- The metaverse will give cryptocurrencies a chance to wipe out "broken" business models like internet ad platforms, a Solana co-founder said.
- Anatoly Yakovenko told Insider in an interview believed crypto could make the metaverse better and change how companies use data.
- Many high-profile investors believe the metaverse could become a trillion-dollar opportunity.
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The metaverse is booming in popularity. Investors are snapping up plots of virtual land and digital luxury items, while companies and sports teams are piling in too.
Last week, 4 metaverse projects sold $106 million in virtual land, according to DappRadar. Sandbox, a gaming platform, racked up $86.56 million in digital land sales, while Decentraland recorded $15.53 million in sales of virtual real estate.
While it might feel like this next stage in the evolution of the internet is only just getting started, for Solana co-founder Anatoly Yakovenko, it's already a reality and one that cryptocurrencies can help improve.
"The metaverse is already here. It's just kind of in this low fidelity, low resolution state," he told Insider in a recent interview.
The metaverse refers to virtual worlds where users can do anything from create and play games, to owning property, buying and selling digital assets, trading cryptocurrencies or even breeding digital animals.
Yakovenko co-founded Solana with Raj Gokal in March 2020. The solana protocol is similar to larger rival ethereum, in that it boasts the same decentralized finance capabilities, such as hosting smart contracts, and can also run non-fungible tokens, but it does so at greater speed and lower cost than its bigger competitor.
Both Sandbox and Decentraland, two of the more developed metaverses, run on ethereum, for example.
Developers in the crypto space are looking for a metaverse that they can own and build a business on. Yakovenko said that developers that understand the nuance of how this all works will build tools for content creators so they can have "their own virtual experiences."
"Once that happens, it's not going to be like a single metaverse Sandbox, it is going to be a bunch of small ones that all kind of work together and a bunch of experiences," Yakovenko said.
He believes one of the big advantages of having more activity take place within the metaverse is the virtual world won't present the same kind of challenges with handling user data and privacy as social media platforms or search engines face right now.
It also could offer cryptocurrencies the chance to break some of Big Tech's hold on that space, Yakovenko said.
"I think the opportunity for crypto is to make (the metaverse) better in the sense that the kind of business models that exist on the web right now are broken," he said.
"Companies that control the market that steal your data, sell it to advertisers, feed you information that you don't want and try to force you to consume it, that loop sucks," he added.
The likes of Sandbox, Decentraland and play-to-earn platform Axie Infinity have their own crypto tokens that users need to purchase virtual items or that they can receive as rewards. Decentraland's mana token has gained over 16,000% this year, while Sandbox's sand token has risen around 5,400% and Axie's axs token has gained over 25,000%.
Many high-profile investors, like digital asset manager Grayscale and disruptive technology investor Cathie Wood, believe the metaverse could become a trillion-dollar opportunity.