What is the metaverse? – The New York Times

What is the metaverse?  - The New York Times

“The fact that we’re surrounded by a global layer that’s always there,” Mr. Tehranian said, referring to the Ethereum blockchain, “where there is no central party that determines whether something is available or not? That, he said, is the antidote to the digital world we already live in — a world he describes as sort of a metaverse, but “with dictators” (Apple, Google, Facebook).

His metaverse is based on a specific definition of freedom. “What’s really close to my heart is that as an individual you own objects,” he said. “Property is a tool. It works out. It brings financial incentives.”

Depending on your ideological orientation, this may sound more dystopian than utopian. For Mr. Tehranian, it is merely realistic.

“We’re still talking about human nature, which is greedy and selfish,” he said.

In fact, many see the metaverse as a financial opportunity. Mike Winkelmann – aka Beeple, the guy who sold an NFT of his artwork for $69 million — is working on a start-up called Wenew that will sell NFTs tied to specific moments in time, creating what the company puts it, “the memory palace of the metaverse.” (His early offerings include moments from tennis star Andy Murray’s career.)

Despite his interest in the crypto-centric vision of the metaverse, Herr Winkelmann’s sense of what it could be, or already is, remains far-reaching. Whatever the metaverse is, it’s not just virtual reality or augmented reality or the blockchain and NFTs or virtual worlds and games.

“People look at it more like a ‘Ready Player One’ thing or a VR thing,” he said.

“That’s about as close as the screen is to your face,” he continued, holding his phone to his eyes. “That doesn’t change the fact that a lot of these things happen in a space that’s already virtual.”

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