Words like ‘Metaverse’ and ‘Blockchain’ can be very frustrating to hear when it comes to everyday life.
Mainly, because it seems like it’s hard to understand what these things are. Even as a self-proclaimed nerd like me, the meanings behind these words seem to change or evolve without notice.
The main question is this… What is all this? And do I really need to worry about it?
CENNZnet CEO Nicole Upchurch breaks it down simply for us mere mortals to understand on more of a “need to know” basis. Let’s drain the nerd juice and get to the ones and zeros.
“A lot of people are stuck in that position where they don’t necessarily understand a lot about blockchain,” Upchurch said.
“We’ve been working for the last five years on building the future of the Internet. We call it Web 3.0. And CENNZnet makes the infrastructure layer, we’re the foundation layer on which people build these new applications for the metaverse.”
There are those damn words again… Let’s delete them one by one. What does someone like you or me need to know about what a blockchain is…
Upchurch told Today FM that you can think about it to the same extent that you think about broadband… which isn’t that much at all.
“I don’t know much about my broadband. I know it offers this internet interaction that I have. I know copper is old and slow. I know fiber is super fast…all I need to know is fiber broadband It will give me speeds that will keep me and my kids from complaining.
“And the same with blockchain. You don’t need to know all the ins and outs of what blockchain is and does.
“What you need to know is that we’re moving into a world where instead of having really big conglomerates like Facebook and Amazon and Google, which are really centralized entities, we’re moving into a world that’s more about community engagement and everyone who uses this new metaverse can weigh in or interact with it or build on it.”
In short, blockchain technology helps decentralize the internet from our current Silicon Valley overlords.
It’s important to understand that this is in reference to how it works in conjunction with the metaverse (we’ll get there in a second) since blockchain technology is also used as a kind of public ledger for cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin… but we won’t. go there for now.
Here’s an obvious question… why would the owner of Meta (the company that used to be Facebook), Mark Zuckerberg, invest billions of dollars in a project that could ultimately reduce his power and influence? Or would it increase your reach to new levels?
It’s hard to say now. The important component of this train of thought is understanding that Zuc isn’t “building the metaverse” but rather trying to get as far into space as possible before everyone else.
Think about how you always go to Google to surf the Internet. Google doesn’t own the Internet, or the vast majority of websites you can navigate through Google… but they are a major (if not the biggest) player in your daily Internet usage. That’s what Zuckerberg wants for Meta… to pioneer the technology to plant a firm foothold in the digital realm.
I’m constantly racking my brain trying to find the simplest way to explain the metaverse (considering there seem to be multiple theories on this) and in my opinion this is the simplest thing I can do.
Think of the internet… but in 3D.
That may be overly simplistic, but an answer that I hope will satisfy most.
To expand a bit, think about everything we do with the Internet. We work, we socialize, we listen to music, we play games, we argue, and we go down rabbit holes of conspiracy theories and YouTube tutorials on how to build a birdhouse… it’s all there.
The vision of the metaverse (I know I’m starting to hate that name too) is to bring our current use of the technology we have to a more integrated extension of our everyday lives, through augmented and virtual reality.
Augmented Reality: Imagine a pair of sunglasses (or a digital implant) that could identify the species of snake that just bit you. You are on vacation in Australia and you were checking your work emails, with your sunglasses, while looking at the clouds. The high-tech Oakleys tell you what antidote you need…and maybe also alert a nearby ambulance as they scan the ground for more snakes.
Virtual reality: you put on a headset… you’re the snake (in a fully digital world like a video game, or like Tron for 80’s kids).
Now, imagine using these virtual and augmented interfaces in the same way that you use a computer, TV or smartphone now. Bam. That is the metaverse.
Here’s everyone’s big fear… that we all end up walking around with big, clumsy VR headsets strapped to our faces, forever living in a fake digital world while the real world around us fades away. Of course, these concerns are valid, although you shouldn’t worry so much.
Upchurch said a gradual evolution will occur, as time and technology change the way we live our lives.
“I have little kids. I don’t want them all of a sudden to be 24/7 in this virtual world, but they’ll find this is coming even now with baby steps into the metaverse. And it’s not like it’s going to suck you in. and all of a sudden you’re never going to connect with another person.
“It’s about creating this more immersive experience for people. So my kids…Minecraft, Roblox, Fortnite, they’re all already going into that metaverse world because you’re going into a game, you’re exploring, you’re taking your assets, are you buying masks or whatever.
“But for non-gamers like me, I started running in the new year (New Year’s resolution) and got an Apple Watch that tracks my heart rate and could map where I’ve gone.
“I have my headphones on and I’m listening to a podcast, and then I come home and share it with people because I want to be responsible, and I have a group of people who will do it with me.
“It’s already us dipping further into digital technology to enhance our experience. That’s already one step into the metaverse, a very small one.”
In short, one day you will navigate 3D spaces in the same way that we navigate 2D spaces now. Some of these 3D spaces will provide a lot of value, making the owners a lot of money, others… not so much.
But the value, technology, and new avenues of creativity and productivity are virtually endless (pun intended) and those who blaze new trails in the metaverse will likely be rewarded for it, in the long run.
For now, it’s best not to think too much, just keep an eye out for new technologies, digital avenues for making money, and software that enhances daily tasks, and you’ll see the metaverse coming.