On July 31, Vitalik Buterin commented in response to Dialectic’s Dean Eigenmann’s thoughts on the future of the Metaverse and the way venture capital firms think it will play out.
The Ethereum co-founder is confident that the Metaverse will happen but added that he doesn’t think “any of the existing corporate attempts to intentionally create the Metaverse are going anywhere.”
He said there wasn’t really a definition of Metaverse yet as it is still too early to know what people want. This was followed by a dig at Meta, formerly Facebook, which is trying to monopolize the Metaverse the same way it has done with social media.
“So anything Facebook creates now will misfire.”
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. https://t.co/tVUfq4CWmP
— vitalik.eth (@VitalikButerin) July 30, 2022
Corporate Metaverse Misfire
Meta has already been in hot water over its monopolistic behavior. Its big cryptocurrency ambitions were shot down in flames by global regulators and policymakers, resulting in the company dumping the project.
Last week, the United States Federal Trade Commission filed a complaint seeking to block Meta’s plans to buy up another Metaverse-based company. “Instead of competing on the merits, Meta is trying to buy its way to the top,” wrote FTC Bureau of Competition Deputy Director John Newman.
The social media giant was attempting the acquisition of virtual reality firm Within and its popular VR fitness app, Supernatural.
Buterin’s comments suggest that Meta/Facebook is attempting to monopolize the Metaverse trend without actually knowing what it is or what people want. If its ambitions come to fruition, a Facebook-based Metaverse is likely to be a dangerous place for people that value their data privacy and online safety.
In all likelihood, it will be another tool for the company to bombard people with advertising while allowing spammers and scammers to infiltrate the Web3 virtual world as they do on its Web2 platform.
Whether it is the Meta platform, or a more crypto-aligned one that is heavily VC backed, there will still be concerns of centralization and profiteering.
Venture giants such as Andreessen Horowitz (a16z) have poured hundreds of millions into Metaverse projects over the past year or two.
This usually grants them swathes of governance tokens giving them more control over the direction of the platform than those that use it and make up the community.
Whatever form the Metaverse takes, it is more likely to be a Blade Runner-esque world of incessant advertising and corporate control rather than the free, open, and decentralized virtual realm we’re hoping for.