Does anyone else need a glossary and guide to the Metaverse?

Does anyone else need a guide to the Metaverse and NFTs? This coming digital world is evolving so fast, there are no textbooks.  To keep up, we need to go online. The following are some terms you need to know to have a chance of understanding Web 3.0.

A friend recently asked me why he would want an NFT.  I can’t help with that in this article, but here is my attempt to figure out what it would mean to have a cryptocurrency in my CoinBase wallet and use it to mint an NFT.  You with me?

One of the many confusing things about this Metaverse is that companies are competing for dominance in several aspects of it.  It is not clear whether Bitcoin will become the dominant cryptocurrency or whether OpenSea will continue to be the virtual ‘Amazon’ open marketplace where most buying and selling of NFT’s will happen.

An Oxford professor (old style) taught my husband that to understand a new field, you need to build the scaffolding onto which you can ‘hang’ new words and ideas (and virtual worlds).

I found this video to be a great way to understand the ‘scaffolding’ of the Metaverse.  In seven and half minutes, it gives you the overview of creating and owning an NFT.  We offer some definitions when you are finished.

How I turned my four-year-old son’s art into an NFT.  How to turn a piece of content, in this case, a Unicorn Rainbow collage, into an NFT.

Here are some definitions for pilgrims to the virtual world.

Avatar – An icon representing a person in the virtual world.  This is your representative in video games and internet forums.

Bitcoin is a decentralized digital currency, without a central bank or single administrator, that can be sent from user to user on the peer-to-peer bitcoin network without the need for intermediaries.

Blockchain is a software network of decentralized computers with no one in control.  It processes and keeps track of transactions.  It keeps a ledger and record of transactions that is duplicated and distributed across the entire network of computer systems on the blockchain, which makes it difficult (hopefully impossible) to hack. There are many blockchains.

Coinbase is a Cryptocurrency exchange platform where anyone can buy and sell many of the various cryptocurrencies. You can keep your cryptocurrencies in your Coinbase wallet, and you can use a Coinbase Visa debit card if you choose.  The company says that it is the ‘future of money’. Coinbase home page.

Cryptocurrency is any of a number of digital currencies (there are over 1,000 cryptocurrencies, of which Bitcoin is the best known), mined and registered on a blockchain.  The encryption adds security, so there is no need for banks to verify transactions. It’s a peer-to-peer system that can enable anyone anywhere to send and receive payments. When you transfer cryptocurrency funds, the transactions are recorded in a public ledger. Cryptocurrency is stored in digital wallets.

Digital Wallet, Crypto wallets are places where traders store the secure digital codes needed to interact with a blockchain.

Ether is the native cryptocurrency of the Ethereum blockchain.  It is the second largest cryptocurrency after Bitcoin, but its blockchain also supports NFTs, which store extra information like JPEGs or MP3’s or MP4s.

Ethereum Blockchain is a decentralized, open source blockchain with smart contract functionality.  Most NFTs are on Ethereum. Ethereum.

Ethereum Gas Fee is something all users must pay to perform any function on the Ethereum blockchain.

Ethereum wallets are applications that let you interact with your Ethereum account. Think of it like an internet banking app – without the bank. Your wallet lets you read your balance, send transactions and connect to applications.

Etherscan is the dashboard where you can track Ethereum Blockchain transactions. Etherscan.

GIF, as in full Graphics Interchange Format.  A GIF is a digital file format devised in 1987 to reduce the size of images and short animations and make them easier to store and transfer.

JPEG and PNG are familiar terms for popular formats used to compress and store digital images, especially photos.  JPEG stands for Joint Photographic Experts Group.  PNG is another graphics file format (Portable Network Graphics).  PDF stands for Portable Document Format.

Metaverse.  This is the evolving ‘Virtual World’ where people create avatars, accessorize them with status symbols, join virtual communities – and work, play, buy, sell and hang out.

Mining cryptocurrency is a competitive process that verifies and adds new transactions to the blockchain for a cryptocurrency.  The miner solves a series of digital problems, using massive computing power.  The problem-solving difficulty and the competition to solve the problems are what keep the amount of cryptocurrency limited. The difficulty of mining and therefore the price to mine each subsequent unit of cryptocurrency increases with each additional unit of cryptocurrency.

Mint is a verb in the crypto world.  It means creating a unique piece of digital content – a JPEG, an MP3, or an MP4, putting the content onto a digital registry as an NFT.  One can then own or sell the NFT.

MP3, MP4 are file formats for digital audio and video files.

NFT, Non-Fungible Token.  This is a unique file which has been registered on the blockchain.  NFTs can really be anything digital – such as drawings and music, but they can also be tickets to events and a digital Chanel handbag to adorn your avatar.

OpenSea is the largest digital marketplace where NFTs are bought and sold. Currently, OpenSea is the Amazon of NFTs, but It is ‘open’ not curated.  Anyone can put any NFT on this marketplace.  Crypto.com is a competitor that is advertising heavily. OpenSea was recently valued at $13.5 Billion.  The OpenSea home page.

Web 3.0, Web3, web3 is an idea that is so new, the world has not agreed on the name. I choose to call it Web 3.0.  It is a decentralized iteration of the World Wide Web, based on blockchain.  Content creators ‘mint’, own and sell their content through NFTs.

Click here to watch the creation of the Rainbow Unicorn NFT again.

See how far you’ve come toward understanding this evolving digital metaverse?