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How would the economy of the metaverse work?

The economy of metaverse

By Tom Ffiske
VR/AR and metaverse analysis every Wednesday and Sunday // 24 April 2022 

Edinburgh, coupled with good friends and a Brandon Sanderson novel, works rather nicely together.

Supported by:

Black Public Media

The economy of the metaverse

Professionals are making assumptions about how the economy of the metaverse would work. The lack of consensus muddies the waters of good debate, and low-quality voices are amplified over time. Many ideas can come from a reasoned and well-researched place, but can be misinterpreted in a negative light. “Of course it will be on the blockchain,” says the NFT enthusiasts clutching their clutter of JPEGS. “The digital dollar will not thrive,” says the Twitter users who became experts that morning. “Why impose scarcity in a digital space,” says the people who rarely pay artists. 

All three parts can be true as well, but it is foolish to make bets now. It may well be in the blockchain, but it will look drastically different from the likes of Ethereum or Bitcoin. A digital dollar might thrive due to its stability, but it depends on whether people trust it to begin with. And while scarcity is necessary to impose value, plenty of services can be run in different models. My cynicism about crypto is not the technology itself; it is exciting and has potential. Frankly, it is the culture that strays from a complete vision, prioritising apes over architecture, or cool cats over crisp computers. 

The best piece I have read on it is on Exponential View, where Azeem Azhar and Ronit Ghose talk about the economy of the metaverse. It rightly points out that: 

  • Power: We need to focus on the compute power required for the metaverse first; 
  • Pop: The speculative bubble that will pop before we sort the infrastructure of the future; 
  • Centralisation: While we may go towards decentralised networks, the metaverse will likely be centralised in the short term. 
  • Currency: Why not all of them? Quote: “Both traditional forms of currency and digitally-native forms such as cryptocurrency, stablecoins and central banks digital currencies will be integrated into the metaverse economy.”

We are seeing healthy debates alongside the speculation. While I am excited to see what the metaverse will look like, let’s sort out the fundamentals first. 

Supported by Black Public Media

Creative technologists from Brazil, Canada, Ethiopia, South Africa, and the United States will participate in PitchBLACK Forum: Immersive. The winner will receive $50K USD in funding, and the runner-up will receive $25K. Projects include AI, 360VR, 6DOF VR, projection mapping, and AR projects. Watch the contest on Wednesday, April 27, 2022, at 13:00 ET and 19:00 CET.

Register to watch PitchBLACK live on April 27th

Lessons from freelancing in VR 

Alex Ruhl, VR Director and Writer. 

What’s it like freelancing in VR/AR
Working in VR is like trying to bake a cake without any of the traditional ingredients… oh and having to assemble your oven from scratch too! It can be challenging and frustrating, but nothing compares to the feeling of getting it right. And by right, I mean the moment you see someone’s face light up as they experience your ‘masterpiece’ for the first time! It’s hard work but it’s intoxicating to be part of the early adopter’s crowd!

What hot tips would you give anyone doing it?

  • Have unshakeable conviction in the technology long term so even during tough times you know WHY it will be worth it.
  • Have a strong support system of fellow VR/AR creators because freelancing / running a business can be super lonely.
  • Work out what your dream life looks like and reverse engineer your career from there. Don’t just jump in aimlessly without a plan.

What’s been your favourite perk about it recently? 
It has to be the incredible opportunities I get as a result of being in this space early. Shameless self-promotion here but I recently became the first VR creator ever to be awarded funding from the BFI Network for my dystopian VR drama BAD NEWS. That’s a perk I don’t take for granted! 

If you would like to learn more about creating a sustainable career/business in VR or how to create a VR film from scratch, you can listen to Alex’s weekly podcast.

Note: Due to an unexpected change in scheduling, I am re-running an excellent Q&A from March 2021. 

Jobs board

DISTRIBUTION AND TOURING PRODUCER. Marshmallow Laser Feast is looking for someone to join our team as a Distribution & Touring Producer. You will have a desire to work at the bleeding edge of immersive storytelling and help shape how that work is distributed globally. We see the development and distribution of MLF’s own work as key to the future success of the business, a key revenue stream and integral in building global brand awareness. This new role will be a vital part of the core team that formulates and realises this ambitious vision. Learn more. 

Find more roles here. 

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Curated by Tom Ffiske every Wednesday and Sunday, and enjoyed by over 5,000 professionals.

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Meditative with the VIVE Flow. Photo credit: Tom Ffiske

Tom Ffiske

Editor, Immersive Wire

Tom Ffiske is the Editor of the Immersive Wire, a twice-weekly newsletter on the immersive industry.