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The non-fungible token (NFT) ecosystem is composed of projects that are each essentially contained universes with unique communities and cultures. Some community members are active in multiple NFT games and/or groups, but it is exceptionally difficult to be active in more than a handful of different projects. The naturally limited human attention span paired with a limited number of available hours in a day are slowing the growth of the NFT ecosystem. We need a solution to bring the NFT ecosystem together.
That solution is a virtual world platform, purpose-built for enabling NFT operability and interoperability within the platform. Operability meaning users can actually use their assets inside the world, and interoperability meaning the assets can come from any project.
Operable and Interoperable Blockchain-Based Virtual World
Imagine walking in a virtual world, spotting another player, running up to them, and challenging them to a God’s Unchained match. Right there in-world, each player pulls out a deck of cards and starts competing. Other users could spot the match from a distance away and come watch. Or imagine being able to interact with your Axie Infinity Axies and having them virtually follow you around. Better yet, what if you hosted an in-world Axie tournament? The virtual world in this example showcases asset operability because users are allowed to use assets directly in the environment. It also showcases an interoperable nature by enabling two types of assets, Gods Unchained and Axies, within the same environment.
This imagined future blockchain-based virtual world will allow any type of asset from any game to be functionally used within its universe. Today different blockchain-based virtual worlds only enable specific assets to function within their environments. These assets, so far, are completely native to the platform. For example, Cryptovoxels has “wearables,” which are clothing items and accessories that users can put on avatars. These assets are purpose-built for Cryptovoxels and can not be used in other virtual worlds/games.
Ethereum as the Genesis
The connecting factor in this future blockchain-based virtual world is Ethereum. Today, 95% of all NFTs are minted on the Ethereum blockchain, which means they use the same infrastructure and interoperability should be quite easy. Coding how the asset functionally behaves within the virtual world is another story (behavior such as having an Axie walk with a specific gait or creating an animation showing them battle each other).
This hypothetical virtual world would first focus on enabling Ethereum-based NFTs to operate in-world, but eventually, the goal would be to enable operability of all different blockchains. It would be incredible to have Tezos Emergent trading card players next to EOS Blankos Block Party players. It would decrease tribalism and open up the real conversation, which is about enabling the metaverse via property rights - a highly important topic considering a true metaverse can only form if users have real property rights.
But first, let’s step back a bit and pretend that there is a blockchain-based virtual world that allows all Ethereum-based NFTs to operate within it. This would possibly be the most valuable Ethereum-based application to exist. This world would allow for total cross-pollination of users, cultures, and technologies - and it would cause the NFT and crypto space to surge in growth. Everyone would want to build on and be in this platform because it allows people to see and experience multiple games, applications, or protocols. People from Axie Infinity would play Gods Unchained, people from Gods Unchained would play Axie, and so on and so forth.
Formation of the Golden Age
The buzz would quickly spill over into mainstream crypto and attract all types of DeFi protocols and crypto projects. This singular world would become the crypto social network. And because it is a virtual world, it is a naturally social environment where there is no real objective. The objective is simply what a user wants it to be. Having this sort of environment would allow everyone in crypto to easily share ideas, attend virtual meetups, and collaborate. I recently wrote a blog about how crypto & NFTs are causing a “Golden Age” in the cloud (check it out here). In the blog, I pointed out that there are currently no physical locations where this next Golden Age can take place, however, this operable and interoperable blockchain-based virtual world could be the virtual location of a Golden Age.
Alternatively to creating an entirely new platform, an existing virtual world platform like Decentraland, Cryptovoxels, Somnium Space, or The Sandbox could double down on enabling all types of NFTs to be operable in-world. If one of these worlds decided to focus on allowing all types of NFTs to operate within their world, then they would experience a network effect and have a massive head start on bringing everyone together. While I think this approach is possible, I would imagine from a technical level it’s better to build a world like this from the ground up.
If you or anyone you know is building a virtual world that allows all NFTs to operate in-world, please reach out!