ARPost isn’t explicitly interested in blockchain and cryptocurrencies. However, we are interested in virtual worlds. And, digital currencies and secure data management make a lot of sense in virtual worlds.
Zilliqa is a layer-one blockchain with its own native token and a recently-launched virtual world called “Metapolis.” To learn more about this integration between XR and blockchain, we talked with Zilliqa’s Head of Metaverse and NFTs, Sandra Helou.
Understanding the Zilliqa Ecosystem
“Zilliqa was founded a while back and had their [initial coin offering] in 2017,” said Helou. “Since then, we’ve seen a lot of growth when it comes to Asia.”
The blockchain has low fees, token staking, NFT support, interoperability through the Poly Network, and is all built around sharding. Sharding is a way of dividing the blockchain so that more transactions can be processed more easily. Members of the Zilliqa team were already writing about it years before they formed Zilliqa.
“Zilliqa was born on the basis of sharding technology,” said Helou. “We also have our own smart contract language called Zilla.”
This blockchain and its native token can be used for smart contracts, purchases, transfers, minting, and building decentralized applications. As of January 2022, there are almost 200 decentralized apps built using the Zilliqa blockchain, with many of them making their own tokens.
For altcoins, the price of a token isn’t the most important metric. Still, it’s worth discussing briefly. ZIL launched at around $0.12. Since then, it’s had its ups and downs, reaching an all-time high of $0.23 in April of 2021. As of this writing, the coin is trading around $0.04, which has been pretty normal for most of the life of the coin.
What We Know About Metapolis
Zilliqa announced Metapolis in April of 2022 with a preview of the virtual world, with the first connected apps scheduled to come out this autumn. Metapolis is modeled after the idea of physical cities, with different cities based around different kinds of experiences. The virtual world will launch with “partner cities” based around esports, art, and gaming.
“Imagine every time you visited a website, you needed to change your browser. You probably wouldn’t do that, you’d just use the sites that work with your preferred browser,” said Helou. “We want everyone to feel connected without needing to change their browser.”
Within cities, the virtual property is based around “domes.” For the agencies buying property in Metapolis, the platform operates on a “metaverse-as-a-service” that expands their affordances based on engagement. This should help them scale their virtual experiences in a sustainable way rather than doing nothing or over-developing their virtual worlds.
“Real estate in the metaverse is going to be extremely massive, but if people buy and don’t build, it limits engagement,” said Helou. “When a brand purchases a city, we give them five domes to spark engagement and then they unlock features based on their usership.”
Digital Identity in Virtual Worlds
The interconnected nature of the Metapolis experiences and the financial nature of most of the anticipated activations means that Zilliqa is looking at digital identity from two perspectives. On the one hand, they’re looking at it in terms of information security and allowing visitors to take their coins and assets with them. They’re also looking at it in terms of representation.
“What we’re seeing currently in the marketplace is that people aren’t interacting with ‘the metaverse,’ they’re interacting with gamified virtual worlds. You still need to leave those worlds to do most transactions,” said Helou. “That’s not seamless.”
While the Zilliqa blockchain solves a lot of the information issues around digital identity, the virtual world of Metapolis requires avatars that are customizable to individuals and recognizable to the people that they interact with in the space. As this article was being written, the company announced an initiative with fashion innovators to create fashions for Metapolis avatars.
“Digital fashion is a booming industry and as more talent looks at entering the Metaverse and Web3 space we want to support their initiative in building a sustainable and inclusive world across both physical and digital environments,” Helou said in the release.
The initiative takes the form of an application open to “emerging brands, indie labels, established companies, or fashion creators with access to suppliers” that incorporate sustainable fashion into their designs. The three finalists will receive grants from Zilliqa and the opportunity to create physical and digital fashions for the company.
Keep an Eye on This One
Blockchain and crypto, virtual worlds, and even virtual fashion and digital identity, are all markets with plenty of competition right now. But, they’re also all markets with potentially limitless room to grow and expand. Will Zilliqa solve these problems and find a sustainable home in the metaverse with Metapolis? We can’t wait to find out.