The metaverse will fuel massive innovation (and Facebook isn’t the metaverse)

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Here’s a hot tech: Metavers aren’t what Mark Zuckerberg says they are. It is not a place or an alternative reality in which we will all migrate. It’s not a game. It’s not land grabbing (although it’s happening). And it’s not just a huge branding opportunity (although there are plenty of opportunities for brands to flourish).

The truth is, Metavers is a decentralized system that has a lot in common with peer-to-peer services like Napster, Skype and BitTorrent. Oh, and not Facebook and Meta.

Wait, what?

Decentralized peer-to-peer networks are where all technologists come together and create architectures that promote innovation. And the same is true for metavars.

I’ll give you two examples that relate to understanding metavers (full ad, I enjoyed working with both companies early in my career).

Founded in 2003, Skype was part of a wave of technology (including BitTorrent, Casa and Napster) that connects personal computers automatically, reliably. These networks were optimized for bandwidth and reduced the hassle of tapping popular content. Why was Skype able to rise above the competition as a market player? Peer-to-peer technology. It created a network of nodes that enabled the ever-running hyper-efficient community and connected network. This means that it is not tied to the limitations of any telecom carrier.

Of course, when Skype moved to the Azure platform, the main technology changed. But when it first arrived, Skype was revolutionary and unlocked an incredible explosion of innovation that continues to make our lives better today.

Or take Spotify. Like Skype, it uses peer-to-peer technology to store and distribute content. Decentralization allowed the service to reach millions of users and deliver the best audio, and the service eventually became ubiquitous. Fingerprints of the world-changing peer-to-peer decentralized innovation and disruption are all over the internet.

And that brings us back to the metavars

The real promise of Metavers is new data-rich experiences and services that are faster, better and cheaper, whether it’s in finance, virtual socialization, business meetings, healthcare, or whatever we can imagine. Metavers will cover all of these use cases, and they will all be decentralized. In fact, decentralization is not just a feature of open metavars, it is a key principle that will avoid obstacles and enable the interoperability that crosses the wall garden.

For the past 20 years, we’ve seen the introduction of peer-to-peer or decentralized technology as a marginal technique created by Geeks for Geeks, whether it’s file sharing, peer-to-peer music, or crypto mining. But these technologies need to be looked at in terms of time and how it has improved the user experience, whether it enables free calls and video or enables instant-on music services like Spotify.

The next generation of peer-to-peer services will enable greater engagement of users who, in decentralized metavers, can work directly with each other and rely on the network for things like money transfer and social media instead of relying on a central operator or Service We see you, Meta and Facebook.

Napster was a decentralized network with a central index. And that’s what Facebook is trying to do. Napster was at the center of the network and it failed. While BitTorrent is a truly decentralized network, self-managing and self-governing technology that powers a thriving ecosystem that survives.

History shows that the open network wins

The architecture of the metavers will be more like BitTorrent – or even better, blockchain. Blockchain is decentralized and really distributed. We don’t even know who created the ledger. There is no central index. And the blockchain has already unlocked an explosion of innovation that will only grow in the years to come.

You may be tempted to roll your eyes at blockchain or crypto or NFTs, but don’t think of them as full-fledged products yet. They are the prototype of the operating system for how we are going to move forward.

And if you think the peer-to-peer decentralized connection is still a stretch, consider who has invested in the original technologies and who is investing in the same space today: Tim Draper. He was a big supporter of peer-to-peer technology in companies like Skype and also believed that blockchain and bitcoin solutions were better, faster, cheaper than fiat currency. One person, different years, natural evolution.

If we didn’t have peer-to-peer we wouldn’t have free video calling. We wouldn’t have instant music anywhere in the world without peer-to-peer. And we wouldn’t have cryptocurrency without peer-to-peer. Even the internet would not exist without it! All of these technologies, which we now consider to be granted, have their origins in decentralization.

And Metavers is the next step in that journey.

Faisal is the CEO of Galleria Blipper, A technology company specializing in AR. He is also a former executive of Skype and Spotify.


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