The Metaverse is coming, and that means a new vocabulary is on its way, too. From crypto to NFTs to blockchains and more, what does it all mean? In this blog, we’ll break down all the major Metaverse terms to know with simplified definitions that will have you ready to interpret all the latest news.
Our Metaverse Vocabulary
Artificial intelligence (AI): This is an area of computer science that involves programming computers to operate in ways we see as intelligent and humanlike. In the Metaverse, this is a major component that will contribute to its overall interactivity.
Avatar: This is a Metaverse user’s 3D identity imagery. It’s sort of like a 2D profile picture, but better – and it can be customized to look like whatever the user wants and act via voice commands and be controlled through virtual reality technology.
Blockchain: In the Metaverse world, the blockchain is a system of recording information. It’s designed in a way that makes it difficult or impossible to change or hack. The blockchain is essentially a digital ledger or record book of all transactions across the Metaverse that is duplicated and distributed across the entire worldwide network of computer systems.
Cryptocurrency (frequently shortened to “crypto”): Cryptocurrency is a form of decentralized digital currency, which is designed to not rely on any government or central bank to uphold it. Cryptocurrency is exchanged through the blockchain and is stored in crypto wallets (more on that below). Popular examples of crypto include:
- Bitcoin: Bitcoin is a decentralized digital currency and the first cryptocurrency made available to the public. Like most cryptocurrencies, it lacks a central bank or single administrator. That means that it can be sent from user to user on the peer-to-peer bitcoin network without the need for intermediaries.
- Dogecoin: Y’all, Dogecoin started as a joke. Do you remember the Doge memes from 2013? Software engineers Billy Markus and Jackson Palmer designed Dogecoin to be a tongue-in-cheek project poking fun of crypto at that time, which was not the crypto we know today. But then it became a legitimate cryptocurrency. Elon Musk has called Dogecoin “the people’s crypto.”
- Other examples include Ether, Solana, Uniswap, Aave, Stellar Lumen, and Chainlink.
Crypto wallets: A crypto wallet is a program or service that stores the public and/or private keys for cryptocurrency transactions. It also typically includes encrypting and/or signing information. Examples of crypto wallets include Robinhood, Coinbase, FTX, and Gemini.
Decentralization: In the blockchain, decentralization refers to the transfer of control from any centralized entity (like an individual, organization, or group) to a distributed network like the blockchain.
Decentralized Autonomous Organizations (DAOs): DAOs are community-led digital organizations that run on blockchain technology. DAOs are used for things like making investments, organizing charity contributions, fundraising, borrowing, or buying NFTs, all without intermediaries. A DAO can accept donations from anyone around the world and the members can decide how to spend donations. Bitcoin is an example of a DAO.
DeFi: DeFi stands for Decentralized Finance. This is a type of financial technology (aka fintech; more on that later) based on secure digital ledgers comparable to blockchains used by cryptocurrencies. DeFi eliminates the control banks and institutions have on money, financial products, and financial services. An example of DeFi is Binance, the largest cryptocurrency exchange in the world.
DEX: This term is shorthand for “decentralized exchange,” which is a cryptocurrency exchange that allows for direct peer-to-peer transactions to take place online securely and without the need for an intermediary. Uniswap, Sushiswap, and PancakeSwap are examples of DEX platforms.
DYOR: An acronym popularized on NFT Twitter that stands for “do your own research.”
Ethereum: Ethereum is a decentralized, open-source blockchain with smart contract functionality, meaning that it is designed to fulfill a series of actions based on an agreed-upon contract. Individuals can use Ethereum to create their own cryptocurrencies (called ERC20s) that run on the Ethereum blockchain. Ether is the native cryptocurrency of the platform and is second only to Bitcoin in terms of market value.
Fintech: This shorthand term stands for “financial technology,” which is the technology and innovation in competition with traditional financial methods. The goal is to provide tools that are more accessible and easier to navigate. Examples of fintech companies in the influencer marketing world include Willa, Spotter, and more.
Interoperability: This refers to the ability for virtual experiences, possessions, and identities to travel unchanged across platforms.
Meta: Meta is the parent company that owns social networking sites Facebook, Instagram, and WhatsApp. Meta’s foray into the Metaverse involves three key technologies:
- Virtual Reality (VR): This is a simulated experience that can be similar to or completely different from the real world. Meta in particular is already in the business with its Oculus VR headsets and gaming technology.
- Augmented Reality (AR): Augmented reality is an interactive experience of a real-world environment where real-world objects are enhanced by computer-generated information across the senses including visual, auditory, haptic, somatosensory, and olfactory modalities.
- Smart Glasses: Smart glasses are wearable computer glasses that add information alongside or to what the wearer sees. Alternatively, smart glasses are sometimes defined as wearable computer glasses that are able to change their optical properties at runtime. Google was the first to create smart glasses, called Google Glass, in 2011.
Metaverse: The Metaverse is a digital space that exists in the Web 3.0 universe. It is a network of 3D virtual worlds focused on social connection, collaboration, and decentralization in which augmented reality, virtual reality, and artificial intelligence will be major components. While Meta is not responsible for the Metaverse, the parent company’s name change in 2021 from Facebook to Meta reflects a transition toward the Metaverse in which Meta plans to be a key player.
Non-fungible tokens (NFTs): A non-fungible token, or NFT, is a unique unit of data stored on a blockchain that can be sold and traded. NFTs may be associated with digital files such as photos, videos, and audio. NFTs can be stored, displayed, and minted (aka created) on an NFT marketplace, like OpenSea.
Satoshi: A satoshi is the smallest unit of Bitcoin cryptocurrency, named for Bitcoin developer Satoshi Nakamoto. Nakamoto, whose name is a pseudonym, is also the author of the original 2008 Bitcoin whitepaper.
Web 1.0 (or Web1): Web 1.0 was the first generation of the World Wide Web, also referred to as the read-only web. It began as a place for businesses to broadcast and store their information.
Web 2.0 (or Web2): Web 2.0 refers to websites that emphasize user-generated content, ease of use, participatory culture, and interoperability for end users. It encouraged creation and sharing, thus championing the idea of using the Internet as a platform. This was the era where social networks came to be.
Web 3.0 (or Web3): Web 3.0 is an idea for a new iteration of the World Wide Web-based on blockchain technology, which incorporates concepts including autonomy, decentralization, and crypto-based economics. It is thought to be highly collaborative, unregulated, and a vision of the Internet’s future. The Metaverse is thought to be one of the digital worlds that will exist within Web 3.0’s infrastructure.
More To Come
Metaverse and Web 3.0 vocabulary is just the beginning. We’re eager to see Web 3.0 develop and to find out whether popular components like NFTs, artificial intelligence, and cryptocurrency, are a major game-changer or just another passing fad. For now, it’s part of our present-day discussions, and we’re eager to see how it plays into influencer marketing. In the meantime, check out these helpful tools:
Want to learn more about NFTs and the metaverse? Join us on Wednesday, March 23, 2022, at 3:00 p.m. ET for a conversation about what these elements are and why marketers should care. Register here.