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January 20, 2022
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How Coinbase thinks about the Metaverse

By Brian Armstrong, CEO and Cofounder, & Alex Reeve, Identity Product Lead

These days, everyone seems to be speaking about the Metaverse.

Primitive Metaverse platforms are promoting digital land for millions of dollars. Billions extra are being invested in Metaverse startups. And Mark Zuckerberg lately renamed his entire company to replicate a deal with constructing the Metaverse.

The time period “Metaverse” will not be new. It was first utilized by writer Neal Stephenson in his 1992 novel “Snow Crash.” But as know-how improves, and we spend extra of our lives on-line, extra persons are beginning to suppose about what’s subsequent — and the way the future may revolutionize each the digital and the bodily world.

Recently, our workforce put collectively an inner presentation about the Metaverse, who’s engaged on it, and the way crypto will assist make it actual. I believed the presentation was properly achieved, so I’m sharing most of the slides right here.

Defining the Metaverse

At Coinbase, our pondering about the Metaverse has been closely influenced by enterprise capitalist and author Matthew Ball (you’ll find his work here). Like Matt, we outline the Metaverse as:

The way forward for the web: A massively-scaled, persistent, interactive, and interoperable real-time platform comprised of interconnected digital worlds the place folks can socialize, work, transact, play, and create.

The earliest model of the web, Web1, was about accessing static internet pages. Web2 is about interactive, social experiences inside closed ecosystems. And Web3 will likely be about digital possession inside an open, decentralized atmosphere.

The Metaverse is the distant evolution of Web3. In its most full kind, it is going to be a sequence of decentralized, interconnected digital worlds with a totally functioning economic system the place folks can just do about something they will do in the bodily world.

Importantly, the Metaverse is not the similar factor as gaming (an exercise you are able to do inside the Metaverse), or digital actuality (a manner of interfacing with the Metaverse). It’s additionally not the similar as Web3 (a distant ancestor of the Metaverse).

To illustrate this, right here’s how some present platforms stack up in opposition to our definition of the Metaverse:

Elements of the Metaverse

While the full Metaverse is years away, it’ll relaxation on a basis that’s being constructed proper now.

Like the web as we speak, the Metaverse will depend on {hardware} and infrastructure, instruments and requirements, and regulatory frameworks — most of which haven’t been absolutely developed but.

But in contrast to as we speak’s web, there gained’t simply be one Metaverse. There will likely be many Metaverses, and so they’ll be interconnected. That’s why it is going to be necessary for any Metaverse to be trustless — which means folks can work together straight with out going by means of an middleman — and permissionless — which means anybody can take part with out authorization from a governing physique.

To obtain this, the Metaverse will depend on blockchain to switch id and possession throughout digital worlds, attestation to confirm them, and cost rails that permit folks purchase, promote, and earn revenue inside a decentralized economic system.

Who’s constructing the Metaverse as we speak?

While we are able to’t construct something near the full Metaverse but, totally different firms and organizations are experimenting with totally different components of it. Most fall into three classes:

The Metaverse ecosystem continues to be very a lot in its infancy: emergent and but to be outlined. That’s its magnificence too. There’s a heavy deal with gaming, largely as a result of it’s straightforward to monetize. But we’re starting to see glimpses of what the future may look like.

Identity

Identity determines who you’re, what you’ll be able to entry and do, and the way you’re represented throughout the worlds of the Metaverse.

In the Metaverse, our identities should embrace a simple login, a novel ID, an avatar that represents us, metadata that follows us, and attestation so we are able to show who we’re. Here’s the place every of these items stands as we speak:

Where Coinbase comes in

At Coinbase, we need to assist pull all the items of id collectively — basically creating an id on-ramp into the Metaverse.

That’s the concept behind our work with ENS, which makes it attainable to create a novel username NFT that resolves to a pockets. Eventually, this may permit customers to hold a novel ID throughout totally different worlds in the Metaverse.

We’re additionally engaged on know-how that can assist you to buy your avatar, outline and preserve your public profile, and set up belief. And we’re engaged on options like Sign in with [Eth/Coinbase], which may permit customers to signal into each app in the Metaverse.

Conclusion

At the finish of the day, this isn’t about increasing our enterprise or earning money. It’s about constructing a vital piece of the Metaverse ecosystem, and serving to crypto develop in the proper manner.

We know that the Metaverse will exist, and we all know it is going to be a sequence of interconnected digital worlds. Our purpose is to make it straightforward for anybody to ascertain their id and acquire entry to these worlds in a manner that’s easy, trusted, and decentralized.

If we succeed, it’ll permit the Metaverse to succeed in its full potential — and maintain it free and open to everybody.


How Coinbase thinks about the Metaverse was initially printed in The Coinbase Blog on Medium, the place persons are persevering with the dialog by highlighting and responding to this story.

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