7 Essential Ingredients of a Metaverse

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

Property rights

  • 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

Self-sovereign identity

  • 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

Openness/open source

  • 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.

Community ownership

  • 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

Social immersion

  • 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.

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