In late October, Mark Zuckerberg announced that Facebook would rebrand as Meta. He also made it known that the social media giant would make a massive investment in the metaverse.
That announcement pushed the metaverse from the stuff of science fiction to today’s reality. With Microsoft and gaming giants Roblox and Epic Games all invested in the metaverse, the news caught the interest of many investors.
But how do you buy into the metaverse? The answer is cryptocurrency. They are at the forefront of this emerging digital frontier. People are already starting to buy into the space, with digital real estate and collectables among the hottest items.
In the simplest terms, the metaverse is a virtual world. It is a continuous, online, 3D universe with multiple virtual spaces.
To access it, you wear a VR headset. You are now in control of your avatar. You can move around the space and feel like you are present in the world. The metaverse allows people to meet, work, game, and socialize.
Some say the metaverse is the next phase of the internet, believing it is primed to become a 30 trillion dollar industry. It’s no wonder that, so many want to invest in it.
The metaverse is one of the fast-growing areas within the cryptocurrency and blockchain sector. Crypto coins serve as the virtual world’s currency in the form of utility tokens. Additionally, non-fungible tokens (NFTs) act as collectables in the virtual space.
When Mark Zukerberg made the metaverse announcement, metaverse-related tokens soared in price. It makes sense. If you want to buy land or art or clothes for your avatar, for example, you need a secure way to do so.
Each metaverse project relies on tokens for transactions within that particular environment. The blockchain technology that powers crypto adds a level of security and trustworthiness to commerce in the metaverse, confirming ownership.
For example, Decentraland, which opened to the public in February 2020, employs the crypto MANA, which utilizes the Ethereum blockchain. Everything on Decentraland can be purchased or sold in MANA. In The Sandbox metaverse, SAND is the token of choice.
Be cautious, though. The metaverse and its financial system are still in their infancy. Investing in such a new frontier should be considered speculative and highly volatile. Treat it like any other investment, with a level of risk.
MANA is an Ethereum token powering the Decentraland VR platform. Decentraland is a virtual reality space that allows users to buy and sell virtual property called LAND.
MANA is the native crypto of the game. It is the way to pay for goods and services within the game. MANA is based on the Ethereum blockchain and is an ERC-20 token. It is a fungible token that is interchangeable with other ERC-20 tokens. Each token is identical and has no unique qualities. These features make it a popular option for an in-world currency.
Meta’s announcement in late October caused MANA to jump in value by 400%. MANA offers another advantage to owners. It gives you a say in the future of the Decentaland project. Decentraland’s software updates are done via smart contracts, allowing MANA holders to vote on any potential policy changes. Just one of the other benefits of ownership.
The Sandbox is another Ethereum-based decentralized NFT gaming metaverse. Like Decentraland, The Sandbox is a virtual world that allows people to buy and sell virtual land, as well as other digital assets.
The cryptocurrency SAND powers it. It handles the entire in-game economy. Users can collect art, build communities, and earn within the world. Players control building their world, using lego-like pieces called voxels.
Because the Ethereum blockchain powers SAND, it is highly safe and secure. Last fall, SoftBank invested $93 million into the game, signalling this popular tech-investment company’s bullish view about SAND’s future.
Axie Infinity calls itself a digital nation, where you can battle, collect and earn.
It is a play-to-earn game where users collect, raise, breed, upgrade, and fight monsters known as Axies. The Axies are NFTs, which can be bought and sold. You can score monetary rewards by playing the online game.
Like Decentraland and The Sandbox, Axie Infinity is also built on the Ethereum blockchain. Unlike these metaverse projects, there’s no inclusion of VR so far within Axie Infinity.
The primary token is Axie Infinity Shards (AXS). You need AXS to play the game. Players can earn AXS when they play various games. 2021 was a big year for AXS, with growth of 16,400%. It is one of the largest cryptocurrencies in the world. Like Decentraland, investors can use tokens to vote on changes to Axie Infinity, giving players a say in the platform’s future.
Investing in a New Frontier
With the backing of major players like Microsoft and Facebook, many metaverse-related cryptocurrencies saw stellar gains in 2021. However, because the metaverse relies on the adoption of evolving technology, these metaverse cryptocurrencies should be considered volatile assets.
If you believe that the metaverse could be a trillion-dollar industry, it is not surprising why you would want to invest. MANA, SAND, and AXS all made substantial gains in 2021 and are poised to lead the metaverse in 2022.
As new players enter the market, we are closely monitoring trends in the metaverse space. It will be interesting to see which virtual worlds users prefer and how each world’s relationship with cryptocurrency evolves.