The metaverse is a virtual representation of the real world using 3D and virtual reality technologies. Metaverse projects attempt to recreate certain real-world activities in an environment powered by simulation technologies.
Decentralized metaverse applications are focused on building these simulation infrastructures on the blockchain and using other technologies that run on the blockchain to power it. These technologies include NFTs and cryptocurrencies.
On the metaverse, users can create their individual personas, represented by a virtual avatar controlled by the user, and play roles chosen by the user.
Mention “metaverse,” and NFTs, 3D avatars, virtual reality technologies, big tech, and cryptocurrency companies come to mind. The metaverse is pitched as a shared immersive world (or worlds) where users can play and work in a collective virtual space.
One of the biggest players in the metaverse space is Meta (previously known as Facebook.) The Zuckerberg-led firm has been steadily churning out marketing related to its metaverse, although reception of their metaverse has been mixed. Other big tech companies like Sony and Google have also committed enormous resources to developing metaverse technologies.
On the other hand, there are decentralized metaverses like Decentraland and the Sandbox, where everything is built, governed, and owned by its users.
What is the Metaverse?
The metaverse is everything you can see and do in the real world. The major difference is that it doesn’t exist. The metaverse is a replica of the real world created using simulation technologies, 3D graphics, and virtual reality systems.
Through metaverses, a user enters a new world, where they can adopt other roles and explore infinite activities, represented by a customizable avatar that they can control. Real-world activities like shopping, working, and driving can be replicated in the metaverse.
Metaverse projects are integrating blockchain solutions as an approach to the possession and exchange of resources on the metaverse. Blockchain solutions serve as a means to create an immutable record of events and transactions on the metaverse, where ownership of lands and other properties on metaverses can be recorded and transferred using NFT technology. Likewise, qualifications and special attributes can also be conferred as an NFT.
Even as mainstream firms are diving into metaverses, cryptocurrency projects are already thriving in this space.
Here's a list of the top cryptocurrency projects in the metaverse space.
Inspired by the popular Pokémon game, Axie infinity is a multi-themed decentralized game that runs on the Ethereum blockchain. Axie Infinity is developed by Sky Mavis and can be played by downloading and installing the game application on the desktop and mobile devices. Players control game characters known as Axies, which are adventurous and battle-loving creatures. Axies can also be found during game adventures, and Axie Infinity players can also purchase Axies and use them in their game. Axies are NFTs designed with varying attributes, and the cost of an Axie varies according to its rarity and attributes.
Game players can explore the Axie lands of Lunacia, battle with other creatures, and hunt treasure. Axie’s lands are also tradable NFTs and can be exchanged with other players. In-game rewards include even more tradable NFTs and in-game tokens.
Axie Infinity is built on the Ronin chain, a sidechain on the Ethereum blockchain. The sidechain was developed as a means to improve gamers' experience through an enhanced block processing speed and cheaper transaction fees while enjoying Ethereum's security and decentralization. Two major tokens power Axie Infinity's ecosystem; the Axie infinity token (AXS) and Smooth Love Portion (SLP). Gamers can receive these two tokens as part of the Axie infinity reward system.
AXS can be used for purchasing gaming utilities, voting on proposals through the DAO, or also earn passive rewards when staked.
Decentraland takes you to a new world. One owned and developed by yourself, just like the name implies.
Decentraland's world can be accessed from the convenience of mobile and desktop devices or through a virtual reality headset. With the headset on, you explore a “decentralized land”. The Decentraland game is a city-building and strategy game where the players can purchase LANDs, develop their city, and trade other in-game items as NFTs.
LAND is a non-fungible representation of ownership of land parcel(s). Players can also host events and attend events hosted by other players. Decentraland graphics give players the feel of a proper environment, creating an engaging gaming experience. Decentraland runs on the Ethereum blockchain and uses the blockchain to record transactions and item ownership.
MANA is the native token of the Decentraland game. Holders can buy game items and NFTs including LANDs. MANA holders can also vote on improvement proposals for the project through the Decentraland DAO. MANA can be traded on Binance, Coinbase, and Kraken exchanges.
Also, did you know that there is a Gecko wearable on Decentraland?
The Sandbox allows you to create, play, and own games in an all-encompassing system designed to give game players and game creators a pleasing experience. Sandbox was developed by the same firm responsible for the popular 2011 and 2016 games the Sandbox and the Sandbox Evolution, respectively. In contrast to their earlier gaming projects, the developer Pixowl is introducing a new experience through decentralized technologies and the metaverse. Sandbox runs on the Ethereum blockchain.
Users can create their own games using game creation utilities integrated into the platform The game creator can define the gameplay and game characters without needing to write game code. Instead, applications like VoxelEdit and Game Maker are used to create games on the platform.
The Sandbox game is flexible; to create individual games, players purchase LANDs in the Sandbox, build games, and create assets for their games. Lands are geographical demarcations in the Sandbox world represented as NFTs. Each LAND measures 96 square meters. Players who wish to expand their environment and build even more games can purchase an Estate.
An Estate is made up of multiple Lands. The assets created by players in the Sandbox game can be traded on the Sandbox marketplace. LAND owners can also host events on the Metaverse.
The Sandbox ERC-20 token (SAND) is the gateway to the Sandbox game. Holders can buy game items, vote on proposals through the Sandbox DAO, or simply stake their tokens to earn passive income. SAND can be traded on Binance, Upbit and OKX
Enjin claims to be "the largest gaming community platform online" with over 250,000 gaming communities and 18.7 million registered gamers. The Enjin Coin is designed around gaming, with the goal of it becoming the most usable cryptocurrency in the industry, with the aim of using blockchain technology to reduce the high fees and fraud prevalent in the transfer of virtual goods.
Enjin is also the leading ecosystem for NFTs, offering a suite of toools and services for creating, selling, and using NFTs in virtual worlds. Enjin also offers a platform for minting collateralized NFTs, a marketplace for trading NFTs, and a wallet for the safekeeping of minted and purchased NFTs.
The Enjin token fuels this platform and its economy. Like the Enjin project itself, the Enjin token is an ERC-20 token that runs on the Ethereum blockchain. Enjin token holders are eligible for the provisions of the Enjin project.
To mint an NFT on Enjin, the issuer locks a number of Enjin tokens in a smart contract and mints NFTs. The value of the NFTs is determined by the issuer who can proceed to place them on the Enjin marketplace and hope to attract collectors. The Enjin token is the main unit of account in the marketplace, where NFT collectors can exchange their Enjin tokens for the NFT they wish to purchase.
The Enjin wallet also provides a self-custody storage facility for NFT holders and cryptocurrency investors as well, offering investors easy access to their NFTs.
Enjin can be traded on Binance, Kucoin, and Digifinex exchanges
Debuting first as a meme coin during the meme coin rave, Floki (previously Floki Inu) is channeling efforts into developing a metaverse game powered by the Floki token and NFTs and running on the blockchain. Floki's flagship metaverse project is its decentralized game – Valhalla. Valhalla is a combat game designed with characters that can be acquired as NFTs and controlled by the players through levels of varying difficulties but deliver an immersive experience at each level.
To deliver the best experience through its GameFi project (Valhalla); Floki incorporates intensive gameplay with incredible sound technology, 3D characters, and topography that capture the players’ attention.
Valhalla's NFTs have been termed “Veras.” According to the project team, Veras are upgradable NFTs with unique graphics and rarity that increase as they are upgraded. Vera NFT holders can access improved utilities and enjoy even more abilities in Valhalla.
Valhalla is being built on Ethereum's Layer 2 network – Optimism. Valhalla developers claim that the improved speed on the Optimism network will be exploited to deliver a more refreshing experience to players.
Building on the blockchain ensures players' custody of their in-game assets and characters. The Valhalla is open to early testers on Optimism Network's Kovan testnet. The Floki token will have a role to play in Valhalla as the legal tender for purchasing gaming equipment and upgrading NFTs.
Illuvium presents impressive graphic effects on its action-filled decentralized game – Illuvium. The Illuvium game is an adventure and treasure collection role-playing game (RPG) built on the Ethereum blockchain. Illuvium claims to be the first Interoperable Blockchain Game (IBG), which means that Illuvium’s in-game assets and the gameplay itself can be accessed from other blockchains. Players will explore the world of Illuvium for hidden treasures and collect rare NFT items tailored for gameplay. During their adventures, players will experience combat and collect special game characters known as Illuvials.
Illuvials are tradable NFTs with their values varying according to their attributes and rarity, which are engraved into the NFTs. Illuvium NFTs can be traded on its decentralized exchange or any other NFT marketplace that accepts Illuvium NFTs.
Illuvium token (ILV) is Illuvium’s reward and utility token of the Illuvium game. It is issued on the Ethereum blockchain. Players are rewarded with ILV which can be traded on Kucoin, Binance, and Huobi and also used to purchase game items. ILV is also used to vote on proposals on the Illuvium DAO or staked in single-side staking and liquidity mining programs to earn passive rewards.
As the name suggests, Render Network is used to rent out excess GPU power to creators in need of additional GPU to render graphics, leading to its tagline “Rendering the Metaverse.” Artists or other content creators can rent GPUs from miners who have excess and idle GPUs. Artists on the Render Network can trade Render tokens (RNDR) in exchange for GPU power from node operators. Using the Proof Of Render algorithm (a variant of the Proof of Work algorithm), artists can confirm that payment for their art has been made before they release/upload their art or content.
The Render network runs on Ethereum and uses the blockchain to create hash codes for the arts and send them to the node piecemeal for rendering. Upon confirmation, the fee paid by the artists to rent the GPU power is released to the node operators from the escrow.
Render Token can be traded on Binance, Kucoin, and Coinbase.
With a record of over 3 million registered users and over $300 million in NFTS sold, MOBOX is striving to empower the next generation of gamers and the next stage of gaming’s evolution. MOBOX hosts an array of decentralized games which can be played by users. MOBOX runs on the Binance Smart Chain and claims to offer an improved user experience by leveraging the relatively fast and cheaper Binance Smart chain. MOBOX features city-building games, combat, and adventure games, and an array of role-playing games that can be collectively played in different modes.
MOBOX games are designed to deliver an intense experience to players who are rewarded with tradable assets in the process. The in-game reward system is powered by MOBOX NFTs and the MOBOX token. MOBOX NFTs have been sold for as much as $1.5 million and differ for each game. NFT values are subject to their attributes, rarity, and prominence of their associated game.
The MOBOX token is an BEP-20 token on Binance smart chain. It is used on the MOBOX marketplace to purchase game items and used for player rewards as well. Holders can also participate in the MOBOX DAO and use their tokens to vote on proposals. They can also commit their tokens to passive reward programs such as single-side staking and liquidity mining.
MOBOX can be traded on Binance, LBank exchange, and PancakeSwap DEX on Binance Smart Chain.
My Neighbor Alice
Explore the incredible world of Alice. Buy lands and build on your land, collect precious items and use them to improve your gaming experience. Collected items can also be traded on the Alice marketplace. My Neighbor Alice is an adventure game where players, represented by their avatars, can purchase geographical locations known as LANDs, build on their lands, and interact with their neighbors. LANDs on Alice are rare NFTs. Players are rewarded with other in-game assets which can be traded on the Alice marketplace or any other NFT marketplace where they are accepted.
Player avatars can be improved by buying in-game upgrades and equipping the avatar with more attributes. The Alice token is the gateway to the ALICE universe. Holders can trade their tokens for in-game assets, LANDs, and also stake them to earn passive rewards.
ALICE can be traded on Binance, Kucoin, and BKEX.
RACA is an NFT and GameFi project building 3D games on its virtual world, the United States of Mars (USM). RACA’s Metamon World is an adventure game where you explore the world of Metamons. Metamons are NFT game characters obtained by surfing the world of Metamons and hatching Metamon eggs. The world of Metamons features 500,000 unique Metamons discoverable by players. Each Metamon has unique attributes and can be traded on RACA’s NFT marketplace.
Players are required to purchase STATES. States are the equivalent of LANDs in Axie Infinity and My Neighbor Alice. States owners can explore their own regions and discover their unique features. The world of Metamon is designed with impressive graphics and engaging gameplay with rewards distributed through NFTs and the RACA token that runs on Ethereum and Binance Smart Chain.
RACA holders can earn passive rewards through the liquidity mining programs or commit their tokens to the project’s governance through the RACA DAO. DAO members vote on improvement proposals and submit their proposals as well. RACA can be traded on Kucoin, MEXC, and PancakeSwap.
If the virtual new worlds that big tech companies and blue chip blockchain projects are striving to create will be any different from the one we live in today, it must first integrate revolutionary technologies that aren’t siloed by centralization. With a rise in cross-chain solutions like Illuvium’s IBG, blockchain technology fits in perfectly and is compatible with every new solution made for the metaverse.
Cryptocurrency projects working on metaverse solutions are fast embracing blockchain technology, cryptocurrencies and NFTs; however, this zeal isn’t reflected by mainstream firms. This could change in the future and will be a positive one for the Metaverse and the crypto space as well.
The benefits of a realistic and functional virtual world abound, and some of them have been discussed in the course of this content. That said, it is important to note that this technology is still emerging and might be unduly ineffective and malfunction at times. But these learnings will contribute to the future efficiency of a fully-stable metaverse.
Finally, while metaverses are a big topic in the crypto space, remember to do your own research before investing in any cryptocurrencies. The content of this article is provided for informational purposes and should not be taken as financial advice.
Joel is deeply interested in the technologies behind cryptocurrencies and blockchain networks. In his over 7 years of involvement in the space, he helps startups build a stronger internet presence through written content. He is the founder of CryptocurrencyScripts. Follow the author on Twitter @agboifesinachi