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The Metaverse: Will it be a decentralized haven or a centralized tyranny?

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The Metaverse: Will it be a decentralized haven or a centralized tyranny?

Last week, Facebook rebranded to Meta and announced its plans to kickstart the development of the Metaverse — an entirely new way of interacting and navigating the internet. Now, the Metaverse landscape has a multi-billion dollar corporate behemoth vying for the helm, which has made its future all the more uncertain.

Whether we like it or not, major corporations will likely play a major role in how the Metaverse develops and evolves. But will it be plagued by the same problems faced by today’s social media giants, or will decentralized platforms and services take center stage?

Related: New industry, new rules: Building the Metaverse without bias

Building a digital walled garden

At last week’s Facebook Connect conference, Meta founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg announced plans to spend $10 billion this year alone on the development of the Metaverse — an ecosystem of interconnected digital experiences, services and platforms that seamlessly blend with the real world.

Announcing @Meta — the Facebook company’s new name. Meta is helping to build the metaverse, a place where we’ll play and connect in 3D. Welcome to the next chapter of social connection. pic.twitter.com/ywSJPLsCoD

— Meta (@Meta) October 28, 2021

But as Facebook has shown time and time again — such as when it backpedaled on its pledge to not require a Facebook account to use its Oculus products — it will almost certainly look to enforce strict controls on how the Metaverse is used and accessed. After all, ecosystem lock-ins are a popular, tried-and-tested way to force continued engagement while isolating the competition.

Given that Zuckerberg himself billed the Metaverse as the “next generation of the internet” that will be used by hundreds of millions of users, it seems unlikely that a corporate goliath with shareholders to please won’t do everything in its power behind the scenes to position Meta at the center of the Metaverse.

As a vast, upcoming landscape that will without a doubt introduce new ways to create, socialize and work online, the Metaverse stands to become a ubiquitous medium that most internet-savvy individuals will interact with to some degree.

Likewise, given the recent release of the damning “Facebook Files” by The Wall Street Journal, it has been revealed that the social media platform has been suffering from a whole plethora of issues and operating with some seriously dubious business practices — ranging from a huge lawsuit to lax content moderation to the preferential treatment of certain users. All of which is in stark contrast to Zuckerberg’s supposed egalitarian vision for the Metaverse.

If the Metaverse is made in Facebook’s image, count me out.

These documents also show that Facebook is rapidly losing favor among millennials — the generation most likely to interact with Metaverse technologies.

Meta has already been widely slammed for its plans and was recently labeled a “cancer to democracy” by American politician Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez in a recent Twitter lashing. This sentiment appears to be the general consensus on Crypto Twitter, which didn’t react favorably to the news.

Meta as in “we are a cancer to democracy metastasizing into a global surveillance and propaganda machine for boosting authoritarian regimes and destroying civil society… for profit!” https://t.co/jzOcCFaWkJ

— Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (@AOC) October 28, 2021

The game is rigged and it’s not in your favor. Meta wants to own your digital identity, and given its way, it will have access to more of your data than ever before. No, thank you!

The blockchain catapult

Blockchain is widely expected to become one of the key technologies enabling the development of a truly pervasive virtual space that can be navigated just as securely as the Web 2.0 internet.

Thanks to blockchain-powered digital identity solutions that will power truly persistent digital avatars, along with digital assets that provide region-agnostic access to services and products, the Metaverse looks set to inherit the values that the blockchain industry was founded on — namely, permissionless access, censorship resistance, security and decentralization.

Related: Regulators are coming for crypto: Is digital identity the answer?

Nonetheless, tech incumbents will eventually look to muscle in on the blockchain infrastructure side of things in an attempt to direct the development of the Metaverse and shape it in their own image. After all, given that the Metaverse industry is slated to grow at a compound annual growth rate of 13.1% over the next few years, while the blockchain technology sector is projected to soar by 32.4% until at least 2025, there is a strong financial incentive to establish an early foothold.

Twitter is set to be one of the first to get in on the action with Bluesky, a decentralized social media protocol that will eventually be used to host a variety of social networks — Twitter included. However, given that Twitter too has been subject to more than its fair share of controversies, including dubious account suspensions, high-profile account hijackings, and numerous reports of government censorship, it isn’t so clear-cut as to whether this will support the aforementioned core tenets.

Not to mention the fact that Twitter (and many other social media platforms) are banned in several countries. And as we have seen before with Facebook’s Novi wallet product, corporate crypto projects tend to attract excessive regulatory scrutiny, often severely restricting their scope and eventually resulting in a watered-down product, wherein the balance between profit and progress is often skewed to the former.

A range of crypto-native social media platforms and metaverse projects are currently in development and arguably have a major head-start and technical advantage over corporate-backed offerings in that they can remain truly permissionless and democratic. This includes the likes of Decentraland and Bloktopia — which already provide an early view into what the Metaverse could be through their complex, user-controlled economies, virtual real estate and digital VR-based digital experiences.

Been a few days since we turned off the lights, shut down the human cannonball and bundled Juan into the bus. So it feels like the right time to look back on an amazing four days that was the #MetaverseFestival. A thread… pic.twitter.com/hgnAREtuaW

— Decentraland (@decentraland) October 29, 2021

Other pure-play decentralized social media platforms are also on the horizon, including Bitorbit. Based on Velas (a Solana fork), Bitorbit is designed to tackle the very problems that make corporate-owned social media such a bleak experience for users and creators — using blockchain to restore privacy and help users better monetize their content and transact securely online.

Given its potential to radically change the way we interact with one another and go about our daily lives, the Metaverse is shaping up to be a pivotal technology for all of us.

But with corporate giants set to clash with the motivated and resourceful blockchain community over the development and nature of the Metaverse, it is still unclear whether it will be yet another tool designed to exploit the masses or the promised land we all want.

This article does not contain investment advice or recommendations. Every investment and trading move involves risk, and readers should conduct their own research when making a decision.

The views, thoughts and opinions expressed here are the author’s alone and do not necessarily reflect or represent the views and opinions of Cointelegraph.

Kalani Moe is the director of ecosystem growth at Velas, a decentralized smart contract platform forked from Solana. A serial entrepreneur and early builder in the blockchain space, Moe previously founded the Divi Project and helped grow CoinPayments into the world’s leading cryptocurrency payment processor as its former creative director.

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Salvadoran Ecologist Claims Nayib Bukele’s Volcano-Powered Bitcoin Mine Will ‘End in Environmental Disaster’

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Salvadoran Ecologist Claims Nayib Bukele’s Volcano-Powered Bitcoin Mine Will ‘End in Environmental Disaster’

El Salvador’s leading ecologist Ricardo Navarro believes that mining bitcoin with a volcano, or geothermal energy, will “end in environmental disaster.” Navarro believes geothermal energy costs more than oil, and thinks El Salvador’s millennial president Nayib Bukele’s decision is questionable.

Salvadoran ecologist Ricardo Navarro Questions His Country’s Volcano-Powered Bitcoin City Venture

During the second week of June, El Salvador’s president Nayib Bukele told the public that the Latin American country planned to mine bitcoin (BTC) with energy stemming from volcanoes located in the country. At the end of September, Bukele shared a video of the initial construction of the Salvadoran volcano-powered bitcoin mining facility. Now the president and his government have been criticized by El Salvador’s leading ecologist Ricardo Navarro.

Salvadoran Ecologist Claims Nayib Bukele's Volcano-Powered Bitcoin Mine Will 'End in Environmental Disaster'
El Salvador’s leading ecologist Ricardo Navarro, an environmentalist who believes Salvadoran president Nayib Bukele’s recent bitcoin concepts are questionable.

The Salvadoran ecologist explained to Telegraph contributor Simeon Tegel that developing a ‘Bitcoin City’ next to a volcano doesn’t make sense. “Talking about building this city beside a volcano is like thinking you are rich because you live next to a bank,” Navarro said. Navarro also detailed that geothermal energy is still a costly endeavor and won’t be much better than using petroleum sources. Navarro insists:

​​Geothermal still costs more than oil, otherwise we would already be using more of it. What will end up happening is that we will just be buying more oil.

Navarro Insists ‘Bukele Doesn’t Really Understand What Is Going on With the Energy Situation’

Navarro is concerned about the consequences of the world’s so-called climate crisis. The ecologist runs a non-governmental organization CESTA (Salvadoran Center for Appropriate Technology) and he recently discussed the subject with Politico’s contributing author, Bjarke Smith-Meyer, on November 10.

Salvadoran Ecologist Claims Nayib Bukele's Volcano-Powered Bitcoin Mine Will 'End in Environmental Disaster'
An aerial view of the volcano-powered bitcoin mining facility located in El Salvador.

At that time, Navarro dismissed the volcano-powered bitcoin mining facility idea as he wholeheartedly believes the facility will require more energy resources than just geothermal power. “I am under the impression that Bukele doesn’t really understand what is going on [with] the energy situation,” Navarro told the reporter. “That is certainly going to complicate… demand.”

Navarro also claims that the digital currency environment in El Salvador could attract drug lords. The Salvadoran ecologist says that the bitcoin tender law was rushed and implemented without debate. “If you have something good to promote, you propose it, you discuss it, and then you put your arguments. But that was not the case with bitcoin,” Navarro stressed to Smith-Meyer.

What do you think about the Salvadoran ecologist’s opinion concerning the volcano-powered bitcoin mining facility in El Salvador? Let us know what you think about this subject in the comments section below.

Image Credits: Shutterstock, Pixabay, Wiki Commons

Disclaimer: This article is for informational purposes only. It is not a direct offer or solicitation of an offer to buy or sell, or a recommendation or endorsement of any products, services, or companies. Bitcoin.com does not provide investment, tax, legal, or accounting advice. Neither the company nor the author is responsible, directly or indirectly, for any damage or loss caused or alleged to be caused by or in connection with the use of or reliance on any content, goods or services mentioned in this article.

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Popular BTM Operator Bitcoin of America Wins Silver in 11th Annual Best in Biz Awards

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Popular BTM Operator Bitcoin of America Wins Silver in 11th Annual Best in Biz Awards

press release

PRESS RELEASE. Bitcoin of America has been named a silver winner in the Company of the Year – Midwest category in Best in Biz Awards, the only independent business awards program judged each year by prominent editors and reporters from top-tier publications in North America. Bitcoin of America is a popular virtual currency exchange, registered as a money services business with the United States Department of Treasury (FinCEN)(RegNum). Apart from ensuring a fast and hassle-free transaction, their customer support makes them the best in the industry.

Bitcoin of America has demonstrated rapid growth. In June of this year, Bitcoin of America’s Chief Financial Officer reported record company growth. In January, the company had a total of 630 Bitcoin ATMs. To date, they have seen a 138.095% increase in their number of locations. They even hit a major achievement of 1500 plus BTMs. Bitcoin of America has also seen enormous growth in their number of employees. In just one year their team grew over 32 percent.

Bitcoin of America also added new products, services, and even updates to their BTMS. In May, they announced the launch of their new universal kiosk. The kiosk combines the capabilities of a traditional ATM with a Bitcoin ATM. The universal kiosk is known to offer 3 different functions. The first is the traditional ATM feature where customers can dispense cash from a debit card. The second function is being able to buy bitcoin or other cryptocurrencies with cash. The last is that customers can sell crypto in return for cash. This is huge for business owners. These universal kiosks are bringing stores additional revenue streams, while also saving floor space. They also announced that Ethereum would be available for customers to purchase from any of their locations.

Besides offering cryptocurrency services to customers, Bitcoin of America has helped hundreds of businesses across the United States. Bitcoin of America offers a host program for store owners who are interested in cryptocurrency or are just looking to earn extra income. They take care of their host locations by providing them with passive income, increased foot traffic, and marketing. They even handle customer support and any maintenance/installation services.


This is a press release. Readers should do their own due diligence before taking any actions related to the promoted company or any of its affiliates or services. Bitcoin.com is not responsible, directly or indirectly, for any damage or loss caused or alleged to be caused by or in connection with the use of or reliance on any content, goods or services mentioned in the press release.

Image Credits: Shutterstock, Pixabay, Wiki Commons

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Bitmart Loses $200 Million in Hack Performed by Unknown Attackers

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Bitmart Loses $200 Million in Hack Performed by Unknown Attackers

Bitmart, a cryptocurrency exchange, suffered an attack yesterday that exploited some security vulnerabilities in order to gain access to the funds of the exchange. The attack targeted the hot wallets of the platform, specifically the Ethereum and Binance Smart Chain-based wallets. The hackers managed to take almost $200 million in tokens from the platform.

Bitmart Hot Wallets Exploited

Bitmart has lost more than $200 million in a hack that involved its hot wallets yesterday. The issue was first identified by Peckshield, a blockchain security and auditing company, that raised the alarm about a possible hot wallet vulnerability on social media. The involved wallets were those that held ETH and BSC-based tokens.

Bitmart representatives estimated the losses at $150 million initially, but PeckShield did an investigation of the funds taken, saying losses were around $200 million. The hack took significant amounts of SHIB, SAFEMOON, SAND, and MANA, among others. The event affected the price of some tokens with low liquidity listed on the exchange, due to the liquidation of large amounts of these on decentralized exchanges.

Bitmart acknowledged the situation and at the time stated that the losses due to the attack accounted for a small part of the exchange holdings. An announcement from the company stated:

The affected ETH hot wallet and BSC hot wallet carries a small percentage of assets on BitMart and all of our other wallets are secure and unharmed. We are now conducting a thorough security review and we will post updates as we progress.

Tornado-Washed Funds

The exploiters moved the funds to other platforms quickly, with the intention of mixing the cryptocurrency taken. According to Peckshield, all of the Binance Smart Chain and Ethereum tokens were exchanged for ethereum using 1inch, a decentralized exchange platform, and then were sent to Tornado.cash, an obfuscation protocol that allows users to make transactions less susceptible to tracing.

This is one of the more devastating attacks on a centralized exchange this year, with much of the risk for exploits having moved to decentralized finance (defi) platforms. As a result of this situation, the exchange has suspended withdrawals for all assets until it conducts an investigation and a new security review of the platform and its vulnerabilities.

What do you think about this $200 million Bitmart exchange hack? Tell us in the comments section below.

Image Credits: Shutterstock, Pixabay, Wiki Commons

Disclaimer: This article is for informational purposes only. It is not a direct offer or solicitation of an offer to buy or sell, or a recommendation or endorsement of any products, services, or companies. Bitcoin.com does not provide investment, tax, legal, or accounting advice. Neither the company nor the author is responsible, directly or indirectly, for any damage or loss caused or alleged to be caused by or in connection with the use of or reliance on any content, goods or services mentioned in this article.

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