Is metaverse the next big thing?

Bisrategebriel Fisseha
12 min readFeb 20, 2022
Horizon Worlds (Meta)

Ever since Facebook rebranded as Meta, there have been numerous discussions and debates about what the Metaverse is. Despite the fact that the concept of the metaverse has been around for nearly three decades, it has only recently become a major trending topic. Let’s break down what the metaverse is and why it’s thought to be the next big thing.

What is Metaverse?

The term “metaverse” is a combination of the words “meta,” which means “beyond,” and “verse,” taken from ‘universe’ which refers to all of space, time, and their contents, including planets, stars, galaxies, and all other forms of matter and energy.

According to Facebook, the metaverse is a collection of virtual environments where you can create and explore with people who aren’t in the same physical space as you.

Consider: what if you could play tennis with your family or friends in France at the famous tennis court Stade Roland Garros, which is located in Roland Garros Stadium while sitting at your home in Ethiopia? How cool is it to be able to collaborate instantly with colleagues who are thousands of miles away as if you were physically present? Yes, you are capable of executing them! And because of the virtual space created in a metaverse, all of these scenarios are right at your fingertips. Using your digital avatar, you can interact with people in the digital space. Furthermore, this virtual universe can be accessed via devices such as smartphones or computers. However, to get the complete immersion experience — specific hardware devices like virtual reality headsets, augmented reality glasses, gaming consoles, etc are recommended.

In simple terms, the metaverse is a shared, virtual and immersive futuristic environment that people have access to via the internet.

History of Metaverse

Neal Stephenson: Metaverse Term Creator

The term “metaverse” was first used in Neal Stephenson’s 1992 science fiction novel “Snow Crash.” The novel is set in a dystopian world in which governments have ceded power to private corporations and contains references to many modern-day aspects of life such as virtual reality, digital currency, and so on. Many movies, including Ready Player One, The Tron Legacy, and The Matrix, have later explored this concept.

The industry has been laying the groundwork for a non-fictional metaverse brick by brick over the years. Virtual reality headsets are becoming more comfortable and affordable. Global internet penetration has been steadily increasing. The popularity of online gaming, which frequently reaches tournament levels, has enabled the creation and execution of sophisticated digital avatars, tradable digital assets, and even digital real estate. This has piqued the interest of major technology companies such as Facebook.

Because there is no single creator (or definition) of the metaverse, it is not something Facebook owns or is solely responsible for developing. Nonetheless, Facebook has already made significant investments in the metaverse via its Oculus VR headsets, and it is developing AR glasses and wristband technologies. To ensure that metaverse technology is developed responsibly, the company announced a $50 million investment in global research and program partners in September 2021.

Following multiple big tech companies’ competitive moves toward the creation of their virtual spaces, the world has recently been hyped about this term. Facebook’s name was changed to Meta to reflect the company’s ambitions to create its own metaverse.’ Microsoft has developed its ‘Mesh’ platform, which supports mixed reality. Nvidia is developing its own versions of the virtual world. And Epic Games, the company behind the video game phenomenon Fortnite, has expanded beyond games to include social experiences such as dance parties and virtual music concerts.

Because metaverse-related technologies are constantly evolving, the metaverse could be the next evolution of the internet.

Building Blocks of the Metaverse

To understand metaverse at its core, we must first examine the rudimentary foundations that form the essence of the metaverse. These are:

Blockchain Technology and Cryptocurrencies: Blockchain is an umbrella term for a number of proven technologies that have been combined and applied in new and interesting ways. These technologies include cryptography, distributed networks with a shared ledger, and incentive mechanisms for network service.

It is a distributed peer-to-peer ledger system that contains immutable time-stamped and connected blocks of data and is operated decentralized by a peer-to-peer network of unaffiliated parties that uses the internet as a network for connecting the individual nodes through predefined consensus mechanisms in lieu of essential authority and by employing cryptography to prevent tampering with the information recorded in it. Imagine a spreadsheet that is saved and runs on billions of computers around the world. Each transaction on this spreadsheet is permanently stored and can be tracked and authenticated by anyone with access to the spreadsheet.

Photo by Jievani Weerasinghe on Unsplash

Blockchain is

  • Programmable(i.e. Smart contracts)
  • Secure — all records are individually encrypted
  • Anonymous — the identity of participants is either anonymous or pseudonymous
  • Distributed — all network participants have a copy of the ledger for complete transparency
  • Immutable — any validated records are irreversible and can’t be altered
  • Unanimous — all network participants agree to the validity of each of the records
  • Time-stamped — a transaction time-stamp is recorded on a block

Blockchain fuels cryptocurrency, a digital world currency. A cryptocurrency is a type of currency in which digital files are used as money. It is a peer-to-peer electronic cash system, and the files are typically created using the same methods as cryptography. Digital signatures can be used to keep transactions secure and allow others to verify that the transactions are genuine.

People can transact within the metaverse thanks to the presence of cryptocurrencies. Despite the fact that the application extends beyond the realm of virtual reality.

Web 3.0

Web 3.0 is widely regarded as the third and most recent phase of the Internet. Web 3.0 is still in its early stages and is not fully defined. The main principle, however, is that it will be decentralized — rather than controlled by governments and corporations as is the case with today’s internet — and, to some extent, linked to the concept of the “metaverse.”

Before reaching Web 3.0, the internet went through several stages. Since its inception by the father of the WWW, Sir Tim Berners Lee, Web 1.0 has been characterized as primarily a mechanism of providing online content and information statically and has practically only allowed users to read information. Later, the rise of social media platforms is generally associated with the introduction of the second phase, Web 2.0. This phase greatly increased interactivity and “frontend” usability, transforming Web 1.0’s statically defined behavior into a dynamic and practically intuitive way to write and read information.

Web 3.0, on the other hand, aims to decentralize the Internet in order to prevent data from being owned by centralized entities. It also emphasizes back-end functionality.

No discussion of Web3 would be complete without mentioning dApps. In short, decentralized applications, or dApps, are the backbone of the Web3 revolution.

Metaverse will leverage the use of Web 3.0 dApps to deliver out-of-the-box decentralized, secured, interactive, and blockchain-based applications that power the world of the metaverse.


NFTs, or Non-Fungible Tokens, are one-of-a-kind cryptographic tokens that exist on a blockchain and cannot be replicated. NFTs can be used to represent physical objects such as artwork and real estate. “Tokenizing” these real-world tangible assets allows them to be bought, sold, and traded more efficiently while also lowering the likelihood of fraud.

In layman's terms, NFT is a unique digital item that is located in the database (blockchain) and guarantees the originality and uniqueness of the item, which guarantees the right to own it. These items cannot be replaced, swapped, or duplicated. A token is any record in the blockchain, which is comparable to an order book, where the time and date, the amount and name of the token, from which and to which account the item was Non-Fungible Token technology and how it works, is indicated. In an open blockchain, all tokens are equal and fungible. This is how the cryptocurrency works: for example, if you replace bitcoin (BTC) with another bitcoin, then nothing will change, but with NFT it will not work.

Twitter co-founder Jack Dorsey sold his first tweet for $ 2.9 million, while digital artist Beeple paid $ 69.3 million for crypto art. There are thousands of such examples, and any user can create his own Non Fungible Token and sell for fabulous money.

What is important to understand here is that Blockchain technology may provide the metaverse’s backbone, with interoperable NFT assets that can be used across different cyberspaces.

Extended Realities [AR, VR, Mixed Reality]

Extended reality (XR) is a universal term inclusive to immersive learning technologies virtual reality (VR), augmented reality (AR), and mixed reality (MR). These key terms seem the same concepts, but they are actually different technologies.

Photo by Jessica Lewis on Unsplash

Virtual Reality(VR) technology uses special goggles to create a simulated virtual immersive experience. Whereas, Augmented Reality(AR) technology blends the digital world with the actual real world and allows interactivity as if the digital elements are part of the real environment through the use of a phone, tablet, or headset. It has different implications in image recognition, and object detection. On the other hand, Mixed Reality(MR) utilizes both AR and VR to blend the physical and digital worlds. This type of XR uses advanced computer technology, graphics, and input systems that allow learners to co-exist and interact with physical and digital objects in real-time.

Artificial Intelligence

Artificial Intelligence, or AI for short, is the ability of a computer or robot controlled by a computer to perform tasks that are normally performed by humans due to the need for human intelligence and discernment. In its most basic form, AI gives a machine the ability to perform a task that reduces human effort by allowing machines to complete tasks without human intervention. At its core, AI’s role in shaping the emergence of the metaverse will be priceless.

How the Metaverse works

Image credit: Future of Crypto in the Metaverse — Procommun

A few months ago, an NFT-based metaverse real estate company named Metaverse Group bought a parcel of land on a virtual real estate platform known as Decentraland for USD 2.43 million. It was the highest ever amount spent so far on virtual real estate.

Joining and exploring the metaverse necessitates a thorough understanding of the previously mentioned technologies and building blocks. However, as most of us approach our first foray into the metaverse, having a good understanding of these technologies does not guarantee a smooth transaction. It’s perceptible that it will leave you perplexed about how to get started and what exactly you’re cable of after your first interaction.

Most metaverse versions, such as Decentraland, require your own crypto wallet and a Windows PC to participate. Then, in order to transform the rudimentary experiences into fully immersive metaverse experiences, additional technologies such as VR headsets or augmented reality glasses are required.

The first step, even before entering the metaverse, is to create an avatar, which is a digital representation of yourself. Depending on the metaverse version you’re about to explore, there will be a plethora of customization options available. After you’ve spent some time customizing your appearance and feel, you’ll want to explore the metaverse to play games, make friends, visit the city, go for a walk, own a house, and so on.

Images credit: Machine Learning and 5G Are Crucial to Scale the Metaverse

Applications of the Metaverse

With a basic understanding of what the metaverse is and why it is suddenly gaining popularity, you must be eager to discover its applications. Because metaverse is a new technology, many people wonder, “what is the advantage of metaverse?” How will you take advantage of the metaverse? How will digital reality assist with real-world tasks? Everything has gone digital, from payments to identity verification, if you look around you. As a result, a digital reality like the metaverse has the potential to transform how people and businesses perceive and use technology. Here are some examples of potential use cases for the metaverse.

  • Unlocking Marketing Prospects
  • Virtual Tourism
  • Web Real-time Communication
  • Virtual Office
  • Virtual Learning Spaces

With an outline of the various use cases available in the metaverse, it is reasonable to identify metaverse blockchain benefits and how they can assist. The various use cases of the technology provide a hazy impression of the potential benefits of the metaverse. If you had asked a few years ago about the benefits of the metaverse, you might not have gotten many answers. However, times have changed, and millions of people around the world now use virtual spaces and digital communication channels for remote socialization. The benefits of the metaverse can enhance users’ existing digital experiences while also introducing real-world capabilities in virtual universes. Here are some of the most notable benefits of metaverse technology.

  • Innovation in Healthcare
  • Exciting New Games
  • Completely New Economy

Pros and Cons

The metaverse, like any other technological advancement, will have advantages and disadvantages. The metaverse is thought to revolutionize our lives by extending the physical world. Some of the benefits following the existence of metaverse would be:

  • A world without limitations in terms of experience
  • Solving remote work challenges
  • New opportunities for business and marketers

On the other hand, cybercrime in the metaverse, security risks, privacy violations, personal data theft, and increased cyberspace criticisms or the downsides.

Metaverse Fun Facts

Professions are on the rise in the metaverse — With the metaverse increasingly on the rise, various tech professions may begin to find greater demand such as programmers, designers, ecosystem developers, and even cybersecurity professionals. Furthermore, the metaverse also opens up opportunities for new positions and professions in the future.

Virtual real estate starts to become a trend — Recently, land in the Decentraland online world was sold for $2.4 million. So, this is another trend that is emerging with the arrival of the metaverse.

Do we have the Metaverse already? — Yes, and no! The technologies that will likely make the Metaverse a reality in the future exist. Examples of these technologies are VR and AR. People might buy and sell things in the Metaverse using cryptocurrencies, and cryptocurrencies exist.

Future of the Metaverse

The metaverse has transitioned from literary text rumination to limitless tech reality in the last year. The concept continues to elude both casual observers and industry veterans, not least because the companies building the metaverse claim it will take years and billions of dollars to realize. The metaverse, on the other hand, will become more concrete in the coming year as it strives to fulfill its promised potential. To advance to the next stage of development, players in the space will need to address innovative experiences, in addition to the security and privacy prospects.


Regardless of the potential positive effects, the metaverse can have on society, its dark side outweighs its purpose. This raises critical questions such as, “Will it really improves our lives on the internet?” Is the metaverse safe? And a slew of other inquiries that tend to leave at the worst-case scenario. Children, in particular, are likely to be exposed to sexual, racist, and extremist views and content. Sexual harassment is also a problem for them.

Furthermore, the real issue with these negative consequences stems from the impossibility of stopping such actions and regaining control. People believe that because these virtual spaces are not safe to explore, they can really mess with teenagers’ minds, according to experts. And these ideas are now regarded as a profit tool by tech companies, with no regard for societal improvement.

As Andrew Bosworth, Meta’s Executive entails the question raised “Can the metaverse be regulated?”

Policing user behavior at any meaningful scale is practically impossible

Therefore, the metaverse will have a negative impact on the world we live in and is definitely not the future for humankind unless corrective measures are taken.

For further reading, refer to these resources.

Metaverse Meaning — What is this New World Everyone’s Talking About?

Metaverse — Explained in layman’s terms

The Metaverse Explained: What It Is And How It Works

The Pros & Cons Of Metaverse

Metaverse Use Cases And Benefits

Gravitas Plus: The Metaverse Explained



Bisrategebriel Fisseha

Tech enthusiastic, passionate, and persistent software engineer who loves to explore skills required in the industry.