Building A Virtual Reality Social Network For Digital Nomads

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Being a digital nomad, remote employee or perpetual traveller creates as many problems as it solves. Swapping the stability of the office and home environment for a life of travel and adventure on the road also swaps the stability of a supportive, social circle of friends and growth for a multitude of single serving friends, shallow Tinder encounters and continual acquaintance re-engagement. I’ve forgotten your name already but will remember it next time when I feel guilty about it, promise. Another day, another apartment, everything changes, when you live out of a bag, minimalism is key. No posters, no art, no decorations, no books, Kindle is king. Everything becomes digital. Why even have a backup hdd when you have the almighty cloud. #nobaggage.

Can I Backup My Friends In To The Cloud

I stay connected to people meaningful to me, all around the world, through the Internet, many of which I have not seen for 4 or more years now. My monkey sphere is a fixed size, my friendship and acquaintance network is not and is maintained through a series of ‘likes’ on Facebook and Instagram. I can’t talk to all the people I want to talk to and can’t say all the things I want to say but I do my best, giving just a thumbs up and a ‘congratulations 🎉’ to the people who have made massive impacts on my life on their most important life events, with complete sincerity and regretful absence.

What Has The Internet Ever Done For Us?

The Internet has revolutionised the way we communicate and interact with each other. Social networks, Facebook, Instagram; video calls, Skype, Facetime; collaborative suites, Slack, Hipchat. We can communicate, present and share ideas with someone on the other side of the world almost as easily as if they were in the same room. We can even play games, real time and turn based, with friends remotely, PS4 and XBox even insist on it now with more games featuring network play than multiplayer modes.

Digital Rights Management almost lets us own things, almost. Although Kindle owners know the hard truth that Amazon can just pull books away from you that you have paid for if Amazon have a dispute with the publishing house as a lesson to the publisher, and Apple owners know the hard truth that for some reason they now have an aurally offensive U2 album in their collection thats not entirely easy to get rid of. DRM isn’t so much ownership as it is a license to use.

Since DRM, Blockchain technology has come along and created real ownership. With Bitcoin you can own digital money but with Ethereum you can now really own digital assets. Digital books, digital music, digital art, pure ownership can be tracked on the Ethereum network, changing the way we think about ownership and assets.

We Are simulations living in a virtual realm, says Elon Musk

Virtual Home Sweet Home

Combining everything we’ve talked about so far, the social and material challenges that digital nomads face, the impact on social interactions and communication thanks to the internet and the concept of real, asset ownership on a blockchain, a potential solution or at least combination of ideas is taking off with a project called Decentraland.

Decentraland is a Virtual Reality world, similar in scope to Second Life, but with all ownership of virtual assets existing on a blockchain, so they cannot be taken away from you and with all of the technology running the platform decentralised and open source, so the platform can not be turned off and with 0 barrier to entry, so it will go viral.

Please let that sink in.

You actually own all your things in the world, your land, your house, your avatar’s clothes, etc, everything that is yours you own.

You cannot turn Decentraland off. Anything created, your house, your land, will persist forever on the IPFS network and the entire platform is built on open standards and with an open source license. Decentraland is censorship resistant.

Decentraland will be exponentially viral. The client uses WebVR/WebGL as a minimum, an open standard supported by all web browsers and each area is directly addressable via an HTTPS URL. This means I can share my location with you on Facebook with a link, the same way you might share a blog article, and you can click it and come hang out with me. There is 0 barrier to adoption. Users will be able to build VR businesses (Second Life had an economy of over $3billion) and use Facebook or other online marketing techniques to drive traffic to their virtual business presence.

Virtual Ownership

Anyone who has enjoyed playing the Sims will love Decentraland, you can create your avatar, dress it, make it an expression of yourself or whoever you want it to be, you will own it’s outfits, jewellery, everything.

For crypto collectors, your house can also be an extension of your personality. You will be able to acquire furniture, art and decorate it to your hearts content. Creating a crypto demonstration of wealth or a relaxing, tranquil Ubud-esque yoga haven depending on what you want it to be.

Virtual Interaction

My main interest is in the virtual interactivity. I hope Decentraland becomes a place where I can regularly meet and socialise with people in VR as I travel, people I already know and new people as well. The current user base is a crossover demographic between crypto enthusiasts and VR enthusiasts so it’s a bit of a bubble, but with the VR adoption rates becoming main stream and the 100% accessible direction Decentraland is heading in, I’m excited for the number of people who can get involved and the kind of people I might meet in there.

Getting Involved

I’ve already bought some large areas of land with which I’m going to experiment with some VR business ideas and create a VR mastermind retreat, a virtual Necker Island if you will and I’ve had the great fortune to already meet experienced entrepreneurs and VR enthusiasts like Carl Fravel, so early involvement is already paying off.

Decentraland has just reopened its’ LAND marketplace so anyone with an interest can now buy their own parcel of LAND in the world and join in.

You do need, at the moment, a bit of tech-fu to develop your land but developer tools are now available here, so you can create 3D models in Blender or 3DSmax and upload them to your LAND!