Metaverse, Multiverse, Omniverse: What’s the Difference?
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Metaverse, Multiverse, Omniverse: What’s the Difference?

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10 months ago

How are we going to wrest control over our data privacy and censorship in the new metaverse?

Metaverse, Multiverse, Omniverse: What’s the Difference?

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With the rise of Web 3.0, the tech world is scurrying to reinvent the way we interact with the internet.

How are we going to wrest control over our data privacy and censorship away from our centralized Web 2.0 gatekeepers like Google, Twitter and Facebook in favor of a slightly naive decentralized utopia?

With this new iteration of the internet starting to become a reality in 2022, virtual platforms are getting grouped into new ecosystems with confusing terms, such as metaverse, multiverse and omniverse.
Metaverse hype has reached a crescendo at present, thanks to the rebranding of Facebook to Meta and the ambitions of the GameFi and SocialFi sectors, but multiverse and omniverse iterations need a mention as well. Since the layers of digital reality tend to blur if we don’t delineate where one begins and another ends, it’s important to explain the lines between these emerging orders.

In this article, we’ll take a closer look at these different “verses,” (some of them sounding like they’re straight out of a sci-fi movie), comparing their scope and contrasting their differences.

Metaverse vs Multiverse

In the metaverse — a term coined by Neal Stephenson in his 1992 novel “Snow Crash” —  everyone interacts in the same digital world where they can effortlessly transition between activities. For example, a user can go from gaming to shopping, working, socializing, or dating without switching platforms. Each of these activities is connected with the same user identity.
A multiverse is a collection of virtual worlds, each independent of the others in regards to digital identities, assets and the laws participants must observe. A person’s activity on social media will have no impact on their video game avatar and vice versa, nor will either be impacted by their personal shopping.

It could be argued that right now in the Web 2.0 era we are still in a multiverse era, interacting with a variety of apps, websites and games that each involve a different set of rules about what you can say and do.

At the same time, we are witnessing the beginning of the metaverse. This includes social media platforms merging, NFTs being used anonymously across platforms as PFPs (profile pictures), and video games integrating blockchain technology (known as play-to-earn games) so you can own in-game assets, characters, and other virtual property.

OK, now that you understand metaverses and multiverses, let me confuse you a little bit further with the third option, the omniverse.

What Is the Omniverse?

The omniverse is the collection of all metaverses and multiverses, the sum of all that can be achieved with digital identities and economies. While a multiverse is a holder of metaverses, both of these frameworks still fall under the umbrella of the omniverse. We are unlikely to see this superstructure anytime soon.

How Companies Will Play a Role in the Metaverse and Multiverse Era

Currently, a variety of companies are dedicating a lot of money and development time to creating their own metaverse. Your identity will interact separately with the metaverse of each company, such as Meta (Facebook) or Google. However, if the owner of a metaverse wishes to partner with another, a multiverse can be created, which then allows a common set of standards to be shared between both spaces.

These governing principles can range from those related to data sharing, content restrictions, and terms of use, to more, depending on the functions offered by the relevant parent companies.

Financial Implications of a Metaverse or Multiverse

All of the different “verses” will come with their own standards that will influence interaction, speech, content creation and commerce, and most will employ native digital assets and/or non-fungible tokens (NFTs). These will be used to represent ownership or purchase property, features or real-world products.
It’s important to consider the use cases for any token required to make purchases in a particular metaverse. You should also consider what partnerships between large companies might mean for your assets in any given metaverse, as the rights to those assets may be expanded or altered in some way, for the better or worse.

Future of NFTs in the Metaverse

While NFTs are considered highly speculative and experimental investments, the metaverse will certainly incorporate blockchain technology, with a likely emphasis on NFTs to represent digital ownership of property, assets and exclusive access to features. Most likely, this asset class will form a key part of your identity in the new online domains.
While it all may seem overwhelming to users new to cryptocurrency, the blockchain technology that powers NFTs helps to minimize crimes such as theft of assets or identities by recording transactions. If a theft occurs, sometimes it can be traced, and the digital property can be returned, as we saw with OpenSea’s freezing of stolen BAYC NFTs recently.

Where Are We Right Now?

With some of the most powerful big tech companies like Meta (formerly Facebook) and Microsoft seeking to create the first worldwide metaverse, as well as gaming companies such as Square-Enix announcing NFTs will be present in Final Fantasy 14 (the current most popular MMORPG), it can be understood we are at the beginning of a long road.

Although at least for now, we inhabit something that could be called a multiverse, with a variety of platforms competing to provide us goods and services. We could end up in a variety of arrangements, including something just as siloed as our present situation.

It’s important to keep in mind that whether companies choose to collaborate and form ever-larger walled gardens or even multiverses, their decisions will be driven by their own self-interest.

With so many companies looking to mint their own digital assets, incentives may remain high to maintain separate online fiefdoms, at least in the short term. Users will also have an incentive to maintain greater anonymity through a separation of their identities across platforms.

Given the rise of Web 3.0, we are likely to see more fracturing — not less — as new social media companies and other businesses develop alongside decentralized infrastructure, shaping new digital worlds, be it meta, multi or omni.
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