‘Metaverse’ broadly refers to shared, immersive digital environments where people can meet, create, socialise, work, buy goods and services and attend events with other people who are not in the same physical space. A true metaverse is meant to perfectly replicate real life, although it is unclear how many more years it will take to develop. The term metaverse was coined in the dystopian novel ‘Snow Crash’ three decades ago. It gained recognition this year after social media giant Facebook renamed itself Meta to reflect its new metaverse focus.
Called the next-version of the internet, the Web 3.0 will be built on the concept of decentralisation, openness, and greater user utility. It will be based on the blockchain record-keeping technology, where users would have ownership stakes in platforms and applications. In retrospect, the current version of the world wide web or Web 2.0 is characterised by social media platforms, which allow greater proliferation of user-generated content.
This is a far cry from Web 1.0, which was all static and non-interactive — an entirely top-down approach towards information dissemination.
Blockchain is essentially a database, but very different from every other database you may have seen. As the name suggests, a blockchain is a chain of blocks, with each block storing some information. Other key features of blockchain are that it is decentralised and by the very nature of that design, it is immutable. While cryptocurrency is the most popular use case of blockchain, governments around the world and in India are moving fast to leverage this technology for purposes of governance and public administration.
NFT is short for non-fungible token. It is a unique digital certificate, registered in a blockchain that is used to record ownership of an asset such as an artwork or a collectible. Most people did not know what an NFT was until this year, when sales boomed, sparked in large part by Twitter ex-CEO Jack Dorsey selling an NFT of his first tweet for $2.9 million. In India, the NFT craze arrived after the Bollywood superstar and actor Amitabh Bachchan auctioned his collection, including an autographed poster of his movies, as NFT.