Before Facebook popularized the metaverse, a young Argentine had already created a parallel universe through Decentraland, a “space of freedom,” founder Esteban Ordano explained in an AFP interview.
“I don’t really like the word metaverse, I would say that it is a virtual world that belongs to its users,” says this young engineer who met him on the sidelines of the Davos forum, about his network of up to half a million people.
Mr. Ordano developed, “I have always seen it as a virtual meeting space to do whatever you want, be at a party, organize a conference or even explore,” emphasizing that “walking around the things around you is really an experience in itself.”
The “metaverse”, the meta-universal constriction (“metaverse” in English), is a kind of digital underlay of the physical world, accessible via the Internet. According to its promoters, thanks to virtual and augmented reality in particular, it should make it possible to multiply human interactions, freeing them from physical limitations, online.
Created in February 2020, Decentraland already offers shopping, entertainment, concerts or events such as the recent Metaverse Fashion Week, with fashion shows and the presence of major fashion houses.
Many large companies that do not want to miss the digital transformation have already invested in this virtual world, such as the American bank JPMorgan, which established a virtual headquarters there or announced the opening of an embassy to the island of Barbados.
Decentraland is also an economy, which has its own cryptocurrency called “Mana”, and a virtual land that can be bought and sold like any land in the real world. Tokens.com, for example, last year announced a virtual land purchase for more than $2 million.
Faced with fears that the virtual world will escape the control of authorities and regulation, Esteban Ordano calls for “space” to be able to innovate.
“There are many areas in which we can improve our regulations, but we also have to leave ourselves certain spaces that allow us to move forward faster” using new technologies, he says, convinced that the virtual world does not alienate but brings humans together.
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