Are we still in the metaverse?

“The fact that we are surrounded by a global layer that is there at all times,” Mr. Tehranian said, referring to the Ethereum blockchain, “where there is no central part that determines if something is available or not? ” This, he said, is the antidote to the digital world we already live in – one he describes as a metaverse but “with dictators” (Apple, Google, Facebook).

Its metaverse obeys a particular definition of freedom. “What really matters to me is that you, as an individual, own things,” he said. “Property is a tool. It works. It provides financial incentives.

It may seem, depending on your ideological orientation, more dystopian than utopian. For Mr. Tehranian, it is simply realistic.

“We are always talking about human nature, which is greedy and selfish,” he said.

Indeed, many see the metaverse as a financial opportunity. Mike Winkelmann – aka Beeple, the guy who sold an NFT of his work for $ 69 million – is working on a start-up called Wenew, which will sell NFTs associated with moments in time, creating, in the words of the ‘enterprise, “the Metaverse’s Memory Palace. (Its early offerings include moments from the career of tennis star Andy Murray.)

Despite his interest in the crypto-oriented view of the Metaverse, Mr. Winkelmann’s sense of what he could be, or already is, remains broad. Whatever the metaverse, it’s not just virtual reality, or augmented reality, or blockchain and NFTs, or virtual worlds and games.

“People think of it a lot as that ‘Ready Player One’ thing, or a VR thing,” he said.

“That’s about how close this screen is to your face,” he continued, lifting his phone up to his eyes. “It doesn’t change the fact that a lot of these things are happening in an already virtual space. “

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