The good and the bad of the metaverse

  • Experts in all things metaverse share their thoughts about the advantages and disadvantages of this growing space
  • The metaverse can be a bridge between physical and digital assets, and NFTs have an important role in promoting this function
  • The one danger is that users could spend their entire lives in a virtual reality
  • However, the artificial technology used in the metaverse can help people learn languages, fight depression, and even learn to spend less time gaming
  • Like online gaming, the metaverse will be available to anyone, anywhere in the world

We’ve heard a lot lately about both the good and the bad elements of the metaverse. Two camps have seemingly arisen. One argues the metaverse is a bridge between the physical and digital realities, while others argue the metaverse is trying to replace the real world with a virtual one in which we will all be hunched over our computers for all eternity. 

According to MADworld’s Head of Marketing Jordan R. Heathfield: “The metaverse, necessarily, is a bridge. It's important for those who are creating the metaverse or creating elements of the metaverse to build that bridge, in order to drive scalability.”

Jordan says it’s important to create the type of digital environment that people actually want to be part of. This environment must give them the opportunity to create an avatar of themselves and build the things they want to see and experience. Yet this brings natural concerns over how much of their lives people will end up spending in this virtual space. 

“Most metaverse creators probably want people to be inside this space 100% of their waking hours, and maybe even sleeping inside their metaverse,” he says. With that said, however, he believes the metaverse can bring empowerment, especially when it comes to the way NFTs and digital currencies might be incorporated. NFTs and digital currency help promote the function of the metaverse as a bridge between the two realities, he argues. 

“NFTs are a way for you to understand ownership and value appreciation for those assets that you've created inside the metaverse. In some games, you can buy an asset that everyone has, but, as you play, you can add new elements to that asset. As you add new elements, and as you play more, and dedicate more hours to it, it becomes more valuable. At that point you can sell that on. So, that's a pull for people to spend even more time inside that metaverse.” The Sandbox is a "gateway drug", Jordan adds, but the metaverse will be a lot bigger than the Sandbox platform alone. 

The dangers of the metaverse

Omar Corona, Founder of MetaLabs, contends that there are pros and cons to any new development. “It can be really fun playing a video game. There are kids that get so immersed in these things that they're playing video games for 12 hours a day, and they get addicted to them. When we start to look at the metaverse, and we start looking at VR, AR—augmented reality, virtual reality—it's the next level of immersing ourselves in that space.”

Omar doesn’t own an Oculus VR headset and doesn’t play video games himself, not wishing to find himself so immersed in the metaverse that it would take over his daily life. “If we add in that aspect of virtual reality and augmented reality, it's [probably] ten times [more addictive than computer gaming today]. So I could almost imagine kids never leaving the metaverse. The pitfall [of the metaverse] is people losing the sense of reality.” He warns that this is "the dark side of the metaverse". 

Endless opportunities 

However, the metaverse also brings huge positive developments. According to Håkon Harberg, Co-Founder at WiV Technology, the metaverse can be compared to online gaming, which opened the gaming industry up to almost everyone. “All of a sudden you meet people that you will never afford or have the opportunity to meet otherwise. In that respect, bringing this next layer into this, which is the metaverse, that's a beautiful thing.”

Håkon explains how real-life concepts and experiences, such as drinking wine, can be transferred to the digital space. When you create an NFT or a token for a bottle of wine, the first phase is the digital representation, which is just a static picture, he explains. But he adds “we can actually take it further and create the same bottle, but in the metaverse”.

Quoc Bao Ngo, Founder of MyRealityDAO, sees the metaverse as agnostic, noting everything can be turned into something negative or positive depending on how you view it. For example, he explains that the metaverse and artificial intelligence (AI) could help tackle mental health issues: “In Norway, we have a lot of depressed people. Imagine if they had their own AI friend.”

He also describes what it might be like learning a new language in the metaverse. “Imagine: you have your own AI teacher, she knows how many words you learned and how much you have progressed.”

He adds: “[This AI could also know] about the people who play [games] too much. We can help them play less. We can educate them. All of the negatives can be positive.”

For a full video recording of our Fridays with Yield App show on all things metaverse, visit our YouTube channel.

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