With the emergence of the blockchain, many have compared the present day to The Renaissance – especially in regards to NFT art. For the first time in a long time, artists, musicians, painters, and graphic designers alike are being paid directly for their work. The longevity and security of the blockchain has attracted Medici-esque collectors willing to pay big to own these valuable, unprecedented digital assets while investing in furthering this innovative technology.
The Renaissance immensely changed how people saw the world. After the Black Death pandemic jolted humankind and took millions of lives, there was vast advancement in art, politics, architecture, and science, and a renewed interest in ancient Greek and Roman philosophies. Humanism blossomed. Gutenberg introduced the movable-type printing press. Copernicus introduced the idea of a heliocentric solar system, and with it the path to progress and the Age of Exploration.
With the rise of the metaverse, namely Somnium Space, NFTs have a growing use case. Not only can collectors and creators own digital assets; they can interact with them, share them and trade them with others in virtual reality. There is the potential for in-world NFT businesses and unique social experiences that act as an extension of our existing international economy and culture. Gamers, creators, and collectors alike can have entire lives, jobs, homes and communities outside of “real” life. Together, early adopters are already co-creating a little slice of Utopia to share – and this is only the beginning of this renaissance. With the rise of automation, computers, VR equipment, the internet and therefore the metaverse will be more widely accessible.
That being said, what are some of the mistakes of the Renaissance and the following Age of Exploration that we should watch out for? When all kinds of people from different walks of life co-mingle, there is always the risk for disagreement and inequity – even a colonial sort of exclusion of valuable ideas, people and cultures as seen throughout history (i.e. The Age of Exploration, The Reformation, The Inquisition). While we are less likely to fight over land, fight about religion, or have a pandemic wipe out millions of lives, vast amounts of people still lack essential resources. While we won’t have to worry about spreading diseases in the virtual world, we still have to watch out for exploitation and imbalanced economic and cultural dominance by few parties.
Like our ancestors, we are coming out of a global pandemic and economic turbulence. We are hungry for social interaction, fun, and purpose, which are all provided within the growing metaverse community. The vacuum of potential within the metaverse has the power to fix what humanity still lacks by facilitating more communication, understanding, and fair economic participation. By default, the blockchain proves ownership, makes trading and collaboration easier, which alleviates much worry all on its own. The goal of Somnium Space itself is total freedom and -decentralization:
“We are a virtual reality company first. When the company controls everything, it becomes a problem for the company. At one point… centralization becomes a problem.– Artur Sychov, Founder and CEO of Somnium Space
I also knew that having a real economy inside the world is very important. I want Somnium to exist as long as I… can imagine. How can we do that? One part is living and breathing economy.
If people can earn a living inside this world… this will allow people to exist here… We all shape this world, and that’s the most beautiful part of this.”
Once everyone has access to the metaverse and mass adoption ensues, many will be exposed to new cultures, higher education, and be able to learn relevant skills despite what their participation in the current economy may be. There is hope that in the future, translation programs will be lightning fast and able to wholly remove language barriers of all kinds, further encouraging international collaboration. Because of the ownership and democracy that comes with decentralization, and because of the safety, neutralization of violence, and gameplay aspect that comes with virtuality, it’s more likely that humanity will become more unified versus more divided.
Whatever the future holds, it is up to us to influence it. Clearly, now that the bridge to it has been built, i.e. Somnium Space, the door to possibility and progress is wide open.
Oly (@olysounds) is an interdisciplinary musician, writer and explorer.
Check out her music and other projects at solo.to/olysounds.