With awareness of the metaverse continuing to grow, it is more important than ever to emphasize the benefits of the Web3 metaverse in contrast to other digital spaces – which is broadly defined as any metaverse that utilizes blockchain technology by connecting to a decentralized wallet and, thereby, DeFi. One of the most cutting-edge metaverse companies on the scene right now is Somnium Space, which promotes itself as an open, social, virtual reality world with its own economy and even its own currency.
On October 26, Somnium Space announced that they are launching Solana NFTs on their platform. Their CEO, Artur Sychov, recently joined us for an interview on Clubhouse to share some insights about their multichain future.
The common theme of the conversation was that Somnium Space is a VR platform first and foremost, and it is beyond bullish on the future of the Web3 metaverse. Artur discussed the way he takes all of his Zoom calls as his avatar while in Somnium Space. They host dance parties and creative contests that are continuing to grow in popularity, and each parcel owner has full creative license to import custom-built digital assets through their Unity software development kit (SDK) known as the ‘parcel builder.’
Their metaverse has always linked up with your Ethereum MetaMask wallet to purchase land or in-game assets, but starting this month when auctions open on November 14th, you will also be able to purchase land with Solana and the platform will support integration with your Phantom wallet. These land auctions occur twice a year with this one running from November 14th to December 18th. It will be interesting to see how much the first Solana parcels end up selling for. During the auction, there are 3 sizes of parcels with varying height limits – small (10m), medium (15m), and large (25m).
With the Solana market still in its early phases, we have not seen many active metaverse spaces utilizing the blockchain’s NFTs. We do see some promising future projects like NeoNexus and Star Atlas that have launched NFTs, but no immersive open worlds with parcels ready for purchase with SOL. Theoretically, the building NFTs offered by NeoNexus may actually be compatible with the Somnium Space SDK through the Phantom wallet.
“Have your NFT avatar from Ethereum, be driving the NFT car [bought with] Solana while wearing a hat from NEAR Protocol… that’s the future we are delivering,” says Artur. “In the beginning of Q1  we’ll be implementing NEAR Protocol.”
According to Artur, “the future of the metaverse is multichain.” This was his response when asked why he decided to embrace Solana and add support for their NFTs within Somnium Space. While Solana has been said to work better with the Unreal Engine and offer some enhanced graphics abilities, Artur says this was not a factor in their decision to embrace Solana.
♦️@SomniumSpace is building the Future of an Open & Immersive Metaverse; announces new investments, updates, and products.
— 🟣 𝐏𝐨𝐥𝐲𝐠𝐨𝐧 𝐒𝐩𝐚𝐜𝐞 🟣 (@Polygon_Space1) November 7, 2021
It was Solana’s speed and cost of transactions that made the blockchain most attractive for Somnium Space. And with a thriving NFT marketplace that seems to be on track to emulate Ethereum, it makes sense to offer their developers a new world full of potential utility.
Somnium Space has their own thriving marketplace, where immersive VR avatars are a popular purchase and the floor for a parcel of land is 1.95 ETH while I am writing this. Artur proudly boasts, “we just celebrated a milestone where this year, avatar creators selling native VR avatars in Somnium have made more than $300,000 in revenue.”
In their multichain future, Artur foresees a market where users will have the ability to transform their Ethereum NFTs into Solana NFTs or vice-versa through a burning and re-minting process. While the utility for this is probably lost on most people, from the developer side this will open new doors of opportunity to adapt and change course.
Artur also speaks proudly about his podcast and YouTube show called Deeptown Divers VR where he hosts creatives and influential people from the blockchain community within Somnium Space while fully rigged in his Teslasuit with full-body tracking. One of the episodes includes an October, 2020 interview with FEWOCiOUS.
As someone who was pulled into NFTs through the potential of the Web3 metaverse, this illuminating discussion with Artur seemed to check off all of the ‘Ready Player One’ requirements that gamers like me are looking for in the metaverse. Their graphics are evolving and already offer high-tier VR immersion – with the Teslasuit full-body tracking company as a partner. Their Web3-backed ownership and revenue model for community members is fully transparent and decentralized. And their commitment to a multichain future shows they are taking an abundance approach to growing their metaverse, unlike the scarcity mindset of the centralized legacy digital spaces.
“We are concentrated on creating, on one hand, the most immersive experience and environment, while on the other hand, the most wide variety of tools for creators to create with and monetize with.” – Artur Sychov, Somnium Space CEO