Blockchain, a decentralized ledger technology with relevant applications in finance, data storage, cybersecurity and investing, doesn’t seem like a likely candidate for virtual reality (VR). The former is a somewhat complicated platform relying on a blend of algorithmic cryptography to achieve autonomous consensus between individuals, and the latter an immersive new way to experience games and entertain oneself. However, these young inventions are finding new applications with each passing day, and are slowly drifting closer together. The market now has several examples of unique, useful solutions that combine both blockchain and VR — with others joining soon, as the trend catches on.
Though VR can now claim a purpose in the fields of science, engineering and more, Decentraland takes it back to its roots: the gaming world. This virtual world is accessible through any normal VR headset and is hosted entirely on the blockchain. Accordingly, it has some unique implications, including the ability to verifiably own the property that one inhabits.
Players must register themselves on the ledger to participate, and can use cryptocurrency to record their irrefutable ownership over parcels of land onto it. A player’s virtual land can be developed (literally) with houses, businesses or other services just like in the popular game Second Life, and monetized accordingly. Virtual denizens have flocked to the “terraforming” event to reserve their spot in Genesis City, helping Decentraland raise $24 million in a crowdsale for the project within just 35 seconds.
One of the most applicable uses of virtual reality is to transport the viewer to a place they cannot be physically. This doesn’t necessarily have to be a custom virtual world, and this is what Ceek demonstrates to an enthusiastic public. Ceek enlists an impressive combination of VR production and blockchain smart contracts to allow anyone with a headset to attend live VR concerts and other events with their favorite celebrities and musicians.
Ceek token holders can vote for the acts they want to see thanks to robust ERC20 Ethereum smart contract capabilities, and fund-curated content from the community that might not involve famous people at all. Such a unique model also encourages users to get together in Ceek City, a virtual venue complete with areas to hang out, chat and watch the show together.
GazeCoin is a unique blockchain solution that seeks to solve the issue that advertisers have in the new VR medium. Where current advertising methods for VR are still optimized for framed media, this approach is difficult to measure in terms of results because users aren’t interacting with a mouse. Key performance indicators have largely gone undeveloped for VR until now.
GazeCoin uses a custom engine to track a VR viewer’s eye movements, which can determine exactly how much attention they’re paying to sponsored content, rewarding them and advertisers proportionately. Brands who develop their own VR experiences can create derivative tokens built on the GazeCoin platform as well, providing them with a proprietary token while also contributing value to the underlying blockchain.
4. Blockchain 3D Explorer
While it’s somewhat of a novel idea, those who are curious about the inner workings of the admittedly complicated blockchain can view it working in real time in a virtual reality environment. The simple 3D rendering of the decentralized ledger is a thing to behold and helps put in perspective how the network is organized. One can even pinpoint exact transactions on the network and watch as they move from node to node.
Blockchain 3D Explorer is an excellent tool for teaching blockchain to the uninitiated, made even better because it’s provided for free on the various platforms that support it, including Windows, Linux, and MacOS.
The Bottom Line
Both VR and blockchain’s boundaries are still being tested considering the relative youth of these fields. However, one thing is clear, innovators are not waiting for the next best thing — they’re actively working to create and build it. While each contributor takes a different approach to incorporating these technologies, the possibilities for the future are endless. As VR evolves and is embraced by the mainstream, it will help blockchain continue offering new immersive experiences and opportunities for development. (See also: 4 Blockchain Contenders in Competition with Ethereum.)
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