indeed, we forecast inflation will accelerate to 5.5 percent in advanced economies and to 9.3 percent in emerging European economies excluding Russia, Turkey, and Ukraine. ” The IMF stated last week.
Reuters recently quoted Commerzbank analyst Daniel Briesemann, who talked in a note about the factors that have “lent buoyancy to gold in recent days,” mentioning the “strong buying interest on the part of ETF (Exchange Traded Fund) investors” and news about the Ukraine war.
“Russia appears to be preparing to launch a major offensive in the east of the country – that is generating considerable demand for gold as a safe haven,” the analyst said.
This summarizes the “risk-off” sentiment at the moment. As expected, equities suffer as investors are selling risky assets and purchasing the ones negatively correlated to the traditional market. Thus, the crypto space is struggling alongside de stocks market and gold is rising.
Bitcoin Outperformed By Gold
Data from Arcane Research’s latest weekly report notes that it has been a gloomy year for the “digital gold.” In the first three weeks of 2022, Bitcoin sank 25% and it is still down by 18% in the year despite its slight recovery.
Similarly, Nasdaq records a 19% decline in the year, having underperformed against bitcoin “by a small margin,” notes the report, adding that “This is surprising given that bitcoin has tended to follow Nasdaq, albeit with higher volatility.”
The general fear over geopolitical and macroeconomic uncertainty has given gold the safe-haven asset spotlight once more. The asset outperformed all the other indexes seen below with a 4% gain.
Meanwhile, the currency market is performing with “the same risk-off patterns.” The Dollar has been proving its “risk-off” dominance as the US Dollar Index (DXY) is up 7%. The Chinese yuan has taken a hit over concerns about the country’s “zero-covid” policy –which creates issues for the global supply chain– and the slowing down Chinese economy. In contrast, investors have been running to the US Dollar for safety.
Bitcoin supporters usually refer to the coin as “digital gold” alleging it is a safe haven asset, and this narrative had held well while BTC had been “uncorrelated with most other major asset classes,” but the tide is shifting with the 2022 scenario as investors are rather placing the coin “into the risk-on basket”.
A previous Arcane Research report indicated that bitcoin’s 30 -day correlation with the Nasdaq is revisiting July 2020 highs while its correlation with gold has reached all-time lows.
A pseudonym traded noted that “As Bitcoin adoption goes on and more institutional investors enter the market, the correlation of BTC and stocks becomes more and more tight. That is a paradigm that the crypto world struggled to come to terms with in the past but is now more real than ever. A healthy stock market is good for Bitcoin.”
Meanwhile, the general sentiment of traders seems to be bearish, with many saying that the coin could visit the $30k level soon.
The crypto community headed to Nassau in the Bahamas this week for the inaugural Crypto Bahamas conference.
Like most conferences, panels fill up the agenda and on Wednesday the topics at Crypto Bahamas ranged from NFTs to crypto in sports and to asset allocation in Web3. During one particular conversation, titled Evolution of NFTs: Culture, Utility and Regulation, panelists had some insightful musings on the NFT market.
To put the Crypto Bahamas conference into context, Sam Bankman-Fried’s cryptocurrency exchange FTX moved its headquarters from Hong Kong to the Bahamas in Sept. 2021. It recently inked a multi-year partnership with Anthony Scaramucci’s investment firm SkyBridge Capital, and its events arm SkyBridge Alternatives, or SALT. They jointly presented the conference.
That’s why the NFT panel consisted of multiple perspectives from Tristan Yver, head of strategy at FTX U.S., Joseph Doll, attorney at Fenwick law firm, Roham Gharegozlou, the chief executive officer at Dapper Labs, and Sarah Hammer, the managing director of The Stevens Center for Innovation in Finance at The Wharton School. Zack Guzman, writer for the Meta-owned newsletter platform Bulletin, moderated.
Gharegozlou pointed out how new the NFT market truly is when “most people have only been thinking about it for a year and a half,” making valuations “very immature.” As the CEO of Dapper Labs, the company behind NBA Top Shot, Gharegozlou recognized that “utility, rewards and the how you value and NFT is primarily based on the strength of that of the community.”
He added that a good way for an NFT collection to build a strong community is to have multiple tiers of scarcity. In the case of NBA Top Shot, at the higher price end there is extreme scarcity, but there are also millions of “common” moments so that people can “get their first NFT and see how it feels without breaking the bank.”
Tristan Yver echoed that the current valuation and pricing model for NFTs is based on a collective perception on value based on the amount of people willing to buy an asset for a certain amount. He anticipated a “movement away from this consensus view to a more unique singular view where people buy things that resonate with them rather than what resonates with a larger community.”
Joseph Doll chimed in to say that “communities need to be thoughtful about democratizing access.” There are some “massive” barriers to entry to certain projects, he said, including not being early enough or not having enough capital at the time. He questioned, “That’s not what crypto is about, right? It’s kind of about the exact opposite of that.” Democratization, he suggested, can come in the form of derivative projects at better price points.
Another important point brought up by Yver was the reality of scams, especially on Discord and Twitter. He said that “weneed to move past security aspects to be able to really bring in the next large mass of users.” He recommended talking among family and friends or asking a Discord moderator to make sure “you click the right link when minting that NFT” because “wallet security sucks right now.”
Gharegozloueven said thatElon Musk, the new owner of Twitter, should use Web3 to fix Twitter’s fraud problem, just as Discord should use Web3 authentication and verification as well. “Once NFT’s are the sort of identity bridge across all these different social networks, identity and assets, authenticity, provenance,” then the system can be more resilient he added.
When asked what “main alpha” the audience should bear in mind, Doll said to engage with and be part of these NFT communities even if it’s “scary,” because getting scammed is a “part of the journey.”
Sarah Hammer, who leads the Cypher Accelerator at Wharton business school, said that the school is launching an incubator specifically for NFT projects in partnership with Dapper Labs because the “NFT model is a business model for the future.” She emphasized that the greatest way to grow and innovate in the space is to increase education efforts in order to get more people learning and working together.
22 days ago, Bitcoin.com News wrote about a Coin Insider trends study that combed through Google Trends data in the United States. According to the report, dogecoin was the most Googled cryptocurrency in the country. Another study — published by askgamblers.com — has covered similar data, but concentrated on the U.K.’s and Europe’s Google searches. According to the report, while bitcoin is the most popular crypto asset in Europe, the study of the trends shows that the meme token shiba inu is the most popular in the United Kingdom.
Trends Study Highlights the Most Popular Crypto Assets in Europe, UK — Bitcoin Reigns in Europe, While Shiba Inu Takes the UK
This week Bitcoin.com News was sent a report from askgamblers.com that analyzes Google Trends (GT) data over the last year in order to find out what the most popular crypto assets are in the U.K. and Europe. According to the findings, bitcoin (BTC) is the most popular digital currency in Europe as it was the most searched crypto in 21 countries. BTC outpaced the competitors in the askgamblers.com study, as the leading crypto asset rules the roost in countries like Germany, Finland, Norway, Poland, Romania, and Belgium.
While bitcoin (BTC) was the top crypto across Europe, shiba Inu (SHIB) is the most popular cryptocurrency in the U.K., according to the researcher’s collected Google searches. The meme token SHIB saw a significant increase in popularity during the last 12 months. The study’s findings show SHIB commands six different countries and the United Kingdom. In fact, SHIB is huge in Russia, France, Spain, Ukraine, Italy, Hungary, and Switzerland, in terms of GT searches.
Additionally, ethereum (ETH) was the third most popular in the study capturing interest from Sweden, Czechia, Latvia, and Slovenia. Then cardano (ADA) held the fourth position in terms of GT search data, as Andorra, the Netherlands, and Bulgaria showed a lot of interest in ADA. With dogecoin (DOGE) being the most popular in the U.S., it is the fifth in Europe as the meme crypto is popular in Albania and Greece.
“With 38 million crypto users in Europe, and thousands of cryptocurrencies on the market to choose from, it is fascinating to see which one people are the most interested in investing in,” a spokesperson from askgamblers.com told Bitcoin.com’s newsdesk. “Although bitcoin is the most popular overall, the interest in shiba inu has grown to surpass bitcoin in major countries such as Russia and the U.K.”
In the U.S. research study published by Coin Insider, shiba inu (SHIB) only captured seven states across the country. Dogecoin was named the leader in that study as DOGE was the most popular in 23 states in the U.S., in terms of GT searches. SHIB’s popularity in the U.S., according to the data in that specific report, was ranked the fourth most popular crypto in the country.
What do you think about the popularity of bitcoin in Europe and the shiba inu interest in the U.K.? Let us know what you think about this research study in the comments section below.
Jamie Redman is the News Lead at Bitcoin.com News and a financial tech journalist living in Florida. Redman has been an active member of the cryptocurrency community since 2011. He has a passion for Bitcoin, open-source code, and decentralized applications. Since September 2015, Redman has written more than 5,000 articles for Bitcoin.com News about the disruptive protocols emerging today.
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