LEAGUE OF ANCIENTS AND THE FUTURE OF THE METAVERSE
PART I: NFT UTILITY
This article forms the first in an entirely new series designed to analyse metaverse potential, evolution and utility, as well as how companies like League of Ancients aim to be among the pioneers spearheading the foray into this entirely new horizon of technology. Each article will dive a little deeper into the complexities of what exactly the metaverse is (through its varying interpretations) as well as focusing on the specific and unique aspects that set blockchain metaverses apart from those most commonly promoted in mainstream media. The articles will be both standalone but also link together, recapping what has come before while revealing how all the varying elements combine to create a cohesive whole that forms the narrative of theoretical metaverse functionality. This subject of this specific article will be Non-Fungible-Tokens (NFTs),
Until now, NFTs have largely viewed as the ‘memes’ of decentralized finance — they are random, strange and impossible to predict. Indeed, many NFT artworks have sold for hundreds of thousands of dollars despite being not very good. However, beyond the subjective appreciation of art, NFTs have the potential for far more advanced utility than they are given credit for, particularly in relation to decentralized metaverse application. However, before we can analyze their future evolution, we must first understand exactly what an NFT is.
So, what are NFTs?
NFT stands for Non-Fungible Token, and like stocks or cryptocurrencies they are a digital asset that can be purchased and held electronically by an individual. Originally this was artwork, but they have since evolved to incorporate a vast array of mediums — including music, videos, games and books. Nevertheless, NFTs bear one specific hallmark that sets them apart from other digital assets — uniqueness. The distinct identifier of an NFT is the non-fungible aspect, which simply means that the asset cannot be exchanged for another version of itself and only one can exist at any given time. In comparison, regular currency — even digital — is fungible, which means that other versions of the same commodity exist, and they can easily be swapped for an identical version of the same asset. For example, a pound coin or dollar bill can be exchanged for another pound coin or dollar bill, and literally billions of them exist — this is a fungible asset. Although an NFT can be copied (sometimes as simply as a screenshot in the case of artwork) there can only ever be one original, just like there can only ever be one true Whistler’s Mother or Mona Lisa painting.
But how can ownership be proven?
The legitimacy of NFT asset ownership is ascertained by utilizing the transparency and accuracy of blockchain technology. For the uninitiated, a blockchain is effectively just a digital ledger, where all decentralized finance transactions are publicly recorded. The data that accompanies the NFT itself therefore carries all necessary proof of purchase — like an indestructible digital receipt. Until the asset is then sold, traded or burned (destroyed), it perpetually belongs and is stored on the electronic wallet that purchased it, and by extension is the property of the individual who owns the wallet. However, while blockchain technology does provide irrefutable evidence of ownership, detractors of NFTs state that because the asset its digital and therefore cannot be displayed, its only real value are the capitalist-centric ‘bragging rights,’ that come with it — (much like walking around with the receipt for the aforementioned paintings if you were somehow able to purchase them). While this might be partially true, it is an extremely reductive viewpoint, and fails to see the future application of NFTs.
So, what are the future applications of NFTs?
One of the most previously overlooked but fundamental aspects of NFTs is their high level of interoperability (the ability for digital products to share and utilize data between other systems without restriction) thanks to being native to decentralized blockchains. This feature is only now just being fully explored, but even in its infancy has powerful and exciting applications as metaverse technology unfolds. Indeed, blockchain video gaming will form a significant percentage of daily interaction with DeFi metaverses through a combination of virtual and augmented reality worlds, and as such an ecosystem of connected game universes traversable by interoperable NFTs would serve as a dynamic application. An example of this is how the pioneering team behind League of Ancients feature NFT versions of their playable avatars, which allow purchasers access to higher Play-To-Earn profitability within their content. However, this is merely the start of a growing focus on metaverse application. The team has already joined forces with NFT game giant Monsta Infinite to create an entirely new and evolving blockchain metaverse that will incubate new projects and allow seamless interaction between them all (with no interruption to earning potential).
At this point future NFT and metaverse joint application begins to become somewhat theoretical in nature but are based on systems that are all achievable and already being explored. The first is that of representation. Indeed, one of the most prevalent requests within gaming is the ability for players to recreate themselves digitally — which is why most major role-playing games feature meticulous and detailed character customization options. However, aside from a few poor instances of face-mapping in older generation games, players have never really been able to fully express themselves and their individuality online. However, with the evolution of NFTs and the advent of metaverses, it has opened the discussion worldwide of digital counterparts to purchased goods. In essence, bigger real-life purchases you make (such as clothing or jewellery) would be accompanied by digital NFT versions of the same product — similar to how physical film discs are now always coupled with a digital copy. In theory therefore, something like a purchased pair of high heels, a jacket and /or a fun hat could all be digitally redeemed as an NFT with a code and then uploaded to a metaverse, which the player could then ‘wear’ on their avatar. In this sense the individual would be able to perfectly emulate their own real-world style, allowing to fully express themselves. In addition, many future-facing game companies such as league of Ancients are looking to dynamically evolve the metaverse space over time, adding in complex interactive ‘spaces’ within their projects.
But what does this mean for the player?
Spaces in the sense of metaverses would be virtual or augmented reality metaverse locations that a player could actively visit between seamless gaming sessions across multiple titles. For example, this could be personal area such as their own digital house or ‘hideout’, where their purchased or won NFT assets (such as trophies, paintings, furniture and clothing) could all be displayed and physically interacted with, much like a person would in real life. Another even more exciting example could be a local tavern where LOA players could gather together and share stories of their epic wins and painful losses, then trade some NFTs, before all watching an eSports MOBA tournament take place live on a huge television screen. These are just two basic examples of theoretical application, but the truth is that individual expression and unique interactions within these pioneering metaverse landscapes would be almost limitless once this new technology grows, limited only by the imaginations of the developers.
Another exciting application of NFTs, is that of metaverse access. Just as League of Ancients allows the owners of specific assets to access a new version of their MOBA game, the coalescence of space into digital, yet tangible locations could transform certain NFTs into digital ‘keys,’ which would allow players physical access to otherwise inaccessible locations, just like finding a secret item in a video game. (For the sake of clarity, imagine a virtual reality world accessed via VR goggles, where a solid wooden door remains locked at the bottom of a castle unless the player has a certain NFT in their possession. Upon acquiring it, the doors open and allow them access to a whole new area that only a few people have found access to and could lead to discovery of a rare item with real world applications –such as a holiday to the Bahamas or a new car. Or it could be a hidden VIP concert with only a handful of guests, or a meet-and-greet with a famous celebrity — this is the sort of major interoperability companies like League of Ancients are looking to use NFTs to access at in the future).
The full potential of NFTs in the metaverse space is still being uncovered, and more will be covered as the article series continues. However, for now it is safe to say that they represent a lot more than just an expensive piece of digital art. With companies such as League of Ancients seeking to continuously push the envelope of what NFT interoperability within decentralised metaverses can truly do, the future of the gaming seems very bright indeed.
If you would like to find out more about League of Ancients, visit their website at www.leageofancients.com, and join their Discord at https://discord.gg/loa or Telegram at https://t.me/leagueofancients.
This article was written by the Stuart Meczes. Please note that Stuart Meczes is not a financial advisor and nothing written above should be taken as financial advice. Always do your own research and due diligence.