The concept of the Metaverse has been around since the 1980s, but it has only been in recent years that we’ve seen hundreds of projects popping up on the scene. What we are currently experiencing are gamified worlds with limited integration and engagement abilities. Right now, the Metaverse is still a blank canvas for early adopters to test and entertain the concept. When looking at the future of engagement in the Metaverse and bridging the gaps between the physical and digital worlds, however, we need to push the boundaries and go beyond what is currently seen as a metaverse. Let us begin looking at leaders who have begun building the next internet, which promises to be powerful for commerce, engagement and entertainment.
For the Metaverse to succeed and become a regular tool used in people’s daily lives, it must enable users to engage with it. As a sci-fi concept or within the gaming world, metaverses sound fantastic. But, for them to thrive as a social and business tool, we must ensure that there is a layer of utility or incentives that keep users invested. Web3-powered technology has a significant role to play in helping push forward with the concept and idea of the Metaverse thanks to blockchain technology, nonfungible tokens (NFTs), extended reality (XR), artificial-intelligence (AI) capabilities and plenty more. Metaverses that feature bespoke functionalities, speak to their customers and industry of choice and build new avenues of virtual engagement will find the most value in a metaverse-as-a-service (MaaS) offering. It will enable its users to customize their own cities from A-Z and will be the foundation of the next internet.
So, what is MaaS? It is a service model where brands can define their spaces to be whatever they want them to be. A MaaS platform enables others to create digital locations that fit each of its users’ unique needs, whatever that may look like. For the Metaverse to succeed as a practical concept, MaaS solutions will be key. Here’s why.
Each metaverse has different requirements
Everyone has a perspective or vision about what the metaverse could be or become, whether that is a gamified world or an access point to Web3. Users want the opportunity to define the space and shape it into a platform that mirrors even the most vivid of imaginations. A world where users can connect with their favorite musical or visual artists will vary vastly from a world built to engage with sports fans. While Web3 acts as the common thread across the many metaverses, the idea is to use decentralization to ensure each one is unique and serves different purposes. One-size-fits-all is not what the Metaverse is or should be about. With MaaS, customization will be critical and in the hands of the creators. An e-sports metaverse dome will rely more heavily on team branding and gamified tokenization, whereas an entertainer may want to create an event space to host virtual concerts.
Each metaverse has different requirements based on the industry and the layer of engagement they are looking at activating with the end-user. A metaverse is a place for brands to expand their fan bases and build communities as an added layer of engagement. So, not only will the elements be different, but the branding throughout the Metaverse will have to look different as well. As more brands choose to expand their community engagement efforts into the Metaverse, the more customizable it needs to be.
Not everyone will have the skill to set up this type of metaverse — just like not everyone could learn to code to set up a website, but then platforms like WordPress and Shopify came along. Those platforms offered the opportunity of a core base built by technology experts and experts in the field while allowing customization by the end-user as per branding and strategy. This is the benefit of MaaS.
Building with interoperability in mind
The virtual environment is a place to socialize, build relationships and create communities where people can have real-time interactions with other users. To take this one step further, users should not be locked into one metaverse or community but must be able to interact with and transport their avatar between other metaverses. Imagine if you had to change browsers every time you had to visit a website, depending on where it was built or hosted. Chances are you wouldn’t. Interoperability ensures that any metaverse built won’t become a virtual island and that people across multiple metaverses will be able to exchange experiences and possessions. As such, each element has to be designed around interoperability, as each Web3-powered solution needs to work in each metaverse — whether it is a token, an avatar, an NFT or other digital assets.
Building with interoperability in mind will connect people, have open borders and make the Metaverse more accessible to all. Borderless solutions have taken off in other industries, but the same concept must also apply in digital realms. For example, avatars within an e-sports metaverse should be able to travel to their favorite fashion brand’s metaverse to make purchases as well.
Enabling users to build on top of the physical world
The Metaverse shouldn’t act as a replacement for the physical world but should be an added layer of engagement that enhances real-world experiences. A MaaS will enable users to integrate engagement layers within their own physical world as well. For example, if a person has an NFT on display in their physical house, a visitor can scan a QR code and end up in that person’s metaverse, where the visitor can continue looking through the host’s gallery of NFTs — this function can be activated through XR. Without MaaS as an option, the Metaverse will continue to be a gamified world that only digitally exists as singular disconnected spaces. MaaS will bridge the gap between the physical and digital worlds through immersive experiences and an always-on layer of engagement.
As metaverses continue to launch, it is up to more than just the blockchain experts behind them to shape what they will look like. MaaS will be a catalyst for creativity, as well as the next necessary step for the creator economy to thrive.
When the internet launched back in the 1980s, it would have never grown into what it is today without those who started building on it. Early adopters will lay the foundation for how the Metaverse will develop and what it will become. Mass adoption of the Metaverse can only happen when MaaS enables users other than crypto natives to start creating their own metaverses, paving the way for the next generation of the digital ecosystem.
This article does not contain investment advice or recommendations. Every investment and trading move involves risk, and readers should conduct their own research when making a decision.
The views, thoughts and opinions expressed here are the author’s alone and do not necessarily reflect or represent the views and opinions of Cointelegraph.
Sandra Helou is head of Metaverse and NFTs at Zilliqa. With in-depth knowledge and a multidisciplinary background spanning traditional and digital industries, Sandra leads Zilliqa’s NFT and Metaverse projects across growth, partnerships, strategy, marketing, and conceptualization. Her global experience across Australia, Asia, Europe and the Middle East enables her to deliver on both strategy and execution levels. A Futurist and action leader at heart, Sandra is committed to enriching and innovating the creator economy, Web3 and MetaFi/NFT space.
Will the Ethereum 2.0 update reduce high gas fees?
Purpose of Ethereum 2.0
The primary goal of the Ethereum 2.0 update is to improve scalability so that the network can handle more transactions without delays or high fees.
While the full effects of the update will not be felt until it is fully rolled out, some of the possible use cases for Ethereum 2.0 include:
- Supporting the large-scale enterprise adoption of blockchain technology in private corporations and businesses;
- Creating more decentralized autonomous organizations (DAOs) and governance models based on smart contracts and trustless interactions;
- Ethereum token launches that will allow new projects to fundraise and launch their own tokens on the Ethereum network;
- The further expansion of nonfungible tokens (NFTs) and other digital assets that can be stored on the Ethereum blockchain; and
- Improved support for decentralized finance (DeFi) platforms and DApps is expected to be widely used by crypto enthusiasts and the broader public.
In addition to these benefits, it is also likely that Ethereum 2.0 will enable a variety of new use cases that are not possible on the current network, such as:
- Distributing tokens that represent ownership rights as a method of managing royalties in the music industry;
- Creating a decentralized AI (artificial intelligence) ecosystem that will allow users to train and monetize their own machine learning models;
- Facilitating safe and inexpensive cross-border payments;
- Allowing supply chain managers to track product delivery without fear of tampering;
- Providing a decentralized platform for gaming and predictive markets; and
- Increased privacy and the capacity to store large amounts of data, which can be particularly helpful for storing sensitive information such as medical records and financial data.
While there’s still time before the update is fully rolled out, the benefits it promises to bring are significant and could have a major impact on the way businesses and individuals use blockchain technology in the future.
The Ethereum platform’s popularity
The blockchain network’s popularity is expected to grow once Ethereum 2.0 is released.
Ethereum 2.0 will offer increased scalability, security and efficiency for businesses and individuals looking to take advantage of blockchain technology. Ethereum is currently one of the most well-known cryptocurrencies, alongside Bitcoin (BTC), with nearly 4 million wallets actively holding ETH as of February 2022.
The blockchain continues to be the place where most DeFi and NFT activities happen, with new DApps and projects being launched on the platform each day. According to analysts, Ethereum currently has 70% of all DeFi transactions in the cryptocurrency market, and its blockchain is used to support the majority of NFT and gaming projects.
The number of transactions on the Ethereum network
The average number of transactions on the Ethereum network is currently 1.1 to 1.5 million transactions per day.
These numbers are expected to increase exponentially after the launch of Ethereum 2.0, as it will allow significantly more transactions to be processed per day. At the moment, the network can only handle 15 transactions per second.
Ethereum 2.0 aims to increase this exponentially to about 150,000 by the time the upgrades are fully rolled out. If this becomes a reality, Ethereum will undoubtedly become one of the fastest and most scalable blockchains in existence, which should further increase its popularity.
Addressing scalability and high gas cost concerns with Ethereum 2.0
Scalability has always been one of Ethereum’s biggest challenges. This is especially true for developers seeking to build DApps and DeFi platforms on the blockchain, as transaction costs can be prohibitively high.
However, with the launch of Ethereum 2.0 (which introduces a new PoS consensus mechanism and shard chains), it will finally be possible to scale the network in a way that significantly reduces costs and facilitates faster transactions:
Tips and tricks to spend less gas fees on Ethereum
There are several ways you can reduce or even eliminate these costs when spending on gas fees on Ethereum.
- Use wallets that support batching: Batching is a feature offered by some wallets that allows you to group multiple transactions into one, thereby reducing the amount of gas you need to spend.
- Use ERC20 tokens: ERC20 tokens are digital assets that run on the Ethereum blockchain and can be used in place of ETH when paying for gas. This is because they often have much lower transaction fees than ETH, itself.
- Use a gas price calculator: Gas prices fluctuate frequently, so it’s important to use a gas price calculator to ensure you get the best possible price for your transaction.
- Use a gas tracker: A gas tracker is a tool that allows you to monitor the current gas prices on the Ethereum network in real-time. This can help ensure you’re always aware of the latest prices.
- Use a gas station: A gas station is a website that allows you to compare the gas prices of different ETH wallets to find the best one for your needs.
By following these tips, you can significantly reduce the amount of money you spend on gas when using Ethereum. This will help make it more affordable for you to use the network and participate in DeFi and other activities until such time that Ethereum 2.0 has fully launched.
‘The primary aim of the digital euro is still not clear’
The European Central Bank (ECB) is planning to launch a prototype of the digital euro in 2023. In the next five years, Europe could have its own central bank digital currency (CBDC) up and running. However, there are still many questions surrounding the prospective digital currency. In what form could it be issued? Is the ECB too late for the CBDC party, especially compared to other central banks such as that of the People’s Republic of China? To address these and other questions, Cointelegraph auf Deutsch spoke with Jonas Gross, chairman of the Digital Euro Association (DEA) and member of the expert panel of the European Blockchain Observatory and Forum.
New digital cash
Gross said that compared to digital cash issued by a commercial bank, central bank money carries fewer risks. A commercial bank can always go bankrupt, but a central bank cannot because in an emergency, it can print as much money as needed. And, in times of crisis, people may want, at least in theory, to transfer all their digital money from a private bank to the central bank, which will mean the end of the commercial banks’ business.
There are two potential mechanisms to avoid such a scenario: Either to set a cap on the amount of funds that a citizen can hold in central bank money or implement a negative interest rate applied to CBDC funds above a specified limit.
“The digital euro is mainly to become a kind of digital cash, also a new payment method and less a store of value. The central bank does not want to take away the banks’ business.”
The digital euro will not be adopted by European Union citizens if it won’t have certain features such as complete anonymity, said Gross. His team did a study that showed that it is technologically possible to make a digital euro just as anonymous as cash. It is also technically possible, Gross maintained, to allow digital euro payments to remain anonymous only up to a certain threshold, let’s say up to 10,000 euros, above which identification could be required. “This can be a great advantage for the digital euro, especially in view of the fact that cash is becoming less and less important,” Gross said.
“In an extreme case, in a few decades there could be very little use of cash, as is now the case in China or Sweden. And, if we didn’t have a digital euro that at least partially enables anonymous payments, then we would no longer have any privacy in payments. Even if it seems counterintuitive, the digital euro can promote privacy if one were to implement such a system with a focus on anonymity.”
According to Gross, the biggest problem at the moment is that the ECB has not yet defined the aim and functions of the prospective digital euro. Last year, the ECB, in cooperation with several member states’ central banks, tested four design options for the digital currency. The first was the digital euro on the KSI blockchain, the core technology used by Estonia’s e-government.
The second option is a digital euro built on the TIPS, a European electronic payment system launched in 2018. The third possibility is a hybrid solution that sits in between the blockchain and the conventional banking system. Finally, the fourth is a bearer instrument, which is a sort of money card that can be used for payments or hardware capable of processing offline payments without access to the internet.
These are only the rough possibilities, Gross said, and the ECB has not yet settled on a single design because the range of potential applications of the digital euro is not entirely clear.
Possible geopolitical risks
Projects like the digital yuan, China’s CBDC, could weaken the position of the euro altogether, especially if foreigners are also granted access to using it. Digital currencies can make it easier and cheaper to pay in that currency, Gross explained. Amid the Russia-Ukraine war, the issue of international payments and monetary sanctions is becoming geopolitically important again.
“The Russian government says Russian gas must now be paid for in roubles,” Gross said. “The Chinese can theoretically also come up with the idea that the products we have to export, which are currently transacted in U.S. dollars or euros, must from now on be paid for in the Chinese currency, for example, in the digital yuan.”
China can strengthen its currency by digitizing it, and this could cause the euro to lose some of its influence in the future. This is why the ECB should move faster on the digital euro and decide what it wants to get out of the CBDC after all.
This is a short version of the interview with Jonas Gross. You can find the full version here (in German.)
3 reasons why Cardano can sink further despite ADA price bouncing 58%
Cardano (ADA) pared a big portion of the weekly losses incurred during this week’s crypto market rout.
ADA’s price reached an intraday high of $0.60 on May 13, a day after rebounding from its week-to-date low of $0.38 — a 58% rally.
But the sharp ADA recovery does not promise an extended upward continuation, at least according to the three factors discussed below.
Stock market crash far from over
First, the price action in the Cardano and similar crypto-assets has been in lockstep with U.S. equities, especially tech stocks.
Notably, the correlation coefficient between ADA and the tech-heavy Nasdaq Composite was 0.93 on May 13, meaning that any major moves in stocks would likely steer Cardano in the same direction.
Moreover, the chances of Nasdaq undergoing a sharp recovery are currently slim, as analysts highlight the overstretched valuations of the Big Tech stocks and their probability of crashing further in a higher interest-rate environment.
“The [ax] is hanging, rather, over high-growth tech companies,” opines Richard Waters, the Financial Times’ West Coast editor, adding:
“This is where valuations became most stretched, and where the market is having the most trouble finding its nadir.”
Simply put, Cardano’s persistent positive correlation with Nasdaq could result in more sharp declines in the ADA market, at least for the time being.
ADA’s “fifth wave missing”
Secondly, another hint of a potential Cardano price decline comes from a technical structure highlighted by Capo of Crypto, an independent market analyst.
The pseudonymous analyst notes that ADA could fall to the $0.30–$0.35 range next, given its possibility to paint the fifth and final wave of a bearish Elliott Wave setup, as shown in the chart below.
The target range coincides with the support area from January 2021 that preceded a 850% bull run.
Descending channel breakdown
Thirdly, Cardano has been breaking below its multi-month descending channel in another sign of weakness.
ADA has been trending lower inside a range defined by two falling, parallel trendlines, underscoring traders’ current strategy of buying near the lower trendline and selling toward the upper trendline.
But on May 12, ADA/USD broke down below the lower trendline near $0.568, showing that traders ignored the buying opportunity.
Instead, buyers showed up near the $0.378-level to accumulate ADA, leading to the price rebound, as discussed above. However, the trading volume backing the recovery move was lower than during the selloffs, indicating a weakening rebound trend.
Simultaneously, the upside retracement move showed signs of further weakness after testing the descending channel’s bottom as resistance — a way of confirming the breakdown. If the bulls fail to flip the price ceiling to support, then ADA’s likelihood of continuing its prevailing downtrend will be much higher.
Conversely, a decisive move above the channel’s lower trendline could have ADA then test its upper trendline near $1.
The views and opinions expressed here are solely those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of Cointelegraph.com. Every investment and trading move involves risk, you should conduct your own research when making a decision.
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