Blockchains work by coming to consensus on a single global truth that is replicated across full nodes all around the world. They also work by making it extremely hard to alter this truth with strong economic guarantees (whether it be PoW or PoS). Due to these properties, all Ethereum users are part of a shared world in which the state of that world can be independently verified and anyone with a piece of hardware & an internet connection can access this state. Put simply, Ethereum is the metaverse.
The shared state that Ethereum has is its killer feature - it’s what enables the magic of things like yield farming within DeFi, what allows developers to build out “lego-like” constructions, and it’s what allows users to move money around the world at lightning speeds. It also allows people to build up their on-chain identities/profiles using things like NFT profile pictures and an ENS name and then they can use this same profile across all web3-enabled apps. This is essentially bringing what we already have in the real world to the digital one.
Of course, decentralization plays a big part in all of this because without decentralization a single or small group of actors could alter this state and the users may or may not know of this alteration. For example, if a blockchain only has a handful of supernodes running and verifying it, then these supernodes could collude to change the state of the network (usually to benefit themselves). This is the exact same thing an operator of a centralized database can do expect in the centralized database case it is an expected thing.
Due to all of this, if humanities future is truly to live in the metaverse then it’s absolutely critical that the metaverse be built on a decentralized network. There’s nothing more dystopian than imagining a world where we are all interacting with a shared state controlled by a single or handful of wealthy entities that can basically “delete” our existence at any time with little to no recourse. Of course, this already happens on social media websites today, but being deleted from the metaverse could essentially end up being as if you were exiled.
I still think a truly shared game-like metaverse that is occupied by hundreds of millions of people is probably decades away but it’s definetely going to happen. The allure of being able to be whoever you want from wherever you are in the world is too great and with innoative ideas like ‘play-to-earn’ gaining traction there is a real chance that millions of people could be working jobs in the metaverse that they couldn’t get in their real lives (due to where they live in the world, their economic or social status, physical disabilities etc).
I for one am very excited to see where this whacky thing we call the metaverse ends up going.
Have a great day everyone,
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All information presented above is for educational purposes only and should not be taken as investment advice.