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Buterin has said that he doubts any “existing corporate attempts” to create a Metaverse will succeed.
Buterin Unconvinced by Meta’s Metaverse
Vitalik Yeterin said that any corporation attempting to build the Metaverse will fail today.
Although the “metaverse” will happen, I don’t believe any of the corporate attempts to intentionally create it are going anywhere. https://t.co/tVUfq4CWmP
— vitalik.eth (@VitalikButerin) July 30, 2022
The creator of Ethereum shared his perspective on where the nascent space could be headed on Twitter early Sunday, saying he thinks that companies that are trying to create the Metaverse are unlikely to succeed. While he admitted that he thinks the Metaverse “is going to happen,” he added that he doesn’t think “any of the existing corporate attempts to intentionally create the metaverse are going anywhere.”
Without a doubt the most notable corporate player to show interest in the Metaverse to date has been Meta, Facebook’s parent company that rebranded as part of a shift to embrace the Metaverse late last year. Buterin mentioned Meta in his critique on corporates entering the space. “Anything Facebook creates now will misfire,” he wrote in response to a tweet, arguing that Metaverse-focused companies would likely fail because “it’s far too early to know what people actually want.”
Buterin has become known for his outspoken personality as his public profile has grown with Ethereum over the years, though he often uses his Twitter account and blog to discuss Ethereum’s technology and how decentralization could impact the world. Though he’s commented on NFTs at length in the past, noting that he was surprised by the 2021 boom and taking subtle digs at the speculative side of the market, he’s rarely discussed the Metaverse.
The Next-Generation Internet
Although still a vague concept the Metaverse is widely used to describe a next-generation Internet where users can work, play and connect with others in immersive virtual worlds. It’s believed that the Metaverse will incorporate elements of augmented reality, virtual reality, and blockchain technology. Hit MMPORG titles such as Fortnite or Runescape have been called early examples of Metaverse realms. However, recent crypto-native titles like Decentraland or The Sandbox have had success in embracing this space. Both games allow players to explore virtual worlds and own digital land. They also include their own tokens, which crypto enthusiasts believe will make it easier to build the Metaverse. NFTs are often discussed together with the space because they can represent online characters, virtual land, and other in-game objects, giving players true ownership over their assets.
As the crypto bull market reached its peak in 2021 with major corporations announcing Metaverse plays, such as Adidas and Coca-Cola, which acquired digital land, dropped NFTs and hosted their own virtual parties, several major corporations announced Metaverse players. Metaverse hype peaked when Zuckerberg announced Meta and the firm has indicated that it’s ready to double down on the space on several occasions since, including sharing plans to support NFTs on Facebook and Instagram. Zuckerberg said that the company’s Metaverse arm, Reality Labs, would sink $10 billion into the space following the announcement, and it later reported an 11-figure 2021 loss. This year hasn’t gone much better, with Meta revealing its first revenue drop and a $2.8 billion loss on Reality Labs in its second-quarter earnings report Wednesday. According to the numbers, the company still has a lot of work to do to prove Buterin wrong.
Disclosure: The author of this piece was a shareholder of ETH and several other cryptocurrencies at the time it was written.