Last week, I interviewed the VERSES team. I thought this blockchain company was interesting and thought it would be neat to interview them as we haven't seen anything similar yet.
What is your "backstory"?
We founded a global deep tech lab that consults, designs & develops enterprise solutions, mobile apps & virtual and augmented reality applications. Over the past 20 years we been continually at the cutting edge of software development.
We have an extensive technological and entrepreneurial background and deep multi-industry experience across hardware, telecom, enterprise software and global ecommerce with development work for major many of the world’s largest technology, corporate and government organizations. Through all this, we have developed an international network of Virtual Reality, Artificial Intelligence, Fintech, Academic and Government partners. We were deeply involved in pioneering work in both the Web 1.0 and 2.0 eras but even with all that, we feel that blockchain is introducing the most exciting and useful set of technologies to date, that open up vast new application opportunities. VERSES uses blockchain technologies to enable the next generation of Virtual and Augmented Reality applications to be interoperable, interconnected and commerce enabled. VERSES protocols allow our collective information, imaginations and the physical world to interact together. We think this is the basis for Web 3.0 or the Spatial Web.
What are your "5 things I wish someone told me when I first started" and why? Please share a story or example for each.
1. “Ethereum is not the ideal blockchain for every solution.”
There are a lot of great things about Ethereum and for many blockchain start-ups it can be a good fit. After exploring Ethereum for a bit, we quickly came to find that the NEM blockchain and it’s open API is far more ideal for companies that want more diverse and scalable solutions. The NEM feature set and its related ecosystem that includes Comsa, Zaif and Mijin just works much better for businesses that have assets in the form of products or “assets” at their core.
2. “You’re not building a company, you’re building an economy.”
So you want to start a blockchain company? It’s easy to imagine that you need to build a product, drive sales and maximize profits like every other start-up. But with a blockchain entity, the goals are more similar to those of a micro-economy where all of the stakeholders are incentivized to participate in such a way that the value of the solution is not recognized in profits but is realized in the value of the network as represented by the token. This is a paradigm shift in thinking about product development, business goals, value to users and network ownership and it’s one that reframes the entire concept of a company as more of an economy. And that may require you to learn how crypto-economics work.
3. “Blockchain isn’t hard, Crypto-Economics is HARD!”
Building blockchain apps is easy if you’ve been in enterprise software for a long time but there are some REALLY smart people like Chris Burniske, William Mougayar and Daniel Jeffries and others doing some great work towards creating the crypto-economic models and theories to determine the future network value of blockchain companies and that is really hard to do. It takes a while to figure out how to apply these models to your business but once you do you can begin to forecast the future value of your network. It is really worth striving to get your arms around how the crypto-economic incentives will work in your blockchain economy.
4. “Get the Medium app and use it daily”
Medium’s microblogging app consistently has the most useful and interesting articles, discussions and topics regarding blockchain, crypto, token economics and other emerging tech topics like Artificial Intelligence and Virtual Reality.
It’s like a real-time PHD in deep tech with some of the best and brightest thinkers on these topics.
5. “Web 3.0 isn’t about Blockchain.”
Of course it IS. But it’s not ONLY about blockchain. Web 3.0 is built according to the same 3-Tier technology stack that has dominated the last 40 years of computer science. There is a Data Tier, Logic Tier and Interface Tier.
The new Data Tier will move from the Cloud to the Blockchain, the new Logic Tier will move from Mobile Apps to Smart Contracts and A.I. and the New Interface Tier will advance from Touchscreens and Mobile Devices to Voice, Eye Tracking, Gestural and Spatial interfaces like the Smart Glasses for AR, VR and MR that Apple, Intel, Microsoft, Magic Leap and others are working on that will begin to hit the market over the next few years. The integrated stack of all of these technologies together is what makes up the core of Web 3.0.
What do you think makes your company stand out?
VERSES is using Blockchain to build the core technologies that could enable something like the Matrix or maybe more accurately the Oasis from Ready Player One to exist. We are taking the best of Virtual (VR) and Augmented Reality (AR), Artificial Intelligence (A.I.) and Blockchain and Cryptoasset technologies to power the VERSES platform which we call the Spatial Web or Web 3.0.
The Spatial Web will be defined by it’s 3D, immersive, intelligently distributed and decentralized nature. We enable Virtual Things and Virtual Spaces to be registered on the blockchain and managed via Smart Contracts which define their usage rules. We also enable these “Smart Spaces” to be connected and for Virtual Things or “Smart Assets” to move between them. This works for both Virtual Reality (VR) and Augmented Reality (AR) spaces. We provide the underlying Spatial Protocol to enable this.
We have been working in 3D computer technologies for over 20 years so we know VR technologies like Game Engines really well. We also have deep experience in global payment solutions, mobile application development and telecommunications operations. These core technology experiences enable us to develop full stack solutions. VERSES is an excellent example as it uses all of these technologies and the experience we have with them.
What are your thoughts on Blockchain?
Blockchain and related DLT technologies are a natural evolution towards a more democratic and equitable global society where liberty, transparency and privacy are more central to our individual lives. We see the the Internet as a “Decentralization Engine” and over its last several iterations it has decentralized Communication from Big Telco, Content from Big Media and now Commerce from Big Banks. Like Andreas Antonopoulos has so brilliantly articulated - “The Internet is coming for banking..” and when the Internet comes for your business, the best thing to do is adopt it as soon as possible or it will disintermediate you not out of any other reason than the fact that evolution loves a better design.
What does your company do?
VERSES is creating the backbone for the next generation of the Web or Web 3.0 the 3D version of the Web which we call the Spatial Web. Our technology enables any virtual (VR) or physical space (AR) to become "Smart Space". Our Spatial Protocol allows any space at any location o contain cryptographically secure spatial addresses, based on virtual and/or geo-spatial coordinates, that can be programmed with secure rules or Smart Contracts to reliably determine the usage rules of virtual or physical locations. We call this “Proof-of-Location.” We also allow any virtual 3D object or “Smart Asset” to be authenticated giving it “Proof-of-Existence”. A Smart Assets also contains programmable rules that define how it can be interacted and transacted with and also enables it to be transported within and across any Smart Space. This is possible because our technology allows these Smart Spaces to be networked together to become an internet of webspaces that will make up the Spatial Web similar to the current web but in 3D - just like our physical world.