The Future of Trust will be Dystopian or Decentralized: Escaping the Metaverse
Forthcoming in special issue of Revista de Occidente on The Future of Trust
8 Pages Posted: 29 Oct 2021 Last revised: 12 Nov 2021
Date Written: September 17, 2021
As we spend increasingly more time in the digital sphere relative to the physical one, an emerging concern is how the so-called "metaverse" will look like, and who will design and control it. For digital platform companies like Facebook, the metaverse looks like a set of virtual worlds that we can access via corporate-controlled entry points, such as proprietary headsets and app stores. But for Web3 players looking to build a decentralized web, the "metaverse" consists of community-owned platforms where users can earn a living in cryptocurrency and data is shared transparently using interoperable blockchains (sometimes called "sidechains" or "parachains"). While Facebook's version of the metaverse risks looking like a dystopian world controlled by undisclosed private interests, the Web3's version is more akin to a "paraverse" wherein multiple communities coexist independently of any centralized control. The fundamental difference between these two extreme scenarios is whom to trust in the digital world and how such trust comes into existence.
Keywords: metaverse, decentralization, distributed, facebook, trust, digital currency, crypto, blockchain, web3
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