As the virtual world develops, the metaverse is slowly but surely taking shape. The metaverse is a collective, virtual space that has been created by the convergence of physical and digital realities. It’s a decentralized space too, not owned by a single company or vendor. In this way, the metaverse revolves around an independent virtual economy that’s powered by cryptocurrencies and non-fungible tokens, or NFTs.
The metaverse is an innovation that has been achieved as a result of the convergence of multiple technologies required to make it work. These include virtual reality headsets, augmented reality, flexible work styles, head-mounted displays, AR and VR clouds, the Internet of Things, artificial intelligence, spatial technologies, 5G networks and, perhaps most important of all, the blockchain.
Such technologies have come together to create the next version of the internet, which began life as a network of independent, static online bulletin boards. The metaverse represents the next stage of their evolution, as those static sites transition to become virtual shared spaces than anyone can experience.
And if you thought the metaverse was something that might only mature in the far-flung future, think again. The metaverse, although nascent, already exists in multiple online domains. In fact, it’s already so entrenched that Gartner Inc. predicts that 25% of the world’s population will spend at least one hour a day in the metaverse by 2026, whether it’s for work, shopping, learning or for entertainment. The metaverse is a technological revolution that’s going to transform the lives of everyone, analysts believe.
Those statements might seem a little optimistic for the vast majority of us who’ve yet to even set foot in the metaverse, but there’s a growing number of projects working to ensure this vision of a new kind of internet quickly becomes a reality.
On the metaverse infrastructure side, few projects are making more progress than Klaytn, an open-source blockchain ecosystem that’s backed by the South Korean internet giant Kakao Corp.
As Klaytn understands it, blockchain is a key pillar of the metaverse but it’s also one that’s beset with problems. Ethereum, the world’s busiest blockchain, is infamous for its slow transaction speeds and high gas fees, and Klaytn understands that, until these problems are solved, metaverse adoption just won’t happen.
To that end, Klaytn has created a highly-optimized and service-oriented blockchain that’s designed to provide a more reliable infrastructure base for metaverse worlds. It has compiled a long list of integrated solutions for metaverse developers, with its customized Layer 1 and Layer 2 networks, SDKs, smart contract libraries, chain explorers, oracles, crypto wallets, distributed storage, DAOs, NFT marketplaces, DEXs, DeFi applications and development tools. What’s more, it’s fully compatible with Ethereum, meaning that any tool designed to work with that network also works with Klaytn.
Besides its comprehensive solutions for building the metaverse, Klaytn also has a very solid strategy for accelerating adoption. Its plan is to reach out to service providers in the Web2 space and encourage them to migrate their platforms to Web3, with the theory being that their users will then follow. Klaytn Foundation Director Sam Seo explained his thinking in an interview with CoinTelegraph, saying metaverse adoption will be “easier” if Web2 firms integrate their technology and services first of all.
At the same time, Klaytn is also putting out feelers to metaverse games developers with the promise of support on gas fee payments. By doing this, Klaytn says it’s addressing a key pain point that prevents blockchain-based games from onboarding new users – namely, the need to buy cryptocurrency tokens to pay for transaction fees so they can start playing a new game.
“We’re smart enough to know that people are still hesitating about using this platform because anyway, they have to pay something right,” Seo told CoinTelegraph. “So we believe that gas fees should be as low as possible. So they can have the people enter this area.”
Few companies have shown more commitment to making the metaverse a reality than Everyrealm, which invests, manages and develops digital assets such as virtual real estate, NFTs, games and Web3 infrastructure.
Everyrealm sees itself as building the gateway to the metaverse, and is one of the largest virtual real estate developers and landowners in worlds such as Decentraland, The Sandbox and Treeverse. Its operations cover both the metaverse, where it’s building out multiple domains and projects, and also the real world, where it guides new investors who’re looking to take advantage of the opportunities virtual worlds can provide.
Everyrealm is responsible for some of the biggest virtual real estate projects in the metaverse. Its projects include Metajuku, the first metaverse-based shopping mall that boasts multiple retail tenants and stores that sell digital and physical products within it, and Fantasy Islands, a luxury real estate development within The Sandbox. It’s also the creator of Realm Academy, the first online university to exist in the metaverse, where students can complete courses on metaverse subjects and earn NFT-based certificates.
Most recently, Everyrealm announced the launch of its first metaverse game, called Hometopia, which has been described as a “Roblox for adults” and is centered on designing, building and renovating virtual real estate. It’s a free-to-play Web3 game that makes use of NFTs, meaning players actually own the real estate they build, and taps into the addictive nature of games like The Sims.
Everyrealm’s metaverse-building efforts also extend into the area of gaming guilds, which buy NFTs for popular play-to-earn games and rent them out to scholars, helping to accelerate adoption in this area too.
Janine Yorio, CEO of Everyrealm, told Bloomberg in a recent interview that everything her company is doing is designed to boost metaverse adoption. She explained her company’s focus on NFTs, saying that this is the technology that will likely become the “gateway drug” that gets more people interested in exploring the metaverse.
While NFTs might get people hooked, they’re still going to need something to do if they’re going to want to spend more of their time in the metaverse, and this is where RLTY is making a difference.
RLTY is pioneering the events-as-a-service model in the metaverse, partnering with artists, major festivals, art fairs, exhibitions, conferences, luxury brands, fashion shows and more, and providing them with the infrastructure they need to host highly immersive, virtual events and experiences.
Zack Sabban, co-founder of RLTY, told NFTStudio24 that the metaverse is the perfect vehicle for making virtual events a reality. His company has created what Sabban says is an “easy to use toolkit” for creators to launch virtual events in the metaverse with just a few clicks. It’s all about bringing social interaction to the space, giving everyone the chance to create and enjoy immersive virtual experiences.
As part of RLTY’s services, it offers virtual land access, virtual event venues, experience personalization tools, NFT-based tickets and access controls, NFT sales and distribution, marketing tools, in-event monetization tools, gamification tools, event analytics and more. The company has partnered with major metaverse worlds including Decentraland and The Sandbox to host its events. Sabban said the company’s tools and solutions can integrate with any metaverse platform. In this way, the company is more of a “layer before the metaverse” that can even host events in multiple metaverses at the same time.
Sabban said the real goal of RLTY is to educate the public about what the metaverse really is.
“We, at RLTY, really think that it is very important to make the accessibility to the metaverse and virtual live event experiences, easy and user-friendly,” he said. “The vision of RLTY is to make metaverse events accessible using a no-code platform to build events and gather communities easily.”
Another way to entice more people to experience the metaverse is to reel them in with rewards, and this is a key focus of the metaverse-based move-to-earn project Walken.
Walken is a mobile application that relies on the movement detection capabilities of smartphones and wearable devices in order to record the number of steps people take when playing the game. In this way, users can be rewarded for keeping active.
Walken believes that gamifying ways to keep people fit, along with a financial incentive that ensures people stay motivated, is one of the most exciting opportunities for Web3 and the metaverse. It’s aim is to promote a healthier metaverse lifestyle by combining mobile technology with cryptocurrency, blockchain and NFTs.
The app is based on the Solana blockchain and combines both play-to-earn and move-to-earn aspects. Walken gamifies simple fitness activities, such as walking or running, helping to promote a healthier lifestyle for players. Users are rewarded for being physically active each day. With Walken, it really does pay for users to maintain a healthy lifestyle, with every step they take recorded via their smartphone or a smart watch and converted into real value.
The game involves nurturing an NFT-based character, called a CAThlete, which represents the human player in the metaverse. Physical activity in real life is converted into GEMs, the in-game currency of Walken. One thousand steps earns the player one GEM, which can then be used to upgrade their CAThlete’s speed, strength or stamina, or alternatively converted into WLKN tokens that can be sold for real money.
Walken recently introduced a new game in its ecosystem, called Walken Runner, which is said to present more ways to empower players across different modes. Walken Runner is billed as the first in a series of new, upcoming “hyper-casual” games that are intended to make it easier for users to transition from the Web2 space to Web3 and the metaverse.
“We are proud of the current traction of the Walken project and inspired to move on and push the limits,” said Walken CEO Alexei Kulevets. “Walken Runner is our first bold experiment aimed at providing additional value and fun to the community and also expanding token utility. It has all the potential to go viral and be a great addition to the main gameplay.”
As we emerge from the COVID-19 pandemic, more people are embracing an active lifestyle again. Walken is a unique project that connects these healthier lifestyles to the growing digital economy, providing a fun and rewarding gaming experience that simplifies the adoption of key Web3 technologies like cryptocurrency and NFTs. In this way, it hopes to drive more people into the metaverse while positively impacting their lives.