Demystifying Metaverse, NFTs and other crypto assets

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Did you know that the term “Metaverse” was first used by author Neal Stephenson in his dystopian novel ‘Snow Crash’ (1992) to portray a virtual world? Cut to 2022, India saw its first-ever wedding reception in the metaverse on January 11. Punjabi pop singer Daler Mehndi performed live in the metaverse, making it the world’s largest concert by drawing 20 million spectators globally.

That is the power of Metaverse, a universal virtual world consisting of 3D virtual spaces based on social connection. The technology interests millennials and generation Z, who are bored with static internet pages and social media platforms.

Having experienced AR (Augmented Reality), VR (Virtual Reality), and MR (Mixed Reality), they are more excited about the 3D virtual world that provides real interactions and interesting visuals. Metaverse transports them to an entirely live and interconnected world.

Recently, Facebook rebranded itself as Meta and brought the technology to the mainstream by hiring 10,000 people. By creating a metaverse infrastructure, the company intends to transform itself into something futuristic.

Through the immersive world of Metaverse, users spend time socializing, learning, working, and entertaining, among other things. It is a blend of AR, VR, and MR. It has components of gaming, crypto, and social media embedded into it. For example, Metaverse allows its users to play online games on various avatars. Through VR headsets, they can enjoy an immersive experience that is delightful visually.

Non-FungibleTokens (NFTs)

NFTs are digital products such as art, music, and videos that can be traded by utilizing blockchain technology. Because they are non-fungible, unlike crypto tokens, there exists only one original of an NFT.

NFTs are distinct, having exclusive identifying codes. This is in contrast with most digital items, which are usually unlimited in supply. Removing the stock should ideally raise the worth of a given resource because of its popularity. But in the early days, numerous NFTs were digital creations that existed elsewhere. For example, famous video cuts from NBA games or securitized variants of digital art circulated on Instagram.

Although NFTs have been there since 2014, they started making news in 2021 when an online auction site Christie’s, saw an NFT of $69 million for a digital creation titled “The First 5,000 Days” by artist Mike Winkelmann aka Beeple. They also started making a buzz in the music world when artists such as Kings of Leon, Shawn Mendes, and Grimes released songs in the NFT format.

Since then, NFTs are making their presence felt everywhere, including in the gaming industry. Even something as intangible as a tweet by Twitter co-founder, Jack Dorsey, was sold for over $2.9 million in 2021.

It was his first-ever tweet posted on March 21, 2006. Dolce & Gabbana and Nike have designed apparel and footwear that come with their own NFTs.

The global NFT market size is expected to grow from $3.0 billion in 2022 to $13.6 billion by 2027, at a compound Annual Growth Rate (CAGR) of 35% from 2022 to 2027, according to ReportLinker.com.

But the question arises: Why are people eager to shell out millions of creations they could easily take a screenshot of or download? That is because an NFT allows the shopper to own the unique item. Moreover, the creation also holds an in-built authentication that provides ownership validation.

Crypto assets

These are digital assets that utilize blockchain ledgers to facilitate transactions. They use cryptography, shared networks, and distributed ledger technology (DLT). They can have various roles and features, including being utilized as a mechanism of trade, a method to store value, or for other business uses. When it comes to operations, crypto assets have no dependency on a national/central bank or government.


Common crypto assets include:

Crypto Coins:

This is a digital unit of value and a popular kind of crypto asset that is used to send and receive payments as well as international money transfers easily. They are extremely low-cost, effective, and faster than traditional methods.

India is gradually opening up to the idea of accepting cryptocurrency as a legit payment method. A Bitcoin trading site Unocoin, allows users to buy vouchers from over 90 brands via Bitcoins.

Unocoin’s registered users can use Bitcoin worth anywhere, between Rs 100 to Rs 5,000, to avail of these vouchers and buy anything from brands such as Domino’s Pizza, Baskin Robbins, Himalaya, and Prestige.

Digital currencies such as Monero, Zcash, and PIVX allow their users to make financial transactions that are 100% private and anonymous. This implies that individuals have the freedom to maintain privacy without having to reveal the reason for sending or receiving money.

Utility Tokens

Utility tokens allow users to perform transactions within a certain ecosystem. For example, the BAT token is a utility token that allows users to perform transactions on the Brave Browser.

Like all crypto transactions, Utility token transactions are verified on blockchain ledgers. The supplier of the products or services provides tokens that must be utilized within the supplier’s network.

Security Tokens

These are digital, liquid contracts for parts of any asset that have value, for example, real estate, a vehicle, or corporate stock. Using security tokens implies that investors’ ownership stake is safely preserved on the blockchain ledger.

Some examples of security tokens include Siafunds (used on the Sia Network for revenue sharing) and BCAP Tokens (these are Ethereum-based smart contract digital tokens launched in 2017).

Security tokens are usually sold or auctioned in an Initial Coin Offering (ICO) or an Initial Token Offering (ITO) that permits organizations to fund-raise to finance an idea. The business offers security tokens in return for government-issued currency or other crypto assets.

The security token also provides added advantages such as casting ballot rights, benefit-sharing, or profits.

Web3 is another technology that has evolved over a period of time. Born due to a lack of trust in the internet, Web3 is your answer to unfaithful social media platforms where you cannot keep anything private.

This next-generation internet allows its users to create, control and own their identity. With better tools, Web3 will allow its users and firms to create unique content. It will enable intelligent creation that is tailored to every user.

This would give rise to content distribution platforms that help in making Web3 profitable.

Moreover, personalization would make way for more content interaction, thus, allowing brands and their audiences to ideate new co-creation tools. As these new-age technologies continue to transform various industry sectors, it is an exciting time to see their impact on the future of businesses.

(The author is CEO, Zebpay. Recommendations, suggestions, views and opinions are his own. These do not represent the views of Economic Times)



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