In the months since Facebook rebranded to Meta, “metaverse” has become a corporate buzzword that loosely describes new immersive technology. In a recent Chainlink User Roundtable, representatives from some of the Chainlink ecosystem’s top metaverse projects – OVR’s Diego Di Tommaso, OpenDive’s Irvin Cardenas, and ChainGuardians’ Robbie Cochrane – discussed key paradigm shifts that define the true meaning of the metaverse.
Platform vs. Concept
Cochrane highlighted the difference between proprietary web2 platforms and the broad concept behind web3 as a natural evolution of the internet “where one can be represented as a digital self across the entirety of interconnected experiences.”
By definition, the metaverse cannot be just one platform or community. “An open environment is what constitutes a metaverse for me when I talk about it on a product level,” Cochrane said. “Other features of a metaverse will include things like interoperability and the ability to experience multiple different layers of content across platforms.”
Work vs. Play
Di Tommaso described gaming as the most intuitive gateway to the metaverse. For example, Chainlink-powered blockchain game Axie Infinity has transformed the traditional play-to-earn model by creating a decentralized player-owned economy where people earn income for their contributions to the game’s virtual world.
“There’s not going to be any metaverse that doesn’t have significant social layers, significant gamification layers, different ways for rewarding users, different ways for encouraging and engaging users to effectively spend time within that platform,” Cochrane agreed.
Centralization vs. Decentralization
Cochrane also highlighted the importance of striking a balance between an engaging user experience and decentralization, which is the very essence of the metaverse. “Often providing a strong user experience means retaining more centralized control,” he explained. “So you’re constantly trying to balance user experience with centralization versus decentralization.”
Fun vs. Ownership
TTF – time-to-fun – is a metric that determines how quickly a game must “hook” its players in order to be successful. Often, TTF is a matter of seconds. This presents a challenge to decentralized systems, which require an additional level of education to play but ultimately lead to richer ownership experiences.
Intrinsic vs. Extrinsic Motivation
All three panelists described building metaverse experiences for diverse communities with different interests and experiences. Cochrane said the key is to create a world where a variety of extrinsic motivators, such as financial rewards, and intrinsic motivators, such as the sense of belonging to NFT communities, coexist.
Old vs. New Economies
Cardenas captured perhaps the biggest paradigm shift between web2 and web3, where decentralized technologies like Chainlink’s oracle network allow people to shape their own economic destinies.
“We’re at a point in history where we can rewrite the core fabric of society, rethink and reimagine these social constructs,” he said. “Fundamentally speaking, play-to-earn is about transforming labor structures and that’s why emerging economies are benefitting from these concepts.”
Watch the full Chainlink User Roundtable.