The goal Microsoft and 33 other technology-heavy companies have entered into a subscription agreement with the aim of creating an open and interoperable metaverse. But the leading voices in cryptography are not convinced.

This Tuesday (June 21) 35 technology companies, including big names such as; Microsoft, Meta (formerly known as Facebook), Alibaba and Sony have announced their founding membership in an organization calling itself the Metaverse Standards Forum.

Meta Microsoft and other tech giants guarantee that the metaverse will open

Meta Microsoft and other tech giants guarantee that the metaverse will open
Meta Microsoft and other tech giants guarantee that the metaverse will open

The Forum's stated objective: to promote coordination and cooperation among the hundreds of companies currently vying to create (or, depending on who you ask, dominate) the metaverse still nascent: an immersive collection of digital spaces and worlds navigated through 3D avatars that many see as the future of the internet.

The forum's big tech conglomerates say they've come together to set standards for creating an "open and inclusive metaverse." While technology critics from around the world believe that the metaverse will be built on open, permissionless blockchain networks – they say there is reason to be skeptical.

“I think we should always remain skeptical,” said Danny Greene, general manager of the Meebits. DAO , to Decrypt. “At the end of the day, we are fighting for a future decentralized and these are corporations that are representing shareholders.”

The key to the Forum's stated goal of creating an open metaverse, incapable of being controlled by one company, is a specific word: interoperability.

The world imagines the metaverse as a constellation of many digital “neighborhoods”, each built by a different company. For these digital neighborhoods to be easily traversed, it would be necessary for digital assets of all kinds to move freely, in an interoperable way, from one neighborhood to the next. 

Achieving interoperability would be a technical feat (think making a digital dress, for example, instantly transform from a 2D world to 3D), but also an economic and political one. 

Critics of big tech fear that the large corporations that are entering the metaverse have a different vision for it: one in which a company like Meta keeps its digital marketplaces, and crucially, data and analytics, firmly under its control. a more isolated digital environment. From neighborhoods without borders.

After Meta dove headfirst into the metaverse and changed its name from Facebook last fall, metaverse builders like Sky Mavis co-founder and growth leader Jeff "Jiho" Zirlin labeled the event the first shot in a " battle for the future of the internet” . "