In this report, we review industry-defining trends, discuss their current limitations and outline the future work that is required to enable further adoption and improvements.
The Metaverse Awakens
The word metaverse is now firmly on the lips of journalists, business executives, startup founders, and venture capitalists. The differentiation between open and closed environments and where the various frameworks fit in is not yet widely known. The Web 3 community has collectively worked for nearly a decade now to build and support infrastructure to fix what’s broken about the digital economy and the web. Still, it’s important to remember that there’s no silver bullet.
As these events unfold we are increasingly convinced there are two versions of the Metaverse emerging; a permissioned one made, owned, and controlled by Big Tech and the permissionless open one built on Web 3 and crypto. As pioneers and active participants in this online world, it’s on all of us to remember we can build a better web, a metaverse for our children to grow up in. We can unlock value and liquidity trapped in platforms never before accessible. We can take back control of our own data without giving up the luxuries of the internet that made it so innovative. The technology is there. The next step is embracing it.
We wanted to write this document to give the reader a holistic overview of the main categories of the current Open Metaverse and discuss its current limitations and what can be worked on in the future. The review is not intended to be a comprehensive large-scale document that reviews every granular project of the metaverse in 2021. It is also not intended to serve as a complete guide of all limitations out there. However, it is written in such a way that readers from all skill levels can understand, interpret and make sense of the previous year of 2021 and know what needs to be done this year, on a high level.
Suppose you have not already read our Open Metaverse OS. In that case, I highly recommend giving it a read. It serves as a conceptual framework that objectively defines the core building blocks of the Open Metaverse.
One of the first challenges we encountered was deciding which main categories to include (such as Gaming, Avatars, etc.) to highlight the most impactful projects. First, we considered designing a granular framework including everything from A-Z; however, this quickly ballooned into a significant report size that was difficult to follow. We ended up having a simple structure that would classify core projects depending on their value proposition and philosophy.
We decided on including the following:
- Virtual Worlds: What classifies as a virtual world and what role will they play in the nearest future? Here we review actors such as Decentraland and the Sandbox, discussing the coming XR generation and the significant interest in land parcels.
- Finance in the Metaverse: What will financial applications in the Metaverse look like? We explore this topic in relation to our recently published paper on MetaFi (decentralized finance in the metaverse).
- Gaming: The sleeping giant awakens. In 2021, we observed the dramatic rise in Play-to-Earn and other Web3 game mechanics. What role will Web3 play in gaming, and how will this look like in the future?
- Avatars and Identities: We asked ourselves, what identity will look like in the context of the Open Metaverse. Here we include recent NFT projects, the role of AI and Self-Sovereign-Identity (SSI).
- Funding in the Metaverse: Investors have started to open their eyes to the huge potential of Web3 technologies in the Open Metaverse. In this section, we cover some of the recent headlines in funding groundbreaking projects.
The chapters above serve as the main framework for the current report, now that we had decided on a framework it was time to include relevant projects. Keep in mind that this is subjective, so if you feel that some important projects were missed, then please let us know, because we are going to publish these reports in the nearest future.
In the last chapter, The Open Metaverse: A New Hope, we discuss some core areas that need further development in the next 12 months of 2022. The aim here is to establish a few holistic reference points we can now base conversations around. These bullet points do not try to cover all areas of the Open Metaverse. Our intention is to update our perspective consistently over the next year, via small Twitter threads, articles, or comprehensive reports as the space evolves.
|Aron van Ammers||Founding Partner & CTO||@aronvanammers|
|Blake Lezenski||Program Manager||@BlakeBeyond|
|Jamie Burke||Founder & CEO||@jamie247|
|Jason Hartgrave||Growth OPs / Marketing||@JasonHartgrave|
|Matus Steis||Token Design Lead||@msteis|
|Robin Janaway||NFT Drop Lead||@RPJNFT|
|Roland Spencer||Creative Producer||@bearhxg|
|Ana-Maria Yanakieva||Investment Manager||@ana_vc|
|Jan Baeriswyl||Token Design||@JanBrswl|
|Robin Andre Nordnes||Web3 Analyst||@degenroot|
|Rumi Morales||Partner & Board Member||@rumimorales|
Building the Future Together
Outlier Ventures has worked towards accelerating the open metaverse since 2014. The key phrase here is open, which we define as the harmonization of (1) free markets for everything, (2) the sovereign individual, and (3) fluid collectivism; the distinction of open and closed isn’t just limited to the extent to which platforms embrace open-source principles with their code and data but importantly whether they allow the transferability of value outside their ecosystem, how that interacts with fiat-based systems, and to what extent they do or don’t control the monetary and fiscal policy of the underlying economy itself. We’ve now helped 100+ startups raise $300m+ in the last year through our Base Camp accelerator programs that cover DeFi and NFTs from gaming and music to digital fashion and beyond. We are also committed to working with major crypto protocols and ecosystems including Polkadot, Filecoin, Polygon, and more to grow their ecosystem and fast track builders. You can think of Outlier Ventures as the new Y-Combinator of the Metaverse!
If you are a startup working on any of the ideas discussed in this paper we would love to hear from you to see how we can integrate you into the MetaFi future built on the Open Metaverse OS.
Please apply here.
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