The Metaverse is one of the big tech themes of 2022. Powered by blockchain and decentralised technologies, the next version of the internet offers immersive online experiences, flourishing digital economies, and new forms of community.
What is the Metaverse?
In the beginning was the command line. The earliest user interfaces to the web were powerful but not user friendly, and few people could engage with them. Then came graphical user interfaces, websites that opened access to the internet to millions more users.
What comes next?
Back in 1992, Neal Stephenson’s post-cyberpunk novel Snow Crash introduced the concept of the ‘Metaverse’. Characters interact online in a virtual (meta) universe, accessed using VR headsets. It’s an idea that caught on and was picked up by other writers and film-makers, with the hit movie Ready Player One being a recent example.
Today, the metaverse is becoming reality. The word is used to describe the growing ecosystem of interactive digital worlds, including but not limited to gaming, and often incorporating built-in economies, the online extension of offline services, and virtual ‘spaces’ for unstructured and user-driven interaction.
Users navigate around the multiverse with Avatars, representations of themselves that may or may not resemble their real-life appearance. The metaverse is growing, offering new ways to exercise, shop, and even work. Users can create their own content, for example by buying land and building real estate on it, and developing new services – and even selling them for a profit down the line.
The metaverse has a close relationship with DeFi, because blockchains are the ideal means of moving money around, establishing identity, and trading digital assets like land, characters and in-game items in the form of NFTs, in a global online world.
In short, the metaverse is live, online, and it’s growing fast. No wonder Facebook took the decision to rebrand as Meta – a bold bet on the future nature of the internet.
What are Metaverse tokens?
Blockchain is one of the core technologies of the metaverse. It powers digital currencies like Bitcoin, the DeFi platforms like Ethereum that provide open financial services built on smart contracts, the P2E games that enable users to earn by engaging with their favourite titles, and the NFTs that can represent anything from a sword or magic potion to a plot of virtual land or user’s identity.
Metaverse games and other platforms typically feature sophisticated economies that follow their own rules, but that are also open: because they’re built on the blockchain, the tokens used in these online worlds have value both inside and outside of their ecosystems. The underlying blockchain – for example, Ethereum – may host many games, and users actually own the tokens independently of any given application. For example, you can earn SLP tokens in Axie Infinity, and sell them on an external exchange for other currencies.
Metaverse tokens are used as the native currencies of metaverse apps: the fuel of these internal economies. They can be used to pay for services and to trade on metaverse marketplaces, and they are the reward tokens for games and DeFi services. Moreover, as the metaverse expands and new users bring increased demand for its services, there is also the possibility of tokens appreciating in value.
Key Metaverse projects
With the buzz around the metaverse, it’s no surprise that some of the most popular cryptos are metaverse tokens. Several of the most-used metaverse tokens are available on TimeX, where they can be bought and sold, and withdrawn to an external wallet for use in different metaverse apps.
Crypto Gaming United (CGU) is a new DeFi and metaverse guild that was launched to increase access to play-to-earn (P2E) gaming. The guild brings together and organises gamers via a Discord server, enabling them to increase their P2E earnings by matching them with the highest-paying games, giving them training and education, and making valuable NFTs available to those who cannot afford to buy them up-front.
CGU is the native token of the CGU DAO. In return for lending them NFTs, players pay a proportion of their in-game earnings to the guild, which are channelled into the token to increase its value. CGU is also used to reward the most productive community members, to pay for specific services, and to pay earnings on staked CGU tokens.
CGU manages a Treasury that is used to buy key metaverse assets. For example, the DAO recently secured some sought-after parcels of land in the upcoming Aavegotchi metaverse game, and has established a wider partnership with Gotchi Vault. These tokens represent a long-term investment in the metaverse, as well as a means of increasing gamers’ income.
Enjin is a platform for metaverse and game designers. It’s designed to enable developers to integrate NFTs into their games quickly and easily, regardless of how familiar they are with blockchain technology. By making a product for developers, Enjin is seeking to benefit the industry as a whole, and help drive forward play-to-earn and metaverse adoption.
EnjinCoin (ENJ) is the native token of the Enjin platform. Every time an NFT is created, ENJ is locked in it. This reduces supply and helps to maintain demand for ENJ. It also means that every NFT on the Enjin platform is backed by known value, thereby ensuring that a minimum price for those NFTs can be established, since NFTs can be ‘melted’ and the ENJ they hold recovered at any time. NFTs can easily be compared because the ENJ they embody is visible to anyone.
Enjin has gained the interest of large industry partners, including Microsoft and Minecraft. The ecosystem offers functionality including a wallet, integrated exchange, and a layer 2 solution to reduce gas costs.
Axie Infinity was one of the first P2E games to gain real traction, and has grown to become incredibly popular. The game revolves around ‘Axies’, fierce but lovable fighting creatures represented by NFTs that players can buy, develop, pit against each other in combat, breed, and sell on the Axie marketplace.
The native currency of Axie Infinity is Smooth Love Potions (SLP), which is distributed as rewards for winning player-vs-player or player-vs-computer combat and required to breed Axies. Many players, especially in low-income countries, are finding it possible to earn significant income in SLP. Because three Axies are required to start playing, and purchasing them from the marketplace can be relatively expensive, a side-industry in ‘Axie scholarships’ has grown up around the game (and then the wider P2E sector), in which valuable NFTs are lent to players to increase their income, in return for a percentage of daily earnings.
Axie is under continual development, with the team recently introducing a system of land ownership. Features are constantly being added and reviewed. Check out the Axie blog for the latest updates.
Samurai Legends (formerly RisingSun) is a metaverse based on feudal Japan, within which multiple games can be played, digital land acquired, battles fought, and wealth accumulated. The virtual land is ruled by the Emperor Nakamoto, and needs brave warriors to bring order as it descends into civil war. Players raise armies, fight battles, gather valuable items from the battlefield, and ascend to a position of influence as feudal lords under Nakamoto.
The current main game in the ‘Samuraiverse’ is Samurai Rising, which is an NFT card game with play to earn mechanics. Another NFT game, Rise of the Shogun, inspired by Magic The Gathering & Hearthstone, is currently in development. As blockchain tokens, the NFTs representing samurai, land and other items, are owned independently of Samurai Rising. All NFTs can be used in every Samurai Legends game, and can be transferred and traded on external marketplaces. Ultimately, Samurai Legends will evolve into a network of interconnected games with running themes, shared characters, common land and other items.
Samurai Legends is currently migrating from RSUN and INF to the new tokens SMG and KOKU, which TimeX will support when the process is complete. The TimeX team is working closely with the Samurai Legends team to ensure a smooth transition.
Stay up-to-date with developments in the metaverse by following the TimeX blog.