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Ethereum's Vitalik Buterin says Meta’s metaverse ‘will misfire’

Ethereum's Vitalik Buterin says Meta’s metaverse ‘will misfire’
Photo Credit: Pixabay
2 Aug, 2022
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Vitalik Buterin, founder of blockchain platform Ethereum, said that enterprise attempts at the metaverse will fail because “it's too early to know what people actually want”. “The ‘metaverse’ will occur, but I don’t believe any of the current corporate attempts to purposely construct the metaverse will succeed,” Buterin said in a series of tweets.

The Canadian programmer stated this in response to blockchain auditor and Solidity developer Dean Eigenmann’s assertion that “while the ideas on the metaverse concept make logic, he does not believe it will be realised through Venture Capital funding.” He also said, “I’d rather hang around in World of Warcraft than with the majority of this metaverse crap.”

By definition, the metaverse is recognised as a network of 3D virtual worlds where people can interact, do business, and create social ties using avatars, or virtual versions of themselves. Even though the idea was popularised by the 1992 novel Snow Crash by Neal Stephenson. In November 2021, Facebook changed its name to Meta as part of a transition to embrace the Metaverse, making it a ‘buzzword’. Despite the entire hullabaloo, the term remains ambiguous to most people, believe industry experts.

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Earlier in April, Snap CEO Evan Spiegel has criticised the concept of Metaverse terming it "pretty ambiguous and hypothetical". Spiegel told The Guardian that the word metaverse is never spoken in Snap's offices. "The reason why we don't use that word is because it's pretty ambiguous and hypothetical. Just ask a room of people how to define it, and everyone's definition is totally different," he was quoted as saying in the report.

According to him, people would rather spend time in augmented reality (AR) rather than a totally virtual one. Some experts have also pointed out that a key piece of the puzzle missing is that we will need specific electronics equipment that will help everyone connect to this metaverse. In addition, Internet connections have to improve around the world. While 5G networks are set to roll out in many countries, it will be decades before seamless, low latency connectivity becomes ubiquitous across the world. 

Some others, like a new research by McKinsey & Co., said, with its potential to generate up to $5 trillion in value by 2030, the metaverse is too big for companies to ignore.

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Mark Zuckerberg, the chief executive officer of Meta, described the metaverse as a “huge opportunity” for a variety of reasons, claiming that developing platforms in the digital sphere will “unlock hundreds of billions, if not trillions of dollars over time.”

Last month, the company announced that its Reality Labs segment, which focuses on the Metaverse, suffered quarterly losses of $2.81 billion. Consequently, the division’s year-to-date losses are a staggering $5.78 billion.