What is the metaverse?
The metaverse is nothing new. Think of the metaverse as the digital form of physical reality, a shared, immersive, 3-D virtual space where humans experience life in ways they could not in the physical world. It is therefore the alternate reality which has become increasingly populated since the computer was invented. The PC revolution in the 1980s catalysed its growth as the masses could game in digital form, ie, on a computer screen as opposed to the traditional board game. Nevertheless, the term “metaverse” has been misused creating misunderstandings to where it is losing its intended meaning, much as happened to other terms such as “liberal”, “capitalist”, “socialist”, and “terrorism”.
Decentralised versus centralised
Blockchain eliminates middlemen and enables direct transactions between parties. Over time, the metaverse will evolve into a decentralised blockchain-based Web3 digital reality which enables each of us to create decentralised IDs as digital facsimiles of ourselves, or avatars, moving freely from one experience to another, taking our identities and our money with us.
This stands in the way of traditional finance, Web2, and centralized forms of the metaverse. Of course, there is an ongoing power grab by centralised big tech such as Facebook rebranding itself to Meta, Apple’s deep moats, Microsoft, and Google all who aim to keep the metaverse centralised as it keeps these companies in control. But in the end, due to economic superiority and freedom from censorship, decentralised Web3 will win out over centralised Web2 as users have far more control. Web3 enables users to port their creations anywhere at any time as well as composability which enables anyone to build on anyone’s creation thus spurring cooperative creation. At the same time, each user owns their creations.
Much as in the physical world, the digital world is dynamic and ever-changing. Key advantages of a decentralised metaverse include the freedom to transact value in the form of ideas, money, business, and art at far greater efficiencies, privacy, and security without the fear of being globally censored or cancelled. Economic benefit wins the day which is why in time decentralisation will win over centralisation though it may take several years or more for decentralised platforms to dominate. As decentralisation grows, centralised companies may opt to disrupt themselves by decentralising part or all of their platform. Indeed, we see a day where a centralised company becomes a decentralised autonomous organisation (DAO) when the CEO steps down to let the community run the show by way of tokenized voting.
Indeed, human beings have tried to control systems which should be left dynamic such as the economy by way of interest rates and central banks, or people by way of religion, government, and mainstream media (MSM). Blockchain, Web3, and AI working together make a brilliant, bleeding edge substitute as they disrupt traditional, inefficient, costly, and inferior ways of dealing with such complex systems. Together, these technologies make up a formidable, (r)evolutionary force for decentralized technologies as economic and personal freedoms are maximised. Balaji Srinivasan’s latest book, “The Network State”, goes into detail about how this force is likely to develop and become the standard over the next decade as humanity embarks on its next golden age.
Decentralised human beings
Fears that AI will overtake humanity are overblown though in a closed system, such would be possible. AI could entrap a group of humans to their doom either through psychological brainwashing done by a woke or authoritarian leaning ChatGPT giving ideologically deficient answers, or by outright physical quarantine or destruction. But human beings are far from closed and getting more decentralised over time.
The Web3 metaverse turns the social structure of human beings into that of ants. Ants are the most decentralised species on the planet thus are also the most successful. Blockchain is the first technology in the history of humanity that is helping to decentralise human beings. An article explains why decentralisation makes ants the most successful species. Many cooperating create superior results – none of us is as smart as all of us. Web3’s composability spurs exponential growth. Decentralised oracles to decentralised file sharing to decentralised CPU sharing to decentralised <fill in the blank> sharing, the limits are one’s imagination. The Web3 metaverse catalyses this growth.
Ilyas Vali, CEO of rLoop, had to find as many willing engineers as possible if he stood a chance at winning Elon Musk’s engineering competition. He found the solution by attracting engineers around the planet to work on the projects. Einstein once said if you give a person good work to do, they will be happy. The engineers who came forward wanted to contribute by building on other engineers’ ideas.
This resulted in a product that continuously improved in real-time. The engineers even worked for free. This is not much different from platforms such as Wikipedia that attract whoever wants to join. With so many minds working on the problem, the saying cited above, “None of us is as smart as all of us”, again comes to mind.
Decentralised platforms: Wikipedia, et al
It is analogous to how Wikipedia grew so fast, overtaking Encyclopedia Britannica in a few short years in terms of depth and breadth of entries. But earlier on, Wikipedia was criticized for its lack of accuracy. Revolutionary concepts take time to develop. Decentralised human beings around the planet all creating and editing entries on Wikipedia enabled it to eventually become more accurate than Britannica.
Polyamory gained favor among a number of Harvard students because it demands total honesty. Sex is not the issue even though culture wants to make everyone believe sex is the issue. “The problem is the not knowing, but knowing what just ain’t so,” as Mark Twain once said. A person in a relationship can fall out of love by meeting someone that is clearly a better match.
Sex does not need to have happened with the new prospect. Indeed, polyamorous couples admit while each is on top of the other’s pyramid, the reality is that this could change. Both have presumably mastered jealousy which is based on fear of the other leaving or one not being good enough. This leads to the fear of abandonment which is a common fear among many. That said, polyamory is not for those who have yet to overcome jealousy or the fear of abandonment.
If someone much better comes along, it is not simply jumping ship after knowing this person is clearly better. Why not keep both? Organically, the two better suited will start spending more time together while the other spends less. This is socially efficient but remains taboo among the monogamous. In the 1950s, times were conservative. It was sacrilege to divorce. Religion and culture promoted this view. Yet no one says you can only have only one close friend. And no one says you have to eat the same dish or drink the same wine for the rest of your life no matter how good it tastes.
Yes, going deep with one person is key to a meaningful bond but it is not mutually exclusive to having only one such person in one’s life. With a decentralised social life, we can populate the tops of our pyramids with the highest quality bonds and relationships so our social life can look like an inverted pyramid with many meaningful bonds at the top while the negative ones are minimised or discarded. Like legacy banking and central banks, the nuclear family is old school and inefficient and leads to people feeling stuck in their relationships, often because they don’t have the financial means to leave. Once fear and trust issues are overcome, humanity can evolve to decentralised families where kids are raised by not just two parents but by other family members as well as good friends.
Growing up in both the US and Japan, the differences between a centralised versus a decentralised upbringing were massive. In the US, it was just my two parents and grandmother. In Japan, it was countless relatives all within walking distance. The rare times my parents would fight in the US, it affected me because I am an only child. In Japan, if they fought, it was no issue for me. While my parents are amazing and loving people, and I never went one day without feeling loved, I preferred being surrounded by many loving relatives in Japan rather than just a tiny handful in the US.
Blockchains such as Velas and DeSo (Decentralised Social) work at speeds many orders of magnitude above the much slower blockchains such as Bitcoin and Ethereum. That said, layer 2 scaling solutions such as MATIC and Solana help speed up the Ethereum blockchain. Further, bleeding edge technologies such as Nillion aim to solve the trilemma by maximising scalability, security, and decentralisation. Even without Nillion, these other technologies will help the metaverse grow exponentially which, in turn, further decentralises the internet.
Such solutions will pave the way towards a highly populated metaverse where we own what we create. Composability which is a standard feature of Web3 enables one to build on what anybody creates. Open source encourages exponential growth. Being able to port music from one platform such as Spotify to another such as Tidal with its higher sampling rate would be done in an instant. Followers on a decentralized Twitter such as the one being built by DeSo could migrate with you to other platforms. “Have digital identity, will travel”… digitally.
Likewise, being able to port gaming items from one gaming platform to another also will become a standard. With Web2, one’s items are left behind when one stops playing a particular massive multiplayer online game such as Roblox or World of Warcraft and starts into a new game.
At a recent Web3 event in Estonia, it was asked how to attract a sufficient number of users to Web3 to achieve a meaningful network effect that will, in turn, attract other gamers. All it takes is one large gaming company to realize the economic benefits of Web3 to launch a gaming universe built in Web3, This would spur other gaming companies to follow. Gamers would then realize the vast economic superiority of Web3 and start to migrate from Web2 gaming to Web3 gaming platforms which would, in turn, attract additional gaming companies to build in Web3.
I will discuss decentralised autonomous organizations (DAOs), decentralised governments (eGov-DAO), decentralised money, decentralised finance (DeFi), and decentralised identity (DeID) in Part 2 to be published shortly.
(͡:B ͜ʖ ͡:B)
Dr Chris Kacher, PhD nuclear physics UC Berkeley/record breaking KPMG audited accts in stocks & crypto/bestselling author/top 40 charted musician/blockchain fintech specialist. Co-founder of Virtue of Selfish Investing, TriQuantum Technologies, and Hanse Digital Access. Dr Kacher bought his first Bitcoin at just over $10 in January-2013 and contributed to early Ethereum dev meetings in London hosted by Vitalik Buterin. His metrics have called every major top & bottom in Bitcoin since 2011 to within a few weeks. He was up in 2018 vs the avg performing crypto hedge fund (-54%) [PwC] and is up well ahead of Bitcoin & alt coins over the cycles as capital is force fed into the top performing alt coins while weaker ones are sold.
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