Drink conversations in the metaverse era.

Published on June 03, 2022

 

An article published by Laura Lorenzi on May 9th, 2022.

 

In a cold Friday evening two friends meet for a beer. We are in the heart of Italy in the “Metaverse era”. The debate ignites and the emotions run high. Based on a true story.

In the last years we assisted in a boost of the digital content creation industry, generating a market with trading volumes of several billions of dollars. According to one of the latest Dapp Radar industry report[1] , 2021 shown a great year for the NFT market supported by blockchain-based gaming and metaverse. Despite the uncertainty from macroeconomics events turning into a bear market phase, the NFTs continue its ride.

What is interesting is not just the “round of money” but how “metaverse and NFTs-related” topics are pervading the mainstream narrative. There are lovers and haters, excited and worried, no matter what their technical background. This is now part of our every-day-life.

I am a kind of tech-enthusiast and I see in all this digital content production a promising revolution to our life-style . Anyway, by just looking in my “circle ” there are totally opposite positions supporting the idea that it is just a fad with no utility. In some way I love this heterogeneity. This is (often) the fuel for fair and constructive debates.

My dear readers, I want to tell you a story. This is the story of two childhood friends in front of a beer in a small picturesque village in the heart of Italy.

It was Friday six-thirty pm and the weekly work was finally done. “Great! Let’s call Cora and have a one-hour-no-rules talk! No matter the season but Friday evening is for cold beers and nice people” this is what Maia thought.

Ipso-facto” they joined at the table of the only pub in the village.

Fragment of a mosaic .First half third century El Jem Archeological Museum of Sousse © Ad Meskens / Wikimedia Commons. Maia is a figure of Roman mythology , an ancient goddess of the awakening of nature in spring. Cora is a an epithet of the Greek goddess Persephone, the queen of the Underworld.

“Do you know? Waiting for you, I was reading my favorite tech newsletter. There’s a huge amount of money moving to metaverse and NFTs despite market suffering! That’s super exciting, new job opportunities maybe for me too!?! ” Maia observed.

“Ah! just FOMO (Fear Of Missing Out). Come-on! It is the last-passing fantasy of a frustrated society. Someone lost contact with reality due to the pandemic and the lock-down time . Are you crazy thinking about quitting your job for some overestimated ugly jpegs??… What’s the name? Apes what?? Do you want to work in a metaverse and pretend to drive a UFO to go to the office? Maybe with Super Mario Bros as a colleague? Ahaha.. Cora teasingly.

Maia complained: Hey, do not play jokes on me! First, Bored-Ape-Yacht-Club is the right name. You should start to familiarize yourself and stop living in the middle ages.” Maia replied angrily. She continued: “Please Cora, make the effort and consider that everything comes for a reason. If many people show some interest then it is a social phenomenon that should be investigated.

Maia, continuing her tirade: “For example, let’s think about the XX century mainstream production in the western countries. From romantic and happy ending novels, through the neorealism and rock and up to the disco-music. This is the reflection of society-mood and ambitions”. “In the early 900s the proletariat hoped in a stroke of luck for an upgrade. In the late ’60s people opened their perspective and focus on social problems, expressing through rock music their disappointment with the institution. Next, the super-stressed yuppies jumped in the disco to erase their mind after a pressign-working-week.

Cora felt a little bit lost: “Well, what’s the point? Which society needs can Metaverse and NFTs satisfy? For me you are a little crazy as usual…”.

Maia took an academic tone: “Well, I’ve read an interesting paper. Not exactly about the metaverse but it provided an interesting perspective [2]. I think that the traditional social environment is outdated and no longer represent the modern life-style. Pandemic just accelerated a bit. Today the first, second and third places (aka home, workplace, spare time) no longer have clear borders. People can work with everyone remotely with less social convention, office-dress-code impositions. People realized that they can be more free, have a chance to use their time better by enjoying family and green spaces instead of wasting time in traffic jams. Remote meetings are not enough to compensate for the gap with the real workplaces and metaverses are promising for this. This is what technology can do for us and this is also a green friendly approach”.

Almost empty beers.…

Cora interrupted: “OK! I see. But in this way we’ll become such-kind of Hikikomori. Stuck at home forever. Working at home, having virtual-fun at home. I can see a downgrade of quality of life”.

Maia patiently replied: “I think that you need to look at the direction and not at the pointer, sorry to be so rude! This is not meant to be a replacement of your life but rather an extension with a ton of new opportunities. You can work with a team in Singapore, attend a concert in the evening with the arena di Verona and dance then with your Russian friend. Now your chance of meeting different cultures and opening your mind are few even though you are a lucky western girl. Human beings need to aggregate in communities. This is intrinsic. Now people have limited choices according to the place they live, religion, cultures. If you cannot move you will be stuck with no chance to really express yourselves remaining prisoner of beliefs and prejudices. Metaverses could overcome the cultural barriers and enable communities with really common interests and values. You can reinvent yourself. This is a great expression of a sustainable and inclusive world”.

Cora assumed a less aggressive behavior: “Well, it should be interesting, I need to admit, but there is still one puzzle piece that I cannot collate. Why do I need to spend money for a NFTs, as for a limited-edition virtual T-shirt? I am very curious to hear your point!”.

Maia laughed: “OK! This is the last item for this evening. The beer is almost finished! Well, this is for the same reason you spend 10x to buy a branded T-shirt instead of an anonymous one. The more expensive and rare one makes you feel special. Everyone wants to have an identity, being recognizable within the community , expressing a personal own style. Shortly be yourself. If the metaverse needs to provide a realistic experience then it cannot exist without properties, scarcity and values. This is the role fulfilled by NFTs. Without them a metaverse would be no more than a game.”

The two girls realized that the glasses were empty, it was time to pay with dirty cash. Lightning was not yet so popular in Italy!

(to be continued…the good friendships last forever…)

References:

[1] Dapp Radar industry report — https://dappradar.com/blog/2021-dapp-industry-report

[2] “A Typology of Places in the Knowledge Economy: Towards the Fourth Place -Arnault Morisson 2017 -SSRN Electronic Journal

 

 

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