“The fact that we are surrounded by a global layer that is always there,” said Mr Teheranian, referring to the Ethereum blockchain, “where there is no central party that determines whether something is available or not?” is the antidote to the digital world in which we already live – one he calls a metaverse, but “with dictators” (Apple, Google, Facebook).

His metaverse takes up a certain definition of freedom. “What is really important to me is that you as an individual have objects of your own,” he said. “Owning real estate is a tool. It works out. That brings financial incentives. “

Depending on your ideological orientation, that may sound more dystopian than utopian. For Mr. Tehranier, that’s only realistic.

“We still talk about human nature, which is greedy and selfish,” he said.

In fact, many view the metaverse as a financial opportunity. Mike Winkelmann – aka Beeple, the guy who sold an NFT of his artwork for $ 69 million – is working on a start-up called Wenew that will sell NFTs associated with moments in time, creating, as the company says, “the memory palace of the metaverse”. (His early offerings include moments from the career of tennis star Andy Murray.)

Despite his share in the crypto-oriented vision of the metaverse, Mr. Winkelmann’s sense of what it could be or what it already is remains wide. Whatever the metaverse is, it’s not just virtual reality or augmented reality or blockchain and NFTs or virtual worlds and games.

“People really think of it as that ‘Ready Player One’ thing, or the VR thing,” he said.

“That’s how close this screen is to your face,” he continued, holding his cell phone in front of his eyes. “That doesn’t change the fact that many of these things happen in an already virtual space.”



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