In my opinion, Metaverse is a theoretical virtual extension of our world with similar mechanics of consumption and production of goods. Entities in the metaverse can be unique, as well as ownership of entities.
You can own a unique car, house, virtual land, etc. And you can produce a particular vehicle, home, or a piece of virtual land and maintain ownership.
In a metaverse, the record of ownership of things is on the decentralized blockchain.
Theoretically, metaverse can also have an overlay on the regular universe. For example, you can own a virtual car that can display next to your actual house, but only via an augmented reality device. Or you can do display ads or hold ad space in a virtual world operating through a blockchain.
For example, “Yapple” might start selling polygons of land on “yapple” maps as NFTs and provide a smart contract for you to own the advertising space on that virtual polygon.
But there is more to the metaverse, and there are plenty of businesses that might provide 3D/AR/VR intellectual property that others can use to create products in the real world — such as brands, licenses of 3D printing models, etc.
Now, what on earth is web3?
Currently, we have our devices connected to internet service providers to go to the web. While using web2.0, our data ends up on private servers such as Amazon AWS, Google Cloud, or in an obscure data center. When we buy something, the record of the purchase goes to a private ledger, and when we get paid, the record of the payment goes to your bank account stored on the bank ledger.
In web3, you have access to the internet, ideally through a peer-to-peer network, which is hard to achieve. But consider you can access the internet for a fee. The events on the internet, such as purchasing, selling, getting paid, and acquiring entities, are recorded on the blockchain, a decentralized ledger. Decentralized means a lot of different servers online hold a piece of information from the ledger, and no single entity owns these servers. The ledger part means that the records are verified, and the order of records is correct.
But web3 doesn’t stop there. Your device becomes a tiny computer as a part of a giant supercomputer. Your device storage could be used to store encrypted information that belongs to someone else.
The device’s processor might be used to process a selfie filter of someone else. This is what is called edge computing. Potentially, your device might be playing a part in artificial intelligence research, distributed computing, or even weather prediction!
And now NFTs. I like to think about NFTs and crypto in these analogies: Cryptocurrency is similar to a dollar bill, and an NFT is like you or someone else signing a dollar bill with their signature. Now the signed dollar can travel the world, but signed dollar ownership is traceable back to the signer.