The term “Metaverse” is not a new one. A 1992 science fiction novel titled “Snow Crash” written by Neal Stephenson is the first recognized use of the term. In that novel, Stephenson depicted a world where humans used their digital embodiments to explore a new virtual world based on a more advanced and futuristic version of the internet. It was to serve as a form of escape from the reality of the times.
Nearly thirty years after this novel was published, there is nothing fictional about the concept of the Metaverse anymore. The Metaverse is now a reality, thanks in no small measure to the COVID-19 pandemic and the crushing lockdowns that shut down almost every outdoor human activity for months on end.
Companies such as Facebook (now Meta), Roblox, and several online gaming companies are racing to construct their versions of the Metaverse. Stephenson himself is now part of a startup trying to bring his ideas into reality.
So what is the Metaverse?
The Metaverse is a new decentralized form of the internet that will allow people to interact, work, play, study, and transact in a virtually interconnected platform. Simply put, the Metaverse is a next-generation internet interface that will allow humans to do everything they do right now in physical form, in a virtual format.
The Metaverse meaning will differ, depending on who you talk to. But what connects these varying interpretations and definitions is the recognition that the Metaverse will be based on Web 3.0, which is the next generation internet that combines the principles of decentralization, digital ownership and openness. Web 3.0 is an evolution from the present-day Web 2.0, which though quite interactive, is still subject to centralized control, censorship and in many ways still restricted along geographical lines.