Metaverse perspective: from the past to the future

Summary

  1. The meta universe originated from the Internet, but it is bound to grow into a more magnificent and charming world, but it is too early ;

  2. The development of hard technology has become the biggest bottleneck in the development of Metaverse, followed by the heterogeneous integration of blockchain and the Internet. The above two points will lead to a significant decline in user experience, and it is difficult to form a virtuous circle of “network effect” and “flywheel effect”;

  3. The importance of blockchain to the development of Metaverse is still seriously underestimated. The economic foundation determines the superstructure, and so does the development of Metaverse;

  4. Gamification, entertainment and economy will be the indispensable development direction of Metaverse . However, this development trend does not always bring good results. It will also make deprivation easier and more concealed. Blockchain may be our only solution;

  5. Be wary of false bubbles in NFT assets, and beware of stepping into liquidity traps. Although NFT is popular all over the world, it is also easy to become a pure seller’s market, and it is easy to be controlled by less funds. Once the market consensus collapses, the price of NFT assets is prone to a cliff-like decline until the liquidity dries up;

  6. GameFi’s development prospects are worth looking forward to, but the abnormal turnover and profitability of some projects may not be reproducible .

Lead

In 2021, with the listing of Roblox, the first stock in the industry, the concept of “metaverse” suddenly emerged. “Metaverse+” became a new trend sweeping the Internet, VR/AR, and financial investment circles. It seems that mankind has opened the “interstellar voyage era” of the virtual universe.

All this stems from the helplessness of reality and the desire to explore in human nature. Throughout human history, whether in the “Era of Geographic Discovery” or “Era of Technological Explosion”, the desire to explore has always been the driving force behind human progress. Driven by the desire to explore, mankind crossed the barriers of the ocean and completely conquered the entire earth, and then embarked on an ambitious journey towards the sea of ​​stars, successively landing on the moon and launching probes outside the solar system. However, on the one hand, due to the limitation of the level of astronautics technology, human beings have to stay trapped on the earth; on the other hand, with the global spread of the new coronavirus, people’s daily outdoor activities have been cut off, forcing people to focus on online activities. Thus greatly promoted the popularity of the meta universe. In addition, with the rise of microcomputers, VR equipment and high-speed network technology represented by 5G, the future world depicted in the famous movie “Number One Player” also seems to be within reach.

The purpose of this article is to systematically and comprehensively summarize and analyze the past and present of the meta universe, in order to show readers a panoramic view of the meta universe industry, and will try to describe to readers an exciting future vision based on the meta universe. At the same time, this article will also conduct detailed research and reasoning on the integration of DeFi, NFT and Metaverse from the perspective of the development of the blockchain industry.

Metaverse perspective: from the past to the future

“Ready Player One”, Steven Spielberg

The origin and evolution of the meta universe

1.1 The origin and core characteristics of Meteverse

The term Metaverse is derived from the combination of “meta” (transcendence) and “verse” (universe), meaning ” transcendence of the universe “. The concept of Metaverse originated from the bold ideas of science fiction writers. It was first proposed by science fiction writer Neal Stephenson in his science fiction novel “Snow Crash” in 1992. The article created a three-dimensional virtual world that people can use through virtual avatars. The wonderful cyberpunk world of interaction with software agents or avatars of others. According to Wikipedia, its precise definition is as follows:

“Meta universe is a collective virtual shared space, including the sum of all virtual worlds and the Internet, including but not limited to derivatives or copies of the real world, but not equivalent to augmented reality technology. This term is often used to describe the future iterations of the Internet The version refers to the perceptible virtual universe formed by the interconnection of many 3D virtual spaces that are shared forever.”

Metaverse perspective: from the past to the future

“Snow Crash” novel cover

From the definition of meta-universe, we can use “first principles” to briefly summarize its main core features as follows:

  • Sustainability

    Metaverse is not just a VR movie or a UGC game, but should be a sustainable system that can continuously provide services and content, and the ecology is constantly evolving and enriching, just like the Internet;

  • Immersion

    Meta-Universe aims to build a virtual shared space beyond the real universe. Therefore, Meta-Universe must be combined with VR, AR and even brain-computer interface technologies, with basic holographic sharing, 3D virtualization, low latency, real somatosensory, and real-time interaction. Features such as virtual identity, so as to provide users with a sensory experience that is sufficiently real but surpasses the real world;

  • Openness

    The metaverse should inherit the openness of the Internet, allow anyone to freely access and leave the metaverse, and encourage everyone to create and interact with each other in the metaverse, so as to be able to absorb scientific and technological innovations, financial innovations, and business models. All progress results including innovation and high-quality content, to achieve sustainable ecological prosperity;

  • Economic system

    The economic system of Metaverse is the real finishing touch. Only fair, free and energetic economic rules can inspire users to innovate continuously, accumulate high-quality content, and provide continuous nourishment for the prosperity of Metaverse. It should include two parts: First, it supports an open payment and clearing system based on blockchain to solve the real-time, fair, transparent, and fast P2P payment needs of users in the meta universe; second, users in the meta universe The virtual goods or innovation achievements of the company should be able to be marked and converted into digital assets, and support transactions, transfers, investments, etc., to encourage users to accumulate wealth through continuous innovation.

1.2 Evolution of Metaverse

The meta universe is not a hypothesis out of thin air, but a reasonable imagination based on the level of technological development and the law of technological evolution. In order to sort out the industrial ecology and future development laws of the meta universe more truly and accurately, then understand the historical evolution of the meta universe Path is also an essential basic course.

This article divides the evolution of Metaverse into the following three core components: the Internet, immersive interactive devices and blockchain. Among them: the mature development of the Internet provides Metaverse with sufficient computing power, low-latency network transmission and A large number of virtual interactive environments (including games, movies or online concerts, etc.); immersive interactive devices provide players with a completely real, long-lasting and smooth interactive experience for players to enter the meta universe, which is a bridge between the real world and the meta universe; Chain technology provides a large-scale coordination and organization-based open technical service based on virtual networks, including but not limited to rights confirmation, incentive collaboration, decentralized organization, open finance, etc.

  • Internet: Infrastructure for Virtual Interconnection

The Internet is an important prerequisite for the birth of the metaverse. It not only provides a physical network foundation that integrates network and computing power, but also produces a large amount of original high-quality content (such as games, audio, video, etc.), which actually constitutes the metaverse Infrastructure for virtual interconnection. The meta universe is the inheritance and development of the Internet, and it is the future iteration of the Internet.

The development of the Internet can be traced back to ARPANET in 1969, which is mainly used for data exchange between research institutions. However, it was not until the birth of the World Wide Web in 1989 that the Internet really entered the public’s field of vision through the combination of the World Wide Web and web browsers, and quickly penetrated into people’s social, work, life, and entertainment aspects. Although the Internet experience at the time was very general, it has already shown an unstoppable momentum of prosperity. For the first time, the Internet allowed people all over the world to realize cross-regional and cross-time zone communication and interaction through a virtual network. Therefore, after the birth of the “meta universe” concept in 1992, it became an essential part of it.

Metaverse perspective: from the past to the future

Internet Visualization Atlas (2003), data source: the Opte Project

The above picture is the entire network visualization map of the Internet in 2003. It can be seen from the picture that the Internet has already shown a considerable scale at that time. The picture below is a visualization map of the Internet that was not published in the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) in New York and the first issue of Discovery until 2014. It uses BGP as a data point for presentation. The colors are based on the colors of incandescent lamps. The highest temperature represents the most network connections. It can be seen from the figure that compared to 2003, the connection points and link paths of the entire Internet have seen an explosive growth, and they have evolved from a sparse cosmic sky map to a dazzling and dense starry universe, showing it from the side. The Internet is accelerating its growth and permeating every corner of human society.

Metaverse perspective: from the past to the future

Internet Visualization Atlas (2010), data source: the Opte Project was first published in Discovery Magazine & MoMA

Today, with the miniaturization and mobility of general-purpose computers, and the maturity of high-speed network technology represented by 5G, the Internet has been thoroughly integrated into all aspects of human society through terminal devices such as computers, mobile phones, tablet devices, and smart wearable devices. , And build an important material foundation for the era of globalization of human society. People can already use the Internet to meet almost all living, social and entertainment needs including work, social interaction, entertainment, dining, shopping, travel, etc. At the same time, people’s massive online interactions will precipitate a large amount of native content (UGC content). Further attract offline activities to shift online. At the same time, with the raging new crown epidemic around the world, a large number of offline activities have turned to online, the “flywheel effect” and “network effect” have become more prominent, and the world’s human beings are accelerating into the era of networked and virtualized virtual interconnection.

Metaverse perspective: from the past to the future

The history of the Internet, data source: Tianfeng Securities Research Institute

  • VR, AR and brain-computer interface: immersive interactive experience

The meta-universe is not inconsistent with the ideal heaven or paradise in traditional religions. It is also different from the “Neuromancer” that often appears in science fiction. Instead, it aims to build a lasting virtual shared space while still being able to maintain a sense of reality. Perception and experience of the world. Because of this, the development of Metaverse not only needs to realize the virtual interconnection of players, but also needs to allow players to obtain a real virtual experience, that is, it is necessary to provide players with a realistic and immersive interactive experience to the greatest extent, and at the same time, they must be provided to players. Maintain a sense of the real world. Therefore, the construction of Metaverse also requires immersive devices based on VR, AR and brain-computer interface technology as the necessary means of interaction.

VR technology, the full name of Virtual Reality, refers to a computer simulation technology to create and experience a virtual world; and AR technology, the full name of Augmented Reality, refers to a technology that ingeniously integrates virtual information and the real world to achieve a surreal sensory experience. . Obviously, both VR and AR technologies can become an important part of the meta-universe, and related equipment can provide meta-universe players with an immersive or surreal interactive experience.

Although VR/AR technology can be traced back to the 1950s and 1960s, its key equipment can only stay in the proof-of-concept stage for a long time. It was not until 2012 that the head-mounted VR device Oculus and the AR device Google Glass went online successively, which made these two technologies truly enter the public’s field of vision. In addition, although the brain-computer interface technology is still in the laboratory research and development stage, it has the most imaginative application prospects.

Metaverse perspective: from the past to the future

Oculus Rift helmet, data source: Kickstarter

  • Blockchain: an open and transparent economic system

The Internet and immersive interactive equipment can provide the necessary network foundation, computing power foundation, high-quality content and interactive equipment for Metaverse. However, to truly ensure the long-lasting operation of the shared virtual space of Metaverse, an open and transparent economy will be an indispensable supplement. And this is also the revolutionary value of blockchain.

The blockchain-based economic system can provide Metaverse with financial services including online payment, value transfer and value storage, such as: providing virtual assets, virtual data and virtual rights for users in Metaverse to mark, confirm and verify rights. trade. In addition, a fair, transparent and efficient economic system is also conducive to improving the efficiency of large-scale collaboration among players in the meta-universe.

Metaverse perspective: from the past to the future

The evolution of blockchain, data source: Guosheng Securities Research Institute

The value of blockchain in the meta universe is mainly reflected in the following three aspects:

  • Payment and clearing system

    Blockchain technology originated from Bitcoin, and its design prototype is a peer-to-peer electronic cash system, and the underlying blockchain technology is derived from it: a decentralized distributed ledger technology based on P2P network, its basic characteristics Including not easy to tamper with, open and transparent, P2P payment, etc. In Metaverse, the economic system will become the key to achieving large-scale and long-lasting operation, and blockchain technology will provide Metaverse with payment seamlessly compatible with the virtual space of the network due to its natural “decentralized value transfer” characteristics. And clearing system.

  • Smart contract

    Smart contracts were born in the second-generation blockchain platform Ethereum, which refers to a series of programmatic scripts that are deployed in the blockchain network and can be automatically executed when triggering conditions are met. Due to the openness and transparency of the blockchain network itself, smart contracts have excellent features such as automation, programmable, openness, transparency, and verifiability, so that trusted interactions on the chain can be carried out without the need for a third-party verification platform. Therefore, if the financial system in the metaverse is built on the blockchain, the characteristics of smart contracts can be used to decentralize the contract in a procedural, non-custodial, verifiable, traceable, and trustworthy manner. In this way, harmful behaviors such as rent-seeking, corruption, and black-box operations that may exist in the financial system are greatly reduced. In addition, smart contracts also allow users to develop transparent, developed, and secure decentralized applications, which can be widely used in financial, social, gaming and other fields. In particular, the application of smart contracts in the DeFi field has achieved rapid development, and a number of successful applications have emerged, such as Uniswap, AAVE, Compound, etc.

  • NFT

    The full name of NFT is Non-fungible Token, which is non-fungible token to distinguish it from conventional homogenized token. The former is mainly the ERC721 token protocol standard, and the latter is mainly the ERC20 token protocol standard. The biggest feature of NFT is that it has both indivisibility and uniqueness, so it is very suitable for marking exclusive and indivisible rights and assets, and can realize free transactions and transfers. Therefore, NFT is very suitable for uniquely marking Metaverse World including avatars, personal data, scarce items, asset rights, IP, etc., so as to realize the protection, transaction and transfer of user assets and rights.

The industrial ecology of the meta universe

Up to now, it will take time for the Internet to evolve to the final meta-universe form, but it is still full of imagination and attraction as one of the major development directions of the Internet in the future. Therefore, the world’s leading companies and institutions have long been deployed in all aspects of the metaverse industry, hoping to get a pass to the next stop on the Internet. The following chapters will comprehensively sort out the industry ecology of the three major directions of Metaverse’s hardware industry, content industry and blockchain.

2.1 Hardware industry

In the immersive requirements of the meta universe, users must obtain real-time real sense of body through interactive devices, which puts extremely demanding requirements on the hardware. Therefore, the hardware is an inevitable requirement for the meta universe. Hardware can be divided into general-purpose hardware foundation and special-purpose hardware foundation. General-purpose hardware mainly includes computing power and transmission network, while special-purpose equipment mainly includes VR and AR equipment.

  • General hardware foundation

The general hardware foundation of Meta Universe mainly refers to computing power and network transmission. Among them, network transmission mainly ensures the low latency of user interaction, in order to obtain a more realistic body feel. The current latest technological development is the high-speed and low-latency network represented by 5G Transmission technology; in terms of computing power, the computing power required by Metaverse is almost unlimited, which puts forward higher standards for personal terminals in terms of portability, high performance, and parallelization. Therefore, cloud computing technology has received widespread attention because of its greater scalability of computing power and its ability to effectively use computing power clusters and edge computing resources, thereby lowering the threshold of computing power for personal terminals. At present, cloud computing has already obtained certain applications in the field of cloud gaming, and it is expected to become a powerful computing power support for the meta-universe industry in the future.

Metaverse perspective: from the past to the future

The core technology of cloud games is becoming mature, data source: Guosheng Securities Research Institute

At present, the high-speed network industry represented by 5G has entered large-scale commercial use, and it has also become a battleground for the telecommunication industry of various countries. China has promoted commercial use of 5G since 2019, and has accelerated its construction in 2020. At present, more than 800,000 5G base stations have been built, accounting for about 70% of the world’s total. 5G-related companies mainly include Huawei, Nokia, ZTE, Samsung, Ericsson and Qualcomm.

  • Dedicated hardware foundation

The dedicated hardware foundation related to Metaverse mainly refers to the related equipment that ensures the user’s real interactive somatosensory and immersive sense, including AR equipment, VR equipment and brain-computer interface equipment. Among them, VR and AR equipment are relatively mature and can already be applied to some commercial scenarios, such as 3D movies, 3D concerts, simulated driving training, and online virtual tours.

Metaverse perspective: from the past to the future

Comparison of VR&AR terminals and related companies, data source: IDTechEx Research

However, VR and AR devices are far from reaching a fully mature stage, and they are still unable to provide users with a large-scale interaction and sharing experience that is smooth, stable and durable, and virtual sharing. The reason is that VR and AR terminals are not only complex and heavy equipment, but can only give people a surreal experience of partial senses, and cannot realize the sharing and interaction of all senses. Brain-Computer Interface (BCI) also stands out.

Brain-computer interface technology refers to the establishment of a direct signal channel between the human brain and other electronic devices, thereby bypassing language and limbs to achieve interaction with electronic devices. Since all human senses are ultimately formed by transmitting signals to the brain, if brain-computer interface technology is used, in principle, all sensory experiences can be completely simulated by stimulating the corresponding areas of the brain. In principle, compared to VR and AR devices, a brain-computer interface directly connected to the human cerebral cortex is more likely to become the best device for interaction between players and the virtual world in the future meta-universe era. By then, people will be able to experience the magical world of magnificent imagination in the virtual “Avatar” world through the brain-computer interface without the need for interstellar voyages. At present, the brain-computer interface technology is still in the experimental stage, and the main layout companies include Elon Musk’s NeuraLink, Kernel, Mindmaze, etc.

Metaverse perspective: from the past to the future

“Avatar” stills, James Cameron

2.2 Content Industry

In the Internet age, “flywheel effect” and “network effect” are two important laws that drive the continuous prosperity and development of the entire industry. Similarly, these two laws are also applicable to the industrial development of Metaverse. That is, the content industry of Meta Universe needs to be attractive enough in terms of category and quality to form a “network effect” and reduce the marginal cost of scale expansion; when it develops to a stage where the ecology is sufficiently sound and prosperous, a “flywheel effect” will be formed. Enter a stage of sustained prosperity of ecological self-promotion and self-proliferation of high-quality content. At present, many Internet companies are actively deploying the content industry of Metaverse, such as Valve Steam, Facebook oculus & Horizon platform developed around Metaverse content, Omniverse of Nvidia, and Interactive Physics Engine of Code Qiankun, etc.

Generally speaking, to form a sound virtual world, at least people’s basic needs in reality, such as entertainment, social interaction, and work, must be met. And because Metaverse has incomparable advantages in terms of immersion and interactivity, virtual games that focus on user experience will become the breaking point of Metaverse, and it will most likely become the social and work scene in Metaverse. The main carrier.

It can be said that Metaverse will become the best carrier of virtual games, and virtual games will also become the main content display form for most scene applications (such as art, entertainment and even some life scenes) in Metaverse. That is, all application scenarios in the meta universe will show obvious gamification characteristics. Obviously, open UGC games represented by Minecraft and Roblox have begun similar explorations.

  • Minecraft

Minecraft is a well-known sandbox game, and its first public version was released in 2009. The game provides players with almost unlimited creative freedom, focusing on allowing players to explore, interact and create on their own. Players can use the material blocks and environment units provided by the game to perform various activities including map transformation, building construction, ore gathering, battle adventures, etc.

The popularity of Minecraft is inseparable from the UGC model. The supporting toolkit is used to lower the threshold for players to develop games, reduce the cost of content creation, and can well meet the individual needs of players, thereby greatly improving users’ creative enthusiasm and stickiness. . It is reported that Minecraft has more than 400 million registered users, 12,000 development teams and more than 55,000 high-quality content.

Metaverse perspective: from the past to the future

Official entrance to Minecraft, data source: Minecraft

  • Roblox

Roblox was founded in 2004. It has made a lot of innovations on the basis of sandbox games. It not only provides users with a richer and more comprehensive material library, editing functions and creative content, but also is compatible with VR game creation and provides development-oriented Reblox Studio and Roblox Cloud, a point-and-play gaming cloud platform. More importantly, Roblox also provides financial incentives for players by introducing virtual tokens in addition to content creation incentives. By the end of 2020, Roblox has an average daily active user of 32.6 million, 8 million active platform developers, and millions of 3D game experiences. In 2019, Roblox’s community player MAU exceeded 100 million, and more than tens of millions of creators used Roblox to create. By Q1 of 2021, the platform has more than 18 million game experiences, and DAU is as high as 42.1 million. 7 million developers. Roblox is currently listed, with a market value of over 40 billion U.S. dollars on the day it went online, making it the well-deserved “Meta Universe First Share”.

Metaverse perspective: from the past to the future

Roblox game screenshot, data source: Roblox

All in all, the content industry in Metaverse will be very different from the Internet era, and will be displayed through games as the main body, such as typical games + concerts, games + work conferences, games + graduation ceremonies, etc. For example, on February 3, 2021, American rapper Travis Scott used motion capture technology to use holographic character projection to hold a virtual stage named “ASTRONOMICAL” on a virtual stage built in the game “Fortnite” (Fortnite). The concert attracted more than 10.7 million spectators in just 10 minutes, and the scene was fantastic and magnificent. With the advent of the meta-universe era, new entertainment, new social and even new collaboration models that combine other needs with virtual games will increasingly emerge.

Metaverse perspective: from the past to the future

Travis Scott’s virtual concert in “Fortnite”, data source: Travis Scott & “Fortnite”

2.3 Blockchain industry

2.3.1 Internet Economic System VS Blockchain Economic System

Take Roblox as an example. One of the very important reasons why it has become the “first unit of the meta-universe” is that they provide the initial “Play to Earn” economic incentive model, which allows the game to be added to pure entertainment and social attributes. In addition to profit expectations, its economic system is shown in the figure below. However, this economic system still has a lot of room for improvement. For example, it is difficult for players to directly auction their outstanding virtual assets for cash, and they have the right to interpret the virtual assets they create (including the interpretation of ownership and income rights) It does not belong to the players, but belongs to the platform organization. In addition, the user’s personal identity information and other private data are also held in the platform organization. This problem of the monopoly of the actual control of virtual assets is a great obstacle to the development and prosperity of the meta universe, making it unable to stimulate the player’s desire for creativity to the greatest extent. The solution to all this lies in the blockchain economic system.

Metaverse perspective: from the past to the future

Roblox economic system, data source: Roblox and Tianfeng Securities Research Institute

The innovations of the blockchain economic system are:

  • Absolute rights protection

    It truly grants creators many core rights monopolized by platform institutions (such as virtual asset ownership, use rights, and disposal rights, etc.), and at the same time ensures absolute fairness and transparency of related rights and interests through decentralized distributed ledger technology. This technology (such as NFT) enables users in the virtual space of Metaverse to obtain rights protection similar to the real physical world, and the assets owned by users can be freely circulated, traded and disposed of without being restricted by other third parties. In addition, procedural contracts based on smart contracts can not only provide users with fair and transparent rights protection, but also realize the automation of rights distribution and the need for trustless guarantees, thereby greatly reducing the cost of invisible confirmation and liquidation of various economic activities;

  • Complete financial services

    The blockchain-based open financial ecosystem (such as DeFi) can provide a series of efficient, fair and transparent financial services for various virtual assets in Metaverse, including asset issuance, asset auction, asset mortgage lending, and insurance. This complete set of financial service system will be able to further consolidate the real attributes of virtual items, reduce the cost of economic activities and related content creation, and thereby increase the enthusiasm of all parties involved in Metaverse;

  • Free cross-platform circulation

    In the Internet, virtual assets are actually controlled by mutually independent institutional platforms. Therefore, if cross-platform virtual asset circulation is to be realized, the mutual credit and data sharing between the platforms must be realized first, and the process is complicated and the transfer time is long. , The circulation cost is high. However, virtual assets (including data, works of art, digital identities, etc.) on the blockchain can realize cross-platform free circulation and peer-to-peer transactions on the basis of the same underlying public chain. With the maturity and application of blockchain cross-chain technology and Layer 2 technology, low-cost free circulation of any blockchain assets will be realized.

2.3.2 Blockchain industry ecology

Blockchain technology originated from Bitcoin technology and prospered on the smart contract platform Ethereum. At present, a very comprehensive ecosystem has been formed, such as computing, privacy protection, distributed storage, finance, games, etc. Among them, the open finance marked by DeFi and the games marked by GameFi are not only the most mature and imaginative track currently developed, but also an indispensable part of the coming of the meta-universe in the future.

  • DeFi and NFT

The prosperity of any industry is inseparable from mature financial services. If the meta universe needs to be further developed to “beyond the real universe”, then DeFi applications and NFT middleware are its best partners.

DeFi provides an open finance that fits the characteristics of Meta Universe’s free sharing. It can provide financial services including transactions, lending and insurance to help reduce Meta Universe players’ creation costs and work realization costs.

Up to now, according to the statistics of the blockchain data tracking website DeFi Pulse, DeFi has accumulated a huge amount of on-chain liquidity in the entire blockchain industry, and its total lock-up value is as high as US$8.11 billion. The products are also becoming more complete and mature, covering various financial services such as decentralized exchanges, lending, payments, derivatives, asset management and insurance. Typical projects include Aave, Compound, Uniswap and Maker. Among them, Uniswap has become the first DeFi agreement in history with a total revenue of over 1 billion U.S. dollars.

Metaverse perspective: from the past to the future

The total lock-up value in DeFi, data source: Defipulse.com

NFT, as a kind of “non-homogeneous token”, is a kind of middleware located between the application layer and the blockchain public chain. It mainly provides various virtual assets (including data and works, etc.) related to asset tagging. The rights and interests record and absolute control rights of the company enable users to issue, store, mortgage and transfer virtual assets in a fair, transparent and safe manner. At present, NFT has been widely used in the marking and trading of virtual assets and virtual rights in a variety of fields. According to the statistics of NonFungible.com, the highest weekly sales of NFT on the whole network exceed 375 million US dollars.

Metaverse perspective: from the past to the future

NFT historical turnover curve, data source: nonfungible.com

Take Cryptopunks, the number one native cyberpunk art project, as an example. Since 2017, its total transaction amount has reached approximately US$650 million. Among them, in March 2021, “CryptoPunk #7804” and “CryptoPunk #3100” were sold for 4200 ETH (valued at approximately US$7.5 million). In the “21st Century Art Auction” at Christie’s New York on May 13, 2021, a set of nine PUNK avatars was sold for another $14.5 million. On June 10, 2021, “CryptoPunk #7523” was sold for 11.754 million US dollars. NFT’s ability to attract gold in the field of art is remarkable. For a while, the NFT boom has swept fields including entertainment, games, sports, social, luxury goods, such as Coca-Cola, Louis Vuitton, sports star Bailey, fashion magazine Vogue, etc. Incoming.

Metaverse perspective: from the past to the future

Examples of Cryptopunks works, data source: Cryptopunks

  • GameFi

The core form of the meta universe will be presented in gamification, and the blockchain + game is the earliest exploration of the prototype of the meta universe. There are various types of blockchain games, including chain pet development games, celebrity fan economic games, sandbox games, card battle games, exploration and adventure games, and so on. Here only select some of the classic games for a brief introduction.

Pet development game

The earliest explosive product of this type of blockchain game can be traced back to the pet development game launched by the Dapper Labs team in 2017: the encrypted cat game CryptoKitties. It was officially launched on November 28, 2017. By December 5, the game had accounted for about 25% of the total transaction volume on Ethereum, which once caused serious congestion on the Ethereum network.

Metaverse perspective: from the past to the future

Screenshot of CryptoKitties game, data source: CryptoKitties

Another pet development game Axie Infinity, also created in 2017, has undergone continuous iterations from 2018 to 2020, and has made more significant improvements in playability, user experience, and economic model. The game internally uses the AXS and SLP dual-token economic model to split fuel costs and equity income, and adds combustion deflation mechanism, scholarship system, gold leasing and other models, which greatly increases the funds of the entire game Turnover. In April 2021, the game agreement revenue was only $670,000. Since migrating to the Ronin sidechain in May, the agreement revenue began to blow out, from 3 million US dollars in May to 12.2 million US dollars in June, and Axie agreement revenue reached 166.2 million US dollars in July. In 3 months, the revenue of the game protocol increased 248 times, and at the same time, it reached nearly 300,000 user wallet interactions within 30 days, which is comparable to Roblox’s “Play to Earn” model.

Metaverse perspective: from the past to the future

Axie Infinity game poster, data source: Axie Infinity

Fan economic games

In 2017, after the popularity of crypto cat games exposed the poor scalability of the Ethereum network, its publisher Dapper Labs subsequently launched Flow, a public chain platform developed specifically for blockchain games, and in 2020 Flow After the mainnet went live, the NBA and NBPA jointly launched a fan economy game: NBA Top Shot. The game focuses on the peripheral collection of sports stars. The core gameplay is through the official card package, and allows players to buy, sell and collect NBA official authorized collectibles on the trading market (currently there are player moments moments).

Top Shot launched its public beta in October 2020. At the beginning, it had only a few hundred users, and reached nearly 20,000 active users in January 2021. At the same time, the total transaction volume surpassed CryptoKitties to reach 29.48 million US dollars on January 26. And on February 22, 2021, sales of 45.768 million U.S. dollars will be completed. As of today, its total transaction volume has reached 670 million US dollars.

Metaverse perspective: from the past to the future

NBA Top Shot poster, data source: NBA & NBA Top Shot

Sandbox games

Sandbox games like Minecraft can greatly stimulate the creativity of players, while blockchain sandbox games are mainly represented by Decentraland, Cryptovoxels and The Sandbox, and are based on creative space construction, commercial activities, and artistic creation around virtual land spaces. Features such as social networking. Take The Sandbox as an example. Its core concepts are: play, create, own, manage, and profit, and provide three core suites: VoxEdit, which is used to construct game assets, that is, software for in-game modeling; Marketplace, which is used for trading A decentralized market for game assets; Game Maker, a visual programming tool, users can use to build 3D games for free. Players can participate in the creation, experience and purchase of buildings or games through their native tokens, and ultimately form their self-consistent circular economy system.

Metaverse perspective: from the past to the future

Virtual assets in The Sandbox game, data source: The Sandbox

2.4 The capital layout of the meta universe industry

With the continuous improvement and maturity of related industries such as VR/AR hardware, content, and blockchain, “Metaverse” has quickly become popular in the capital industry due to its broad prospects, which has suddenly attracted the attention of investment institutions and entrepreneurs. force.

Metaverse perspective: from the past to the future

Meta universe market map, data source: Jon Radoff

Chinese investment community

After Roblox, which was listed in March 2021, the market value of the “Meta Universe First Share” exceeded US$40 billion on the first day of listing, the game company MetaApp subsequently completed the US$100 million Series C round called “the largest single financing of the domestic Meta Universe track” Financing. In addition, the code Qiankun, known as the “Chinese version of Roblox”, also quickly received a strategic investment of 100 million yuan by Bytedance. Almost at the same time, the game company Epic Games also easily obtained a new round of financing of 1 billion US dollars. This star company, which has continued to lose money, has even obtained additional investment from Sony for the meta-universe layout.

In the domestic investment circle, Tencent’s layout is more forward-looking. As early as the end of 2020, Ma Huateng called out the prediction of “True Internet”, invested in Roblox before it went public, and exclusively represented its product offerings in China. In addition, Tencent also spent US$330 million to purchase a 40% stake in virtual game engine developer Epic Games, and invested in virtual concert operator Wave, photo and video social application Snapchat parent company Snap, free expression tool Bitmoji and other meta-universe related Industrial enterprise.

Overseas investment community

In the overseas equity investment community, companies such as Facebook, Apple, Disney, Amazon, and Google have already begun the meta-universe industry layout. In May 2020, Apple acquired the VR live broadcast startup Next VR at a valuation of US$100 million. In the following August, Apple acquired the VR technology startup Spaces, which mainly develops VR offline experience and VR video conferencing platform. . Up to now, Apple has more than 330 publicly available VR/AR key patents and 18 VR/AR related mergers and acquisitions.

However, the most aggressive company in the meta-universe industry deserves to belong to Facebook. As early as 2014, Facebook acquired the VR equipment manufacturer Oculus at a high price of US$2 billion, and increased its investment in the VR business from US$5.9 billion per year to nearly US$18.5 billion. Its founder Zuckerberg firmly believes: “Meta universe is the next Internet”. He has invested tens of thousands of people in the company in the VR/AR business, accounting for about ⅕ of the total number of employees. In addition, it has established hundreds of people. The meta universe product team.

Crypto investment community (overseas)

Different from traditional equity entrepreneurship, blockchain-based entrepreneurial projects have lower costs in terms of development, operation and marketing, and through the deep implantation of the blockchain economic system, they can often improve users through economic incentives. The degree of active participation. Similarly, the blockchain-related encryption investment community has greater flexibility in the diversity of targets, investment frequency, and investment methods.

In the crypto investment world, some investment institutions are actually the cross-border layout of traditional equity investment institutions. Take the well-known investment fund Andreessen Horowitz (a16z) as an example. It was founded in 2009. It is not only an early investor in Roblox, but also actively participates in unreal reality games such as Singularity 6, Sleeper, Sandbox VR, Bonfire; Facebook’s virtual reality Investment from many meta-universe-related companies such as Oculus, an environmental technology company, and Supernatural, a VR fitness app. In addition, a16z also actively participates in investment in the blockchain industry through its encrypted investment fund, and its investment portfolio covers famous blockchain projects such as CryptoKitties, Flow Network, Rally, and Opensea.

Metaverse perspective: from the past to the future

The meta-universe layout of overseas encrypted capital (partial), data source: public information & LD Research

The other type of institutions in the crypto investment world are native crypto investment funds, such as DCG, Coinbase, Binance Labs, and LD Capital. Their investment portfolios are mainly concentrated in the blockchain field (as shown in the figure above). Among them, DCG is relatively cautious in its investment in Metaverse related tracks. Its investment portfolio includes Decentraland, Drapper Labs, Bigtime, etc.; while Coinbase and Binance Labs belong to the exchange’s investment institutions, and their investment portfolio is related to the exchange’s ecological layout and marketing. Strategies and operational policies are closely related; however, among all investment institutions, the most active foreign investment fund LD Capital is the overseas investment fund LD Capital. Up to now, its investment cases in NFT-related fields have exceeded 20 projects. Covering all major fields of the meta-universe ecology such as the underlying public chain, intermediate protocol layer, and ecological applications, its investment portfolio includes star projects such as Flow Network, Efinity, Illuvium, Bigtime, Terra Virtua, Alienworlds, Star Atlas, RNDR, and Seascape.

Meta universe: a cyberpunk future within reach?

By combing through the entire development and evolution history of Metaverse and the current industrial status quo, we have drawn the following inferences:

  1. The meta universe originated from the Internet, but it is bound to grow into a more magnificent and charming world, but it is too early. Meta universe may be one of the most beautiful and charming flowers that can bloom on the big tree of the Internet. However, according to the results of this article on the development status of the entire industry chain, although the flowers of Metaverse are beautiful and attractive, there is still a long distance from the final form of the metaverse fruits we expect;

  2. The development of hard technology has become the biggest bottleneck in the development of Metaverse, followed by the heterogeneous integration of blockchain and the Internet. So far, the development of the content industry and the blockchain industry in Metaverse has been unexpectedly rapid, but the current development of Metaverse still cannot avoid the development of hard technology including AI, VR/AR, high-speed networks, brain-computer interfaces, etc. Bottlenecks in the field. In addition, the blockchain and the Internet are heterogeneous systems. How to combine the huge user base of the Internet with the self-incentive economic rules of the blockchain is another problem that needs to be solved urgently. The above two points will lead to a significant decline in user experience, and it is difficult to form a virtuous circle of “network effect” and “flywheel effect”;

  3. The importance of blockchain to the development of Metaverse is still seriously underestimated. Due to the divergence of the blockchain supervision issues among countries around the world, the nascent industry of blockchain has to survive in the cracks of the supervision of various countries, which has led to a large number of technical talents and capital unable to smoothly enter the blockchain industry to further its application potential. Of excavation. The economic foundation determines the superstructure, and so does the development of Metaverse;

  4. Gamification, entertainment and economy will be the indispensable development direction of Metaverse. However, this development trend does not always bring good results. It will also make deprivation easier and more concealed. Blockchain may be our only solution;

  5. Be wary of false bubbles in NFT assets, and beware of stepping into liquidity traps. Although NFT is popular all over the world, it is also easy to become a pure seller’s market, and it is easy to be controlled by less funds. Once the market consensus collapses, the price of NFT assets is prone to a cliff-like decline until the liquidity dries up;

  6. GameFi’s development prospects are worth looking forward to, but the abnormal turnover and profitability of some projects may not be reproducible.

references

  1. Neal Stephenson, Snow Crash, 1992

  2. “Metaverse”, Wikipedia

  3. “The Internet 1991-2021”, the Opte Project

  4. “Augmented, Mixed and Virtual Reality 2020-2030: Forecasts, Markets and Technologies”, IDTechEx Research

  5. “The metaverse: what every early-stage investor needs to know”, Frank Holmes, 2021

  6. “Dapp industry overview:July 2021”, DappRadar, 2021

  7. “Meta Universe: The Next Stop of the Internet”, Guosheng Securities, 2021

  8. “Roblox In-Depth Report: The First Share of Metaverse, the Leader of Metaverse”, Tianfeng Securities, 2021

  9. “Metaverse: The Ark of Game Department Leading to Virtual Reality”, Tianfeng Securities, 2021

  10. “The NFTs ecosystem: 2021 boom & beyond”,Sasha Shilina &        Paradigm, 2021

Produced by: LD Capital Research

Author: James Kuo, VP of LD Capital

Research Assistant: Noise Zhou, yy, Betty, Lightmanben

 

Posted by:CoinYuppie,Reprinted with attribution to:https://coinyuppie.com/metaverse-perspective-from-the-past-to-the-future/
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