Meta-what? What is the Metaverse?

Image Credit: Дмитрий Ларичев/Getty Images

I. Neal Stephenson’s Metaverse

II. Cyberspace, Fortnite, Metaverse

III. Matthew Ball’s Metaverse

  1. Be persistent — it never “resets”, “pauses” or “ends”, it just continues indefinitely.
  2. Be synchronous and live — pre-scheduled and self-contained events will happen just as they do in “real life”. The Metaverse will be a living experience that exists consistently for everyone and in real-time.
  3. Be without any cap to concurrent users, while also providing each user with an individual sense of “presence” — everyone can be a part of the Metaverse and participate in a specific event/place/activity together, at the same time, and with individual agency.
  4. Be a fully functioning economy — individuals and businesses will be able to create, own, invest, sell, and be rewarded for a wide range of “work” that produces “value” that is recognized by others.
  5. Be an experience that spans both the digital and physical worlds, private and public networks/experiences, and open and closed platforms.
  6. Offer unprecedented interoperability of e.g., data, digital items/assets, and content across each of these experiences — your Counter-Strike gun skin, for example, should also be able to be used to decorate a gun in Fortnite, or be gifted to a friend through Facebook. Similarly, a car designed for Rocket League (or even for Porsche’s website) could be brought over to work in Roblox. Today, the digital world basically acts as though it were a mall where every store used its own currency, required proprietary ID cards, had proprietary units of measurement for things like shoes or calories, and different dress codes, etc. This has to change for a proper Metaverse to work.
  1. A “virtual world” — Virtual worlds and games with AI-driven characters have existed for decades, as have those populated with “real” humans in real-time. This isn’t a “meta” (Greek for “beyond”) universe, just a synthetic and fictional one designed for a single purpose (a game).
  2. A “virtual space” — Digital content experiences like Second Life are often seen as “proto-Metaverses” because they (a) lack game-like goals or skill systems; (b) are virtual hangouts that persist; (c) offer nearly synchronous content updates; and (d) have real humans represented by digital avatars. However, these are not sufficient attributes for the Metaverse.
  3. “Virtual reality” — VR is a way to experience a virtual world or space. Sense of presence in a digital world is not sufficient on its own for a Metaverse. It‘s like saying you have a thriving city, just because you can see and walk around it; a thriving city is defined by its bustling economy, society, culture, and more.
  4. A “digital and virtual economy” — These, too, already exist. Individual games such as World of Warcraft have long had functioning economies where real people trade virtual goods for real money or perform virtual tasks in exchange for real money. In addition, platforms such as Amazon’s Mechanical Turk, as well as technologies such as Bitcoin, are based around the hiring of individuals/businesses/computational power to perform virtual and digital tasks. We are already transacting at scale for purely digital items for purely digital activities via purely digital marketplaces.
  5. A “game”Fortnite has many elements of the Metaverse. It (a) mashes up IP; (b) has a consistent identity that spans multiple closed platforms; (c) is a gateway to a myriad of experiences, some of which are purely social; (d) compensates creators for creating content, etc. However, as is the case with Ready Player One, it remains too narrow in what it does, how far it extends, and what “work” can occur (at least for now). While the Metaverse may have some game-like goals, include games, and involve gamification, it is not itself a game, nor is it oriented around specific objectives.
  6. A “virtual theme park or Disneyland” — The “attractions” will be infinite, and not be centrally “designed” or programmed like Disneyland, nor will they all be about fun and entertainment. In addition, the distribution of engagement will have a very long tail.
  7. A “new app store” — No one needs another way to open apps, nor would doing so “in VR” (as an example) unlock/enable the sorts of value supposed by a successor to the Internet. The Metaverse is substantively different from today’s Internet/mobile models, architecture, and priorities.
  8. A “new UGC platform” — The Metaverse is not just another YouTube or Facebook-like platform in which countless individuals can “create”, “share”, and “monetize” content, and where the most popular content represents only the tiniest share of overall consumption. The Metaverse will be a place in which proper empires are invested in and built, and where these highly capitalized businesses can fully serve customers, control APIs/data, unit economics, etc. In addition, it’s likely that, as with the web, a dozen or so platforms hold a significant share of user time, experiences, content, etc. [4]

IV. So, what is the Metaverse?

V. Who will build the Metaverse?



The International Token Standardization Association (ITSA) e.V.

  • The International Token Identification Number (ITIN) is a 9-digit alphanumeric technical identifier for both fungible and non-fungible DLT-based tokens. Thanks to its underlying Uniform Token Locator (UTL), ITIN presents a unique and fork-resilient identification of tokens. The ITIN also allows for the connecting and matching of other media and data to the token, such as legal contracts or price data, and increases safety and operational transparency when handling these tokens.
  • The International Token Classification (ITC) is a multi-dimensional, expandable framework for the classification of tokens. Current dimensions include technological, economic, legal, and regulatory dimensions with multiple sub-dimensions. By mid-2021, there will be at least two new dimensions added, including a tax dimension. So far, our classification framework has been applied to 99% of the token market according to the market capitalization of classified tokens.
  • ITSA’s Tokenbase currently holds data on over 4000 tokens. Tokenbase is a holistic database for the analysis of tokens and combines our identification and classification data with market and blockchain data from external providers. Third-party data of several partners is already integrated, and API access is also in development.




The International Token Standardization Association (ITSA) is a not for profit organization working on holistic market standards for the global token economy.

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International Token Standardization Association

International Token Standardization Association

The International Token Standardization Association (ITSA) is a not for profit organization working on holistic market standards for the global token economy.

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