Market Lab Report / Dr. K's Crypto-Corner
by Dr. Chris Kacher
Limitless Metaversal ImagiNation
Imagine a world where you can be anywhere at anytime with anyone in any scenario you desire. The Arnold Schwarznegger film "Total Recall" showcased this concept where "fantasy" modules could be programmed into one's brain to experience whatever fantasy they desired. That world is here today. It is called the metaverse. Broadband speeds are reaching levels to where one can experience touch, sight, audio, video, and smell in real-time. Japan just set the world record for such speeds where the entire library of Netflix can be downloaded in just ONE SECOND. But stunning advances have been made over the years. Back in 2016, a football was tossed from a person in one country to a person in a different country. The smell of the calfskin and the texture of the ball were indecipherable from an actual football. Now extend that to full scale VR where one is sitting with loved ones round a dining table at Thanksgiving. Or one is a knight in shining armor battling goblins in a dungeon. Or co-workers are in a virtual room where they feel like they are face-to-face. Or one of the sexual fantasy scenarios in Total Recall. Or any of an infinite number of scenarios. The constraints of the physical world fall away. The only limit to the metaverse is imagination. Welcome to the MetaversiNation.
“Metaverse” was coined by science fiction writer Neal Stephenson in his 1992 novel Snow Crash in which people don virtual reality headsets to interact inside a game-like digital world. "Cyberspace” was coined from a 1982 book by William Gibson which kicked off the cyberpunk revolution. This was followed a decade later by the cypherpunks, a portmanteau of cyberpunk characterized by dystopian sci-fi and cryptography encompassing cryptography, mathematics, politics, and philosophy. In short, cypherpunk: hacking and computing cryptography vs. cyberpunk: a subgenre of science fiction characterized by a lawless subculture resulting from the pushback of an oppressed society and dominated by computer technology. And if we go back over a century, “robot” from a 1920 play by Karel Čapek. All terms encompass our world today.From Arpanet to Internet to Metaverse
The metaverse is the natural evolution of the internet which was the natural evolution of the arpanet. It is the convergence of the internet and all virtual worlds but also blends the physical world with the virtual one. It existed in embryonic form in the early 1980s with early PC gaming in the days of Wilderness Campaign (1978), Wizardry (1981), Ultima (1981), and Might & Magic (1984), then multi-player games such as Everquest (1999) et al and has transformed into the multidimentional tapestry of our personal and professional lives. The metaverse is life, our lives, in digital form, interactive, private, decentralized, empowering to each individual with personal avatars, where singular control over content in interactive fashion becomes immersive in real-time, under fire, in the all the glory of AR/VR/3D.
We are social beings. Digital business models fall under the umbrella of DAOs (decentralized autonomous organizations) and DOs (digital organizations) that spur fairness for individuals, protecting their privacy while making sure the creators get their fare share. We are at the launch of the digital creation economy where the creators get rewarded while the platforms exist as support structures absent of all the unnecessary middlemen. Anyone can participate. Anyone can create. Blockchain enables this.
Seamless integration is already here where digital information from multiple platforms creates interoperability. We already see this with microservice architecture and connectivity so one can use their digital assets and digital properties across the metaverse. If I buy a Ferrari to play Fortnite, I'd love to use it on Roblox.
Companies such as Facebook and Google see the metaverse as the future so plan to blend real and virtual worlds more than ever before. 3 billion people use facebook each month on average. "This is going to be a really big part of the next chapter for the technology industry," Zuckerberg told tech website The Verge last week. Over the next five years, he predicted, Facebook would transition from "primarily being a social media company to being a metaverse company".
Recently, plots of land in Decentraland (MANA) -- a virtual world where visitors can watch concerts, visit art galleries, and gamble in casinos -- have sold for hundreds of thousands of dollars in MANA, a cryptocurrency. The hugely popular video game Fortnite has expanded into other forms of entertainment, with 12.3 million people logging in to watch rapper Travis Scott perform in 2020.
Leading Tech Juggernauts
It is no accident that companies such as GOOGL and FB are all at or near new highs. They continue to enjoy uptrends as they continue to position themselves the right technologies given Facebook's recent announcement and Google's march forward when it comes to anything cutting edge. Over the years, longer term holders can and will continue to benefit in this Era of QE. The Fed's hands are tied if history is any guide.