The metaverse is hot. 

Morgan Stanley even called the metaverse “the digital realm of the future, like the next evolution of the internet,” and predicted that global spending on VR/AR technology could reach $72.8 billion by 2024.

Aided by growing adoption of cryptocurrencies and NFTs, the metaverse is changing the way we experience many digital experiences, from e-commerce and gaming to workplace communication and personal interactions.

ICON, too, is steadily building out its metaverse ecosystem. Indeed, with its speed, security, low gas fees and ease of use, ICON provides the perfect environment for aspiring metaverse developers to build flourishing digital worlds of their own.

User-friendly, welcoming and cheap

Eclectica is a cross-chain metaverse built on ICON where users can talk with one another, play games, live stream their experiences, buy and display NFTs and more.

For them, ICON really stands out over competitors in the metaverse space.

Its smart contract development is developer-friendly,” explains the team, pointing in particular to ICON’s Java-based smart contracts. “Most developers are familiar with Java, rather than something like Rust (the smart contract language used by NEAR, Solana and several other protocols).”

Eclectica also points to ICON’s burgeoning NFT community as another reason why metaverse builders should take a serious look at the network.

For example, the Craft Network, ICON’s largest NFT marketplace, has over 55,000 NFTs in over 1,700 unique collections, and is one of the world’s busiest NFT marketplaces in terms of 24-hour transactions.

ICON has a strong NFT community which is very welcoming to projects that want to develop on ICON,” says Eclectica. “This gives projects the initial traction they need to grow and better market their products.”

Then there are the extremely competitive gas fees.

Innovative community-driven and NFT-powered streetwear brand Alter, which is working with Eclectica to create a metaverse shop and hangout, notes that general transactions on ICON are just pennies.

ICON has cheap transactions, so building contracts is far cheaper and general transactions are much cheaper, meaning the end result of the metaverse will not be costly to use,” says Alter. “For example, if I wanted an Alter metaverse shop on ETH it would cost $30 or more for a single sale/transaction. It’s just not practical.”

Alter adds:

For a $50 sale, I wouldn’t imagine fees being much more than $3, and that’s taking into account a 5% fee to its Eclectica (If they take a fee). The same transaction on ETH could cost over $50 depending on how busy/congested their network is. I dread to think how much I have spent on ETH fees.”

Eclectica also praises ICON’s low, low transaction fees, which result in a much better user experience.

The low gas fees and faster transaction speed provides a better UI/UX experience for users,” says the team. “Just for comparison, a ERC20 token transfer call costs $2-3 on Ethereum. it used to cost over $20 before (the bear market). It only costs $0.0029 on ICON.”

Eclectica recalls, “ETH fees during the peak were insane. I once paid $200 to mint an NFT which was worth $50.”

That will never be a problem on ICON.

BTP: a metaverse game changer

ICON’s upcoming Blockchain Transmission Protocol (BTP) promises to shake up the metaverse space, too, by enabling completely trustless cross-chain transactions.

Not only can you build your own world, but you can also connect it to countless other worlds throughout the blockchain space.

BTP will be a game changer as it will empower developers to deploy their dapp cross-chain without reinventing the wheel or using centralized ad hoc solutions,” says Eclectica. “A metaverse deployed on the single chain would only be able to serve the need for a particular user base, but a cross-chain metaverse would serve a larger audience.”

While BTP is in the later stages of development, its lite version — ICON Bridge — was successfully used by the collaborative DeFi game Wonder Game to cross-chain NFTs, demonstrating BTP’s potential.

Other recent developments on ICON lend further support to metaverse builders, including the recent integration of the Unity game engine, a popular choice particularly among indie game builders.

Eclectica says, “I believe it’s the perfect time for developers to build on ICON as many projects will look for alternative smart contract platforms in order to save fees for their customers and backers.”