How Altcoins May Reign in a Metaverse of Opportunity

18 Dec, 2021
How Altcoins May Reign in a Metaverse of Opportunity

The biggest story to come out of the crypto universe this year may not be about Bitcoin.  Instead, it may very well be about altcoins, those other digital currencies that are gaining attention along with the rise of interest in the "Metaverse." But before we define the link between those coins trying to capture a larger share of the digital currency universe and the next biggest thing, there's one big question to answer:

What's a Metaverse?

The mainstream media has heralded Facebook's rebranding to Meta and has largely focused on Mark Zuckerberg's Metaverse. However, the term Metaverse doesn't just belong to that mega social media giant. While there is no one official definition of a metaverse, many attempt to define it.

"Once a niche concept beloved of tech enthusiasts, the idea of a centralized virtual world, a "place" parallel to the physical world, has careened into the mainstream landscape this year," Time magazine says.

A metaverse "is the next big thing to disrupt our daily lives because it allows individuals to imagine a future in which our physical presence will no longer be required, including at work," Nasdaq explains. "Meetings and discussions will take place in a virtual world where avatars, which are graphical representations of users, will be able to interact with one another from the comfort of their own homes. Similarly, as metaverse platforms improve, remote working, which has become popular in the last two years, will become more effective."

In announcing its rebranding to Meta, the former Facebook company explained its Metaverse as a virtual space that will "feel like a hybrid of today's online social experiences, sometimes expanded into three dimensions or projected into the physical world. It will let you share immersive experiences with other people even when you can't be together — and do things together you couldn't do in the physical world."

However you define it, brands are flocking to many metaverses.

There are many metaverses in the virtual world with hundreds of thousands of players immersed in gaming, socializing, watching concerts, and shopping.  These metaverses, such as Roblex, Decentraland, and The Sandbox, and popular games such as Minecraft and Fortnite, are already partnering with major bands that are going where their potential customers are spending time and cryptocurrency.

"The clamor over virtual goods comes amid feverish predictions that the metaverse -- a virtual reality version of the internet -- will eventually replace the web of today," the Bangkok Post explains, noting that "Fashion has been at the forefront, with a line of digital clothing from Uniqlo on Minecraft or Balenciaga outfits and sneakers available in Fortnite."

NIKE, Inc., which last month launched Nikeland on the Roblox platform, just announced the acquisition of RTFKT to help the brand deliver next-generation collectibles that merge culture and gaming.

"This acquisition is another step that accelerates Nike's digital transformation and allows us to serve athletes and creators at the intersection of sport, creativity, gaming and culture," said John Donahoe, President and CEO of NIKE, Inc.

The NFL also launched a virtual store on Roblox. This metaverse has also hosted concerts with headliners, including Lil Nas X, who attracted 30 million viewers, according to Front Office Sports.

In October, Chipotle Mexican Grill became the "first restaurant brand to open a virtual location on Roblox, a global platform bringing millions of people together through shared experiences," the company said. "In the Chipotle Boorito Maze experience, Chipotle will make $1 million in free burritos available and offer access to new virtual Halloween costumes and exclusive Roblox items."

The metaverse market size is expected to reach $872 Billion in 2028.

While estimates are just estimates, this staggering figure from Reports and Data could be one reason why "top metaverse stocks to watch" has become a popular Google search. Mainstream investors look for traditional opportunities to get in early on the metaverse craze.

For crypto enthusiasts, the focus is on altcoins that some suggest could be the currency of this growing virtual universe.

"…every economy needs a currency, the metaverse, which is also a fully immersive virtual economy, needs a mode of payment," CNBC explains. "Since activities and interactions in the virtual world are all done through an avatar of the user, it is not possible to transact in fiat currency (traditional paper currency)."

Metaverse coins, as well as blockchains on which Decentralized Applications (Dapps) and Non-Fungible Tokens (NFTs) are built currently drive the virtual economy.

"The metaverse is a massive opportunity for blockchain technology, and it will finally cause cryptocurrencies to start being used widely for transactions," Haim Israel, a strategist at Bank of America, said in a recent interview with Markets Insider.

While Israel said, "we're going to start using cryptocurrencies as currencies," he also questioned if "existing digital currencies are likely to prove too volatile for this, and so some types of stablecoins will probably come to dominate."

With more than 14,000 cryptocurrencies in the market, according to Investopedia, will altcoins prevail in the Metaverse?  Or will traditional financial institutions jump into the virtual world with Central Bank Digital Currencies (CBDCs) to capture meta market share? Right now, metaverse and crypto are intrinsically linked as blockchain continues its massive track record of disruptive and creative innovation.

Joyce Pavia Hanson

Contributor

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