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Meta: what does it mean for the metaverse.
On the 28th of October, Facebook’s parent company was renamed to Meta, a rebrand as part of their push towards web 3.0 technology. With hopes of shifting away from the era of consuming and interacting with technology, their new venture in the metaverse is expecting to enrich interactions with each other, and immerse the users in a world that is much like our own. Mark Zuckerberg has outlined in his founder’s letter that they will be ‘metaverse- first, not Facebook-first’ a significant indication of what they plan for the future.
The Metaverse, coined in Snow Crash, a 1992 sci-fi novel has already been pushed towards by NFT and crypto enthusiasts where aspirations for an open and decentralized world are the expectation. Whether Meta’s plans will align with those of the NFT realm is a question that has been asked, and there does not seem to be a consensus. What we do know is that this is an unprecedented move for the space and one that will draw attention from the mainstream in a much quicker fashion than expected.
Find out more about the chain of events and the Metaverse in this article below.
To understand why the name was changed to meta, first we require an understanding of what the Metaverse is.
It is important to note that the Metaverse is still premature, it is a speculative future reality for the internet. However, the fundamental building blocks are already taking place. Within the metaverse, users will be immersed within an augmented virtual reality. They will be able to express themselves in immersive and interactive ways. The platforms that we use today that heavily rely on users consuming information will be transformed, apps and websites will be replaced by 3D landscapes that the user can interfere and contribute to.
Already, there are virtual worlds within the Metaverse, companies such as Decentraland, Cryptovoxels, and The Sandbox are already enabling users to join these virtual worlds. In the fully functional Metaverse, there is the prospect that users will be able to navigate freely across platforms, a collection of worlds all joined together. We are getting a feel of what the future could look like and it is accelerating every day.
In summary, experience, connection, interaction, and immersion all underpin the ideal metaverse.
Facebook is one of the largest tech companies in the world, and they have been looking to make a transition towards more immersive technology for a number of years. They are hoping to bring their brands with them along the way, and a number of companies will be working alongside them to help them achieve this. With a focus on social connection, entertainment, gaming, fitness, work, education, and commerce, Meta has announced that they are willing to spend billions of dollars to create a fully-fledged 3D world. In the next two years alone they will be making an investment of $50 million, into research and partnerships as well as hiring 10,000 employees over the next 5 years. They are crafting a number of novel technologies to help facilitate a realistic metaverse, including codex avatars.
Although the company will still maintain its individual apps names such as Facebook and Whatsapp, Meta will represent the company, and they have adopted a new trading stock ticker, MVRS starting December 1st.
Despite the impact that this announcement has made, whether it is good or bad is still in dispute, and no real agreement has been reached. Within the NFT and crypto community, members are doubtful that a web 2.0 company can truly take on board everything that they have worked towards by simply taking the name and running with it. Moreover, many see Meta as a threat to an open, and decentralized metaverse, something that is pivotal for the future of the blockchain.
Already, we have seen some of the community fight back against the announcement with fear, anger, and upset. ‘Not my Meta’ has circulated across Twitter with many users changing their profile picture to raise awareness, and as a sign of protest against the prospect of Meta controlling the Metaverse. But why?
Facebook has been under the microscope for a number of years, particularly in response to its privacy violations, vacuuming of personal data, and other security misconducts. As a consequence, they have received an untrustworthy reputation, and many are unconvinced that they will be acting in the interest of the community. With Facebook’s rebrand, they have taken the name Meta, meaning that any reference to the Metaverse also indirectly references them. Evidently, this opposes the hopes for a decentralized metaverse when a multi-billion dollar company owns the trademark rights to its name.
For Facebook, a rebirth was crucial to winning back their audience, something was urgently required to appeal to the younger demographics, an audience that they have increasingly lost since their establishment.
During his keynote presentation, many observed that he displayed a deep understanding of what the metaverse could be, his vision is clear and the company is already building and researching into tools that could help to unlock the next chapter of tech.
Interestingly, the announcement has coincided with a growth in metaverse-related platforms and games. Although they were already on the incline, the meta announcement may have also played a factor in this growth.
With many questions to be considered and many unknowns, the digital world will be watching carefully as developments unfold. It is true that Facebook, Meta, and Mark Zuckerberg have the inventory and accessibility to take the metaverse to the mainstream, but the question is, will they do it the right way. Will it be open, or will it be centralized?
For the NFT and crypto community, the battle for an open metaverse has suddenly become more important than ever.