Web3 has created the metaverse, but how do we navigate it?

In the past few months, the metaverse has captivated web enthusiasts worldwide. From defining the concept of the metaverse to hypothesising its potential ability to transform the way our lives are lived, the metaverse is now being thought of by many as the future of the internet.

Yet, for a concept that could change the world’s relationship with the digital universe for good, not much has been said about how an individual could navigate this brave new world.

The metaverse is expected to be built on technologies that define Web3, such as Distributed Ledger Technology (DLT). But how exactly will such frontier technologies enable us to realise the full potential of the metaverse?

Verifiable data is our gateway into the metaverse

Individuals will likely navigate the metaverse as digital avatars, whether these be actual full-blown virtual reality customisable avatars, or whether these are just simple access requests from an electronic device.

With this additional layer of anonymity, how will stakeholders in the metaverse ensure their exchanges with other digital identities are true with the intended individuals?

An individual’s identity in the metaverse is a combination of who they are, and what they have. This means that to identify who a person is in the digital space; specific personal data points can be furnished to “prove” the person is who they are.

For example, data such as medical records, educational attainments, vocational qualifications, and other credentials that an individual may have, can help serve as personal data points that “prove” an individual is truly who they say they are.

It is also important to note that these “proofs” must also be verifiable. If identities used to navigate the metaverse are not verifiable, then there will be little additional value the metaverse can bring beyond its Web2 counterparts, online social games like Second Life and The SIMS, as information exchanges cannot be guaranteed and secure.

Just like that, the potential of the metaverse is all but erased, as it will then be another unreliable and untrusted platform for information exchange, dashing the hopes of web enthusiasts for the me where key transactions with real-life implications can be facilitated and conducted easier than ever before.

This is where verifiable data, enabled by DLT, play an important role. Information that has been written to the ledger cannot be modified or destroyed, thus creating an everlasting record that can serve as a reference check for identity “proofs” presented on the metaverse.

This means that verifiable data should drive information used for metaverse transactions to ensure stakeholders’ ability to authenticate key information of every individual.

Also Read: The transition is now: these Web3 apps are transforming global finance

Artificial intelligence can also be built into authentication processes, where an individual’s movements, behaviours, and actions on the metaverse are assessed to verify digital identity.

With DLT-based verifiable data, cryptographic hashing and the potential to act on a zero-knowledge proof basis can assure metaverse users that their data is protected and secure.

Cryptographic hashing allows data obfuscation, which deters malicious actors from siphoning an individual’s personal data. Zero-knowledge proofs allow authentication without having to reveal information that could be compromised.

This means individuals have complete data ownership and the autonomy to decide what information to share, whether it is a simple yes or no answer, and with who, securely.

DLT-based verifiable data also allows interoperability of an individual’s digital assets, such as NFTs and verifiable documents.

This means individuals can transfer their digital assets from metaverse to metaverse, unlike traditional online social games.

Not only does this enable individuals toto transact across metaverses meaningfullybut it also has implications on an individual’s digital identity.

The decentralised nature of DLT-based verifiable data unlocks the potential for users to create a single identity that can be used to access multiple metaverses through decentralised authentication, especially since an individual’s digital assets, which may serve as identifier data points, are metaverse, transferrable.

This means individuals no longer need to create multiple “accounts”, if you will, to access different networks created by different communities.

By enabling individuals to operate with one single digital identity, the individual’s digital identity grows as their personal data points accumulate, creating a stronger, unique digital identity.

Over time, as metaverse participants deepen their interactions with the metaverse, the community will collectively improve the ability of Web3 technologies to authenticate identities and facilitate transactions.

Also Read: To infinity and beyond: Why 2022 will be the year of Web3

Metaverse gaming: an example of verifiable data applications

Gaming in the metaverse is rapidly gaining momentum in digital economies like South Korea. The advent of play-to-earn metaverse games is an example of how DLT is facilitating the world’s entry into the metaverse.

DLT-based digital currencies, verifiable and non-fungible, enable metaverse game developers to incentivise gamers by enforcing play-to-earn tokenomics, where in-game currency earned can be traded on exchanges.

Through the use of tokenomics, entire economies are currently being built in the nascency of the metaverse and this number will only continue to grow as we move forward with Web3.

These currencies, aside from their utility, also form part of the individual’s digital identity equation of what they have. Here, we see verifiable data as a way to drive gaming participation, build metaverse economies, and also reinforce digital identities.

The trading of assets is a recurring gaming concept that has also found its way into metaverse games. Gamers are familiar with trading, they have been trading gaming assets for real-world currency for decades, either via over-the-counter trades or popular platforms like G2G, Zeusx, and Kaleoz.

Traditionally, peer-to-peer trading has always been highly dependent on trust. A common dilemma faced by gamers would be the order of the transaction, does the seller send the assets first, or does the buyer send the payment first?

The reason for such a dilemma to exist in the first place is because such transactions occur in two different planes, the gaming universe and the real physical world. In the metaverse, such dilemmas may continue to exist, especially when it comes down to trading digital assets for physical ones.

The good news is that smart contracts, which are self-executing programs based on pre-defined requirements, built with DLT, powered by DLT-based digital currencies, and secured by verifiable data, can create a trustless transaction that cannot be compromised.

Only when the required commitments have been completed in full by both parties, will the transaction be executed.

The potential of metaverse gaming to facilitate financial transactions underlines the looming impact the metaverse would have on the world as we know it. This is even before considering the exploration that still needs to be done in the realms of metaverse advertising, entertainment, supply chain management, and so on.

Also Read: The different ways the Web3.0 is enabling marketplaces

Yet, one thing remains in all of these possibilities: the fact that DLT-based verifiable data will be the bedrock for most metaverse exchanges.

There is still work to be done in preparation for Web3

The biggest issue today with the adoption of Web3 and its offspring, such as the metaverse, is the technological gap between Web2 enterprises and the Web3 ecosystem.

Most of our information and data currently exist in Web2 databases, systems, and enterprises. These typically do not have the technical capability or risk appetite to participate in the Web3 ecosystem, and herein lies the biggest leap the world has to make to adopt Web3.

To stay on the curve, organisations and governments will need to find ways to port legacy information and data from traditional formats into outputs that are compatible with the new digital ecosystem. This includes transforming centrally-stored data into digital, verifiable, decentralised data pockets owned by the individual.

For Web2 firms that have the foresight to recognise this but lack the technical skills to implement change, frontier technology providers, such as Accredify, can help them apply enterprise-grade solutions to enable workflow integration for outputs that are in Web3 compatible formats.

In this manner, these enterprises can transform their data and information into decentralised, user-owned data stores where users can readily utilise this data in the Web 3 ecosystem.

Nobody is certain of how far Web3 will go to replace Web2, but we have learnt enough to know that the world should already start bracing for the impending wave of change that is to come.

Organisations can begin preparing by letting verifiable data drive their processes, it is what will power almost every transaction in Web3. By doing so, organisations will futureproof their enterprises by ensuring their processes, outputs, and ways of working, remain relevant and compatible with the new digital ecosystem.

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