Applications and Use Cases

Blockchain and NFTs Have Major Role to Play in a Decentralized Metaverse

September 22, 2021

Richard Hendricks, the lead character of the television series Silicon Valley, envisioned a decentralized internet powered by users and devices instead of giant corporations with ownership over servers and user data. While Richard ultimately failed at launching his vision for the internet, a similar concept is playing out in real life in the form of today's "metaverse."

The metaverse is evolving out of today's centralized, corporately owned internet. It encompasses a decentralized infrastructure that gives individual users control and ownership of data. The shift signifies what will be a slow and steady transfer of power away from corporate giants and what has the potential to put data and privacy back into the hands of users.

Blockchain stands to play a significant role in this shift, as it is a truly decentralized foundation technology. Along with blockchain, non-fungible tokens (NFTs) are becoming more commonplace, offering a way for artists and businesses to cement their place in the digital world. NFTs representing art, music, trading cards, real estate and other physical objects are already being traded and sold at a dizzying pace.

In one of the more recent crossovers into the virtual space, fashion house Dolce  & Gabbana announced a collection of virtual products including clothing and accessories, available as NFTs. Designs produced by Amber Jae Slooten, co-founder and creative director of The Fabricant, exist only in digital form.

“We create clothes that are always digital and will never ever be physical,” said Slooten during a panel at Christie's Art+ Tech Summit. “Our identity is becoming more and more online every single day. It was a logical decision to think about how does fashion move into this space, how does fashion move into this digital identity, how do we curate the space around ourselves that we take with us in this metaverse.”

The blockchain-based Decentraland game enables users to buy and sell plots of land using NFTs. Users can also show off art and clothes and attend live events with friends using real estate purchased through the game. In June, a plot sold for $900,000, the biggest sale in the game to date.

“We have incredibly ambitious plans for the land," said Justin Banon, co-founder of Boson Protocol. The company purchased a plot earlier this year for $704,000. "By providing the ability to buy something in the metaverse, and then take ownership of it in the real world, we are enabling new and exciting experiences that encapsulate the possibilities of eCommerce, allowing brands to have direct contact with their customers without requiring intermediaries.”

It's unclear what the future of NFTs and a decentralized metaverse have in store. What is clear is that blockchain offers a solid foundation for decentralization and stands to have a major role in building out tomorrow's metaverse.

Edited by Luke Bellos



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