Home Metaverse Why I Will No Longer Be Writing about ANY Blockchain-Based Virtual Worlds and Social VR Platforms on This Blog – Ryan Schultz
Metaverse

Why I Will No Longer Be Writing about ANY Blockchain-Based Virtual Worlds and Social VR Platforms on This Blog – Ryan Schultz


Stick a fork in it; it’s done (image by Pete Linforth from Pixabay)

Yesterday, as a first step in pruning my long-neglected list of metaverse platforms, I decided to cut off a whole branch. I deleted the entire subsection on those virtual worlds and social VR platforms which incorporated blockchain, cryptocurrencies, or Non-Fungible Tokens (NFTs). In this editorial blogpost, I will explain why, moving forward, I will no longer write about any blockchain-based metaverse platforms on the RyanSchultz.com blog. (The original blogposts are still there and searchable.)

As a metaverse blogger, my introduction to blockchain came via the first few blockchain-based worlds which caught my attention, notably three early entries which actually launched a world where you could create an avatar and pay a visit: first Decentraland in February 2018, then Somnium Space in May of that same year, then Cryptovoxels (now called just Voxels) in July. In April of 2018, I started writing regularly about NeosVR, a non-blockchain-based social VR platform which had an associated cryptocurrency (although it was not really integrated in any way).

At that time, blockchain was a novelty, and I reported on the news and events happening on these platforms much as I did for Second Life and other metaverse platforms I covered (often from a highly skeptical and sarcastic perspective). Aside from some NCR (Neos Credits, Neos’ cryptocurrency), a monthly “reward” which I had earned as a Patreon supporter of the project, I did not buy or use any crypto.

I do remember being somewhat excited in 2021 when NCR rose to the giddy heights of almost US$9 per coin, buoyed by cryptospeculators who had little to no interest in the metaverse, even briefly indulging in the fantasy that I could sell at the top of the market and buy myself a new desktop PC with that “money” (I just checked right now, and today, 1 NCR coin is worth a whopping seven cents U.S.).

After the inevitable crash, all I lost was perhaps several months’ worth of a Patreon subscription I had upgraded to “earn” more NCR, perhaps about $20 in total, but I do know people who lost $1,000 and more. It was an instructive lesson in just how much of a gamble crypto could be.

The NCR price chart over time (source)

In fact, a little over a year ago, I wrote on this blog that I would henceforth restrict my reporting on blockchain-based metaverse platforms to those which supported virtual reality (which, at that time, narrowed it down to just three worlds on my list: NeosVR, Sensorium Galaxy, and Somnium Space).

I have also decided that I will no longer be writing about any blockchain-based metaverse platform unless it incorporates virtual reality…

[T]hose platforms which had the great good fortune to launch well before the current crypto carnage, are possibly still entangled in the web of interconnected crypto companies lending and borrowing from each other, in highly speculative cryptocurrencies whose actual value is based only on what the next greater fool is willing to pay for them. In particular, those who purchased overpriced NFT-based real estate on such platforms as The Sandbox, Somnium Space, and yes, even pioneering Decentraland, are going to find it very difficult, if not impossible, to make any sort of profit off their investments.

And one only has to observe the travails which NeosVR has gone through, after a cyncial pump-and-dump instigated by cryptobros, to see how a social VR project with such technical promise can be hamstrung by attaching a cryptocurrency to it. There has, to my knowledge, been no active development on the platform in over a year, and it is unclear what 2023 holds for NeosVR. It breaks my heart and it angers me.

While I will continue to follow the current crypto winter shenanigans as an interested (and bemused) observer, I have decided that I will no longer be writing about any blockchain metaverse unless it has launched, and it supports virtual reality. In particular, I will no longer waste my time (and your patience) writing about all the blockchain metaverse projects which consist of little more than an .io website, a Telegram or Discord channel, and a white paper long on hand-waving, but short on actual technical details. Enough with the bafflegab and bullshit.

Over time, from 2018 to 2024, my initial bemusement about crypto, NFTs, and blockchain has hardened into something closer to revulsion. I started following cryptoskeptics like Molly Brown and David Gerard, and hanging out in the r/Buttcoin subreddit, which provided a reliable stream of cryptosnark. More recently, I have been reading some well-written books critical of crypto, notably Zeke Faux’s Number Go Up: Inside Crypto’s Wild Rise and Staggering Fall, and Easy Money: Cryptocurrency, Casino Capitalism, and the Golden Age of Fraud, by Ben McKenzie and Jacob Silverman (both of which I can very highly recommend).

And I have finally reached the conclusion that, even though there might still be blockchain-based social VR platforms out there, which are actual, delivered products and NOT scams or rug pulls (for example, Somnium Space), I am so sick and tired of the overall crypto space in general, that I am no longer going to write about any of them anymore. I have finally had enough of this nonsense, after six years, and I am done.

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