Following the hype fueled by Meta’s (formerly Facebook) pivot last year, the metaverse has been entering more organizations and steadily moving on an upward trajectory. With COVID-19 accelerating digital transformation, enterprises are now keener to adopt new technologies, even a nascent one like the metaverse. Having evolved from Neal Stephenson’s initial idea (from his 1992 novel Snow Crash), Web3 and the metaverse today offer several immersive opportunities that brands are keying into.

According to Gartner, “enterprises will experiment with the metaverse, connecting, engaging and incentivizing human and machine customers to create new value exchanges, revenue streams and markets.” The metaverse’s market value over the next seven years is likely to be massive, with McKinsey estimating it will reach $5 trillion by 2030.

But what are the underlying technologies that will power this new promise of a multi-trillion dollar immersive virtual world? Experts say it will be powered by a convergence of 5G, AR, VR, AI and blockchain — and many companies are on the quest to build into that tech stack.

One such company is MachineFi Lab — the core developer of IoTeX, a decentralized blockchain platform that enables interactions between humans and machines. Today, MachineFi Lab announced it released W3bstream, “a blockchain-agnostic infra with the power to disrupt the machine economy where innovation until now has remained stagnant,” according to the company’s press release.

Having previously built IoTeX, “MachineFi Lab is uniquely positioned to help connect the metaverse with real-life devices,” says Dr Raullen Chai, founder and CEO at MachineFi Lab. Chai said that “W3bstream connects the real world to Web3, serving as an open, decentralized off-chain computing infra that sits between the blockchain and smart devices.”

He added that W3bstream allows builders to connect Web3 token incentives with real-world activity confirmed by user-owned smart devices, expanding the Web3 design space into the real world.

Built on blockchain

MachineFi Lab is harnessing the power of blockchain with an end-to-end solution to distribute, orchestrate and monetize large numbers of IoT devices as part of a unified machine network. The MachineFi platform is built to enable developers to connect billions of machines with Web3 infrastructure. By joining the machine economy, people can monetize their devices and associated digital assets globally.

“Today, numerous machines have already started collaborating, producing and distributing, and they consume information and resources collectively, forming a heterogeneous network of machines,” said Chai.

W3bstream provides cutting-edge tools and middleware that reduce development timelines and costs by at least 50% for builders, Web2 businesses and smart device makers, explained Chai. He claims W3bstream unlocks the $12.6 trillion reward economy for millions of people globally as they carry out everyday activities — such as exercising, driving safely, sleeping well, being eco-friendly, visiting sites and attending events.

“This real-world data protocol enables data ownership, reward systems for everyday activities and data sharing, and allows developers to build MachineFi applications very quickly and inexpensively,” Chai said. He added that W3bstream offers “x-and-earn use cases, including sleep and earn, drive and earn, and exercise and earn.”

Chai cited HealthBlocks, as a prime example, as a Web3 health app that has changed how users interact with and benefit from intelligent wearable devices and machines by motivating them to lead healthy lifestyles. 

More use cases of W3bstream include “proof of anything, fast and easy migration to the blockchain, product tokenization and verifiable transparency processes.”

Technology twins: IoT and the metaverse

Smart devices and machines connected to the internet will significantly impact our lives in the future. Experts estimate that by 2030 people, businesses and organizations worldwide will own about 125 billion devices, generating a $12.6 trillion machine economy. Machines could replace over 30% of the human workforce in eight years — and data, powered by AI, could generate $13 trillion in global economic value by the start of the next decade.

Already touted as technology twins, IoT and the metaverse have specific responsibilities. For instance, IoT will enable the metaverse to analyze and interact with the physical world. For its part, the metaverse will act as a 3D user interface for IoT devices.   

With competition including Hyperledger, Azure Blockchain Workbench and the IBM Blockchain platform, Chai claims W3bstream is differentiated by its framework that “binds users with their smart devices, and will rely on a decentralized protocol to reach a consensus regarding what has happened in the physical world and [to] produce proofs that trigger token reward distribution to users in Web3, according to rules defined in smart contracts.”

He also clarified that W3bstream is under continuous improvement.

“The W3bstream rollout is planned in four stages, starting with the release of V1.0, when all development tools become available, including software development kits (SDKs) and open-source repositories for developers of all skill levels. It is also when developers and businesses can configure and deploy W3bstream nodes to build MachineFi dApps using the Web Assembly (WASM) language,” he explained.

Among the competition, Chai said MachineFi is the first to develop a product that connects the metaverse to physical gadgets using the IoT pathway.

The lab has gotten support from investors including Samsung NEXT, Jump Crypto, Draper Dragon, Xoogler Ventures, IOSG, Wemade and Escape Velocity, all of which participated in the latest MachineFi funding round.

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