Why Metaverses are the Next Big Trend After NFTs | Hacker Noon

@julia-magasJulia Magas

Fintech journalist. My works are featured by Cointelegraph, Investing, SeekingAlpha.

Trends influence the crypto industry as a whole and usher communities along. Such a state has been prevalent since 2014, when the launch of the Ethereum network heralded the rise of the ICO era. Some new trends always replace others in the cryptocurrency world after a short lull.

Historically, the new trend has never been inferior in popularity to its predecessor, and even oftentimes excelled it many times over. We are currently witnessing the decline of the NFT trend as the cryptocurrency community is on the verge of embracing a new one – the metaverse. This new trend could alter the internet as we know it forever, and chances are quite high that it can succeed.

The ICO Hype And The Death of McAfee

The era of ICOs has been branded in the hearts and minds of crypto industry participants as an opportunity for making some good money or losing a lot of it. Most, however, lost theirs, as noted by the leading analyst of The Block Larry Chermak, who stated that at least 89% of ICOs turned out to be unprofitable. Only the participants of the remaining 11% of ICOs were able to actually make any money. It was a crazy time when projects were attracting millions and vanishing into thin air along with them, and John McAfee was selling ads on his Twitter account for over $100,000 a tweet – that’s more than $350 per character, spaces included. When the ICOs started waning, numerous projects came to the attention of the SEC, and many were fined, some of the founders were arrested and convicted, and John McAfee committed suicide in a Barcelona prison after learning of his imminent extradition to the United States.

The IEOs Never Excelled The ICOs

Following the ICO, the trend for IEOs mounted the pedestal. But, pretty soon, it became clear to everyone that there was no significant or fundamental difference between ICOs and IEOs. It is possible to state that the IEO was the stage of agony of the ICO as an unregulated, accessible, and irresponsible means of crowdfunding. According to Larry Chermak, the IEOs did not excel the ICOs and were a failure for the most part.

DeFi Is Cool, But There Is An Alternative Opinion

ICOs and IEOs have sucked the cryptocurrency market dry and tarnished its reputation. In 2018-19, the media were full of headlines about cryptocurrency scandals and scams, and the main cryptocurrencies only lost value as a result.

Everything changed in 2020 with the popularization of decentralized finance, when activity on the Ethereum network, returned to the values of the 2017-2018 hype era, according to a report by researchers from Xangle Research. This is quite natural, since DeFi, like ICOs and IEOs, gave users the opportunity to make some money. However, wherever there are investors, there are always those who want to get rich off of other people’s money. Tony Weiss reiterated the given notion when he stated in an interview with the Russian Forklog media outlet that DeFi projects are nothing more than Ponzi schemes and the regulators will take care of them very soon, just as they did with the ICOs.

“All this hype around DeFi started this year. In about a year, people will realize that DeFi is even more idiotic than the ICOs that we saw back in 2017,” as Tony Weiss said.

It is worth noting that DeFi protocols have made a significant contribution to the development of the future of money and did not fade into history, like the ICOs and IEOs. Instead, DeFi was ousted from the information frontier by the next, more popular trend – the NFT hype.

The Hype Surrounding NFTs

NFTs, or Non-Fungible Tokens, are the next trend after DeFi. In terms of the level of hype and the number of people involved, NFTs are well ahead of their competitors, those previously introduced in the given article.

In terms of the number of Google requests, the term NFT has caught up with 2017 indicators of the term ‘ICO’. From February 4 to March 4 of 2021, the trading volume of Non-Fungible Tokens on the 12 largest platforms amounted to a record $480 million. In addition to the representatives of the cryptocurrency industry, many entrepreneurs, politicians and creative elites have expressed interest in the given trend. Among those attracting attention to the NFTs were actress Lindsay Lohan, Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders, the author of the Nyan Cat meme, and many others.

However, by May, sales of NFTs collapsed by 95% and the NFT market crashed as quickly as it had risen. All in all, the trend for NFTs lasted a mere 4 months, marking an anti-record among crypto trends.

Speaking of trends hereafter, it would do justice to say that in terms of practical benefits, DeFi and NFTs look more attractive than their ICO and IEO predecessors. They seem even more lucrative than the trend of meme tokens, which could not gain a foothold on the market for any significant period of time, and remained reliant on Elon Musk’s tweets about Doge. Thus, if the financial component is not to be diminished, the underlying technologies and their application are starting to play a decisive role in the formation of trends. The more promising the technology – the broader the scope of its application and the stronger the hype.

In general, cryptocurrencies and blockchain have become fertile ground for all sorts of hype and trends due to the combination of new technologies and the opportunities they grant to virtually everyone for making money. That includes ordinary market participants, investors, traders and even base sympathizers, just as much as for those who advance the technology and are focused on using it to change the world.

Enter: The Metaverse

The Metaverse is a rocket ship that will propel the popularity and application of blockchain technologies and cryptocurrencies to a whole new level.

It is the metaverses that will form the basis of Web 3.0 – the internet of the future.

Experts agree that decentralized technologies are the basis of all metaverses.

Metaverses present a real opportunity to turn the online space into a multi-level environment containing numerous worlds (universes), thereby edging it closer to reality.

Metaverse enthusiasts argue that over time the boundaries and differences between real life and offline existence within metaverses will fade. And blockchain technology will be the carrier making such a difference possible.

When the ideas of Web 3.0 were just taking shape in the late 90s, nobody used the term ‘blockchain’. But today, when this technology has proven its capabilities in terms of data decentralization, secure handling, and assembling separate fragments into a common whole, no one doubts anymore that the blockchain is destined to become the basis of Web 3.0.

In 2017, blockchain developers focused on small tasks like smart contracts or browsers. But now, we have taken on more conceptual and fundamental tasks that are laying the foundation for future mass adoption.

— Ray Lu, CEO of Bit.Country

The trend of metaverses will develop soon enough and turn into one of the strongest hypes in the history of not only the blockchain industry, but the internet as a whole. According to Nvidia CEO Jensen Huang, we are on the threshold of making entry into the metaverse era. The Winklevoss brothers, the founders of the Gemini cryptocurrency exchange, have invested millions of dollars in 25 startups that design metaverses on blockchain. They say that traditional social networks, as the most prominent representatives of Web 2.0, will soon be history.

The idea of a centralized social network is just not going to exist five or 10 years in the future. There’s a membrane or a chasm between the old world and this new crypto-native universe. And we’re the conduit helping people transcend the offline into the online.

— Tyler Winklevoss, Co-founder of Gemini

The infrastructure is already being deployed, and it will become the basis for the metaverse hype. The Bit.Country project, which has recently received support from game company Animoca Brands, was the first project to let users create their own metaverse with their own value and for their own community.

As the developers of the project state, “each bit country has a local social token, a local marketplace, and a local DAO that runs the community and makes decisions on issues, such as asset delivery”. At the same time, what makes such metaverse something very close to Web 3.0 is the translation of social activity into a 3D virtual world while maintaining access to classic social media timelines with text and multimedia.

This is somewhere along the lines of a hosting provider. The prospects of such a model were immediately assessed by 56 institutional investors who invested $4 million in the first funding round of the project. By the way, such metaverse projects as Decentraland, Somnium Space, Cryptovoxels have already been launched, proving that they are popular and demanded. We can already start the countdown to the launch of the metaverse rocket that will propel the cryptocurrency market along with it to new, soaring heights.

This article is part of The Gaming Metaverse Writing Contest hosted by HackerNoon in partnership with The Sandbox.

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