Each time technology takes a big step forward, it opens up a new universe of possibilities. With the rapid development of blockchain, we might be looking at a new technological horizon waiting to emerge: the metaverse.
As is the case with blockchain, the metaverse won’t just have an effect on cryptocurrencies and finance, but potentially every facet of life. Online gambling in particular may find itself taken to a new chapter with the metaverse.
What Is The Metaverse?
It’s hard to concretely define the metaverse because the concept hasn’t yet taken form. You may hear it referred to as a ‘digital civilization’ and popular sci-fi works such as Ready Player One portrays it as a virtual reality that happens continuously for everyone in real time.
A ‘digital civilization’ is a simple term that very sufficiently represents the spirit of the metaverse. So to understand the metaverse, you have to conceptualize one of the foundations of civilizations which is identity.
Why Does Identity Matter In the Metaverse?
No civilization builds itself. In order for the metaverse to come into existence, it needs to consist of people. And just like in real life, these people must have authentic and distinct identities or else they’re soulless machines in a factory. Making things identifiable and organizable is also crucial for tax collection, which is vital for the health of the governing system.
It was not until the invention of non-fungible tokens (NFTs) that authentic identities in the virtual space became feasible. Make no mistake, your Twitter profile is far from your digital identity. It is simply your identity in the real world (an image of yourself, a phone number, an address…) that’s copied over to the Internet.
Creating NFT Identities in the Metaverse
In essence, citizens of the metaverse manifest their identity through the process of tokenization, turning that identity into an object that is known to and interactable with other objects in the verse, thus authentic and real.
An Ethereum address or wallet does nothing to express someone’s identity: one can completely change their address without any traceability. But NFTs are unique so if you own Cryptopunk #939, that token will bear the mark of your identity on whichever Ethereum addresses it touches.
These NFTs can be your avatar or an ENS name; in fact, anything at all can be turned into a serialized object. And it is these objects that make humans recognizable, distinct and irreplaceable on the metaverse.
The Metaverse’s Effect on Gambling
Making Gambling Safer for Everyone
Gambling has long been considered a taboo not just because its reputation is blemished by scams and gambling addicts, but also because it is often employed by criminals as a money-laundering method. This is why online casinos enforce a strict Know-Your-Customer process to verify the identity of their customers.
When online casinos moved to the decentralized sphere, it was both an innovation and a concern. It’s not difficult to see why: precisely because wallet addresses contain no information tied to the identity of the owners, it makes gambling even more susceptible to criminal activities.
However, with authentic identity expressed through NFTs in the metaverse, decentralized casinos have a way to counter money laundering. Because identity in the verse is verified by the token contained in your wallet, not the wallet itself, you can potentially use multiple wallets and casinos would still know that it’s you. This is unheard of among traditional online casinos: where you can only use one bank account and payment method for both deposits and withdrawals.
All in all, the metaverse keeps decentralized gambling safe while letting players retain a great amount of privacy (you don’t have to fill in your address, phone number, ID…). The less information you give, the less anyone can take advantage of it.
A More Social Gambling Experience
We’re living in the age of self-expression: everyone can express their opinions and personalities 24/7 through social media. Traditional online casinos, however, don’t allow for much of it. Only live dealer games make an effort in creating a more social experience by letting players chat with the dealer and each other.
An ideal casino in the metaverse will let players display their NFT avatar, costumes and cosmetics as well as interact with others’ in meaningful ways. The experience can be further enhanced by VR technology. And you may wonder: haven’t video games allowed people to choose their own skins for years now? Well, the difference is that thousands of gamers can own the same skin while your NFTs are uniquely yours, not just in aesthetics but also their properties on the blockchain.
In this sense, the metaverse allows for maximum individualism; your appearance in it reflects your taste, personality and belief much more so than the random DNA combination that makes up your physical appearance in ‘real life’.
You Build The Rules In The Metaverse
Recently, the UK Gambling Commision placed restrictions on a handful of slot features such as Bonus-Buy, auto-play, spinning speed above 2.5 seconds… The new regulations are intended to make gambling safer, but nonetheless attracted controversy since many believe it’s an overreaction.
There is no ‘gambling commission’ in the metaverse. The digital civilization will be a bottom-up opt-in participation rather than top-down imposition. Instead of electing representatives to make decisions for them, citizens of the metaverse vote on the rules itself. They will directly be the ones deciding which feature is healthy for players and which one is not.