Explaining the metaverse

At lunch yesterday the topic of metaverses and cryptocurrencies came up.

A topic that seems to be fashionable and that sounds something like worlds of superhero hacker speculators.

Or better of supervillains.

The point is that, for most mortals, it’s like speaking Chinese.

Except for the Chinese. For them it must be like speaking Arabic.

I’m not so sure myself.

But, without going into technical details, I understand that metaverses are like opening new markets in digital worlds.

And the comment is: I think it’s fine for them to invent a currency just like they invented Gotham City or Wakanda.

But who is going to want to spend real money, the good kind that you can touch, to buy coins of worlds that do not exist?

It’s true that you can pay for a game. Just like you can pay to watch Netflix or to read the Washington Post.

But from there to paying for gothamcoins… it doesn’t make any sense.

Actually that can be explained in an easy way.

When you create a virtual world, such as a multiplayer game, you are creating a new market.

And besides paying to participate in the game you can offer other “services” that can be useful or interesting for the rest of the players.

Like giving hints on how to pass certain difficulties of the game.

Like selling characters at level 80 that would take you 6 months playing 8 hours every day to raise it to that level.

Like selling unique item designs that, as the name suggests, are unrepeatable.

If you have played that kind of games it is easy to understand that this has a value.

But for certain generations talking about online games is like talking about cryptocurrencies.

But there’s a quicker way to explain it to people who don’t like games.

Look. You have a driver’s license, right?

And you know that you have some points associated with your driver’s license, right?

Those points for which Matías Prats almost gives you a car insurance and a kiss on the mouth.

That’s nothing new.

So the DGT has its own metaverse and the points are its cryptocurrency.


Like every year the DGT has just published the rules for the new season with improvements to make it more entertaining.

Now, when you pass under the big signs on the highways, you have to look very carefully to be able to get more points.

“Cell phone in hand. 6 points.”

Obviously, if you are fast and attentive to the signs instead of being distracted looking at the traffic, when you pass under the sign you show that you are carrying your cell phone in your hand you get six more points.

“Condicir without a seatbelt. 4 points.”

This one I don’t quite understand. It is more complicated to take off your seat belt while driving than to take your cell phone, but you get less points.

“Throwing objects on the road. 6 points”

For this you should always carry something handy that you can throw. If you throw the cell phone then you can not get the extra points for mobile.

The good thing is that the messages are very clear.

The more challenges you get the more cryptopoints you accumulate.

And the cryptopoints allow you to keep driving on the roads.

Or was it the other way around?

But, you’ll tell me, it’s not exactly like that.

Those points are yours and exclusively yours. They are associated with your driver’s license. Nobody would pay for someone else’s points.

You can’t speculate with this, so it’s not a cryptocurrency.

Because that is the key: a cryptocurrency is for speculation.

Well, forgive me for saying so, but you can speculate.

Let’s see, I am not saying that this is done, but it may have crossed someone’s mind.

When you get one of those fines at home that a radar has given you, they always tell you that you have to identify the driver. Otherwise they assume it was you who was driving.

And if someone doesn’t have a very good memory they might ask “Dad! You still have all the points on your license don’t you? Do you mind signing this paper that says you were driving my car exactly 4 months ago at 12:36?”

And Dad will say “Of course, dear son, how much is a point worth today?”

So it’s clear, cryptocurrencies are nothing new: non-existent currencies created in virtual worlds and for which people are willing to pay in legal tender.

Welcome to the metaverse.

P.S. If you need to explain allegedly innovative concepts to people who are not so innovative, let’s talk here.