The Metaverse Doesn’t Need Physical Coordinates.

Scarcity in creative communities exists solely through engineered shortages; we paint a certain number of pictures, allow a set number of tokens to be minted, burn excess tokens, and operate inside a social structure that encourages that scarcity as a positive trait.

Art and collectibles foster communities, fandoms, and attention through scarcity. But outside creativity, that scarcity becomes meaningless. Various tokenized land grabs are an example of this. Plots of digital land might have value as tokens, but they have little creative value and contribute little to the Web3 community itself.

In a virtual world without boundaries, it becomes possible to create infinitely large structures, unrestricted by geography that defy all laws of physics while still feeling almost real. There’s always more ground available; any possible paradigm is feasible.

Entire cities, structures, and areas can all be purchased and sold as NFTs. People may walk around in these meta-spaces with their pals, explore virtual facilities and activities. It’s an easy way to communicate the concept of metaverse interactions, but it’s entirely unnecessary as a system once users have been onboarded.

Where there is no need for it, introducing flawed and outdated concepts of land ownership is unexciting. Basing metaverse and tokenized ideas on real-world geographical coordinates become attractive only if:

  • A) Meaningful scarcity can be created without alienating participants.

A metaverse that restricts land to a tiny fraction of the actual world will need to have an apparent reason for that choice because land-based scarcity to play with community growth feels like a contrived attempt at monetization.

It seems evident that some participants in the metaverse will choose to be represented in the equivalent of real-world sites to gather communities and tribes via proximity. The most popular sites will draw the highest volumes of people and gain a unique social status.

People want to be where others are. Density increases the appeal of a location, attracting more people and generating more significant business activity in nearby areas. This is known as clustering theory, and it holds that as more individuals congregate in these settings, desirable pieces of property will become highly sought-after owing to the amount of tourist traffic.

But that doesn’t preclude an infinite number of coordinates and endless locations in an infinite number of universes. And where infinite coordinates are possible, infinite onboarding and access should be possible too.

In that paradigm, it’s hard to imagine how tokenized physical coordinates become anything more than an augmentation of a discord community. They’re a nice way to represent the metaverse equivalent of a dedicated place in a tribe and nothing more.

We can build communities, fandoms, and attention around scarce digital tokens; we don’t need to trap ourselves into scarcity at the cost of our users’ freedom. It’s not worth it.

The metaverse won’t be built on the physical world’s standards of land ownership and scarcity; instead, its tokens serve to create communities that gather around shared values and unique personalities.



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Joan Westenberg

Chaotic good. Award winning creative director & writer, ft. in Wired, Inc, SF Chronicle, TNW. Founder