Metaversal is a Bankless newsletter for weekly level-ups on NFTs, virtual worlds, & beyond
Dear Bankless Nation,
“People forget, but the metaverse narrative is the most expansive meta of all, a superset of all other crypto narratives.”
That’s a recent quote from Vance Spencer, which I 100% agree with and have since before I started writing this Metaversal newsletter nearly 3 years ago now.
That said, the metaverse does have immense potential precisely in being right square at the crossroads of AI, crypto, and virtual reality.
The convergence of these fields over time will, yes, eventually make the actualized metaverse much more than just a buzzword.
For today’s post, then, let’s talk about this idea of the “smart open metaverse” — the increasing convergence of AI x crypto x VR — and how it will opens up worlds, metaphorically and virtually, of limitless possibilities.
It is my firm belief, and the belief of more than a few others, that the metaverse should be open and inclusive. Accordingly, we believe the metaverse should be built upon open-source tech and interoperable standards. These interoperability pillars include efforts like:
👤 Aesthetic interoperability (e.g. creating and building around standardized formats for cross-platform characters, assets, physics, etc.)
🪙 Economic interoperability (e.g. Ethereum’s ERC-20 and ERC-721 token standards for managing and transacting around open virtual assets, L2s, DAOs, etc.)
🌐 Technological interoperability (e.g. fostering 3D web interoperability work for making virtual world experiences more accessible to more people, etc.)
As progress continues in these foundational areas, the vision of actualizing a mature open metaverse will keep coming into focus. Single virtual worlds into metagalaxies, then metagalaxies into a metaverse — one giant open garden on open infra.
🏹 Settle, Hunt, Claim, Repeat.
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This actualization is incredibly exciting to pioneering types like us because it represents the birth of a new frontier, one that’s collectively been in the making for at least three decades and likely will be for another couple more.
Then, no longer will outer space be the last great boundary of human exploration, but rather our endless metaversal space will be, and that vast virtual endlessness will eventually be limited only by our imaginations.
Of course though, yes, that will be a lot of space to build out and fill. The good news is that the metaverse is beginning to really open up just as the advent of AI is really starting to come into its own, too, which will help dramatically with this “filling” work.
In other words, as more and more humans pile into the metaverse in the years ahead, don’t be surprised that we’ll increasingly be doing so alongside more and more increasingly sophisticated AI agents.
That impending reality points back to the idea of the “metaverse as a superset of all other narratives.” Keep sight, then, of how the open metaverse will be built upon, around, and within all the great narratives of our current day, i.e. AI, crypto, and virtual reality, etc.
Conversely, along the way ahead speculators and tourists will come and go, cycles of interest will come and go. We saw that in 2021 when “metaverse” first became a buzzword to the masses.
Yet nothing has fundamentally changed since then with regard to the long-term vision here, which is, again, that bringing together open rails like standardized file formats, Ethereum, and 3D web tech can actualize the base of a true open metaverse. Now, it’s also just clearer than ever thanks to recent AI advances that we’ll be using AI agents of all stripes to fill in the limitless metaversal spaces, too.
Of course, there’s no question that this AI x crypto x VR crossroads is in its earliest days, yet there are already projects building out here that you should have on your radar.
For instance, Upstreet is an NFT-friendly multiplayer world being built from the ground up for human and AI agent interactions. The devs of Upstreet have even published a 28-page ChatWorld paper detailing some of the many AI agent possibilities they envision for Upstreet going forward. It’s one of many early indications that AI agents are poised to emerge as cornerstones within expansive virtual landscapes, whether they’re basic interactive bots or complex autonomous entities or somewhere in between.
Indeed, imagine an immersive virtual world experience where AI-driven guides offer personalized educational tours customized exactly to your needs and interests, or where your digital avatar is styled by an AI fashion advisor, capable of crafting unique outfits that resonate with your personality and virtual identity.
These are just tastes of what’s to come. In these spaces, AI agents will become more than mere tools and in many cases will actually be experienced as companions and collaborators by us humans. And there will be dimensions to this collaboration, from recreational purposes to entrepreneurial ones and beyond.
For example, it’s no stretch no imagine that eventually we’ll be deploying AI agents throughout the metaverse to autonomously co-manage our digital assets, analyze market trends, and execute strategic transactions on our behalf, all powered by things like Ethereum, crypto, NFTs, etc.
Yet there are many other areas of interest here too! Like creativity, and how in the metaverse it will take on new forms with AI involvement, from generating dynamic, ever-changing landscapes to aiding in the design of complex virtual buildings. The potential here is boundless, and the open metaverse will be like one supermassive multi-faceted canvas in this regard.
However, yes, there are already many more questions than answers here. Consider how the rise of sophisticated AI agents will bring its own sets of challenges and ethical considerations, as if we didn’t already have plenty of those to contend with on the crypto frontier. Issues such as privacy, security, and governing digital rights will become increasingly complex over the short-term, and we’ll have to keep tackling these issues head-on as we go.
To be sure, then, the deeper intermingling of AI and crypto and VR will pose many challenges but also many possibilities. And some AI agents themselves may transcend over time and become central characters in their own right, with their own stories and contributions to the progress of our open metaverse’s lore, just as some of their human counterparts have like jin.
Ultimately, not everything will be pretty here. Some people may dive in too deep and get lost in the rich, AI-driven experiences that are coming. For everyone else, though, the migration into the open metaverse will just represent the next great frontier opening up for humanity, and folks will plug in and plug out as needed.
In the meantime, here and there in this newsletter I’ll be upping my coverage of AI topics going forward since they’re becoming a new key pillar at the intersection of NFTs and the metaverse. Stay tuned from me on this front!
For example, for my next post I’ll be diving into the basics of Parallel Colony, one of the most compelling AI x NFT efforts around currently. Be on the lookout for that on Thursday, and thanks for reading until then! ✌️
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Not financial or tax advice. This newsletter is strictly educational and is not investment advice or a solicitation to buy or sell any assets or to make any financial decisions. This newsletter is not tax advice. Talk to your accountant. Do your own research.
Disclosure. From time-to-time I may add links in this newsletter to products I use. I may receive commission if you make a purchase through one of these links. Additionally, the Bankless writers hold crypto assets. See our investment disclosures here.