Though it has plummeted from the lofty heights it once occupied, Bitcoin is not going away any time soon.
If anything, cryptocurrency is digging in for the long haul.
And that’s not to say that it isn’t without merit: Blockchain technology is easily one of the most promising things out there. When you think about how much blockchain could change about commerce, it’s pretty mind-boggling.
But one area you might not have considered is virtual reality. Is there a place for cryptocurrency within the VR market?
According to Coinbase’s CEO Brian Armstrong, the answer is undoubtedly a yes.
The premise underpinning his argument is quite simple.
Armstrong believes that cryptocurrency and virtual reality worlds make a natural pair, and he might be right on that front. Envisioning a type of VR beyond what we currently have, Armstrong posits a world with immersive realities that require their own cryptocurrencies to function.
That’s an interesting idea, and a pretty far out one at the same time.
Then again, we have to applaud him for his ability to combine two of tech’s biggest buzzwords: cryptocurrency and virtual reality into one concept.
In all seriousness, Armstrong’s argument makes a couple of good points.
Drawing reference to the popular life simulator Second Life, Armstrong defines what he means by virtual reality worlds. He also makes an allusion to “Ready Player One,” though we doubt he wants us to live in a dystopia where everyone plays an MMORPG.
His main point is that Second Life, for what it is worth, is already generating a ton of cash on its own without VR. He doesn’t think you need VR to have a virtual community, but he does think that VR is going to speed up the development of robust, full-fledged digital communities. Because there are various things within these worlds to buy and sell, he thinks cryptocurrency is the natural choice for that mechanism.
And he’s not referring to microtransactions – he’s referring to actual money exchanging hands between players. In this way, people actually could make money within the context of a “virtual” world.
He isn’t blind, however, to the kinds of benefits such a robust economy would have for the devs of the game. For one thing, if people can earn a living playing a game, they will. That’s a boon right there. Second, if a dev decides to issue their own blockchain token for the game, there’s a potential gain right there if the value goes up.
Armstrong never delves into the potential complications that could arise in such a scenario, such as fraud or digital theft. That’s an issue that plagues the crypto world but probably isn’t something gamers want making its way into VR. Then again, the precedent for making money off of in-game economies is already there. EVE Online is one prominent example and World of Warcraft is another. Making money off of a game’s economy is nothing novel, but building a whole crypto token to carry those transactions is pretty unique.