A metaverse is a combination of a virtually expanded physical reality and a physically stable virtual space, allowing users to perceive it as one or the other.
First used in 1992 in the science fiction novel Snow Crash (Avalanche), this term consists of the prefix “meta”, meaning “beyond”, and the root “verse” in the word universe, which translates as “universe”.
Simply put, the metaverse can be understood as a shared virtual space that resembles our perception of the physical world. For example, players can buy virtual assets such as land and vehicles, chat with friends, attend events and much more of other real life activities in this digital world.
Given the current limitations of technology, the full potential of the metaverse is still unknown. However, non-blockchain metaverses have been around for many years.
As an example, open-world games such as The Elder Scrolls Online and Minecraft can be cited. These video games combine with a virtual space that resembles reality to give players the opportunity to experience emotions that are somewhat indistinguishable from reality. Recently, some have increasingly argued that the primitive metaverse should include social media platforms such as Twitter and Facebook.
Regardless, there is one significant difference between the old and new metaverses — the level of decentralization. If the developer of the centralized digital world decides to cease its activities, then all players will lose their accounts, as well as all valuable game achievements and assets.
In addition, a centralized platform that is not based on blockchain usually gives moderators unlimited powers to change data, making them practically “gods” in the digital world.