The current state of metasymptom interoperability: Where should the design framework go from here

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“The Internet wasn’t built with an identity layer” is a classic (and true) refrain, but it shouldn’t be an excuse to continue down a path of ignorance. Using the late Steve Jobs’ iCloud hack as an example, it’s clear that none of our digital identities are secure. Better not exist, then? Maybe. However, let’s try just one…

Less is more

Self-governance is fast becoming one of the most important entry points and roadblocks in the transformation debate. Currently, the metaverse requires individuals to re-register as they traverse the multiverse. While a host of sequels would be unnecessary in many ways, unfortunately, we are already seeing the first signs of this trend. Microsoft, Sony, Nvidia, Meta, Adobe and many other companies recently came together to announce the creation of the Metaverse Standards Forum, a consortium aimed at ensuring interoperability.

However, interoperability depends on having a unique digital identity that is universally recognizable, ensuring ease of use, workflow and experience.

Metaverse economy

DALL-E – “A talk show on Second Life” (courtesy of Tokenomics.Agency)

“Repentance” is a term originally coined by Doug Thompson for a talk show he used to host in Second Life, and it has to be said that the economic models of the metaverse are often so boring and repetitive that they can easily be summed up in the following guidelines:


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  • Betting Markers
  • Buy land or NFTs (taxable)
  • Pay some entrance fees
  • Gambling or lotteries

These are all mechanisms that lead to engagement in the long term but at low intensity and impact. What then is the metaverse game changer? The clue is in the previous sentence: Let’s talk about gamification.

Users just want to have fun

We are moving towards an integrated virtual world and its dominant design (DD) is driven by the web3 gaming industry, just as cryptocurrencies arose from the need to realize economic value in in-game currencies. Right now, at GameFi, we are witnessing the painful transition from a game-to-win model to a game-to-win model.

This may sound like a simple linguistic trick — but instead it underlies the need to bring play back to the core of the conversation. For too long GameFi has been drunk on its own profit-seeking vision, at the expense of the fun aspect and potential for users. With the advent of crypto-winter, the platform’s games were shrunk and discontinued, with a few exceptions including Axie Infinity and Sandbox.

In addition to GameFi’s lost bet, Axie Infinity itself fell victim to a $600 million hack in November 2021, decimating users while the native SLP token went from $0.4 to $0.0025.


This apparently disrupted the tokenomics of the project. However, it has remained standing thanks to a small but strong community of 700,000 supporters.

Sandbox, a game reminiscent of Minecraft in some ways, has a user base of two million, and it has one important quirk: It’s in the metaverse.


The gamification of social interactions is a critical aspect of the metaverse: The only virtual spaces where there is currently a clear concept of ownership are social platforms like Reddit and NFT marketplaces like OpenSea.

These platforms, however, provide a limited experience, as aggregation prevents immersion and the ability to switch between meta symbols. If these spaces can tap into the natural human propensity for play, spontaneity, and entertainment, they will grow to such a level that the creation of a unified and GameFicated metauniverse will be inevitable, regardless of corporate vision and interests.

Users of the metaverse will act according to archetypal characteristics that are probably analogous to those that serve as the basis for social play. Dr. Richard Bartle has defined four types of these specific archetypes:

  1. The Achiever, who is goal-oriented and driven by the need to complete self-assigned tasks and benchmarks.
  2. The Socializer, who sees the metaverse as an opportunity for them to make new friends and network.
  3. The explorer, who is adventurous and constantly seeks stimulation for play and hiking, especially in relation to unique experiences.
  4. The Hunter: In order not to betray anyone’s expectations, you will have to decide what and how to do this kind of user hunting.
Chart: Hunter, Achievers, Socializers, Explorers
Chart courtesy of Tokenomics.Agency

These archetypes are not mutually exclusive—users often manifest a combination of them, with one predominating over the others. The gamification of social interactions is a key aspect of the metaverse. Platforms like Reddit and NFT markets provide a limited experience due to concentration, but if they could tap into the natural human desire for play and entertainment, the creation of a unified and gamified metauniverse would be inevitable.

The four archetypes should serve as the foundation for building successful token models in the metaverse and for determining the game theory model and mechanism for sustainable economies and governance structures.

The postuniverse and a post-square economy

The gamified economy is a system where economic activity is organized around game-like rules and incentives, with the goal of making economic interactions more engaging and enjoyable for participants. A DAO (Decentralized Autonomous Organization) could potentially be used to manage and oversee the rules and incentives of this economy, helping to ensure fairness and transparency for all participants.

The closest real instance of a “metaverse” currently available that operates in a pseudo-DAO structure is Reddit, more specifically, Any r/subReddit. These “subs” are probably the closest example of a metauniverse actually available, with their ability to incentivize the “coordinators” of each reality within the metauniverse, giving them greater responsibility to maintain order and discipline.

This is another step towards decentralizing decision-making, where power is governed by smart contracts, with perhaps even a sprinkling of quadratic economics, a model where the value created by a transaction is proportional to the square of the number of participants. The value created by a transaction increases significantly as more people participate, creating incentives for individuals and organizations to contribute and participate in the economy.

DALL-E – “Van Gogh and the Economy of the Overlay” (courtesy of Tokenomics.Agency)

But why stop at the square?

In addition to being able to decide on which issues one’s vote will weigh more heavily, we could consider giving greater representation to the most intelligent and active members of the community. DAOs could help achieve a sustainable metaverse by providing a decentralized and transparent governance structure for the virtual world, thereby helping to ensure the fair and equitable functioning of the metaverse, taking into account the interests of all participants.

Such kinds of structures could be useful for managing the distribution and allocation of resources within the metaverse, such as virtual land or assets, for a more sustainable and balanced meta-economy.

Let’s go nuclear!

The metaverse is, in some ways, the cyberspace equivalent of nuclear power: The potential for massive benefit and destruction are matched. Fortunately, the Web — whether it’s its first, second, or third iteration — is by definition a democratic tool: If this footprint is maintained, no Orwellian scenarios will surely occur.

Let’s go through a summary of critical issues that will still need to be addressed:

  1. Children: How should we behave about children’s access to the metaverse? Will they take risks like in the real world or will they be protected directly at the code level? Artificial intelligence could certainly play an important role in this area, perhaps filtering out inappropriate behavior in real time, which would still need to be enforced in the most serious cases.
  2. Health: Overconversion will lead to an increase in physical problems we already face, such as obesity and back pain, but also depression and addiction.
  3. Inequality: Greater economic wealth will lead to more exciting meta-experiences, while poorer people will have to settle for a lower quality one, but we are talking about an issue that needs to be litigated.
  4. Privacy: It’s already irritating to know we’re being profiled based on how and where we move our cursor in relation to certain content, but who would want a metaverse that tracks where we look?
DALL-E – “We are the core of ourselves” (courtesy of Tokenomics.Agency)

At present, it is not possible to give a concise and satisfactory definition of the metauniverse. Why;

Because the metaverse is a placeholder, a MacGuffin, a proxy. We are unable to describe it because we have only experienced fleeting glimpses of it.

What we have to keep in mind is that every nuclear power must always have a core as a milestone, and in this case, it’s us: A new humanity is coming, and I wonder if our avatars will also be able to enjoy rebirth, transcending the limits of our existence.

DALL-E – “Adam and Android” (courtesy of Tokenomics.Agency)

Eloisa Marchesoni is a Tokenomics engineer.


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