Art by: Jing Jin
In conversations about what the future of money and our society is going to look like, I often find myself reminding people that if they are looking at Bitcoin's effect in a vacuum, they are only seeing a small part of a much larger equation. Bitcoin is not the only emergent technology set to come down the pipeline that is going to change our society forever. The “Internet of Things,” the coming decentralization of production due to 3D printers, self driving cars, consumer drones and Virtual Reality are all poised to change the way we think about and operate in society.
All of those coming revolutions will have use for cryptocurrencies, but it is Virtual Reality that has the most obvious use case. You may not be aware, but the people involved in the Virtual Reality development community are thinking about uses that will have an impact on more than just video games. As a lifelong gamer, it is hard for me to say this but, gaming is probably the least important thing that will come out of Virtual Reality. What will, in the long term, be more important than playing HALO 7 in Virtual Reality will be the other experiences that Virtual Reality will bring. Virtual tourism looks to be a huge early application but even that will pale in comparison to what is coming in the future.
Vizor is looking to be the first company to combine the two technologies in a significant way, and they are crowd funding their project with a new coin designed to be the currency of VR.
Just as the internet brought together people from around the world, Virtual Reality will do the same thing, only with a simulated physical presence. With Facebook's purchase of Oculus, it isn't hard to imagine a Virtual Reality world arising, with its own culture, economy and even currency.
Which is where Cryptocurrencies come in. If you have a group of people gathered together, it stands to reason that those people will eventually want to do more than just communicate, they will want to trade, barter and benefit from each other in an economic sense and not just in an academic sense. Cryptocurrencies are almost assuredly going to be how this is accomplished. It would be difficult to make a Credit Card number both easily accessible and secure in Virtual Reality, but a currency that is designed for the virtual world? It could fare much better.
The problem with Virtual Reality, at least right now and in the near future, is that is isn't accessible. We talk all the time about how Bitcoin is inaccessible to those who need it most. But the hurdles preventing Virtual Reality from reaching mainstream adoption are much higher. First, the actual Virtual Reality hardware needs to be purchased, and then for high-end experiences, a powerful gaming rig likely to run into the thousands of dollars is required. That makes dealing with Private keys and KYC regulations seem minor in comparison.
Vizor looks to help ease that. They aren't building a huge meta network experiences, instead, they want you to build that. Vizor looks a bit like YouTube for Virtual Reality, they have made it relatively easy for users to create experiences designed for Virtual Reality that run directly in the user's browser. That lowers the barrier to entry at least by half. Sure, you still need a VR mounted headset like the Oculus Rift, but most decently powered consumer laptops should be able to handle the experiences on Vizor.
Sure, you won't be playing Far Cry 4 in your Oculus anytime soon without a top-of-the-line gaming PC, but less graphically intense experiences in VR have received as much positive reaction from the gaming press as photo-realistic demos. People are finding out that you don't need things to look real in order to convince your mind that it is real. So long as the latency is low and things are consistent, a compelling world can be created without a slew of polygons and lighting effects.
Furthermore, graphics aren't entirely required for many of the most exciting things possible with the Oculus Rift. Imagine you are getting married and you have a family member who is too sick or too far away to attend. You could put up a camera with 180 or 360 degrees of vision in a seat in the front row, upload the video to Vizor, and then grandma or whoever can watch it. They could simply stare at the ceremony itself, like a typical home video, but they could also look around and see the reaction of people in the crowd, see who is crying and really feel like they experienced the wedding rather than just the small square framed by a traditional cameras.
Vizor still has a way to go before it becomes the YouTube of Virtual Reality, but it has taken significant enough steps that you can begin to imagine what it could look like in the future. Its coin, it should be noted, will have functionality within the system in addition to funding Vizor itself in addition to working as the marketplace's native currency. Cryptocurrencies and Virtual Reality seem to be a perfect fit, it was only a matter of time before someone combined them. That time is now, welcome to the land of tomorrow.
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