The metaverse will empower you— not enslave you.

MOSHE
5 min readDec 21, 2021
Photo by Billetto Editorial on Unsplash

LIke the vast majority of people on planet earth, I didn’t give crypto/NFTs/Web3 my full attention until the last couple years. But the metaverse?

I have long conceived of a virtual economy being a solution to decentralizing current inefficient power structures.

First off, what is “the metaverse”?

According to most widely-held definitions, it is a virtual world that combines multiple technological elements such as VR, AR, video, avatars and social chat in an alternate universe that mimics the real world as we know it.

There are entire geographical areas, jurisdictions, communities, subcultures, micro and macro influencers and personalities, anonymous people, brands, products, events, concerts — the list goes on.

The practical applications and use cases are seemingly endless. And that’s the point.

Decades before Oculus existed — remember Nintendo’s Virtual Boy? It was awful in its execution, but a truly wondrous tool for any 10-year old at the time.

As a kid who grew up in the 80s and 90s, virtual reality was always upheld as the natural next step, the holy grail eventuality, always just around the corner. Decades before Oculus existed — remember Nintendo’s Virtual Boy? It was awful in its execution, but a truly wondrous tool for any 10-year old at the time.

Remember Half Life and Warcraft?

Without these early virtual worlds — Fortnite would never have been conceived years later.

Watching a recent interview with Keanu Reeves and Carrie-Ann Moss on their publicity tour for the upcoming Matrix 4, Keanu was asked about his take on the rise of crypto and the metaverse.

He very animatedly reminded everyone that Mark Zuckerberg did not invent the metaverse.

The now 57-year old universally beloved actor reminded viewers that the metaverse and virtual reality has been a dream of the technology sector going back almost 50 years.

But let’s face it, human memories, especially when inundated with the amount of information thrown at us online today, are incredibly short.

In 2008, I was part of a small environmental marketing startup that endeavoured to solve the problem of how to empower shoppers and customers in the city of Toronto to “go green” — to vote with their dollars and support businesses committed to sustainability and eco-stewardship.

As optimistic, solutions oriented kids in our mid-20s, the energy our team was bringing to the space was palpable. We were bringing an incentives-rich layer to the decades long issue of eco-sustainability, and stakeholders at numerous levels — corporate, government and municipal — took notice.

The program we built went on to become a successful municipal initiative that was adopted by the government — but my favorite part of the entire episode was our vision: we boldy conceived of a metaverse-style virtual commerce environment wherein brands, community groups, shoppers and influencers could come together, interact with one another and create a virtual layer of events and commerce and currency that could be redeemed IRL, to incentive real-world contributions into renewable energy projects and carbon offsets.

We were ahead of our time in these conceptions, very avant-guarde, and the world still needed to catch up.

The world is still catching up, to be honest. Our imaginations are still fairly primitive when it comes to conceiving use cases for the metaverse.

The rich and powerful are not investing in innovation, in the sciences, in innovation, in public goods that can improve life for all. They are still principally concerned with millennia-old ideas of legacy and generational hegemony.

We currently lack courage and imagination when it comes to solving problems at a planetary level because the incentives to do so are not clearly outlined yet. We are living on a planet where everyone is really scared and fearful most of the time. The rich and powerful are not investing in innovation, in the sciences, in innovation, in public goods that can improve life for all. They are still principally concerned with millennia-old ideas of legacy and generational hegemony.

Hoarding and hiding cash in numerous offshore schemes par for the course, many have teams of wealth managers and accountants whose sole job is to find “traditional” and “trusted” investment vehicles to park their money profitably.

The idea that you can’t take the money with you when you’re gone seems to fly over the heads of even the most astute.

If we don’t incentivize investment in public goods, if we can’t visualize the relationship that exists between innovation investment and our children having a habitable planet to live on a generation or two from now — we are on a collision course with civilizational collapse.

The metaverse to me represents a chance to have a multiverse of creative structures focused on solving problems for humanity, networks that are democratically incentivized through tokenization and digitized participation to bring thousands of stakeholders together in ways not possible in the current oligarchic, power-centralized world.

Financial freedom and meritocratic recognition of contribution is not currently available to 99.99% of people on this planet, and our civilization is buckling under the weight of this unfortunate arrangement.

It is extremely tempting, given the state of affairs of our institutional systems, to remain cynical and jaded. Within this worldview , the metaverse is just a ploy by Mark Zuckerberg and the digital billionaire class to “enslave us forever” and destroy “freedom” as we know it.

There has never been a time in history where it pays less to be a Luddite.

But I posit the opposite — the metaverse is not something to be feared or avoided. There has never been a time in history where it pays less to be a Luddite. To do so is to lack imagination — and to lack imagination right now, to not see the entire chessboard of possiblities but instead simply succumb to the same mindset of capitalist elitism that has governed our societies since the rise of the Medici banking family almost 800 years ago — is mentally limiting. It is my hope that 2030 can look better than the world did in 1230!

The straight line from the Medicis to our current age of proposed financial decentralization is an arduous one to draw, but one that must be drawn if we are to learn lessons from history and create a more equitable financial future for all of mankind.

Over the coming months, and at length in our upcoming 2022 Web3 Playbook, I have taken it upon myself to draw this line and provide the who/what/where/when/why clarity that so many people need as they attempt to navigate and define their place in this emergent digital paradigm.

To anyone who has taken the time to read my thoughts here, I thank you. For anyone wanting to continue this conversation, hit me in the comments and I will answer you. If you found this article helpful, please share it with others — and stay tuned for more!

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MOSHE

Founder, Product Manager, Business Analyst, Advisor & Investor