The metaverse is a virtual world in which humans can interact and conduct their lives from anywhere. It will bring the joy of the internet to a new level incorporating 'presence' so that humans feel utterly immersed and totally present with their companions in this new world.
Using augmented reality (AR), artificial intelligence (AI) and virtual reality (VR), the metaverse will become a virtual version of the physical world.
Facebook is paving the way
According to Facebook, the metaverse is a virtual environment where you can be present with people in digital spaces.
In its July investor update, the company said:
you can kind of think about [the metaverse] as an embodied Internet that you’re inside of rather than just looking at, and we believe that this is going to be the successor to the mobile Internet.
The way Facebook sees it, we will be accessing the metaverse from a myriad of devices and different levels of commitment.
Within the metaverse, you’re going to be able to hang out, play games with friends, work, create, and more.
This virtual world could help bring individuals and communities together in a fun and engaging way. Long lost relatives could meet up and go bowling or go-karting in the metaverse, and like-minded associates could fully immerse in their common interests.
You’re basically going to be able to do everything that you can on the Internet today as well as some things that don’t make sense on the Internet today like dancing.
Once present in the metaverse, we will each define our personal identities through the use of avatars, creativity and digital objects. The experiences to be had in the metaverse are unlike anything any of us have experienced thus far. Therefore, it isn't easy to comprehend. But the economic opportunities are boundless, and this is unveiling an exciting area of investment.
What does the future of the metaverse look like?
Although Facebook is pioneering the launch of the metaverse, it does not plan to undertake this project alone. Indeed, creating something even larger than the internet will take an endless stream of companies and individuals to collaborate on an exponential scale.
Just as the Facebook ecosystem has led to the launch of thousands of small business ventures, community collaborations, public and private groups, so will the metaverse.
The difference with the metaverse is that humans will feel as though they are living within it.
Mark Zuckerberg, Facebook's founder and chief, recently explained his vision of a world filled with holograms. Indeed, he believes there will come a time when holograms replace physical items such as tablets, phones and TVs.
Building the metaverse will involve the collaboration of creators, commerce, and the next computing platform. It will also require virtual reality glasses and augmented reality holograms.
As this is a brand-new concept at the cusp of a new dawn, the landscape is barren, and anything is possible. We can expect protocols, standards, regulatory frameworks and entirely new technologies to emerge in the coming months and years.
This will be in tandem with new devices, chips, software and a multitude of as yet unimagined virtual conceptions.
How do NFTs fit into the metaverse?
In recent months non-fungible tokens (NFTs) have taken the crypto world by storm and even made it into mainstream media. With some of them changing hands for extortionate sums of money, they’ve caught the attention of the creative masses.
However, their real-world value is widely debated and many see the NFT craze as a bubble set to burst.
In the metaverse, NFTs have more viability. In a virtual world where we are each defined by our avatars, skins, and digital belongings, NFTs fit in.
Companies involved in the metaverse
Facebook's latest earnings call unveiled its new name, 'Meta', and it will soon transition its existing stock market ticker FB into MVRS.
Facebook is championing the arrival of the metaverse, but it is not the only company with this in mind and not the first to embark on this journey.
In the virtual world of blockchain and cryptocurrencies, advancements in the metaverse are already underway.
For instance, Bloktopia is creating a decentralized metaverse built and backed by the Polygon network. Using the world's most advanced real-time 3D Creation Engine, Bloktopia is a Skyscraper made up of 21 levels. People living in this metaverse, 'Bloktopians', will have the chance to earn revenue through real estate ownership, advertising revenue, gameplay, network building and more.
Bloktopia will provide an unprecedented VR experience for the crypto community, bringing users together all in one immersive and engaging environment.
Polygon is a layer two (L2) scaling solution on the Ethereum network that allows for affordable and rapid transactions.
And big tech is also revolutionizing the metaverse space.
China's Tencent is touted as a major player in the metaverse. At the same time, Roblox (NYSE: RBLX) and Fortnite are platforms already providing gamers and developers with an insight into what life might be like as Web 3.0 takes hold.
Disney (NYSE: DIS), with its extensive IP and cross-generational appeal, has a headstart in making inroads into Web 3.0. Then, of course, there are the engines powering these groundbreaking technologies, such as Nvidia (NASDAQ: NVDA) and Unity (NYSE: U).
Is there a metaverse ETF?
The Roundhill Ball Metaverse (META) ETF began trading in June and by September had surpassed $100 million in assets under management. It has enjoyed a further boost in interest since Facebook changed its name.
The fund centers on the metaverse theme, and some of its constituents include Roblox, Tencent, Nvidia, Unity, Facebook, Sea, Amazon, Apple, and Snap.
According to the META ETF deck, the metaverse is enabled by seven key categories:
Content, Assets, and Identity Services
Another metaverse-themed ETF was recently launched by Fount Investment Co., Ltd. – The Fount Metaverse ETF (MVTR). The top five holdings of MVTR are Apple, Facebook, Alphabet, Oriental Land Co, Ltd. And Walt Disney Company.
For investors that believe we will soon be living, working and collaborating in the metaverse, there are plenty of opportunities to invest.