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  • Writer's pictureIsabella Margalith

Welcome to the Metaverse!

Mary lives in Raleigh, North Carolina with her 10-year old brother and her parents. Yesterday, Mary left school at 3pm to go to a spectacular Shawn Mendes concert in Sacramento, California, with her friends while her parents left to work at 5pm and by 6pm were gambling in Vegas. Mary arrived in time for the 8pm show. She went home, took a long bath, helped her mother prepare dinner and also grabbed a bucket of popcorn for the show. She met her friends at exactly 7:20 at Golden 1 Center, sector FLR1, Row H. Now, what amazes many and raises several questions regarding this situation is how could Mary leave school in North Carolina at 3pm, go home, and be in California five hours later? Well, welcome to the Metaverse!

Metaverse is the immersive, collective, and hyper-realistic virtual environment, where people can live together using personalized 3D avatars. It is a shared virtual space, which we can access by using special glasses or other devices.

Although the concept is not new, it conquered the spotlight after Mark Zuckerberg announced massive investments in virtual and augmented reality as he changed the name of Facebook to “Meta”. Microsoft also announced investments in this area and acquired the gaming studio Activision Blizzard for $70 billion, the biggest acquisition ever in this industry. For Microsoft, however, the deal was not just an acquisition in the gaming industry, it was a big step into the metaverse, a bet in the future.

You will be astonished with the “Everything Facebook revealed about the Metaverse in 11 minutes” that went viral and became a huge topic of conversation!

To better understand the idea of metaverse, think about today’s internet. With the metaverse, the experience will be much more immersive and realistic, since this technology, together with your 3D glasses and advanced headsets, will allow you to enter a new world made of holographic avatars and sensory media where the sky's the limit.

A few years ago, companies have started using sensory marketing, in which marketers strengthen the connection between brand and consumers by stimulating their senses and creating emotions, like Marriott Hotel’s new Teleporter that can take you to a variety of destinations;where you can feel the beach atmosphere, with the sun on your face and the sea breeze or the freezing cold from the top of a mountain.

Some games like Minecraft, Fortnite and Roblox already take place in the metaverse, in which you can interact with objects in a very real manner.

In the metaverse, people will be able to work, study, play, interact, collaborate, create, and invent in various spaces. In the metaverse, you are able to goto concerts, plays, watch movies with friends, fly from one country to another, visit museums, go to different places around the world, swim, ski, cook, attend meetings, conferences, go shopping, drive, see a doctor, and, who knows, even have a knee surgery?

Here’s what 24 hours in today’s metaverse feels like! (don’t miss it!)

This metaverse space will seem like the “real world”, since the virtual and the physical world will be integrated. It will have its own currency, the cryptocurrencies, like Bitcoin, from the blockchain technology. The NFTs (Non-Fungible Tokens) will be used in the metaverse to secure financial transactions. Currently there are some coins closely associated with the metaverse, like the Decentraland (MANA) and the Sandbox (SAND). With these virtual coins, you will be able to buy a pair of Air Jordans virtual snickers to hang out with your friends in a cool avatar or even buy properties and live by a celebrity, like someone did paying $450,000 to become Snoop Dogg’s neighbor (yes, it is true, real money to buy virtual land!

A report from BrandEssence Market research shows that “between 2022 and 2028, the metaverse real estate market is expected to see a compound annual growth rate of 31%.” In November 2021, a real estate digital investments fund bought land in The Sandbox metaverse for US$4.3 million. Find here lots of stuff you can buy in the metaverse, including a parcel of land and much more!

JP Morgan, the world-renowned bank, a leader in global financial services, recently opened a new branch in the metaverse. Its unit operates in Decentraland, being part of the “metanomics” (the metaverse economy) and expects to make money by offering its services and expertise in this new world. In January, Samsung also opened a store in Decentraland, the Samsung 837X, while in November the island nation Barbados established an embassy in the same virtual location (let’s get a VISA in the metaverse!)

Schools are also stepping into the metaverse. A Florida charter school, the Optima Classical Academy, is setting up a virtual metaverse school for the term beginning in August, 2022. It is the world’s first metaverse classroom.

Is EABH going to be a metaverse school in the future? Who knows…

Now that you are very familiar with the metaverse, you must be asking when this world will be perfectly working and ready for us to take full advantage. It may take 5 to 10 years, but we will experience small fractions of the metaverse every day. One thing, though, is that people fear they will have their lives controlled by those giant organizations, like Facebook and Microsoft. They are afraid of living in a digital prison, where they wake up, put on their glasses and headphones, enter the metaverse, do everything they need to do for their day, with every interaction being traced and surveilled. A lot of people are scared about this digital world being controlled by some companies, which is a perfectly reasonable concern Nevertheless, there is still a lot to be developed and explored in the metaverse, and, I believe that, until this becomes a real problem, a better option will be created and experts in the matter will be able to build a more decentralized metaverse, where we can freely walk, study, work and have fun without all those algorithms keeping an eye on us.

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