According to many Metaverse enthusiasts, it’s the next big thing since the internet. It’s going to revolutionize online presence. It’s the next giant technological leap that will merge blockchain technology, cryptocurrency, AR, and VR. It’s going to replace our current internet.
But these claims are not entirely accurate.
The Metaverse will not replace the internet. The Metaverse will use the internet to provide services. For example, Blockchains, YouTube, and Facebook haven’t replaced the internet; instead, they’re products that use the internet.
Metaverse is not an isolated virtual world. But a collection of virtual universes with interconnectivity, interoperability, and universal device support.
Universal device support is crucial. We don’t specifically need a VR or AR device to access Metaverse. Any smartphone, PC, game console, and tablet will allow us to enter the Metaverse.
If a product isn’t helpful enough, the VR will not make it more useful. For example, watching films in a theater is a great experience compared to watching in our home. But if the movie is poorly made, the theater will not transform the movie into a blockbuster film.
Therefore, if an app or service isn’t helpful, Metaverse will not transform it into a valuable product. And if the Metaverse is full of valueless products, it will fail to become mainstream.
Whether a product will be successful or not depends on three things:
- Do the products save our time and money?
- Does it reduce our physical work?
- Is it better than existing products?
The way Metaverse is presented by Mark Zuckerberg and other CEOs is unappealing. For example, according to Mark’s vision, the Metaverse is a virtual world where people would hold office meetings, meet friends, attend concerts, shop, socialize, etc.
If this is the idea behind Metaverse, then it’s no different than current Second Life, VRChat, Fortnite, and other virtual reality products. Moreover, these products are popular only among a niche community.
Mark Zuckerberg believes that the Metaverse will be the successor of the mobile internet. He thinks it will replace most real-life activities such as online meetings, social gatherings, etc.
But shopping or meeting in a virtual world doesn’t save time or reduce our physical work. Amazon, Zoom is better for these activities.
Facebook, Twitter, and other social platforms are places to meet and exchange ideas with others. They accomplished a purpose but didn’t replace our real-life meetings, discourse, education, etc.
YouTube, Amazon, Yahoo, Facebook, Reddit, etc., are internet companies, but they aren’t the internet. The Metaverse will serve its purpose, but it will not replace our existing websites and apps.
Many thought that Garmin — a GPS device maker — would go bankrupt once Google Maps became available for phones. But it never happened. Garmin is still in business. It’s because ships, aircraft, RVs, trucks, boats need a particular type of GPS map that Google Maps doesn’t deliver.
Metaverse will not improve every online activity. If it becomes a reality, it will serve a unique purpose but not replace the internet. Many things will be easier and faster on a website than inside the Metaverse, such as browsing web pages, sending an email, or text message. In these scenarios, a VR or AR application complicates the process.
However, the Metaverse will have many helpful use cases. For example, an AR device can help in many ways:
- During driving, AR devices can project the navigation directly onto roads.
- While shopping in a store, AR devices can show useful critical information about a product.
So, Metaverse will not replace our current internet services, but it will open up more new use cases that many are not aware of.
Blockchain and cryptocurrency are another part of Metaverse.
The impact of blockchain is not as prominent as many thought it would be in the past. The vision was that one-day crypto would change the entire monetary system. We will become less dependent on fiat currency. But it didn’t happen.
If a person has $1, then he has $1. But, in crypto, we regularly compare it to fiat currency. We think Bitcoin is valuable because it’s expensive, not because of its functionality. Moreover, investors are only holding Bitcoin, Ethereum for profit.
The blockchain is nothing but a distributed database system. It’s also not 100% secure contrary to popular belief. For example, the Bitcoin network is susceptible to a 51% point of attack. Similarly, other blockchains also have vulnerabilities.
Blockchains are not anonymous either. If government agencies want to track a user, they can easily do so, and here’s how.
Everyone needs an online account to buy and sell cryptocurrencies. The companies that provide these accounts, such as Paypal, Coinbase, Binance, will cooperate with government agencies if it needs to. Thus, if regulators want to track a single transaction, they will follow the company that helped that account holder cash in or cash out the cryptocurrency in fiat currency.
Once, the silk road was thought to be anonymous and was famous for illegal activities. They used Bitcoin for all their transactions. But the FBI tracked down every transaction and its owner. If regulators could do it before, they could do it now.
Therefore, many are overestimating the impact of blockchain, VR, and AR.
Metaverse and the internet are entirely different products. Metaverse uses the internet to provide its services to users. For example, Netflix is a streaming platform, Google is a search engine, and Gmail is an email provider. They used the internet to render their services but didn’t replace it.
Is Metaverse a Hype?
Metaverse is hype for three reasons. It’s not solving any existing critical problem, doesn’t improve or make our lives easier. Learn more here.