Thanks to the continued maturation of blockchain technology, we are now closer than ever before to the creation of a truly digital world. The Metaverse, as it is widely known, is a collection of infrastructure protocols, virtual spaces, games and digital assets that combine to form a living, breathing ecosystem. And while it’s still in its infancy, the Metaverse is already starting to change our perception of things like digital property, digital asset ownership, virtual services and entertainment.
The early success of the Metaverse has been fueled by a number of pioneering projects that have shown the world what can be achieved through clever use of blockchain technology. In this article, we’re taking a look at some of the most influential and promising Metaverse projects.
A true pioneer amongst Metaverse projects, Decentraland falls into a category of dApps that follow most closely the definition of digital worlds. The dApp allows people to buy plots of virtual land and then use their property as they see fit. This might mean re-selling their virtual land to the highest bidder or even building on it. As an example, last year, the famous auction house Sotheby’s built a virtual replica of its London headquarters in Decentraland.
As a Metaverse project, the Sandbox falls into the same category as Decentraland and has a similarly ambitious vision. The project aims to provide players with everything they need to create their own virtual world. This includes land parcels, but also tools for building the digital assets needed to bring that world to life. The game’s editor enables players to build all kinds of assets and even whole games.
Enjin is a platform designed to enable people to create NFTs without any coding experience. The platform comes with a suite of robust tools that can be used to mint tokens that can be easily customized to fit the design specifications of a given project. Because the software supports Ethereum’s hybrid ERC 1155 token standard, it can be used to create a wide variety of virtual goods, from NFT collectibles to custom coins and other in-game items. These items can then be easily integrated in games and apps thanks to Enjin’s robust software development kit.
One of Engin’s most interesting features is that it allows creators to “infuse” their NFTs with the platform’s proprietary fungible token ENJ. This way the NFTs are backed by a crypto asset with an already established value, meaning that they have intrinsic value. The ‘infusing’ feature brings a number of benefits such as creating tangibility, ensuring authenticity of assets (with ENJ stored in an asset serving as proof of authenticity for that asset) and regulating asset creation.
Lastly, an infused asset can be melted and the ENJ stored in it can be reclaimed at any time.
We’ve already talked about Axie Infinity, but we have to mention it again for the simple fact that it is arguably the most successful game in the blockchain space. Just recently the game surpassed $4 billion in NFT sales.
The game allows players to generate creatures called Axies and use them to participate in battles against other players. Axie utilizes a cryptocurrency-based economy that underpins its play-to-earn model.
Another fairly successful blockchain game, Gods Unchained is a great example of how NFTs could be successfully applied to traditional game genres. To that end, Gods Unchained offers a familiar collectible card gameplay with an NFT twist – the cards players use to build their battle decks are non-fungible tokens.
Finally, let’s briefly cover some of the Metaverse projects currently working on building critical infrastructure capable of supporting a growing virtual world.
First, we have Flow, a blockchain developed by NFT and blockchain gaming veteran Dapper Labs, the creators of CryptoKitties. Following its launch in late 2017, CryptoKitties became an overnight sensation and its surging popularity resulted in severe network congestion on Ethereum. This experience motivated Dapper Labs to develop their own blockchain, specifically designed to support blockchain games and digital assets. You can learn more about Flow’s unique architecture here. Currently, the most popular dApp on Flow is Dapper’s NBA Top Shot – a marketplace for NFT-backed video highlights from the best basketball league in the world.
Another interesting project is Immutable X, a Layer 2 network that utilizes zk-rollup technology in an attempt to address Ethereum’s scalability issues. Unlike other Layer 2 scaling solutions, Immutable X is exclusively focused on the NFT space. The aforementioned Gods Unchained is perhaps the most prominent project currently featured on the Immutable X marketplace. Check out our detailed overview of Immutable X to learn more about the project
Lastly, we want to mention Efinity, another NFT-focused blockchain, currently developed by the team behind Enjin. The chain is being built on Polkadot.