If someone told you that the metaverse is all about money, you would be forgiven for assuming they meant that it is a grand moneymaking scheme by Big Tech. But they might be offering you a more knowing insight: Without blockchain, the technology underlying digital money like bitcoin, the metaverse couldn’t exist.

In the physical world, it would be ridiculous to require a separate wallet, ID, clothes and other possessions for each town you spent time in. But without blockchain, that’s what you’d need to visit separate virtual environments. The metaverse will be a single network linking these virtual worlds – an immersive VR internet. Blockchain is what will allow your avatar, including the clothes it wears, the wallet it carries and the magic sword it wields, to belong to you, not some company hosting a virtual world. And it’s what will allow you and your avatar to hop between worlds as easily as clicking a link.

Michigan State media scholars Rabindra Ratan and Dar Meshi explain how blockchain works, how it will be the foundation of the metaverse and how it will enable a new economy.

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Eric Smalley

Science + Technology Editor

In the metaverse, your avatar, the clothes it wears and the things it carries belong to you thanks to blockchain. Duncan Rawlinson - Duncan.co/Flickr

The metaverse is money and crypto is king – why you’ll be on a blockchain when you’re virtual-world hopping

Rabindra Ratan, Michigan State University; Dar Meshi, Michigan State University

For the metaverse to work, people need to own their virtual bodies and possessions and be able to spend money. The same cryptographic technology behind bitcoin will make that possible.

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