Virtual reality, or VR, is a technology which allows its users experience maximum immersion in virtual worlds, and is extremely popular among gamers, since they are the part of the community that are exposed the most to the concept of virtual worlds.
There are often virtual currencies used in these worlds that allow its users to purchase items in the world, and this is where cryptocurrencies may play a part, as described by major cryptocurrency exchange Coinbase’s CEO and co-founder, Brian Armstrong.
Armstrong recently wrote in his blog that he is convinced digital currencies could find its way into virtual reality, hypothesizing that these currencies could be utilized effectively to urge people to stay in the virtual world for a longer amount of time, benefiting the makers.
His take on this was that if virtual spaces were to use established decentralised currencies like Bitcoin or maybe create their own centralised currency which allows users to exchange them for ‘real money’, players would then have the incentive to spend more time in the game as they are given the opportunity to earn profit whilst participating in an activity they enjoy.
He cites the virtual world, Second Life, to support his argument. Second Life is a world created in 2013 that allows its users called residents to live a realistic life through their avatars in the virtual world. Second Life has its own currency, known as Linden Dollar, which is exchangeable with real world currency. He wrote that people all around the world are still active in the world, and the economy in Second Life is still about $800 million equivalent manually.
Armstrong speculated that if crypto is widely used in these online games or virtual worlds, users could potentially play ‘full time’ to earn a living and support themselves, which is an attractive or even ‘too good to be true’ concept for some. Both developers and players win from the situation, where the virtual space created by the developers have massive amounts of active users, while players get to spend more time playing while not entirely wasting their precious time.
To help visualize a world where an economy with digital currencies is implemented, Armstrong decided to use one of Steven Spielberg’s newest film called ‘Ready Player One’ as an example. The sci-fi movie presents a virtual reality entertainment world named OASIS, where coins are collected in the game or spilled out when players are killed. These coins are how Armstrong envision the currencies to exist in the virtual world, and further commented how financial facilities would look like. He wrote:
“Perhaps we’ll see virtual bank buildings with pillars, virtual bank vaults that spin when you open them, and virtual tellers with glasses.”
While the concept is certainly refreshing and interesting, whether it will actually be implemented and used is still unsure and requires a lot more detailed planning to make it work. If in the future this system does get implemented, the co-founder believes that VR will ultimately become a “full-time job or a fixed lifestyle” instead of just being a “hobby or entertainment” for certain individuals