The Potential Benefits And Risks Of Children Engaging With The Metaverse

The Potential Benefits And Risks Of Children Engaging With The Metaverse

The European Union’s research body delves into the possibilities of using the metaverse to enhance children’s health and education while also addressing the accompanying risks and challenges.

The European Parliamentary Research Service (EPRS), which is like a big brain for the European Union, recently wrote a letter talking about how kids can have good and bad things happen to them in the metaverse

Maria Niestadt, who works at EPRS, says the metaverse can make kids more creative, help them learn, and maybe even make them feel better if they’re sick. 

But there are also lots of problems to think about, like making sure kids don’t feel bad mentally or physically because of things like using special goggles or worrying about their privacy and safety.

What’s the metaverse?

The metaverse is like a big, virtual world where people can explore and do all sorts of things. It’s not just one place but a whole bunch of different digital spaces that connect to each other. 

Imagine it like a huge playground where you can play games, chat with friends, go to school, or even work, all without leaving your computer or special goggles.

Advantages of the metaverse

  1. Endless possibilities. In the metaverse, the only limit is your imagination. You can create and experience things that might not be possible in the real world, like flying through space or visiting ancient civilizations. Some metaverses even digital assets that can be seen as digital objects. They are called metaverse NFTs.
  2. Connectivity. It brings people from all over the world together. You can meet new friends, attend events, or collaborate on projects, no matter where you are.
  3. Accessibility. The metaverse is accessible to anyone with an internet connection, opening up opportunities for education, entertainment, and social interaction to a wider audience.
  4. Innovation. Companies use the metaverse to develop new products and services, from virtual reality games to immersive training simulations for employees.

How to use the metaverse?

  1. Socializing. People use the metaverse to hang out with friends, attend virtual parties, or join online communities based on shared interests.
  2. Entertainment. Many use it for entertainment purposes, such as playing games, watching live performances, or exploring virtual museums and galleries.
  3. Education. Schools and universities are increasingly using the metaverse for virtual classrooms, interactive learning experiences, and simulations that enhance traditional teaching methods.
  4. Business. Companies utilize the metaverse for virtual meetings, conferences, and product demonstrations. It also serves as a platform for e-commerce, virtual advertising, and brand experiences.

The EPRS letter says there are lots of good things kids can do in the metaverse. It doesn’t say kids should always use special goggles, but it talks about some good ways they can use them. 

Opportunities for children in the metaverse

The letter from EPRS talks about how the metaverse offers many opportunities for children. 

While it doesn’t fully say that kids should always use virtual and mixed-reality headsets, it does highlight some positive ways they can be used.

According to EPRS, virtual worlds can help doctors find out and treat things like autism or ADHD in kids. They can also help kids exercise in a fun way and get over things like being scared of heights. Besides that, kids can learn about history and culture in virtual lessons and make friends in a safe way.

What are the challenges in the metaverse?

Although there are many opportunities in the metaverse, the EPRS also points out various challenges that need attention to keep EU children safe from the possible risks of metaverse technology.

Children often encounter similar risks in virtual worlds as adults do, but their vulnerability makes them more susceptible to harm. Reports, like the one from the Centre for Countering Digital Hate in 2023, show that minors are frequently subjected to different types of harassment, abuse, and content that isn’t suitable for their age in virtual environments.

The main concerns are about how being in digital worlds and using special equipment can affect kids’ minds and bodies. This includes things like feeling alone in real life, facing bullying or seeing things they shouldn’t do online, and even feeling sick or scared.

One big challenge is figuring out the right age for kids to use the metaverse. Right now, it’s up to the companies that make the special goggles. But sometimes, they lower the age limit. For example, in 2013, Meta made it okay for kids as young as 10 to use their Quest headsets, down from 13.

Overall, the metaverse in the European Union is changing a lot, and regulators are trying to find ways to make it safer. They’re counting on companies to follow the rules and make sure kids stay protected while using these technologies.

Metaverse opportunities

According to the letter, the metaverse is rife with opportunities for children. While it stops short of offering a full-throated endorsement for the use of virtual and mixed-reality headsets by children, the think tank lays out several claims for their positive use. 

Per the EPRS:

“Virtual world technologies can be used to diagnose and treat various paediatric mental and physical health disorders (such as autism, attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder). They can also be used to promote physical health through immersive fitness exercises, to help prepare children for psychological difficulties (such as the fear of heights) or to aid in their physical rehabilitation.”

Other opportunities include educational uses such as virtual immersion in lessons of historical and cultural significance and the potential for positive social interaction.

Big Plans for the Web 3.0 Ecosystem: Investment Funds and Metaverse Support 

Big Plans for the Web 3.0 Ecosystem: Investment Funds and Metaverse Support 

Web3 is one of the most used words of 2022. The idea behind the buzzword is to create a decentralised platform that hosts decentralised applications. As the concept gets more supporters, investors are paying attention.

What is Web 3.0?

Web3, or Web 3.0, is a cryptographic term that describes a decentralised internet version that runs on public blockchains such as the Ethereum blockchain, or any other programmable platform. 

Web3 could reduce the power of the largest internet companies, such as Amazon, Google and Microsoft, and give that power back to users. However, the technology needed for this massive internet shift may not be here yet, and it is not as advanced as the hype and the popularity of digital assets. Therefore, Web3 does not pose a threat to tech giants. Yet! 

Some voices argue that Web3 won’t be a truly decentralised Internet. This is especially true as venture capitalists continue to invest in space in order to monetise and control it. Jack Dorsey, the former CEO of Twitter, stated that Web3 on Ethereum will be centralised because of heavy venture capital investment. His repeated comments have led to a dispute between Dorsey and venture capitalists, who have invested billions in the crypto space and Web3 this past year.

Big bucks are poured into Web3

As with everything trending, big investors have taken notice of the upcoming Web3, and many have already decided to invest in it. Does this mean that Dorsey’s prophecies are right?

Nexo, a cryptocurrency lender service, established a venture arm with $150 million for Web 3 projects.

Nexo Ventures will be investing in Web3, decentralised finance (DeFi), non-fungible tokens (NFTs), metaverse, and GameFi. The venture arm will be led by Tatiana Metodieva, Nexo’s head for corporate finance and investments. Nexo Ventures would “explore the feasibility” of allowing Nexo’s users to invest alongside them and thus leverage our capabilities to facilitate wealth maximisation and investor diversification.

Since the appeal of a Web3 ecosystem has sparked the attention of investors, several similar funds have been launched in recent months. In December 2021, Hashed has raised $200 million for a fund dedicated to growing the Web3 ecosystem. Hashed is s South Korean venture firm that started investing in the crypto space in 2016, hitting big on projects like Axie Infinity and The Sandbox.

Griffin Gaming Partners, a gaming-focused venture capital firm, also announced that it would be investing $750 million in Web3.

Gaming has been a hot industry sector, with crypto exchange FTX investing $100 million last year to help fund gaming studios that incorporate the Solana blockchain into their games. Lightspeed Venture Partners and Solana Ventures raised the fund.

Wait, is the metaverse part of Web 3?

Web 3.0 is about who will control the internet in the future, but the metaverse is about how people will interact with the internet in the future.

Most people navigate websites and apps using their smartphones, tablets, or computers. The metaverse will use virtual reality (VR) to access the Internet, and users will be able to move between virtual worlds using digital avatars.

Animoca Brands is a Hong Kong-based game software and has a broad portfolio of blockchain games, traditional games, and other products.

Animoca Brands’ co-founder and chairman, Yat Siu, stated that his company would continue to assist businesses into Web3 in order to accelerate the evolution to an open metaverse.

Siu is long a supporter of the concept that an open metaverse would be better than one that is controlled by large Web2 companies. Siu’s argument centres on the fact that Web3 platforms and tech like NFTs allow users to retain ownership rights over data and content online instead of being controlled and used by large centralised Web2 companies such as Meta.

Siu believed that we are “super early” in terms of building an open metaverse. However, he stressed the importance of speeding the process because of the danger of large centralised firms dominating the virtual sphere.

Yat Siu believes that Web3 is a great way to combat the central metaverse companies. As Web3 develops into a global trade framework, users will be accustomed to having a stake in it.

In the end, this is what Web3 is trying to solve – user ownership and privacy. The web2 era has been all about big corporations owning customers’ data. But that’s about to change. 

The Gaming Industry Is Evolving Thanks to Blockchain Technology

The Gaming Industry Is Evolving Thanks to Blockchain Technology

Blockchain supports many aspects of our modern life, and it has already proven to take the gaming industry to the next level. 

Since personal computers became a regular item in households, computer games started to earn their place as an entertainment option in the 20th century. The first goal was to provide fantasy worlds for players to escape their daily routine. Games began to compete with traditional entertainments such as movies, theatre performances, circuses and zoos for players’ attention very quickly.

As the planet’s population keeps growing, it is forecasted the world’s population will surpass the 8 billion milestone by 2023, according to Worldometer. By then, we can safely assume that gaming will become a part of everyday life and that gamers will represent a large portion of the total population. 

It is not surprising that the boundaries between media, games, sports, and communication are slowly disappearing. This creates new business partnerships and leads to more mergers and acquisitions all over the globe.

Second Life, a virtual game universe, was a pioneering attempt to create a portal into the metaverse. The game features its own virtual currency. Many players in different countries gave up their jobs to devote 100% of their time and effort to the virtual world.

Blockchain technology has reached millions while the NFT craze took off in 2021. However, this is just the beginning and there’re more use cases for blockchain, that we’ll likely hear more about it in the near future. 

One of the first and main use cases for blockchain that the industry has embraced is ownership of digital items. As the internet evolved, there was a huge need for detecting fraudulent digital items and keeping track of your own digital creations, or digital acquired goods. 

But how is blockchain being used in transforming the gaming industry and what are the blockchain gaming models used today? 

The gaming industry today

According to Newzoo, the worldwide gaming revenue reach about $180.3 billion in 2021 and the total number of gamers was about 3.2 billion. These numbers represent a 20% increase compared to 2019 before the pandemic started. 

Most of the revenue is generated by digital distribution channels. The main growth engine of the games industry is mobile games, which have a market value of $93.2 billion.

Over the last five years, the game development industry has undergone a significant transformation. Even smaller studios can now create games for the global marketplace thanks to the development of digital distribution platforms and mobile app stores.

China is the largest region when it comes to gaming revenue and it accounts for over a quarter of all sales. And if we were to look for the region with the higher profits and fastest-growing rate, we would look at the Asia-Pacific region, where we’ll find 55% of all players.

But the feature is here and the gaming industry will be heavily influenced by the latest technology developments. Market leaders are embracing new technologies such as blockchain and virtual reality (VR), artificial intelligence (AI), and virtual reality (VR). Numerous blockchain-enabled gaming apps have been developed in recent years. This will lead to a significant increase in the market’s potential growth by 2022.

The Gaming Industry Is Evolving Thanks to Blockchain Technology

How has the gaming industry evolved in the past few years?

The gaming industry can only thrive as long as the gamers are happy. And when the gamers keep increasing in numbers, the leading companies need to really listen to what they have to say. That’s why we’re starting to see two gaming models emerge from the market. 

Pay-to-Play (P2P) gaming model

From the 1970s to the 2000s, pay-to-play (P2P) was the most popular business model in the games industry. This model allows developers and publishers to generate revenue from game sales, and sometimes subscriptions. In-game advertisements were rare and that kept the gamers happy.

However, this model leaves players with little to no chance of extracting any value from games. The only thing that matters is the enjoyment and satisfaction they get from playing the game. But once the game is finished, or let’s say, it gets replaced with the latest version, all progress get deleted and the gamers have to start all over again.

Free-to-Play (F2P) gaming model

The free-to-play (F2P) gaming model gained popularity in the 2000s and 2010s and, in the beginning, it was viewed as a bad business model by some gaming companies. 

It was believed that the F2P model could not only have the effect of generating low revenues for some games, but that it could bring the entire gaming industry to the ground. However, time has proven quite the opposite and the F2P model build an entirely new world for gamers to live in.

Free-to-play games are the type of games that require no up-front payment from gamers. However, the F2P model allows players to purchase in-game items and upgrade their characters within the game. Ads make up the majority of the revenue for gaming studios. Streaming and e-sports are monetization tools for players. At the same time, there are specialised tournaments where elite players can also receive rewards. An entire industry was born from the F2P model.

Fortnite is a perfect example of the success of free-to-play business models. Fortnite, which was launched in July 2017, generated more than $5 billion in revenue in its first year. Its user base grew to 80 million monthly active users by 2018.

Many of these games are now experimenting with the blockchain technology and new games are launched every year. Many of the metaverse games we see today try to incorporate blockchain-based economies to incentivise players to participate in their tasks and keep track of their digital assets.

One remarkable game, that aims to remain F2P is FootballCoin, a fantasy football game, that many European football enthusiasts love to play. It’s not only free to play, but the game is built on a free-to-earn model, which enables players to buy NFTs in the game, with their crypto earnings. Of course, gamers are free to take those crypto earnings and exchange them for any fiat currency, using a cryptocurrency exchange. 

Play-to-Earn (P2E) gaming model

The play-to earn (P2E) model is exactly as its name implies: It allows users to play and earn tokens. Because it combines entertainment and reward, this model is a powerful psychological incentive.

The main concept behind the P2E games is that players get rewarded for putting in more effort and time into the game. This creates value for them, other game participants, as well as for developers. In exchange for their participation, they receive digital assets that can appreciate in value over time.

Noting that blockchain technology has been used in such assets has caused scarcity in digital assets in games. These can take the form of NFTs and represent any character, from CryptoKitties kittens to cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin and Ether.

Many of the popular metaverse games are actually functioning on a play-to-earn gaming model, and aim to encourage gamers to purchase popular NFTs to join the game. This model gives a true utility to NFTs but can be discouraging for new gamers, that do not afford to invest in a game. The bright side of these NFTs games is that gamers are free to sell their NFTs and in-game assets. This way, they don’t lose the funds invested to play the game.

What’s the best blockchain gaming model?

These gaming models exist because the gaming community wants them and accepts them. As long as there is a demand for a game or a particular gaming model, there will always be a company looking to serve that need. And since we have all these new blockchain gaming models to serve us, why not take the industry to the next level. 

Free or not, gamers want to own their digital items, and blockchain helps them get it. 

The Metaverse Will Have NFTs With Utility in 2022

The Metaverse Will Have NFTs With Utility in 2022

Non-fungible tokens (NFTs) have reached a higher level of popularity and acceptance by both the online and crypto communities. NFTs with utility are here and are no longer considered a bubble, as more projects join the space and give new utility to the created NFTs. 

The rise of metaverse NFTs in 2021

Non-fungible tokens (NFTs) caught the public’s attention when the record-breaking Beeple’s The First 5000 days was sold by the Christie’s arthouse for $69 million, on March 11, 2021. This became the cornerstone of NFT art and spiked a new trend for digital artists and traditional artists as well. 

Since then, NFTs have expanded to include music, art, in-game assets, and even tweets. Basically, anyone can tokenize any real-world or digital asset and use NFT minting to provide unique ownership. FootballCoin is one example of one of the first free-to-play blockchain games to offer in-game NFTs, that are available for trading. 

According to DappRadar’s report, the NFT market generated over $23 billion in 2021. 

The most significant move for NFTs and the entire metaverse space was when Facebook announced its rebrand as Meta, on October 28, 2021. The social media network aims to become more than a social media channel, and will not focus on creating a new metaverse, which will integrate social media, virtual working spaces, gaming experiences and more. The news created huge waves within the crypto space, and most metaverse-related cryptos surged in price. Some of the most hyped coins were Decentraland (MANA) and Sandbox (SAND).

However, the NFT craze started way before that. Most of you might remember CryptoKitties, the Ethereum-based game, launched in 2017. The game caused network clogging and a huge network gas fee increase, as the demand for digital kitties increased. Most of the kitties collectors were attracted to the game by the potential of breeding and selling their NFT. The hype slowed down over the next months, but the idea of speculating over the price of digital assets remained in the crypto community. 

Today, investors can find new and trending NFT collections on platforms such as OpenSea and Rarible. Some of the most popular NFT collections are CryptoPunks and Bored Apes Yacht Club (BAYC). 

GameFi is the game-changer

GameFi protocols were the key moment of watershed for NFTs who followed the metaverse hype. What is GameFi? GameFi can be described as the integration of gaming and decentralized finance (DeFi) within one ecosystem. According to Huobi Research, GameFi has revived interest in blockchain gaming.

Axie Infinity is the leading protocol in this area in 2021. This game universe allows gamers to collect Axies and create kingdoms for their pets. AXS, and SLP are the native tokens that power the game ecosystem.

Sky Mavis, a Vietnamese game developer, developed the Ethereum-based game. It was first released in March 2018. The Axie-Infinity collection quickly rose to become the most traded NFT in NFT history due to the excitement created by the community around it. The collection has more than $4 billion in annual sales. Axie Infinity’s current trading volume has outperformed other blockchain games by miles.

This game is based upon Ethereum but blockchain-based games are becoming more popular across other blockchain networks such as Solana or the Binance Smart chain. Many games have enjoyed popularity on blockchain networks, including Splinterlands on Hive and Wax and Alien Worlds on Wax and Upland on EOS.

Refusal to adhere to traditional gaming regulations

GameFi is disrupting gaming by introducing blockchain technology. However, traditional gaming has not been well-received this innovation. Steam/Valve removed all blockchain-based games in 2021. Over 26 companies and advocacy organizations have called upon Steam/Valve to reverse its ban.

The South Korean government also blocked the release of new play-to earn (P2E) games and requested that existing blockchain games with a model P2E be removed be from the Apple Store and Google Play Store. Epic Games, creator of Fortnite, stated that they are open to blockchain-based games that support crypto and blockchain-based assets.

But the GameFi trend continues to grow despite the opposition from regulators and the traditional gaming industry. ProShares, the company that launched the first Bitcoin-based ETF, has plans to launch an ETF focused on Metaverse. The ProShares Metaverse Theme ETF was filed with the United States Securities and Exchange Commission. If the registration is accepted by the SEC, it will track the performance of the Solactive Metaverse Theme Index, which includes companies involved in the adoption and usage of metaverse-related technologies.

Even one of the big four consulting companies, PricewaterhouseCoopers (PWC) Hong Kong, have dipped their toes into the Metaverse. A land plot was purchased by the company to play in a metaverse Sandbox. After a deal with Velas Network, a Swiss blockchain startup, Ferrari even hinted at NFTs.

These enterprises can use blockchain technology to build business models within the Metaverse, and gain efficiency and compatibility with the real world. It is very likely that 2021 will be regarded as the year for NFTs and DeFi, and 2022 will be the Year of GameFi and Metaverse.

What Are Metaverse NFTs and How Do They Work?

What Are Metaverse NFTs and How Do They Work?

What is a metaverse NFT? The metaverse has been one of the most awaited online experiences. Now it is now available for users from all around the world through a simple internet connection. 

Here’s what the metaverse brings and how the metaverse NFT tokens can be used. 

What is metaverse technology?

The metaverse is an immersive virtual world, where users have their own avatar and can interact with each other, share experiences and create places and objects similar to real life. A metaverse is likely to build a completely new ecosystem, a massive-multiplayer online game if you will, with an incorporated economy, that enables users to buy and sell items. 

When was the metaverse first mentioned?

In 1992, the SF novel Snow Crash by Neal Stephenson was the first published piece to mention the term “metaverse”. In the book, humans could interact with software within a 3D space similar to the real world. 

However, the idea of the metaverse exists since the late 1970s. That’s when the internet pioneers talked about the internet as a place to create a bridge between the real and the digital world.

Why is everyone talking about the metaverse?

The Metaverse and Metaverse NFTs are taking over all industries, including crypto, gaming and social media. It has become one of the most used words in 2021, as more platforms are developing and integrating a metaverse experience for their users. 

When Mark Zuckerberg announced Facebook will be rebranding and will be called Meta, he described a virtual world that will enhance and step up our online experiences. 

The metaverse can be experienced through a computer, smartphone or a virtual reality (VR) headset. 

Crypto Metaverse Games and Apps

Since the metaverse requires a safe and transparent technology to incorporate all aspects of a virtual world, including a financial environment, the rise of crypto metaverses has started. A metaverse app can be built on top of a programmable blockchain that supports smart contracts, such as Ethereum, Cardano, Solana, Harmony and others. 

A crypto metaverse is all around the economy within the virtual space, which will rely on metaverse NFTs and tokens.

How are crypto metaverse app different from traditional online multiplayer games?

Firstly, the core component of the crypto metaverse apps and NFTs are :

  • Decentralisation. A crypto metaverse is not owned or controlled by a central entity. At least a part of the metaverse is built on the blockchain. Participants can get equity in the metaverse, and the future of the metaverse is in the hands of the users. 
  • User governance. Most crypto metaverses are democratic environments that have a governance token and a decentralised autonomous organisation (DAO) to enable users to take control of the metaverse and decide on future updates or changes through voting. 
  • Transparent ownership. Crypto metaverses use in-game items, that can be represented through cryptocurrency tokens and metaverse NFTs. Gamers can truly own the assets they buy in a game and anyone can easily check on the blockchain the true owner and value of a metaverse token.
  • Crypto tokens have real-life economic value. Users of a metaverse can easily trade the metaverse NFTs and tokens on DEXs or NFT marketplaces. Some use NFTs for investment purposes while others see them as a means to transfer wealth. 

Several crypto metaverse protocols have been already launched in 2021 and more are announced to be released in the near future. 

Crypto Metaverse Examples

The most popular crypto metaverses apps and are:

  • Decentraland (Ethereum)
  • Cryptovoxels (Ethereum)
  • Axie Infinity (Ethereum)
  • The Sandbox (Ethereum)
  • Alien Worlds ( Ethereum, WAX, and the Binance Smart Chain – BSC)
  • Star Atlas (Solana)
  • Tranquility City (Harmony)

The blockchain network of a crypto metaverse game is one of the most important aspects of the experience, since a congested and hard to scale network may lead to high network fees for transactions and slow speed to confirm and register transactions. 

What is a Metaverse NFT token?

A metaverse non-fungible token (NFT) enables internet users and metaverse participants to truly own the digital assets purchased within the metaverse. 

By owning a metaverse NFT token, the user gets to own a part of the internet and has complete control over it, to trade it, store it and use it. 

A metaverse NFT can by any crypto asset in the metaverse, such as digital objects or land. The ownership of the metaverse NFT is recorded on the blockchain network of that specific metaverse and represents a real value on the decentralised finance (DeFi) market. 

Metaverse NFTs can be traded for digital assets, such as bitcoin (BTC) or ethereum (ETH) on supported NFT marketplaces and decentralised exchanges (DEXs). 

How to Buy Metaverse NFTs

With the great surge in the interest in NFTs and other crypto tokens for the past years, Metaverse NFTs are a great investment opportunity. However, it’s important to check the scarcity of the metaverse NFT that you want to purchase, as well as the brand and community behind it before you make your investment. 

Step 1. Decide on a metaverse

To buy a metaverse NFT you will first need to decide on which metaverse you want to start your digital experience. Some of the most popular crypto metaverses that support NFTs are Decentraland, Star Atlas and Alien Worlds. 

Step 2. Connect your wallet to the metaverse

Metaverse NFTs are traded using a cryptocurrency wallet, such as MetaMask and other wallets supported by WalletConnect. 

Step 3. Explore the metaverse

After you connect your wallet, you will be able to access and experience the metaverse. Users can interact with each other and set a custom avatar for the metaverse.

Step 4. Buy Metaverse NFTs from the marketplace

Metaverses have incorporated NFT marketplaces, where you can buy or sell NFTs, using the crypto metaverse native token. To buy an NFT, you will need to hold the required sum in the wallet you used to connect the metaverse. 

The Metaverse Is Free

Obviously, users can enjoy the metaverse for free, and there’s no requirement to buy a metaverse NFT. 

Now that you know how the metaverse works and how to access the metaverse NFT tokens, we hope you will enjoy this new era of the internet.