Social media changed the way we work, interact and share memories with friends, families, and even strangers. Big Tech companies do not intend to stop here. They envision a virtual world that is as real as the physical world.

Enter the buzzword metaverse.

A few decades ago, the metaverse was a reserve of science fiction. Still, today, tech companies are laying down the foundation for a virtual universe that simulates the experiences of the physical world.

Cryptocurrencies and other blockchain-based innovations will be a critical part of the metaverse going forward.

This article will explore metaverse tokens, how you can get involved, and the need for crypto in the metaverse. Before that, let’s understand what the metaverse is.

Introducing the Metaverse

Working online for the past two years has seen more and more people get comfortable with their digital presence, providing a foundation for the mainstream adoption of the metaverse.

The metaverse is a blockchain-based rendering of the physical world designed to allow people to socialize, work, shop, exercise, and play in a virtual space. Unlike how we currently interact with the internet, the metaverse will heighten our experience of digital interactions through technologies such as augmented reality and virtual reality.

Avid gamers are some people who have experienced what a metaverse could be. Games such as Fortnite, Animal Crossing, and Roblox are examples of games with virtual universes where users can shop and interact with each other.

As metaverses are still in their formative years, each company working on the metaverse has a different idea of how it will work. For Facebook, the idea is a physically persistent world that users can access through VR headsets and other virtual reality tools. Users, in this case, will create digital avatars to represent themselves on the metaverse.

For Microsoft, the idea is a virtual space where users can project their holographic selves into the metaverse to interact with other people. Users will be able to project their holographic selves using HoloLens devices.

To develop a functional virtual ecosystem, blockchain technology and cryptocurrencies are going to play an important role in the metaverse.

The Emergence of Crypto Metaverses

Crypto metaverses are immersive 3D virtual worlds that take advantage of the massive potential of blockchain and cryptocurrencies. The use of blockchain infrastructure in these metaverses provides them with great social and financial opportunities, creating a promising future for blockchain games.

Crypto metaverses are developed with security, decentralization, and speed in mind. They separate themselves from centralized metaverses, which are in the control of their founders rather than their users.

Most developers of metaverses want to create decentralized metaverses that users control. Developers of The Sandbox and Decentraland are among those decentralizing their metaverses to give full control to users.

This is because centralized metaverses such as the one suggested by Facebook raise concerns over privacy and the collection of personal data. Meta Platforms has expressed its interest in placing personalized ads in the metaverse.

The key features of crypto metaverses include:

  • Decentralization: Blockchain technology is well-known for its decentralization. Cryptocurrencies and other innovations built on blockchain technology can be decentralized, meaning that participants in a crypto metaverse control the metaverse. This gives crypto metaverses autonomy from their creators and perpetuity.
  • User governance: crypto metaverses take advantage of Decentralized Autonomous Organizations (DAO) to give users control over the future of a crypto metaverse. Users can vote on changes and updates to the crypto metaverse.
  • Provable provenance: It is important to provide an immutable proof-of-ownership system in a digital world such as the metaverse. Metaverses use non-fungible tokens to promote transparency and prove ownership of user-generated content and digital assets.
  • Real-world economic value: crypto metaverses use cryptocurrencies and other digital tokens to support the metaverse ecosystem. This allows holders of crypto metaverse tokens to redeem them for real-world value.

Why Does the Metaverse Need Crypto to Operate?

Metaverses are digital worlds with similar features to the physical world. This means that they have economies that need financial sustenance. In these virtual worlds, cryptocurrencies are an ideal form of payment.

As a digital currency, cryptocurrencies come with in-built security features, and transactions are often instantaneous.

Cryptocurrencies Related to the Metaverse

Cryptocurrencies hold an important part in the metaverse alongside NFTs. Developers of various metaverses are also developing native tokens to allow players to buy in-game offerings in various metaverse ecosystems.

Some of the most common cryptocurrencies related to the metaverse include:

Axie Affinity 

Axie Affinity is a Pokémon-inspired NFT-based video game that allows players to collect, raise, battle, and trade Axies (digital pets). Axie Affinity is one of the most popular Ethereum-based games and one of the DApps games with the highest user counts.

The game provides players with unique learning opportunities to help them better understand blockchain technology. Players in the Axie Affinity ecosystems use the AXS (Axie Affinity Shards) and SLP (Smooth love Potions) as the primary tokens.

AXS is the ecosystem’s native token that allows holders to participate in the development of the Axie Affinity platform. It is one of the top metaverse crypto coins, which players earn after playing various games in the Axie Affinity metaverse.

Users can use the AXS token for:

  • Breeding Axies
  • Staking rewards
  • Governance (Axie Affinity plans on becoming a fully decentralized ecosystem governed by players on the platform.)
  • Purchase of land, or other items on the platform

The Axie Affinity metaverse developed by Sky Mavis, a Vietnamese game studio, aims to create player-owned ecosystems and economies on Lunacia, Axie’s homeland. Lunacia has 90,601 plots of land, which are the homes and operation bases for the Axies.

Players can freely trade land as NFTs. They can also create NFT games within the ecosystem. Other players can join these games as well.

The Sandbox 

The Sandbox is another metaverse where players can play, build, own or monetize their virtual gaming experiences. The Sandbox is a decentralized Ethereum-based virtual world that primarily uses its native token, SAND.

Players can earn the SAND token by buying it on cryptocurrency exchanges, playing for rewards, or participating in The Sandbox contests.

Players on The Sandbox have access to a wide variety of tools that equip them to build unique and engaging experiences on the metaverse. In addition to gaming, players can interact with friends from all over the world. The Sandbox metaverse has 166,464 pieces of Land.

The play-to-earn game allows users to generate their digital avatars, which they use to access different ecosystems in The Sandbox metaverse.

Since The Sandbox is a decentralized game, players can submit or vote for changes to The Sandbox. They can also stake their SAND token to earn rewards and share in the revenue from SAND transactions.

With more than 910 million SAND tokens out of the possible 3 billion, SAND stands out as one of the top cryptocurrencies in the world. The token has a market capitalization of upwards of $6 billion.

Decentraland 

Decentraland is an open-source metaverse that allows users to buy virtual land as NFTs. Decentraland uses its native token MANA for all transactions in the ecosystem. Decentraland has a market capitalization of about $4.4 billion, making it one of the popular metaverse crypto tokens alongside The Sandbox and Axie Affinity.

The Ethereum blockchain-based ecosystem allows users to create and monetize their digital experiences and creations. Some of the features on the Decentraland platform include land that can be sold to families, enterprises, individuals, and institutions.

The Decentraland metaverse has attracted institutional interest following the agreement with Barbados to open the first digital embassy.

Like other decentralized platforms, Decentraland allows holders of the MANA token to submit proposals and vote on proposals from other players. Users can participate in Decentraland governance by holding the MANA token or being landowners in the ecosystem.

GALA 

GALA is the main token in the Gala Games Ecosystem. Gala Games is a blockchain-based play-to-earn platform that allows players to buy, trade, and sell collectibles as non-fungible tokens. Players holding the GALA token can vote on new games and influence how existing games are run.

Gala Games’ Town Star is the playable game on the Gala Games Ecosystem, with more games currently in development.

Highstreet 

Highstreet (HIGH Token) is the native token of the decentralized MMORPG game that seeks to provide a seamless gaming experience that blurs the lines between the physical and the virtual world. The HIGH token provides users with currency flow between the physical and virtual worlds.

Players on the metaverse platform can complete quests and earn digital assets that are usable in the virtual and physical worlds. The Highstreet project seeks to provide a secure and entertaining way to shop online.

The ecosystem also comes with another utility token, which players acquire by completing in-game tasks. Players can use this token to buy travel tickets, armour, weapons, hotel stays, and heals. Players can also earn the HIGH token by owning land or participating in special events within the metaverse.

The Highstreet platform has an authentication process that only allows verified and trustworthy sellers on the platform.

The platform comes with hexagon-shaped plots which real-world businesses can lease to open infrastructure such as homes, clubs, shops, among others.

Somnium Space 

Somnium Space is an immersive metaverse project designed to facilitate communications, cooperation, and socialization in a virtual world.

The platform comes with 5000 land parcels and parallel worlds that users of the platform own. Landowners on Somnium Space can build anything on their land.

Apart from land, the platform also has additional content in the form of cars, clothes, avatars, and artwork among others.

Players on Somnium Space use the CUBE token to purchase digital assets, rent land, pay for games or even events. Players with good karma are also rewarded with the token.

Where to Begin?

While the concept of a metaverse has been around since the 1990s, companies are only recently exploring the possibility of developing metaverses. The technology is still in its formative years, making it an ideal time for any interested parties to get involved.

Keep in mind, it is also a highly unregulated environment which can be risky for investors. Do your own research before investing in any metaverse projects.

Platforms like Decentraland allow you to visit their metaverse as a guest without buying the MANA token.

Projects like Axie Affinity have already gathered a massive following, but there will always be new and upcoming projects you can consider. Your research should be based on your interests, not influenced by what others are promoting.

Evaluate each metaverse for its present and future potential by looking at the development team and the platforms on which these projects are based.

Ok, so you want to get started investing in the metaverse?

Here are a few first steps:

  • Choose a crypto wallet you can use to hold your metaverse crypto tokens. MetaMask is one we recommend. Download the app or add the extension on your browser. MetaMask is compatible with most metaverses, which allows you to use your tokens for in-game transactions. You can use fiat currency to purchase cryptocurrency within the wallet or purchase directly with your credit/debit card.
  • The next step is to buy the metaverse token you’re interested in. You’ve done your research on projects that resonate with you and have growth potential. You can buy metaverse tokens on cryptocurrency exchanges like Binance, Coinbase, Gemini and Newton by using fiat currency or exchanging other cryptocurrencies. You can also buy many of these tokens on decentralized exchanges.

Another way investors could profit from the metaverse is by buying stocks of companies involved in the metaverse. Meta/Facebook?

Final Word

The metaverse is the latest buzzword in the technology sector and crypto enthusiasts are seeing multiple use cases for cryptocurrencies in metaverse ecosystems. Before you jump on the hype and begin investing in the metaverse, do your own research, look at each project carefully, understand its fundamentals, and then you can try to assess its potential.

As a technology that’s still early in its formative years, it is wise to invest only what you can afford to. There are and will continue to be plenty of opportunities in this new virtual space, don’t give in to the deceptive fear of missing out.