- Alexis Ohanian said he’s optimistic about the metaverse due to the rise of cryptography and Web 3, human interaction with virtual and augmented reality, and the need for online connections.
- He said Facebook’s move to rebrand itself Meta was “a masterful blow at diversion and distraction”.
- He noted that there is potential for a funding boom in Metaverse-related startups.
Alexis Ohanian, who co-founded Reddit in 2005, said the rise of cryptocurrency and the third generation of the web gives him reason to be bullish on the idea of a “metaverse.”
“We’re talking about sort of our ability to go online and occupy digital spaces, the same way we’re on the ground today,” he said on CNBC’s “Squawk Box” on Friday.
Ohanian noted that people already participate in the somewhat virtual world on their phones and computers, using text and images to interact. But he feels that sharing via virtual reality or augmented reality glasses – VR or AR – will lead to an entirely new phenomenon with a lot of investment potential.
“I’ve spent 15 years trying to convince the people driving Reddit that people will care as much or more about online connectivity than offline. But now I think everyone takes that for granted — we fall in love online, and make some of the best Friends online, we pool equity together online through anonymous communities.”
“This dynamic combined with the ubiquity of broadband, now the advent of Web 3 and cryptocurrencies really working, is giving people a sense of ownership in this new world. So that the assets you buy in the metaverse are just as real as the assets you buy are private and in the non-world connected to the Internet”.
When Facebook changed its company name to Meta on Thursday, it said it wanted to be “metaverse first.” The idea of the metaverse has been around for a while in science fiction and games, and is used to refer to a virtual space where people in the real world can live whole other lives using virtual and augmented reality avatars.
Mark Zuckerberg, CEO of Facebook, predicted that “the next platform and medium will be more inclusive, the embodiment of the Internet where you are in the experience, not just looking at it.”
Ohanian said Facebook’s decision to rebrand was “a masterful blow at diversion and distraction” and should not be underestimated.
“Right now there’s an amazing bottom-up movement to create the metaverse, using what’s happening in the crypto community — getting a lot of people to build what I think most of us hope will become a more vibrant kind of world, rather than the kind that Facebook imposes top down “.
One Reddit co-founder has suggested that there is potential for a funding boom in Metaverse-related startups.
“With the amount of money flowing into the project right now, startups that can compete in the virtual reality space, can get funding,” he said.
“But the bigger things here will be more foundational software,” he added, referring to Facebook’s feature of the VR headset previously known as Oculus.
“These are the things that will be built in the next five years,” Ohanian said. “It’s actually going to make spending time worthwhile, because the competition right now is watching Netflix, playing Fornite, and scrolling through your phone.”
“We’re not all going to wake up in metaverses tomorrow.”
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