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What is the Metaverse? Explaining the Top 4 Metaverses

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Mikey Caloca / ONE37PM

What is the metaverse?

The metaverse is best described as a virtual universe made up of shared 3D virtual spaces that are all linked together to create one massive virtual universe. These virtual worlds contain their own economies and some their own currency, as well as digital assets, avatars, and numerous monetization opportunities.

Overall, the metaverse idea is not new. One of the oldest metaverse dates back to 1993, when Steve Jackson Games was operating a bulletin board system (BBS) called Illuminati Online. Even though this metaverse was a text-based low bandwidth virtual reality system, the metaverse concept has not changed to this day; it has only evolved.

How do you enter into the metaverse?

Visiting the metaverse is simple. First, choose one of the several metaverses available that you wish to participate in. Next, you may be required to get your own crypto wallet along with some cryptocurrency for in-game use depending on the metaverse. Finally, create your avatar name and account before venturing into the metaverse.

In general, entering the metaverse is very easy, requires minimal effort, and is user friendly. Now, you’re likely wondering what some of the top metaverses are and what each one offers compared to the next. After hours of research, here are some of the top metaverses explained.

1. Cryptovoxels

Cryptovoxels is a user-owned virtual world built on the Etherum blockchain that consists of a city known as Origin City. The streets of Origin City are owned by the corporation, whereas the individual parcels are owned by people like you and me. 

In order to get started exploring the Cryptovoxels metaverse, all that you really need is a computer and a steady internet connection. Cryptovoxels does not require you to install an Ethereum wallet or even own a parcel to be able to interact with the world. Rather, simply head to Cryptovoxels.com/Play to start exploring this virtual city.

Along with exploring Origin City, users are capable of creating, buying, and selling their own assets by using the in-game voxel builders, and then trading them on the NFT marketplace OpenSea.

For currency, Cryptovoxels previously had its own in-world currency called $COLR. As of June 2020, however, the token has been announced dead after Cryptovoxels decided to transition into using ETH as their preferred currency for all transactions.

When navigating through Origin City, you will notice that the overall function is smooth and user friendly. You can easily view the explorer while navigating to bring up a list of parcels and events, which you are able to teleport directly to. 

If you are curious about the metaverse and you desire a little taste for yourself, I believe that Cryptovoxels is a great place for you to start in order to get a hang of things in the virtual world.

2. Decentraland

Decentraland is another popular space in the metaverse which is also built on the Ethereum blockchain. In Decentraland, you can purchase virtual real estate known as LAND, which is stored on the Ethereum blockchain in the form of a non-fungible token (NFT).

In order to obtain your own lot of LAND in Decentraland, you need to get a hold of Decentraland’s fungible ERC-20 cryptocurrency, MANA. With MANA, you are able to burn or spend it, in exchange for your own parcel of LAND. A parcel in Decentraland measures 16 meters by 16 meters, or 52ft by 52ft.

If you want to try Decentraland without getting a wallet, that’s fine. You can still roam around the virtual world, customize your avatar, and communicate with others, but you won’t be eligible to receive rewards or attend the various virtual events.

Additionally, it gets even more exciting with Decentraland’s very own marketplace, where you are able to trade and manage all of your digital assets. The Decentraland marketplace allows you to buy and sell parcels, as well as estates of LAND, digital wearables, and even unique avatar names.

3. The Sandbox

The Sandbox was originally developed as a game for mobile devices and Microsoft Windows by Pixowl, and was released in 2012. However, in August 2018, Animoca Brands acquired The Sandbox in order to develop a whole new kind of game—a voxel based blockchain game—where users have the ability to earn from their in-game creations.

There’s more than 166K land pieces available in The Sandbox, which are split in two separate categories: regular land (96 meters by 96 meters), and estates (a combination of several land pieces used for building online experiences).

As for the assets, they are minted in the form of ERC-1155 tokens, which essentially act as a dual purpose fungible and non-fungible token, and are often used for in-game assets. These assets represent user-generated content like game characters and accessories. 

If you couldn’t tell, games represent the core of The Sandbox’s virtual world. You are able to build your own game and assets with no coding skills, thanks to The Sandbox’s easy to use interface. The creation tool VoxEdit, allows you to create your own in-game assets, while the Game Maker lets you build 3D games for free which you can then monetize.

There are numerous means to earn rewards and cryptocurrency playing The Sandbox. All you have to do is play games, make games, and create assets.

The Sandbox ensured that building games and creating assets is easy for anyone to do. After becoming a verified artist through the creator fund, you can export your creations to The Sandbox marketplace and start earning cryptocurrency as a reward for your creative talents.

4. Somnium Space

Perhaps one of the lesser known metaverse worlds right now is Somnium Space, which is advertised as a new virtual reality world that is open, social, and present.

Somnium Space has created a virtual reality world with its own economy and currency, all tied together seamlessly. The platform is available from any device in 2D mode, or you can take advantage of VR technology and really submerge yourself in the metaverse from both your desktop and mobile device.

As far the VR technology goes, Somnium Space allows you to enjoy their virtual world using all of the major VR headsets. In fact, Somnium has partnered with Sony to take advantage of their 3D model creation technology, which permits users to build their own avatar characters effortlessly.

Moreover, Sony’s VR space inside of this special metaverse is the first of its kind! From what I can tell, Somnium Space appears to be extremely focused on scaling their community and offering users the ability to monetize their virtual land and assets.

Something I find exceptionally beneficial in this metaverse is the potential to analyze gaze tracking (measuring where people look), user engagement, and conversion rates.

If this doesn’t excite you and scare you at the same time, I don’t know what will. I believe that the opportunity to build something very user-centric in a virtual environment—and have the option to monetize your creations—is huge!

Somnium Space keeps the community at their forefront with daily meetups, an events calendar, and consistent communication across all their social media platforms. Although Somnium Space may not be the go-to metaverse right now, I’m confident that this community-focused virtual reality world will be one of the top in due time.

The metaverse is new, exciting, and full of so much opportunity. You are able to meet new people, create your own assets, and monetize your creations like never before. Welcome to the future. Welcome to the metaverse.

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