A Brief History of Virtual Values

What They are, How they Came to be, and What Could Befall us Should we Dare Forget Them

Still image from theWIPMeetup tour of Pranksyland (within CryptoVoxels) in 2020. TheWIPMeetup, the longest-running metaverse meetup program (3+ years), still convenes every Thursday at 12pm PST.

Part 1: I Know What you Think About the Metaverse…

From The Daily Mail on December 5th, 2000. Written by James Chapman.
A view of the Museum of Crypto Art from within the virtual world Somnium Space

Part 2: Our Internet’s Loneliness Epidemic

Part 3: A Brief History of Virtual Values (in 6 Acts)

Imlac PDS-1 Minicomputer, from Living Computer Museum + Lab, taken from blog by Keith P.
Digital recreation of Maze War from 1982 Xerox Alto port; featuring the eponymous Maze, a player’s eyeball avatar, and the map’s top-down view
Habitat title screen circa 1987
Still from Lucafilm’s 1986 promotional video for Habitat.
My very own copy of Snow Crash (2017 Del Rey Trade Paperback Edition)
A pride parade in Second Life. Still taken from Second Life Community Pages
Image of user-created “Tralala’s Diner” in Second Life; from Second Life Community Pages
Myspace can bring shy kids out of their shell by Jasmine Aline Pensch, 2008. Original caption: “Jessica Kellen, 14, initially found it easier to be herself with a virtual friend on MySpace.”
Evolving social media market share of Facebook and Myspace between April 2009-February 2010. At one point, Myspace was the most visited website in the United States. This graph captures its death spiral.
The city of “Dalaran” within World of Warcraft. A central hub for activity, boasting a town square, auction house, shops, and guild meeting-places

Part 4: Where Do You Think We Are Today?

Despite the advent of Roblox and other virtual worlds, the Metaverse is not “here,” not at all, and not in the way we spoke about at the beginning of this essay.

View of the Hyperfy.io-based M○C△ Verse, including a 64-slot ROOM (Artblocks Exhibition)

It also will not reach all people at the same time. It’s important that we sidestep our Western bias and recognize that, while the Metaverse still seems eons away from adoption in the West, commercial Metaverse interest in Asia has outpaced that elsewhere.

Part 5: What Lessons Should We Take Forward??

Social interaction of MOCA Staff in a custom-built space within Hyperfy.io, a virtual world platform.

The underlying network of the World Wide Web is amazing, but it does not yet offer the kind of superfluid transportative experience that an open Metaverse would.

Enter: the Open Metaverse Standard.

“Creation of the blockchain” by Albert in MOCA Genesis Collection

A choice-first ecosystem needs to become an untouchable norm of Metaverse life: Not up for debate nor discussion. A sufficiently decentralized blockchain (like Ethereum) that backs Metaverse assets could be the potential key to maintaining individual autonomy. Because blockchain assets are untouchable except by their owner, no larger economic power can restrict access to those assets.

Therefore, we must demonstrate, in as many ways as possible, all the negative repercussions users would experience if a single entity, like Meta, controlled our Metaverse assets and identities. Reveal the detriments of a single-owner Metaverse in a way that centralizes all the freedoms it restricts. That’s how to provoke outrage. That’s how we protect the Metaverse norms and ethics we hold dear.

Part 6: Finding Humanity Inside The Grand Machine

The Open Metaverse could facilitate a massive awakening of humanity’s collective consciousness; we could together experience the sublime, and rediscover connective parts of our psyche in ways we cannot expect from the internet today.

The MOCA team, together, in MOCA’s Nyan Cat Hyperfy World, featuring a 32-slot MOCA ROOM.



Museum of Crypto Art (M○C△) is the premier destination for crypto art and innovative collaborations that ignite our collective imaginations

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Museum of Crypto Art (M○C△) is the premier destination for crypto art and innovative collaborations that ignite our collective imaginations