As I’m sure you’re all well aware of by now, Facebook announced yesterday that they are changing their name to Meta and will be focusing on building a virtual-reality metaverse. If you’ve been paying attention lately this news shouldn’t really come as a surprise - Zuck has been talking about the metaverse for a little while - but it’s basically now an official showdown between centralized companies like Meta and decentralized ecosystem’s like Ethereum to build and scale the metaverse to the world.
I think that Brendan’s tweet above perfectly encapsulates exactly how this battle is going to play out over the coming years. It’s very unlikely that Meta will relinquish control over their platform and allow anyone to build whatever they want on it. On the other hand, the Ethereum network is completely open, decentralized, permissionless and censorship-resistant. Also, due to Ethereum’s permissionless nature, no central party can remove or alter a developers code once it’s deployed to the network - obviously this doesn’t apply to centralized platforms. Related to that, something that Facebook is famous for doing is shutting down or restricting APIs which effectively killed off many apps that had been built on the Facebook platform - this is extremely unlikely to happen to developers on Ethereum.
One positive thing that Facebook’s rebrand does do for this ecosystem is basically validate the entire “metaverse” concept to the mainstream world and, by extension, validate what builders have been doing in Ethereum for years. For Facebook to not only put their weight behind metaverse products/services but also change their entire company name to something in-line with it is a strong signal that should not be ignored (whether you like the company or not). Yes, it’s going to be mostly closed-off and centralized, but it implants the idea of the metaverse into people’s minds so that they are more familiar with it once they onboard onto the decentralized alternatives.
Now, don’t get me wrong, this fight is not going to be easy to win given Meta has billions of users across Facebook, Instagram and WhatsApp but what Ethereum currently lacks in users, it makes up for in openness. Developers and users will simply have much more freedom to do whatever they want in the open metaverse and they will also not have to worry about the risk of their assets being unilaterally seized by a central party that controls the entire underlying platform. Building on an open platform also appeals to the more ideologically inclined developers that will quite literally never touch something like Meta - let alone build on it.
All in all, the battle that crypto has been fighting since the genesis of Bitcoin has been centralized vs decentralized and I’d say that crypto is definitely on the winning path (at least currently). People inherently don’t want to feel like they are being oppressed or controlled by a central party - especially not by someone like Mark Zuckerberg - so my bet is that many will reject Meta in favor of open alternatives built on public blockchains like Ethereum. Though we shouldn’t just rest on our laurels and act like an open metaverse is guaranteed to happen - we all need to work hard to ensure that we can out-compete the centralized entities that would have the metaverse turn into a Matrix-like world that they control.
So let’s fight back and build the open metaverse.
Have a great weekend everyone,
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All information presented above is for educational purposes only and should not be taken as investment advice.