What is a metaverse?
- There are two competing visions for how to bring this about
- One is decentralized, generous with property rights and new frontiers, interoperable, open, and owned by the communities that build and maintain it
- The other is centralized, closed, subject to the whims of corporations, and often extracts painful economic rents from its creators, contributors, and inhabitants
- This is the overarching principle of a proper metaverse, and many of the traits that follow depend on or result from this main concept.
- Centralized platforms tend to start friendly and cooperative to attract users and developers, but once growth slows they become competitive, extractive, and zero-sum
- The strongest way to protect against abuses and secure a metaverse is to ensure that control is decentralized
- When you buy something, you own it
- Just as courts of law uphold these rights in the physical world, so should code enforce it online.
- Metaverses turn digital serfs into homesteaders
- True digital property rights weren’t possible before the advent of cryptography, blockchain technology, and related innovations such as NFTs
- You can’t own anything if you don’t own yourself
- Authentication is about identity: proving who a person is, what they have access to, and what information they share
- The cryptography at the core of web3 enables people to authenticate without relying on intermediaries, so people can control their identity directly or with the help of services they choose
- The ability to mix and match software components like lego bricks
- Every software component only needs to be written once and can thereafter simply be reused
- In their strongest form, composability and interoperability are possible permissionessly across wide ranges of the software stack
- Anyone can adapt, recycle, change, or import existing code
- True composability is impossible without open source, which is the practice of making code freely available and able to be redistributed and modified at will.
- Openness leads to more secure software, makes the economic terms more knowable to all parties, and eliminates information asymmetries.
- All stakeholders should have a say, proportionally to their involvement, in the governance of the system
- DAOs allow for communities that are governed, built, and driven forward by their users, rather than by a single entity
- The philosophical implications of this are crucial to the success of the metaverse
- A metaverse does not have to exist in VR/AR. All that’s necessary for a metaverse to exist is social immersion in the broad sense.
- Metaverse has nothing to do with “view” modalities – the tools you use to see the metaverse. The development of an ideal multi-dimensional virtual world will come about gradually.