Ever since Zuckerburg took the plunge into the metaverse, the world has been polarized about the term, and it’s possibilities - from designing to development to applications to commerce. There's a place for imagination than perhaps real users in the metaverse as of today.
Although there are numerous interpretations of the metaverse, the fundamental definition is this - a virtual world where users can interact with one another. A common misconception is that the metaverse is equivalent to virtual reality. This is false. Virtual reality is a subset of the metaverse - just one variation of the aforementioned virtual world where users can interact with one another.
Everything you see in the real world is beginning to be emulated in the metaverse.
Plenty of games being developed and catered to the metaverse
Fashion brands designing virtual clothes for people to wear
Musicians peforming concerts where people can tune in through their VR headsets
Educational institutes beginning to teach students in virtual classrooms
Collaborative work to make WFH a lot more interactive & human
and much much more.
To build a virtual world of this caliber, there’s no doubt that a monumental technological foundation is necessary to sustain the intensity of all these various activities. The code behind web3, arguably, is what makes web3 so strong, secure & reliable.
So let’s have a look at some of the popular & widely used programming languages that are building the pillars of web3.
Solidity was the first-ever smart contract programming language and the most widely used web3 programming language, with around 4,000 developers using it every month to develop smart contracts on the Ethereum blockchain.
Developers can build dApps on the Ethereum blockchain and on any blockchain compatible with the Ethereum Virtual Machine.
Clarity is the counterpart of Solidity but for building dApps in the Bitcoind ecosystem. Since it was created many years after the inception of Solidity, it has implemented many lessons learned in the infancy of Solidity.
Clarity is known for its simplicity and security. It prioritizes security and predictability.
Rust, Vyper, Go and Huff are other programming languages for web3, each with their own set of advantageous & disadvantageous features.
Rust has been recently gaining heat due to it being a multi-paradigm, low-level programming language. It is mainly utilized for Solana blockchain programming.
There are so many programming languages out there, many of which are web3-centric. So the question arises - is there a need for another programming language?
The answer - no.
But also yes.
The metaverse is shaping into an entity that will support millions of users and billions in transactions. There will soon be an entire social & economic construct within the metaverse and for this, a programming language catered to these requirements is necessary.
Solidity, Clarity, Rust, and all the other programming languages have a strong focus on the development of smart contracts, but a much smaller focus on social interactions and the open economy.
This is where the need for a new programming language arises.
Verse is a new programming language developed by Epic Games, the creators of the popular video game Fortnite and Unreal Engine. It is specifically designed for the development of metaverse applications. Verse aims to be much more scalable, transactional & interoperable than all its counterparts.
Tim Sweeney, CEO of Epic Games, sees the metaverse as an open economy with rules but no corporate overlord. The Verse, to him, is a platform open to all programmers, artists, and designers to support the creation of social interactions in a shared real-time 3D environment.
It was created with a simple vision -
Growing the immersive 3D reality of the games world into the immersive 3D social reality of the metaverse.
And just like the vision of the metaverse, the Verse is also open for everyone. Epic Games is intending to publish papers & specifications for anyone to implement and they will offer compiler, verifier, and runtime under permissive open-source licenses with no IP encumbrances.
Fundamentally, it is a functional-declarative programming language, which means a variable names a single value, and not a cell whose value changes over time.
It is an open-source language that utilizes functional logic, such as Curry or Mercury.
You can read more about the technicalities of Verse in the image below, which is a screenshot taken from the Verse presentation video by Epic Games
There is no inherent need for a new programming language. At some level, the various programming languages out there are sufficient to climb the metaverse mountain. But with Verse, the metaverse can simply do better than what it has already been doing.
3 key areas where Verse intends to make overtaking progress are its scalability, interoperability, and ability to rapidly transact.
The goal is to have a language that is scalable to an extent that it is written by millions of programmers, who do not know each other, for billions of users and can be upgraded over time without affecting the existing underlying code. And it must be transactional from the start, which important as the metaverse will definitely involve a large number of financial transactions.
In addition to its focus on real-time social interactions, Verse also supports an open economy that is governed by rules and without a corporate overhead. This allows for a more transparent and fair economic system within the metaverse and encourages innovation and creativity. Verse is open source and available to artists, designers, and programmers, which allows for a wide range of creative possibilities.
Finally, Verse leverages the operating standards of multiple game engines, including Unity, which allows for a more flexible and diverse development environment within the metaverse.
Verse as a web3 programming language is distinctive because it is particularly geared toward real-time social interactions and an open economy. This sets it apart from other languages like Solidity and Clarity, which are more commonly used for creating smart contracts on the blockchain.
Rust is another popular web3 language that is well-regarded for its ability to handle the development of highly scalable projects, but it does not have the same emphasis on social interactions and open economy as Verse.
Verse's specialized features make it an exciting choice for developing the metaverse and differentiate it from other web3 languages.
Verse could be influential in the realm of the metaverse because of its open-source nature and distinctive characteristics.
Verse's open-source nature presents a wealth of creative opportunities, as it allows anyone to use and modify the language. This allows for a diverse range of applications to be developed within the metaverse, such as immersive 3D environments and interactive experiences that were previously not possible.
Additionally, the open-source nature of Verse enables greater levels of collaboration and community involvement in the development of the metaverse. These aspects of Verse have the potential to significantly expand the creative and social possibilities within the metaverse.
For example, artists, designers, and programmers can use Verse to create immersive 3D environments and interactive experiences that were previously not possible.
Verse has the potential to revolutionize online communication and interaction in the metaverse, which could become a major force in computing and the internet. This is due to Verse's emphasis on real-time social interactions, which enables users to engage with each other in a shared 3D environment in a more immersive and interactive way than is possible on traditional web2 platforms.
This ability to create social interactions in real-time is a standout feature of Verse and distinguishes it from other web3 programming languages. The potential for Verse to enhance online communication and interaction in the metaverse could lead to significant advancements in this realm.
As of now, there is no conclusive date as to when the Verse will be launched, but speculatively, the launch will most likely occur in 2023 in a limited capacity.
But as a programming language built on web3 technology, Verse stands as a promising tool for the advancement of the metaverse. Verse’s focus on social interactions and efficient transactions could revolutionize online communication and interaction.
The key areas - scalability, transactions & interoperability - will be crucial to enhance the creation of larger, more complex virtual environments that can support a large number of users.
How much impact will the Verse have? It’s too soon to say.
But as the metaverse gradually becomes a reckoning force in computing and the internet, Verse and other web3 technologies will play a vital role in its development and evolution.
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