Can the Metaverse exist without blockchain?

metaverse blockchain
metaverse blockchain

Does the Metaverse need to be on a blockchain?

Blockchain-based solutions have seen financial, legal, gaming and social applications, albeit at a relatively small scale over the last few years. However, whether the blockchain infrastructure layer will be a must-have for the growth of the Metaverse narrative remains unanswered.

The answer to that question depends on how we define the Metaverse. Some definitions of the Metaverse focus only on its experiential elements. The word Metaverse often makes us imagine wearing a virtual reality (VR) headset and going through an immersive experience in a virtual world.

This is not all wrong, but it is an incomplete definition of a Metaverse. The Metaverse is expected to be a futuristic version of the internet. That is a great vision, but why do we need a new internet? The answer to that lies in the answer to another question — do we need blockchain for the Metaverse?


Why do we need a new internet?

Our current internet is inadequate. Incentives are skewed toward a limited set of stakeholders, creators get exploited and users have very little control over their data. Can the new version of the internet change that?

The internet has been built and evangelized through applications like Google, Meta (previously Facebook), Instagram and Amazon. These applications deploy several techniques to grab users’ attention, and monetize that when they have it. Despite creating monetizable value through these apps, users get a very tiny slice of the value accruing to them.

Even when users who have created value receive very little money, the applications that grabbed the users’ attention have generated wealth for themselves and their shareholders — several trillion dollars. The internet must be more inclusive for this to change.

This is not because of the applications, themselves, but because they were bred in a capitalist ecosystem. Here, the winners take all the value and the wealth. It is okay for this to happen with the new internet, as long as “winners” has a more inclusive definition.

The other key challenge with the current internet is the exploitation of content creators. The internet has left us overfed with content. Yet even high-quality content creators seldom get paid their due. The platforms and intermediaries that offer web-shelf space to these content creators make most of the money. This needs to change; the internet must be more creator-friendly.

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