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Here’s a hot take: Metaverse isn’t what Mark Zuckerberg said. It is not a place or an alternate reality where we will all migrate. This is not a Game. It’s not land grabbing (even if it’s an event). And it’s not just a great branding opportunity (even if there are plenty of opportunities for brands to thrive).
The truth is, Metaverse is a decentralized system with much in common with peer-to-peer services like Napster, Skype, and BitTorrent. Oh, and Facebook and Meta don’t.
Decentralized peer-to-peer networks where all technologists come together and create an architecture that promotes innovation. And that’s also true for the metaverse.
I’ll give you two examples related to understanding Metaverse (full disclosure, I enjoyed working with both companies earlier in my career).
Founded in 2003, Skype is part of a wave of technologies (including BitTorrent, Kazaa and Napster) that connect individual computers automatically and reliably. These networks are optimized for bandwidth and reduce bottlenecks to access popular content. Why has Skype been able to stand out from the competition as a key market player? Peer-to-peer technology. It creates a network of nodes that creates a hyper-efficient, always on-on community and a connected network. This means that it is not tied to the limitations of a telecom operator.
Of course, when Skype moved to the Azure platform, the core technology changed. But with its arrival, Skype has become revolutionary and has sparked an incredible explosion of innovation that continues to improve our lives today.
Or get Spotify. Like Skype, it uses peer-to-peer technology to store and distribute content. Decentralization helped the service gain millions of users and deliver a good voice, and the service eventually became ubiquitous. The footprints of global peer-to-peer decentralized innovation and disruption are all over the internet.
And that brings us back to the metaverse
The real promise of the metaverse is new, data-rich experiences and services that are faster, better, and cheaper, even in finance, virtual partnerships, business meetings, care of health, or whatever we can think of. The metaverse will contain all of these use cases, and they will all be decentralized. In fact, decentralization is not just a part of an open metaverse, it is a fundamental principle that avoids bottlenecks and enables interoperability that cuts down wall gardens.
Over the past 20 years we have seen peer-to-peer or decentralized technologies start out as marginalized technologies designed for geeks of geeks, be it file sharing, peer-to-peer music or crypto. mining. But these technologies need to be seen in the context of time and how they improve the user experience, whether it’s enabling free calls and video or enabling instant music services like Spotify. .
The next generation of peer-to-peer services will enable greater participation from users who, in a decentralized metaverse, can work directly with each other and rely on the network for things like money transfer and media. rather than relying on a centralized operator or service. We are looking at you, Meta and Facebook.
Napster is a decentralized network with a central index. And that’s what Facebook is trying to build. Napster was at the center of the network and it failed. While BitTorrent, a truly decentralized network, is a self -managed, autonomous technology that drives a rich ecosystem that survives.
History has shown that open networks have won
The metaverse architecture could be more like BitTorrent – or better yet, blockchain. Blockchain is decentralized and truly distributed. We don’t even know who created the register. There is no central index. And the blockchain is already opening up to an explosion of innovation that will only grow in the coming years.
You may be tempted to focus your eyes on blockchain, crypto, or NFTs, but don’t consider them fully formed commodities. These are the operating system prototypes of how we can improve.
And if you think decentralized peer-to-peer connectivity is too much, think about who invested in the original technologies and who invested in the same space today: Tim Draper. He’s a big promoter of peer-to-peer technology at companies like Skype, and he also believes blockchain and bitcoin solutions are better, faster, and cheaper than fiat currencies. Same male, different age, natural evolution.
We don’t have free video calls if we don’t have peer-to-peer. We wouldn’t have instant music around the world without peer-to-peer. And we don’t have cryptocurrencies without peer-to-peer. Even the Internet would not exist without it! All of these technologies that we are exploiting have their roots in decentralization.
And the metaverse is just the next stop on that journey.
Faisal Galaria is the CEO of Blipby, a technology company specializing in AR. He is also a former executive at Skype and Spotify.
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