The engaging discussion about metaverses occurred on Twitter over the past weekend sparked by a tweet by Dean Eigenmann. The co-founder of VC fund Dialectic claimed that the metaverse “will not happen in the ways VCs are currently funding” despite the steady inflow of new users.
"I'd rather hang out in world of warcraft than half of this ‘metaverse’ crap,” he added.
Vitalik Buterin agreed with Dean’s opinion, suggesting that eventually “the ‘metaverse’ is going to happen.” Yet he doesn’t think that “any of the existing corporate attempts to intentionally create the metaverse are going anywhere.”
Vitalik implied that a grassroots movement will always take over the top-down approach, citing the example of Wikipedia vs Encyclopedia Britannica. However, he pointed out that such simplified interpretation may lack depth as “we don’t really know the definition of ‘the metaverse’ yet” and “it’s far too early to know what people actually want.”
At the press time, there are more than 1,000 replies to Vitalik’s tweet, which may indicate that the metaverse is still a hot trend within the crypto community.
The concept of the metaverse can be traced back to the nineties, when it became a common trope in cyberpunk fiction, reflecting public hopes and concerns about the nascent World Wide Web. Since then, the idea of switching everyday activities to virtual reality had stirred the minds of entrepreneurs and tech enthusiasts across the world.
The first commercially successful attempt at building a virtual world was Second Life, a 2003 VR game where users could create a digital avatar to represent themselves and explore the world with other people. Since then, the technology has advanced past blocky graphics and primitive animation, offering users an immersive close to real-life experience. As many companies attempt to hop on the board of the metaverse bandwagon, the competition heats up. In October 2021, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg announced his company is changing its name to Meta in a bid to lead the emerging metaverse industry.