The Island, The Ocean, The Pond and the Metaverse
Anyone who has seen my interviews knows that I like to add new bits of information to each video I make. This simple question got me thinking about a blockchain panel I had watched on my recent trip to Canary Wharf.The panel's discussion was about the nature of interoperability on the blockchain and was hosted by one of Cornucopias’ advisors, James Bowater, who also owns the City A.M. newspaper. It was an extremely informative panel and the trip was filled with tons of adventures that I may just write a few stories about someday.
Wow! Congratulations to the Cornucopias Project for making headlines in a prestigious London newspaper ! #CornucopiasGame #CardanoCommunity #BlockchainGaming #PLAYTOEARNGAMES Image has a photograph of myself and Callum pic.twitter.com/VB4eyCuT12— Rob Greig (@RobGreig3) February 19, 2022
One restless night after my trip, I was thinking about which new and interesting subject I could discuss during my Meta Money interview. I found myself replaying moments from the trip to Canary Wharf in my mind. Then, from out of nowhere, an old memory popped into my head. It was an inspiring video about Smart Contracts created by Cardano founder, Charles Hoskinson, in 2020.
It’s not the first time I had thought about Charles' video, and indeed it was part of the catalyst (pun intended to those in the know) that gave rise to “The Island” tagline in Cornucopias.
All of a sudden my brain became supercharged with ideas - I became more sleep-deprived as I explored and drafted new thoughts about how to explain the metaverse. In the back of my head, I could hear the Meta Money interviewer asking me "Is there anything you would like to discuss on the call?"
Now I finally had an answer:
“Yes! I want to discuss what the metaverse is and how Cornucopias fits into it.”
It took me quite some time to evolve and spin concepts from Charles' video and my own thoughts into a definition of the metaverse, but before I share it with you, I'd like to provide some context about the ideas that inspired my definition.
A brief synopsis of Charles Hoskinson's “The Island, The Ocean and the Pond (Soon)"In the video titled The Island, The Ocean and the Pond (Soon) Charles Hoskinson talks about Ethereum as the Pond, and describes it as “a petri dish to experiment with a lot of on-chain activity.” He goes into detail about various experimental languages and technologies including Ethereum Virtual Machines (EVMs) and describes scripting/programming languages, such as Solidity. Charles explains how all these technologies are trying to create a new disruptive world where smart contracts can replace real-world financial transactions.
He goes on to suggest that the amount of developers in the Ethereum Pond is tiny compared with the Ocean which represents over 15 million java, .net, php, c, c++, and so on, traditional developers.
However, the Ocean is not very interoperable with the Pond as the required tooling doesn’t exist. So the Pond is great for experimenting but it is not ready for mainstream development and there is no long-term strategy to unite the Ocean and the Pond in any way. Charles makes references to how code written in the Pond is not production-ready and hints at future issues if that code were to be adopted as a mainstream standard.
I don't want to pour fuel on an already existing fire, but this needs to be said: It has been 2 years since Charles' video was released, and it is common knowledge that Ethereum is well known for widespread smart contract hacking. Over 10 billion dollars have been stolen from smart contracts due to loopholes written into their fundamental structure. This is because the Solidity language was not built with adequate checks and balances.
Additionally, the community of Ethereum developers is encouraged to copy and paste chunks of Solidity code in the mantra of “Move fast and break things.” This is a great mantra, but when it comes to cryptocurrency (which holds real-world value and in some cases peoples' life savings), not knowing you are investing and transacting with your money in a hackable ecosystem is not great at all!
It's bad for individual users, and for the crypto industry in general.
Charles Hoskinson's infamous "SOON" video
Charles elaborates on his metaphor: "The magical Island exists (in the Ocean) where the things that you build, they work right the first time, and it’s just beautiful. It’s a happy place."
He recognizes the experiment is important, but to attract mass adoption and sustainability, smart contracts have to be secure. They have to be designed in such a way that developers from the Ocean can use development tools they are already familiar with to get started. He then offers the new purpose-built Cardano smart contract language called Plutus, which is built on top of Haskell, as a solution that developers will hopefully adopt.
The Cardano tooling available in Plutus will have many tools built-in by default to try and mitigate bad development practices from happening in the first place. After all, part of Cardano's vision is to replace the current financial system with a decentralized, self-governing ecosystem.
To quote a great book I once read called Switch: How to Change Things When Change Is Hard by Dan & Chip Heath you need to “Shape the Path” of the developer. If you don’t allow them to write bad code in the first place you have achieved a huge leap forward in development and mass adoption.
So the Island, according to Charles' metaphor, looks to learn the lessons of the experimental Pond of early smart contracts, and merge them with the Ocean of traditional developers. Doing so could enhance these "potentially related development" worlds and create a beautiful place where opportunities for new adventures can exist in a well thought out, forward-thinking, future-proof, ever-evolving environment.
How this metaphor applies to the Legacy Internet & Metaverse
Charles' elaborate metaphor is the perfect way to think about the metaverse's structure within the crypto space, the emerging blockchain gaming space, and the mainstream gaming space.
However, in order to fully define the metaverse, we have to first look at the current legacy internet. It is made up of millions of websites, but you wouldn't call a single website the internet, would you? Each website is built mainly on Microsoft Windows or Linux operating systems and has some form of databases such as MySQL, SQL, Server, MongoDB, PostgreSQL, etc.
Websites are stand-alone or they can pull in bits and pieces from other websites such as a Twitter feed or an RSS feed. Users can jump from one website to another by clicking on weblinks. All of these moving pieces come together to create the legacy internet.
Within the legacy internet, we have the Pond, which in my illustration represents everything in the Blockchain space, not just Ethereum or Cardano. There are roughly 100 million people worldwide buying, selling, and trading cryptocurrencies. There are hundreds of millions of transactions on an increasing number of blockchains, including Cardano and Ethereum.
The interview with Meta Money that got me writing
If we continue to mold the original metaphor then the Ocean represents Gamers as a whole. There are roughly 2.5 billion gamers worldwide who play games in arcades, on home computers, consoles, tablets, and mobile phones. Gaming can be done alone or with one's friends in real life or via the internet. Traditional gamers are used to paying to play games. They are used to buying add-ons such as downloadable characters or in-game skins or weapons.
This money, once spent, is locked away in the game forever.
Within this context metaverse projects, like Cornucopias, are the Island. We are trying to unite the blockchain community and traditional gamers in a virtual utopia where they can play, build and learn together. Cornucopias' metaverse project will be a free-to-play game that will be available on PC, desktop, mobile, consoles, and Smart TVs. Gamers will be rewarded with NFT assets that they can sell for real-life money. Players will also be rewarded for learning new skills in a fun and exciting environment.
Defining "The Metaverse"
Finally, all of these different pieces come together to create the metaverse. I like to think of the metaverse as a second layer that sits on top of the internet. It's like a Web 3.0 app, but I believe there's much more to it than that:
- It's a transformation of the 2D flat internet to 3D immersive spaces
- You will have millions and millions of Metaverse Islands that form The Metaverse
- For example Decentraland, The Sandbox or Cornucopias are all Metaverse Islands
- Each Island, just like a website, can be built on a specific blockchain technology such as the Ethereum Blockchain or Cardano or the Binance Smart Chain
- Each Metaverse Island will have its own form of native digital currency which is transferable back to its Layer 1 parent
- Each Metaverse Island can be interoperable with other Islands, and gamers' digital assets and even their avatars can be shared using NFT technology
- Gamers will be able to jump to or be teleported from one Metaverse Island to another
- Everything you own in the metaverse is yours and you can sell or trade your things whenever you want
- Gamers, educators, and commercial businesses will flood to be part of this new Web 3.0 paradigm because unexplored opportunities are everywhere
To sum it all up: The Metaverse is the natural evolution of the Internet and human interactivity where everything is decentrally owned by the people.
The metaverse we think we know or are building today will evolve rapidly into something very different as hardware and software become faster, smaller, portable, connected, and more powerful. Work, play, and entertainment will seamlessly integrate together, and just like the internet, we will eventually take living in the metaverse for granted.
Opportunities are everywhere for everyone in the Cornucopias Metaverse from big businesses to home cottage startups - which we were only 12 months ago! It is amazing to be building a company at this time in history that is pioneering and laying down future pathways in this rapidly expanding space.
When I started planning Cornucopias back in January 2020 I didn't realize back then how powerful an idea Cornucopias was, and even now looking at the myriad of metaverse projects that are popping up everywhere, Cornucopias still stands out because of the time we took to plan and think about what we wanted to do within our Metaverse Island is really paying off.
I would love to know how you define the metaverse! I invite you to please tag me with your ideas on my official Twitter account using the hashtag #futureofgaming.
Thank you for reading my thoughts and I hope to hear from all of you soon.