µniverse and Bharatverse: Web3 Explorations (Part 14)

Metaverse and Virtual Worlds – 1

Over the past few months, there has been a lot of discussion on the metaverse. New York Times writes: “Matthew Ball, a venture capitalist who has written extensively about the topic, said the metaverse represented the fourth wave to computers, following mainframe computing, personal computing and mobile computing. “It’s moving into what people call ambient computing,” he said about the metaverse. “It’s about being within the computer rather than accessing the computer. It’s about being always online rather than always having access to an online world.”” (I have also written about the metaverse in the context of brand-customer relationships.)

One way to think about the brand-customer and voter-candidate interactions is to imagine them in a virtual world. Almost everything can be done digitally, except the final act of voting which needs to happen on election day in a polling booth. So, what we need to do is to imagine a virtual world where brands can engage with their increasingly digital prospects and customers, and prospective candidates can connect with their increasingly digital supporters and prospective voters. What we need to do is to imagine and construct new worlds. Video games and emerging platforms like Decentraland give us a glimpse of this emerging future.

Wikipedia: “Decentraland is an open source 3D virtual world platform. Users may buy virtual plots of land in the platform as NFTs via the MANA cryptocurrency. It was opened to the public in February 2020.”

PC Gamer: “A desert island covered in swords, skulls, plundered loot, and bottles of rum. A picturesque farm on rolling green plains, where any player can pluck the fresh produce off the fields and combine them into a country meal to enjoy with the livestock. An austere, concrete mausoleum, filled to the brim with charts, integers and an echoing voice educating me on the finer points of crypto economics, coin development, and artificial scarcity. A glittering casino, where you can put all of your hard-earned crypto on black. These are just a few of the landmarks I discovered during my time with Decentraland… Decentraland’s gameplay loop is built around the humble act of existing; to explore the works of others, to marvel at the human potential for creativity, to meet and collaborate with other souls… Every piece of content in the game is owned, completely autonomously, by the players. They barter for property ownership, cosmetic gear, and even player names through a real cryptocurrency called MANA that’s powered by the Ethereum blockchain. That desert island  doesn’t belong to Decentraland’s publisher. Instead, it’s an environment some player somewhere owns, even after they uploaded it to their tiny slice of Decentraland’s legally perplexing landscape.”

The Generalist: “What is Decentraland? Is it a world? A protocol? A token? A DAO? The answer is “yes.” Decentraland is all of these things and quite a bit more…The virtual world has grown its users by 3,300% over the past year and reached a peak market cap of $12 billion… Decentraland is not yet a thriving city. While it may have plenty of capital and rapidly growing user numbers, for now, it is a metropolis in motion, an urbanity still working through maturation. There is art and commerce, an economy and system of governance, but it is still shy of that ineffable, living quality that animates the real world and the cities that draw us in.”

Published by

Rajesh Jain

An Entrepreneur based in Mumbai, India.