The metaverse is the next-generation digital world that uses augmented (AR) and virtual reality (VR) technologies allowing users to seamlessly interact using avatars, their digital twins. Mattew Ball has famously described the metaverse as a “massively scaledand interoperable network of real-time rendered 3D virtual worlds which can be experienced synchronously and persistently by an effectively unlimited number of users.”
The metaverse has skyrocketed recently, with many large companies and global conglomerates planning for their own metaverse projects following Facebook’s CEO Mark Zuckerberg’s announcement of rebranding Facebook as Meta in October 2021. For example, in the first quarter of 2022, Sony and Epic Games — two industry giants best known for their PlayStation and Fortnite series, respectively invested $1 billion in the metaverse.
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Blurring the distinct lines between physical and digital with the use of AR and VR technology, the metaverse has the potential to impact people in their work, leisure, and social interaction and change the way we conduct business, and develop shared experiences.
Nowadays, it appears that every business is working on a Metaverse project ranging from investing in metaverse real estate to billion-dollar valuations in gaming franchises to provide their users with a unique experience.
In this article, we’ll explore the concept of the metaverse and introduce you to the top 10 metaverse projects to help you get in early on investing in metaverse crypto and discover novel ways of playing games, socializing, learning, and staying in touch with friends to ride the wave to metaverse success!
What Is the Metaverse?
The term “metaverse” refers to an all-encompassing digital universe in which users, in the form of avatars, can work, play, shop, create, learn, and interact with others like in the real world.
It’s simpler to think of the metaverse as a hybrid of digital and physical worlds or a combination of the best of both worlds. We might also consider it the next step in online social interactions, enabling us to engage and connect with others in a multidimensional way.
In the metaverse, you can own virtual properties, much as you’d own actual real estate, rent or sell your property to other metaverse users or exchange the property for your favorite metaverse token or non-fungible tokens (NFTs), a type of in-game currency and collectible used in play-to-earn games. You can also invest in top metaverse cryptocurrencies and exchange your metaverse crypto with other users or earn interest.
In the metaverse, cryptocurrencies serve as money representing anything within a virtual environment, from an avatar’s clothing to concert tickets and original art pieces, all of which can be created, bought, sold, and traded with digital assets. Every metaverse project has its own metaverse coins or metaverse tokens used for transactions within that particular environment.
Tech giants like Meta, Google, Microsoft, and Tencent are pushing forward metaverse projects, each with the goal of being a key shaping power in this new digital environment. Recent projections indicate that the global metaverse market is expected to grow by nearly 40% within the next eight years and will be worth more than $670 billion by 2030. According to the following report, “main drivers predicted to drive revenue growth include a rising emphasis on linking digital and physical worlds through the Internet, as well as the increasing momentum and popularity of Virtual Reality (VR), Mixed Reality (MR), and Augmented Reality (AR).”
Sensorium Galaxy is an example of a metaverse, with a blockchain-powered virtual economy that will fairly and openly compensate users for their contributions to the virtual world—worlds or meta locations.
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Top Metaverse Projects for 2023
Now, let’s look into the top 10 blockchain-based metaverse projects, including the theme, gaming mechanics, reward structure, crypto-economics, market relevance, etc., to keep an eye on if you’re planning to invest in 2023.
1. Decentraland (MANA)
Decentraland is a well-established metaverse project that enables you to buy, sell, and manage your virtual property (called LAND) worth millions of dollars.
The metaverse associated with Decentraland hosts exciting interactive opportunities for users, providing them with plenty of options and opportunities. You can shop for your favorite brands, attend events, concerts, and festivals in vibrant entertainment venues, play games, meet new people, build new business projects, and even bet in this metaverse.
Decentraland is a fantastic metaverse crypto project built on the Ethereum blockchain. It’s totally user-owned, giving individuals a lot of flexibility to create their own settings, avatars, marketplaces, digital infrastructures, and apps.
MANA is the cryptocurrency that powers this vibrant virtual world. It can be easily purchased through several leading crypto exchanges. Along with the many additional benefits described above, the platform has recently witnessed an integration of eCommerce solutions, making it a key destination for advertising and marketing. As a result, it’s reasonable to predict that Decentraland will continue to flourish and rank among the best metaverse projects in 2023.
2. The Sandbox
The Sandbox is a virtual world focused on original content development and a play-to-earn metaverse built on the Ethereum blockchain. Having been influenced by Minecraft and Roblox, the Sandbox employs a 3D voxel technique to allow players to use their creativity to create a world in whatever manner they see fit. Anyone can create, control, and commercialize their game experience with SAND, the platform’s native currency.
SAND is an ERC-20 utility token that facilitates all transactions and interactions across the Sandbox ecosystem. Users have already created over 70 million unique worlds and environments, leading to a vibrant market of non-fungible tokens (NFTs).
In addition to hosting incredible content-creation experiences, the Sandbox also allows its members to create games, assets, and applications on top of their land parcels. Each LAND is a unique non-fungible token on the public Ethereum network (ERC-721). They can then sell their creations on The Sandbox Marketplace or any other marketplace that accepts The Sandbox’s NFTs.
The Sandbox has partnerships with brands such as CryptoKitties, The Walking Dead, The Smurfs, Shaun the Sheep, and Rapper Snoop Dogg, making it one of the best metaverse projects in 2023.
3. Axie Infinity (AXS)
There’s no way you haven’t heard about Axie Infinity, the blockchain-based game that has captivated the world with Axies, its charming animal-like avatars. Axie Infinity provides amazing opportunities to players who can earn large sums of money while doing something they enjoy: gaming. In fact, many people have made Axie their full-time profession.
Axie Infinity is based on the Ethereum blockchain and powered by AXS and SLP tokens. Axie Infinity Shards (AXS) is a governance token, allowing AXS holders to vote on the game’s future development plans, such as updates and treasury balance usage. AXS has continuously been placed among the best metaverse tokens and has witnessed 200% growth in 2021.
SLP tokens, also known as Smooth Love Potion, can be won as prizes in battle or adventure modes and used to breed Axies. As the game’s popularity grew, these animals became increasingly expensive – a tendency still evident in 2022.
Axie Infinity is one of the top metaverse projects to watch this year.
4. Metahero (HERO)
Metahero (HERO) is a metaverse crypto project founded in July 2021 to establish an ultra-realistic metaverse that allows users to scan themselves and real-world objects into the metaverse. The main attraction here is the hyper-realistic and digitalized replicas of real-world things. The native utility token HERO is an ERC-20 token used to pay for scanning services and interact with the metaverse, among other things.
Metahero uses Wolf Digital World’s scanning technology to create 3D representations of humans in the digital domain. Wolf Digital World is the industry leader in 3-dimensional 16k photogrammetric scanning technology, which is used by Triple-A gaming companies and development teams such as CD Project, the company behind Cyberpunk 2077 and The Witcher series.
Metahero has its Everdome metaverse and its own DOME coin. It has received $9 million in its presale, proving the project’s significant community support for the concept.
5. Somnium Space (Cube)
Somnium Space is a 3D blockchain platform full of mind-boggling experiences and possibilities to engage with all aspects of the metaverse.
Somnium calls itself “an open, social, and persistent virtual reality platform,” where users can not only “live” but also engage in entertainment, communication, e-commerce, and much more.
While most metaverse projects are built on the Ethereum chain, Somnium has opted for a multi-chain strategy incorporating the Solana blockchain. This opened up new possibilities for the metaverse, allowing users to participate in activities such as building an NFT Gallery, utilizing a VR avatar to attend VR concerts while dancing with a full-body tracking kit, and developing new NFT-based worlds and experiences for others to enjoy.
CUBE, the native token of Somnium Space, is an ERC-20 token. The currency can be used to purchase virtual items, pay for metaverse goods, services, games, events, rent land, and reward players for good ‘karma.’
Somnium has earned the backing of crypto heavyweights like Gemini, Microsoft, and OpenSea, to name a few.
6. Gala (GALA)
Gala is a blockchain gaming platform that gives players more control over their gaming experience, allowing them to swap in-game products freely. Gala offers several blockchain-based games marketed as social games that focus on building relationships and connecting players. Town Star, Mirandus, Fortified, Spider Tank, and Echoes of Empire are the currently accessible games.
GALA is the metaverse’s native token, used throughout the platform for network governance, prizes, and node operator incentives. GALA is also used to purchase digital items, such as NFTs, via the game’s shop and player marketplace. Gala users can design and modify their avatars like in other blockchain-based games in the crypto market.
7. ApeCoin (APE)
Launched in 2022, ApeCoin, one of the most recent metaverse coins to enter the crypto realm, has literally taken the industry by storm. Soon after it was created and airdropped to BAYC NFT holders, Yuga Labs, the producer of the Bored Ape Match Club NFT collection, announced about the launching of a metaverse crypto project based on the ApeCoin token. This news increased the APE token’s value immensely, making it briefly the largest metaverse coin by market cap.
However, it has dropped by more than 83% since then and is currently the third largest metaverse coin by market cap, according to CoinStats. This metaverse coin is managed by a decentralised autonomous organisation(DAO), and anyone holding the coin can vote on pertinent governance decisions.
In terms of functionality, ApeCoin performs a multitude of functions in the Yuga Labs ecosystem. In addition to DAO participation, it grants holders access to special games, events, goods & services. As an ERC-20 token, it may also be used to make payments on the Ethereum network. The coin is already being used as NFT incentives, and BAYC holders receive free APE they can cash out right away.
8. Souls of Nature
Souls of Nature is a new NFT project and the first HD Metaverse of its kind, launching in the third quarter of 2022. It will be both a metaverse game and a complete metaverse project, with its own tradeable NFTs and an objective of helping endangered creatures and their ecosystems.
As Souls of Nature is dedicated to animal wildlife and environmental concerns, the in-game avatars for gamers in this metaverse gaming experience are animals. You’ll be reborn as an animal soul and put on a journey to help rescue the ecosystem, all while being driven by the Unreal engine in immersive HD.
Souls of Nature is committed to assisting the world and conserving Mother Nature, and the team has vowed that a portion of the funds earned by the debut collection will be donated to conserve endangered ecosystems.
The Otherside project will eventually lead to a BAYC-connected MMORPG (Massively Multiplayer Online Role-Playing Game). According to the creators, the game would merge mechanics from MMORPGs and Web3-enabled virtual worlds.
NFTs will be able to be transformed into playable characters. Players will be able to own land all over the planet, and more than 10,000 people will be able to play simultaneously.
Otherside will have its own metaverse and NFT collections such as Cool Cats, World of Women, CrypToadz, etc. The metaverse will be similar to an open-world game, where collectors will be able to own land and interact with various ecosystems and their distinct species.
Yuga Labs has received $450 million to extend its metaverse. On the other hand, Yuga plans to use ApeCoin as its primary currency. The Otherside is also being created in conjunction with Animoca brands, the same firm that created The Sandbox. Owners of CryptoPunk, Mutant Ape, Board Ape, and Kennel Club NFTs will be able to use their NFTs as playable characters at launch. Meebits will be available in the future.
Otherside offers around two hundred thousand virtual land plots for sale, similar to other metaverse games. In the last week of April, they sold the first Otherdeeds, the NFTs representing the Otherside land plots.
10. Star Atlas
Star Atlas is one of the world’s first AAA crypto games. It’s a next-generation metaverse built on Unreal Engine 5 graphics and features triple-A game design and enhanced emphasis on security to ensure user protection and digital safety in the metaverse.
Star Atlas is a metaverse crypto project based on a famous grand strategy game with elements like space exploration, territory conquest, political dominance, etc. The game shows the future, the year 2620, where players can conquer territory and acquire resources in an extremely futuristic scenario.
POLIS and ATLAS are the two game tokens that drive all game activities in Star Atlas. ATLAS is an in-game coin that lets users enter battles, explore different worlds, and win the ATLAS token by playing the game, similar to other blockchain-based gaming reward systems.
According to a recent joint press release, Star Atlas has partnered with cryptocurrency payments infrastructure startup MoonPay to allow gamers to swiftly buy non-fungible tokens and the game currency ATLAS with a credit card. MoonPay will be responsible for facilitating currency-to-crypto payments across the Star Atlas ecosystem.
The metaverse and the entire DeFi sphere are growing at a dizzying pace, making it difficult to forecast the future of virtual worlds and the metaverse cryptocurrencies that will likely continue to rank among the top metaverse projects.
However, despite the many unknowns in the mix, we hope this list with metaverse games and projects that have proven their potential for growth and possibility will be an excellent start for your crypto journey.
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Rahul Mantri is an author, investor, and public speaker with over 7 years of experience writing about emerging technologies under his belt. He has produced a number of widely acknowledged articles and has contributed to a lot of tech journals. He has a background in finance as well as technology and holds IBM Blockchain Essential & Developer Certification. He is a voracious reader and his energetic talent of engrossing new words is his entrancing trait. Understanding the complexities of technology and writing prodigious technology blogs serves as a perfect example of his ability. After discovering cryptocurrency & blockchain technology for several years and drawing on his skills in finance and technology, he made his aim to enlighten people all around the world about digital currency.