Ethereum’s co-founder, Vitalik Buterin, has criticized attempts by corporates to usurp and monopolize the metaverse, predicting that the whole scheme will misfire.
Commenting on a tweet by one of his followers who claimed that he did not believe that growth by the metaverse “will happen in the ways VCs are currently funding”, Buterin suggested that corporates would likely fail at creating the metaverse.
“The “metaverse” is going to happen, but I don’t think any of the existing corporate attempts to intentionally create the metaverse are going anywhere,” wrote Buterin on Sunday. The 28-year-old programmer went on to note that corporates that were launching metaverse projects had probably jumped the gun since the metaverse was still a concept.
“My critique is deeper than “Metaverse Wikipedia will beat Metaverse Encyclopedia Britannica,” Buterim added. “ It’s that we don’t really know the definition of “the metaverse” yet; it’s far too early to know what people actually want. So anything Facebook creates now will misfire.”
Presently, the metaverse is yet to get a unique definition. However, some have described it as the future version of the internet, an immersive and interactive shared virtual space that combines physical and digital interactions. In the past two years, the metaverse received unparalleled attention, especially during the Non-Fungible Tokens (NFT) buzz in 2020 and 2021, when the idea of owning and interacting with virtual property sprouted.
Major Wallstreet companies such as Zuckerberg helmed Meta, Disney, and Microsoft, as well as Venture Capital firms, have been betting on the metaverse, hoping they could be market leaders when it flourishes. Meta, which recently rebranded from Facebook, has mainly been investing heavily in the sector through Reality Labs, its metaverse division, despite taking close to $16 billion in losses since 2021.
Whereas funding is essential to buoy up projects in the metaverse, corporates have been criticized by actors who feel that their business models are harmful to the metaverse. For instance, apart from being profit-driven, some enthusiasts believe that corporates will attempt to centralize activities in the metaverse, defeating the whole essence of the sector, which is decentralization.
Last week, the Federal Trade Commission sought an injunction to bar Meta and CEO Mark Zukerberg from acquiring Within Unlimited and its popular virtual reality dedicated fitness app, Supernatural, claiming that Meta wanted to monopolize the virtual reality business.
“Instead of competing on the merits, Meta is trying to buy its way to the top,” FTC Bureau of Competition Deputy Director John Newman was quoted as saying, citing a July 27 announcement by the FTC.