The Integral Role Of NFTs In The Metaverse

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Two of the hottest topics in the crypto space increasingly go hand-in hand. Non-fungible tokens and the metaverse have captured plenty of media attention and headlines in recent months and more often than not, they’re being mentioned in the same breath. 

Someone with only a passing interest might assume NFTs are little more than digital artworks or collectibles that can be sold for crazy sky-high prices. But these unique digital tokens can be so much more than just a fancy digital GIF with a certified owner. They have multiple use cases, with one of the most interesting being the accessibility they offer to the metaverse. 

The metaverse itself is an equally mysterious concept to the casual observer. The generally accepted definition is that the metaverse is a kind of theoretical virtual world that can be accessed using a virtual reality headset. Within this world, people are represented by their digital avatars and they can create their own space, fill it with virtual collectibles, or go and visit other ‘spaces’ where they can interact, work and play games with other metaverse users. 

The promise of the metaverse is that it will allow us to do much the same as what we do in the physical world, thereby reducing the need to travel and physically “be” at certain places at a certain time. Within the metaverse, we can visualize entire worlds and interact with the objects within them. It becomes possible to switch instantly between various activities, chats and locations through a simple gesture. Rather than switching from one app to another, or to a web browser, the metaverse provides a far more seamless connection to our work and play experiences. 

NFTs have already become an integral part of the metaverse. These 100% unique tokens are best thought of as a digital certificate of ownership that’s recorded onto the blockchain, a shared, immutable ledger that’s used to record transactions and track assets and can never be hacked. NFTs can be created – or “minted” – whenever a new digital file of an image, video, GIF or something else is made. The NFT becomes the certificate of ownership of that new file, and can be sold or even rented to another person, with the blockchain providing a way for anyone to verify who actually owns it. 

NFTs originally emerged as a way of verifying the ownership of digital art. That’s because digital assets are notoriously easy to copy. Though NFTs can’t prevent someone from copying a digital file, they do provide a neutral and unbiased way of confirming who its genuine owner is. 

What Do NFTs Do In The Metaverse? 

NFTs have been extremely disruptive in virtual worlds, enabling new ways of interacting with other metaverse users, socializing and performing transactions. In fact, they’ve emerged as one of the foundations of metaverse economies, making it possible for people to create unique avatars, buy and sell items, event passes, own and rent virtual land, play games and win money and much more besides. 

Avatars & Private Events

NFTs provide an excellent way for people to own a unique avatar to use online and in the metaverse, as exemplified by Twitter’s recent decision to support verified NFT profile pictures. Having a well-known avatar such as a Bored Ape Yacht Club NFT gives users additional social credit in the metaverse, as well as a sense of belonging to the various communities that have sprung up within it. 

One of the best examples of this is the partnership between the virtual reality studio House of Kibaa and the Gutter Cat Gang, a collection of NFTs. House of Kibaa is creating animated 3D avatars for each Gutter Cat species. The owners of these NFT avatars are eligible for exclusive lotteries to win free upgrades such as weapons, wearables, vehicles and pets within the House of Kibaa metaverse.  

Another interesting use of NFTs is as passes or tickets for virtual events and parties that generate revenue for the organizers. One of the biggest proponents of this is the rapper Snoop Dogg, an avid NFT collector who recently began hosting private parties in The Sandbox metaverse within his virtual mansion. The original event was limited to 1,000 attendees who purchased an NFT-based party pass, of which 650 were sold to fans on The Sandbox’s marketplace. 

The passes, in essence, gave fans a chance to meet Snoop in person within the metaverse, get a glimpse into his private lifestyle and experience an exclusive virtual concert. 

Play-to-Earn Games

Menya Dragon Ramen by PlayMining

Thanks to games like Axie Infinity, Menya Dragon Ramen and MOBLAND, the idea of play-to-earn games has become a reality. NFTs have created the basis for entirely new in-game economies that see players acquire NFT-based game characters and weapons and compete for rewards that can be either more NFTs or cryptocurrency. 

NFTs are an integral component of P2E games, which simply wouldn’t be possible without them. For instance, Digital Entertainment Asset (DEA), has created a PlayMining economic zone within the metaverse that’s home to multiple P2E games, including its upcoming title Menya Dragon Ramen, a role-playing game that simulates the experience of running a real-world ramen noodle shop. Players are required to buy “Employee NFTs” to staff their ships and get started playing and enjoy the full benefits of its P2E component. 

As for MOBLAND, this is a popular metaverse game that sees players lead a mafia syndicate, managing their criminal enterprise, trading with other gangs, killing rivals and generally striving to become the top gangsters out there. Players can grow their business by attacking rivals and gaining control of “turf” and engage in a wide range of criminal activities. 

One of the newest additions to MOBLAND is a new “grow weed to earn” feature introduced in partnership with who else but Snoop Dogg. Last month it was revealed that the hipster NFT aficionado is partnering with MOBLAND to bring digital weed farms to its metaverse. As part of the partnership, MOBLAND will release a limited edition collection of Snoop-branded digital weed farm NFTs that will be required to start growing weed within its virtual world. As such, they’re expected to become extremely sought-after assets. 

What’s really special about gaming NFTs is that, just like any other asset, they can be bought and sold by their owners. So if someone gets bored of playing MOBLAND, they can sell their Snoop-branded weed farm NFT to a new player and recoup much of the value they invested into the game. 

Virtual Real Estate

KaosLand on Bit.Country

The real estate industry can be an extremely lucrative one in the real world and the pricey nature of desirable plots of land is proving to be just as true within some virtual ones. 

Virtual real estate refers to the plots of digital land that can be bought and sold in metaverses such as The Sandbox, Decentraland, MOBLAND and Bit.Country. 

NFTs are used to certify the ownership of these digital plots of land within these metaverses. The NFT owners get rights such as “citizenship” of the metaverses they’ve acquired land within, as well as the ability to develop the land they own, constructing buildings on them. 

The virtual land industry is best illustrated with some examples. One of the most interesting up-and-coming metaverses is Bit.Country, which promises to give anyone the chance to build and develop their own metaverse. Bit.Country is based on a map of metaverses called the Continuum, which has a grand total of 100,000 land blocks available. Each land block can be subdivided into 100 land units, each of which is represented by an NFT and can be independently owned, and bought and sold on marketplaces. Acquiring one of these NFTs gives the land owner the right to build assets on that land, sell products and services, display exhibitions, host events – or anything else they can think of. People can even rent their land to someone else if they so desire.

The idea of land NFTs has become popular with a number of brands. For instance the cryptocurrency exchange ByBit recently announced it is partnering with MOBLAND to buy some virtual land and open a headquarters within the mafia-themed metaverse. ByBit will use its virtual HQ in MOBLAND to offer its various crypto trading services. However, it said its HQ will actually be made up of multiple business premises which will be sold as NFTs. The idea is that brands that want to associate themselves with ByBit can just buy an NFT in order to set up shop within its virtual premises, where they’re sure to benefit from lots of additional traffic from mafiosa who’re visiting the place to trade their ill-gotten virtual weed revenues. 

DEA recently became the first metaverse to create an actual “Land NFT” within its PlayMining Verse project. The Land NFT was designed by the Japanese manga artist Fujiwara Kamui and represents citizenship within his new Fujiwara Kamui Nation, one of several “nations” within the PlayMining Verse. 

The Land NFTs give users both the rights to the land they acquire within the Fujiwara Kamui Nation, as well as “citizenship” of that metaverse and the right to participate in community governance. 

NFTs Are The Future Of The Metaverse

The metaverse is a nascent idea that remains in the very early stages of its development. No one knows what the metaverse will ultimately look like, whether it will be dominated by the likes of The Sandbox or Bit.Country and MOBLAND or something else.  Yet it seems clear that whatever the future of metaverses will be, NFTs will play a key role due to the multiple proven use cases that have already arisen. As the metaverse evolves and grows, we can expect yet more pioneering use cases for NFTs to emerge. 

Being an active participant in the Blockchain world, I always look forward to engage with opportunities where I could share my love towards digital transformation.
The presented content may include the personal opinion of the author and is subject to market condition. Do your market research before investing in cryptocurrencies. The author or the publication does not hold any responsibility for your personal financial loss.

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