Will the Metaverse be a decentralized paradise or a centralized dictatorship?

If you allow them, Facebook, the corporate-owned social media giant, is getting ready to monitor you to the ends of the Metaverse and back. Last week, Facebook changed its name to Meta and announced plans to launch the Metaverse, a completely new method of interacting with and navigating the internet. Now that a multibillion-dollar corporate juggernaut is competing for control of the Metaverse, its future is even more uncertain.

Major businesses will very certainly have a significant part in how the Metaverse develops and evolves, whether we like it or not. Will it, however, suffer from the same issues as today's social media behemoths do, or will decentralized platforms and services take center stage?

The creation of a digital walled garden

Meta founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg revealed intentions to spend $10 billion this year alone on the construction of the Metaverse — a network of linked digital experiences, services, and platforms that seamlessly mix with the real world — during last week's Facebook Connect conference.

However, as Facebook has demonstrated time and time again, such as when it backtracked on its promise to not require a Facebook account to use its Oculus devices, the Metaverse will very probably be subject to rigorous restrictions. Ecosystem lock-ins, after all, are a tried-and-true strategy to compel sustained involvement while isolating competitors.

Given that Zuckerberg has described the Metaverse as the "next generation of the internet," with hundreds of millions of users, it seems doubtful that a corporate behemoth with shareholders to appease won't do all in its power behind the scenes to put Meta at the heart of the Metaverse.

The Metaverse stands to become a pervasive media that most internet-savvy persons will engage with to some degree as a large, forthcoming terrain that will undoubtedly provide new methods to create, communicate, and work online.

Similarly, following the publication of The Wall Street Journal's damning "Facebook Files," it has been revealed that the social media platform has been plagued by a slew of problems and has engaged in some seriously questionable business practices, ranging from a massive lawsuit to lax content moderation to preferential treatment of certain users. All of this stands in sharp contrast to Zuckerberg's ostensibly egalitarian Metaverse ideal.

These documents also reveal that Facebook is losing popularity among millennials, the demographic most likely to use Metaverse technology.

Meta has already been severely chastised for its aspirations, with American Democrat Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez calling it a "cancer to democracy" in a recent Twitter rant. This appears to be the overall attitude on Crypto Twitter, where the news was met with disapproval. It's a rigged game, and it's not in your advantage. Meta wants to own your digital identity, and if it has its way, it'll have more data on you than ever before. Thank you, but no!

The blockchain's launching pad

Blockchain is widely predicted to become one of the major technologies allowing the creation of a fully widespread virtual world that can be accessed with the same level of security as the Web 2.0 internet.

The Metaverse appears set to inherit the values that the blockchain industry was founded on, namely permissionless access, censorship resistance, security, and decentralization, thanks to blockchain-powered digital identity solutions that will power truly persistent digital avatars, as well as digital assets that provide region-agnostic access to services and products.

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