Metaverse — The Buzz word

Metaverse — The Buzz word

The convergence of the digital and physical world.

Metaverse could be the next digital revolution that would change our lives. It is a convergence of the digital and the physical world, or a parallel digital universe that creates a platform for users to meet, work, game, and socialize in a multidimensional space. It is the future iteration of the internet, read on and learn about the meaning of metaverse, its use cases, and the risks associated with it.

Decoding metaverse

Metaverse is a vast concept and there is no fixed definition to it. It’s simply a concept of 3D virtual space supported by augmented reality(AR), virtual reality(VR), 5G, blockchain, AI, robotics, and more.

The concept was coined in the science-fiction novel Snow Crash by Neal Stephenson. However, while the idea of a metaverse was once fiction, it now looks like it could be a reality in the future.

Metaverse is a simulated reality where users can create a digital avatar of themselves, socialize and work with other people with a more realistic experience (with the help of AR/VR sets). They can own digital assets such as digital land as NFTs, attend events, and more. It is backed by cryptocurrencies and blockchain technology which enables users to transact and store data, for eg: A user can purchase a piece of land as NFTs on Decentraland, a virtual world browser-based platform, via the MANA cryptocurrency, which uses the Ethereum blockchain.

Use cases

This wave of new technology creates an unlimited opportunity for brands that concentrate on user experiences and customer engagements. Some of the use cases of a metaverse in the physical world are:

a. Real-estate: Real estate giants can also create virtual replications of their projects and use metaverse platforms to showcase and market their properties with real-life experience to buyers at distant locations.

JP Morgan became the world’s first bank to enter the Metaverse when it created a virtual JP Morgan lounge called the ‘Onyx Lounge’ in the popular blockchain-based world Decentraland.

b. Education: Educational institutions have also identified the potential for bridging communication gaps with metaverse. Universities have been using online platforms such as Minecraft and Second Live for improving the learning experiences. In addition, VR simulations in the metaverse could help students in architecture and medicine practice their skills

c. Virtual Travel: With the help of the immersive experience that metaverse provides the users can explore destinations without physically traveling. The foremost difference between visiting a location in person and watching them on video is the first-person point of view. The metaverse, through virtual reality (VR), and augmented reality (AR) could come together for creating an immersive digital environment.

Risks associated with Metaverse

a. Financial risks: With digital risks already being high, especially for vulnerable groups, safety risks could be more prevalent in the metaverse. So a thorough risk profiling must be done before making investments in any of the digital assets associated with cryptocurrencies, blockchain, or metaverse at large.

b. Data privacy: With the already existing concerns of data privacy and with social media giants like Facebook (Now Meta) participating in the mining of user data, the scale of personal data collected is unmeasurable. The information collected through virtual reality is biometric ( voice, fingerprints, behavior)

c. Lack of regulation: Considering that metaverse is not regulated and governed by any centralized authority, the regulatory vacuum created might result in major problems, such as privacy concerns or legal battles over intellectual property rights. Also, there are hazards associated with profit control and taxation.

The bottom line

The concepts of the metaverse continue to evolve very quickly. It is the next big technology platform, attracting online game makers, social networks, and other technology leaders to capture a slice of the nearly $800 billion market opportunity. However, with great power comes great responsibility and the ownness is on the big tech giants to create a secured ecosystem that is beneficial to the masses.

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Metaverse — The Buzz word was originally published in DataDrivenInvestor on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.