Even as nonfungible token (NFT) transactions have taken off and made headlines, to most people outside the crypto world, they’re just a gimmick. The metaverse will change that.

There’s always a tipping point when new technologies go from incomprehensible fringe interest to, suddenly, part of life. That point usually comes from the confluence of a number of drivers and, right now, we’re experiencing what happens when two such trends hit the inflection point together.

Mark Zuckerberg’s decision to rebrand Facebook to Meta was enough to propel the metaverse into major headlines around the world, although the concept has been around for at least three decades. It is this apparent sudden emergence of the metaverse that provides the escape velocity for the rehabilitation of NFTs’ image as a speculative crypto gimmick.

Major brands, such as Morgan Stanley, are now in the business of predicting the future of NFTs, and the “digital luxury” sector has forecast a Metaverse valued at $50 billion by 2030. The next phase of the NFT cycle has begun.

Related: Why are major global brands experimenting with NFTs in the Metaverse?

More than virtual

The metaverse is commonly thought of in terms of virtual and augmented reality, but it’s not that simple, even though VR/AR adds to the promised immersive experience. It’s also thought of in terms of games, as in Ready Player One, but it’s not confined to that either. However, both give clues to what it will be.

Work on the metaverse has already bent toward an “embodied internet,” to quote Zuckerberg’s vision: A network of…

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