The word is quickly spreading far and wide about The Metaverse. It’s not just techies that are talking about it. Influencers, fashion brands, eSports champions, rappers, and people doing all sorts of nonsense are flocking to this new version of the internet.
There’s a lot going on, but wait...The Metaverse isn’t even finished yet?!
Basically it’s one big, weird-but-exciting mess. Today, we’re going to take a look into some of the weirdest things that are happening in The Metaverse…even though it’s only just beginning.
What Is the Metaverse? A Universe in a Nutshell
It’s pretty difficult to pin down what the metaverse is, since A. it’s a pretty weird thing and B. it’s still evolving and no one really knows exactly where it’s going to go.
But in case you’re new here, we’ll attempt to break it down as simply as possible:
The Metaverse is the next evolution of the internet. Instead of looking at the internet through a screen, you’ll ‘step inside’ to experience it through VR.
The Metaverse aims to blur the boundaries between online and offline experiences, creating a virtual world that we can work, play, and communicate in.
While a version of the Metaverse currently exists, there’s a lot of tech that needs to be built (or even dreamed up!) for its final evolution to be possible.
The Metaverse and Web3 are often confused with each other. Web3 is the next iteration of the internet, whatever it may look like. The Metaverse is a vision for Web3, spearheaded by Meta.
While it’s hitting headlines, and some serious capital is being pumped into it, the concept of the Metaverse is nothing new. (Anyone here ever play Second Life? It’s that.)
If you’re super curious about The Metaverse, here’s the full vision as presented by Mark Zuckerberg at 2021’s Connect conference. (Fair warning…it’s a long video! And it’s essentially a sales pitch for Meta so take it with a grain of salt.)
Weirdest Things That Are Happening In The Metaverse
People are getting married
Thanks to the events of 2020 and beyond, virtual parties, gatherings, and life events like graduation are not particularly surprising. At the height of lockdowns, one couple even threw their canceled wedding on Animal Crossing: New Horizons!
But one of the more recent Metaverse stories hitting the headlines was that of Dinesh SP and Janaganandhini Ramaswamy, a Tamil Nadu couple who got married and hosted their reception in the Metaverse. Dinesh, an IT professional working on Blockchain technology, had the idea of hosting his wedding reception in the Metaverse after his guestlist had to be capped. The virtual setting allowed friends and family to attend from all over the world.
In a normal wedding, guests usually leave with nothing but a hangover the next day. But Dinesh and Janaganandhini’s wedding had specially minted NFTs.
People are buying land for...a lot
It’s no small wonder that digital worlds come with digital land. These are more than just pixels, but virtual spaces that people can use to work, play, sell NFTs, and whatever else they can imagine.
But how much do you think a plot of metaverse land costs?
Back in 2017, when Decentraland hosted its first auction, the cheapest parcel of land cost just $20. As of early 2022, those parcels of land are now worth around $15,000. So unless you’ve made some very smart investment choices, you probably won’t be rushing to build your Metamansion any time soon!
To date the most expensive property purchased in the Metaverse was sold for a cool $4.3 million by Republic Realm, a group of investors.
Snoop Dogg released a music video
Snoop Dog has been a long time backer of crypto and the Metaverse. So it’s no surprise that he’s also behind one of the wackiest things to come out of it so far. But it’s also one of the coolest so far.
Snoop Dogg investment in his own Metaverse mansion, calling it Snoopverse, which has early-access available for $2,000.
You can see his new digital property in a dedicated music video, House I Built.
The video not only shows what can be done in the Metaverse aesthetically, but also highlights the skyrocketing value of ‘land’. Snoop Dogg’s initial investment of $300,000 is now worth 4.8 million! Someone also shelled out almost half a million dollars just to be his virtual neighbour.
But wait, there’s more.
Snoop Dogg was also revealed to be the man behind Cozomo de’ Medici, an NFT collector with an estimated $17 million in NFTs.
People are buying digital designer clothes
How much would you pay for a Gucci bag? How much would you pay for a virtual Gucci bag?
A recent Gucci-Roblox collaboration led to someone shelling out 350,000 robux (roughly $4,000). While that’s far from the most expensive digital asset ever bought on the Metaverse, it’s still an absurd sum for a handbag you can’t even carry!
And that’s just the start of the meta-fashion madness. Influencers and social media content creators have been experimenting with virtual clothes that you can rent to ‘wear’ for your Instagram feed.
Virtual fashion is actually pretty accessible, all things considered. You can pay as little as $20USD for outfits that would cost hundreds or even thousands in real life. Using 3D modeling software, you are able to manipulate your new outfit onto a photo or even a video of your body.
Maybe this feels absurd now but…if people are buying fast fashion items just to post on Instagram before throwing them away, is the Metaverse version really that different? It could even be argued that it’s better, and more sustainable!
People are getting insurance
When you buy an Apple product, you’re offered AppleCare to protect your shiny new possession in case anything goes wrong. If what you’ve just bought costs upwards of €1,000, chances are you’re going to take it. You also literally can’t drive without insurance!
So naturally, with prices of assets soaring into the thousands and the millions, it makes sense that insurance companies are gearing up to provide cover in the Metaverse.
At the moment, it feels a little like getting home insurance for your Minecraft house (though knowing how Minecraft works that’s probably not a terrible idea!) But it makes sense when you think about it. If the Prado and the Louvre have insurance on their art collections, why shouldn’t owners of valuable NFTs collections do the same?
Of course, an NFT isn’t going to face the same risks as the Mona Lisa. It’s not going to have paint flung all over it or burn down in a fire. Instead it faces theft or even deletion. Yes, digital artwork can be stolen too!
Metaverse insurance is a cheeky addition to this list as it technically hasn’t happened yet. But insurance companies are gearing up for it, and that’s weird enough for us!
It’s easy to poke fun at new technology, and the weird ways of using it that people cook up. But any good techie knows that crazy experiments and asking ‘what if’ is an important part of progress.
Sure, this new tech is being used for zany and out-of-the-box experiments, or for making obscene amounts of money, but there are also thinking about how Metaverse technology can have real-world impact.
Educational institutions are imagining digital classrooms, where students can get up close and personal with virtual 3D models of whatever it is they’re studying, and can run simulations to understand tough concepts. Medical professionals are picturing a world where junior doctors can practice complex surgeries in a digital space, putting no patient at risk while they walk through different scenarios.
What we imagine to be possible for this technology today, may not even scratch the surface of what it will be capable of in the future.