Metaverse is not just a 3D virtual world but a future state of technology. It is far bigger than you can imagine. Any metaverse of today or of the future should have all 6 key characteristics of the metaverse. Scalability of the metaverse is one of the most important characteristics of any metaverse.
In this blog post, I will explore all issues, challenges and solutions to the scalability of the Metaverse. This blog post will first start with basic understanding of the metaverse and scalability of the metaverse. It will then explain in detail the 5 aspects of the metaverse on which its scalability depends. Then , it will discuss some solution to solve the scalability of the metaverse.
- WHAT IS THE METAVERSE?
- WHAT IS SCALABILITY OF THE METAVERSE?
- SCALABILITY OF THE METAVERSE
- #1. SCALABILITY OF BLOCKCHAIN IN METAVERSE
- METAVERSE AND BLOCKCHAIN
- SCALABILITY TRILEMA
- SCALABILITY OF BLOCKCHAIN
- WAYS TO SOLVE SCALABILITY PROBLEM OF BLOCKCHAIN IN METAVERSE
- #2. BANDWIDTH
- #3. NUMBER OF PARTICIPANTS
- #4. QUALITY OF VIDEO
- #5. NETWORK TECHNOLOGY
WHAT IS THE METAVERSE?
Metaverse is a virtual environment blending physical and digital space that is facilitated by convergence between the internet, web technologies and Extended Reality (XR).
You can get a good concept of metaverse from the following blog articles topics.
KEY CHARACTERISTICS OF THE METAVERSE
In metaverse, you can live as digital natives and create digital contents with avatars. This opens new scope for new services and applications. Specifically, there are 6 key characteristics of the metaverse as shown below.
- Hyper Spatiotemporality
In this blog post, I will enumerate on the scalability of the metaverse.
WHAT IS SCALABILITY OF THE METAVERSE?
Scalability of the metaverse is the capacity of the metaverse to remain efficient in all scenarios. The scenarios like
- Increase in concurrent users or avatars.
- Level of scene complexity
- Mode of user or avatar interactions .
On other word, you can explain, scalability of the metaverse as the capacity of any metaverse platform to increase in size or scale up as users or demand increases without affecting the user experience.
SCALABILITY OF THE METAVERSE
Scalability is the most important requirement of any metaverse. It is estimated that the daily active user will increase profoundly by 2025. So, you need to scale any metaverse platform to accommodate the users.
In 5-10 years, there will come a time that all the users in social media will shift to the metaverse. As of now you already know more than 200+ major brands like Nike, Samsung, JP Morgan, etc have already shifted some of their activity to metaverse.
As the users grow day by day, scalability is going to be a major issue with any metaverse platform. To solve the scalability issue of any metaverse, you need to scale up the technology on which the metaverse is built.
To provide scalability of the metaverse, you need to work on the following technologies and infrastructure of the metaverse.
#1. SCALABILITY OF BLOCKCHAIN IN METAVERSE
To be persistent, the metaverse needs to be constructed on a decentralized architecture like blockchain. Besides, the virtual economy and value system provided by the blockchain are essential components of the metaverse.
All of the open metaverse or decentralized metaverse is built on blockchain technology. Blockchain enables users to own anything in the metaverse. It is the most secure and robust technology available today to establish proof of ownership for any digital assets in a metaverse. You need to scale up blockchain to attain scalability of the metaverse.
METAVERSE AND BLOCKCHAIN
In this section, I will list the blockchain used by some of the popular metaverse available today.
|Metaverse Project||Blockchain Technology|
To improve the scalability of blockchain in Decentraland, the user location information and scene status in real time interaction are stored in offchain.
Similarly, in the sandbox, the transition data of the digital assets are stored in Ethereum blockchain. The media data of the digital assets are stored in IPFS (InterPlanetary File System), while the uncasted digital assets are stored in Amazon s3 cloud servers.
As more users are added to a metaverse and spend more time, they will do a lot of transactions. As the transition increases, the scalability factor of blockchain comes into play. Any user will want a transition to happen within a few seconds and with minimal fees. But, one has to sacrifice one of the others.
Any block chain technology faces the scalability trilema issue. There are 3 aspects on which a blockchain is built upon. They are listed below.
While building a blockchain , you can only prioritize 2 aspects and the 3rd one will suffer.If you choose scalability and decentralization, security of the blockchain will suffer. If you choose decentralization and security, scalability of the blockchain will suffer.
For example bitcoin. Bitcoin will be built for decentralization and security. So, you cannot scale bitcoin. For this reason the throughput of bitcoin is less and transaction fees are high for bitcoin.
SCALABILITY OF BLOCKCHAIN
Scalability of blockchain is the limitation of blockchain to process transition. Scalability is measured through Throughput of the blockchain.
Throughput may be defined as the number of transitions performed by the blockchain in a given time interval.
The unit of throughput is Transaction per second (TPS) or Transaction per Minute (TPM) or Transition per Hour (TPH)
The Transaction per second (TPS) of major blockchain is given in the table below.
|Blockchain||Transaction per second |
So, choosing a blockchain that has high Transaction per second (TPS) is good for a metaverse platform.
Factors on which Transaction per second (TPS) of a blockchain depends.
The throughput of blockchain depends on 3 factors.
- Block Size
- Complexity of Transaction
Scalability of the metaverse is indirectly affected by block size of the blockchain on which metaverse is built. For example the block size of Bitcoin is 1 MB. Each block is mined after every 10 minutes with a TPS of 7. So, you can see the bitcoin network is incapable of dealing with high frequency trading and hence scalability is hampered.
However, a larger block means larger storage and slower propagation in the blockchain network.
This will eventually lead to centralization as fewer users will want to keep large blocks. So, there is a tradeoff between block size, decentralization and security.
On the other hand, if the blocks are small, the transactions might be delayed because a small mining fee is associated with it. So, miners usually delay these less transition fee blocks over high transition fee blocks.
Ways to Increase Throughput
Many ways have been developed to increase the throughput of the blockchain. If the throughput is increased obviously the scalability of the blockchain will increase. Yaar are some of the methods to increase the throughput of the blockchain.
- Side chain
- State channel
- New consensus
- Increase in block size
WAYS TO SOLVE SCALABILITY PROBLEM OF BLOCKCHAIN IN METAVERSE
There are many efforts to address the scalability problems of blockchain. They can be mainly categorized into two types.
- Storage optimization of blockchain in metaverse
- Redesigning blockchain for metaverse
- Cross-Chain Solution
STORAGE OPTIMIZATION OF BLOCKCHAIN IN METAVERSE
As new blocks get added in a blockchain, it leads the blockchain to become bulky, These make it difficult for scalability of the metaverse using blockchain. So, there are 2 methods to solve this
- Bruce Novel Cryptocurrency Scheme
The details of the methods will be discussed in upcoming posts.
REDESIGNING BLOCKCHAIN FOR METAVERSE
Instead of using existing blockchain, new blockchain can be developed for metaverse purposes only. For example , a new bitcoin network called Bitcoin-NG (Next Generation) was proposed.
Many metaverse projects are coming up on blockchain with high TPS rather than using Ethereum network. MetaChain is a new blockchain exclusively designed for the metaverse.
Cross-chain is a technology that enables interconnection between different blockchain networks in the metaverse. It allows exchange of information and value to improve the scalability of the metaverse.
Bandwidth is the amount of data transmitted over time in a network. Bandwidth is an important requirement for the scalability of the metaverse.
The metaverse will require massive amounts of bandwidth to transmit very high resolution content in real time. For immersive user experience, you need to consider motion-to-photon latency. Motion-to-photon latency is the delay between an action by the user and its impact on the screen.
WHY IS LARGE BANDWIDTH IS REQUIRED FOR THE METAVERSE?
For any metaverse the bandwidth requirement is huge.If any metaverse there will be a lot of upload and download in the form of video streaming, transaction, minting NFT, etc. So traditional bandwidth will not be enough.
Main three reasons for bandwidth requirement of the metaverse are
- Transfer of high resolution video that makes the metaverse immersive.
- Transfer of data and metadata generated by pervasive sensor deployment.
- Real time transfer of data with motion-to-photon latency.
BANDWIDTH REQUIREMENT FOR METAVERSE
Metaverse will contain everything from live streaming to video conferencing to live games. So, by looking at the above table you have already guessed how much bandwidth would be required.
In the present metaverse the content will be delivered through VR or AR. So, as per a research done some telecommunication companies the bandwidth required are listed below
|Metaverse Content Resolution||Minimum Bandwidth Required|
|1K 2D at 30 fps||25 Mbps|
|2K 2D at 30 fps||100 Mbps|
|4K 2D at 60 fps||400 Mbps|
|8K 3D at 120fps||1 Gbps for smooth play2.35 Gbps for interactive content|
So, from the above table it is concluded that you need at least 2.35 Gbps of bandwidth for a fully immersive metaverse or the real metaverse.
So, to meet this bandwidth requirement 5G and 6G technology will be essential for the metaverse. That is we need to consider bandwidth for scalability of the metaverse.
#3. NUMBER OF PARTICIPANTS
The number of participants or users at a given time in any metaverse will demand more resources from the metaverse platform. The downloading and uploading demand increases as more participants join the metaverse.
At some point in the future, there are going to be millions of users using the metaverse at a time. To keep the user experience the same, you need large-scale and upgraded technology to run the metaverse.
NUMBER OF PARTICIPANTS VS UPLOAD & DOWNLOAD SPEED
The download and upload speed is effected on adding users/participants. In ideal condition the transfer rate would remain 100 Mbps for single users. As the users gets added the bandwidth would be split equally among the users.
For example a network has a bandwidth of 100 Mbps.If there are 10 users, each users would get 10 Mbps. The graph below will clear your concept.
#4. QUALITY OF VIDEO
VR/AR equipped metaverse requires dynamic and real-time rendering of HD video frames. As the resolution increases, edge computing is the most critical technology. Edge commuting will reduce latency of 16K, 23K or even higher resolution of the metaverse streaming.
Metaverse of today like The Sandbox, Decentraland, etc are 2D pixelated forms. The demand for scalability hardly arises today. But as the resolution improved from HD to fully immersive resolution, 2D to 3D to 4D to fully immersive metaverse, many scalability of the metaverse challenges will be faced by these platforms.
For better quality of video you need huge bandwidth and better technology to scale up the quality of videos. You also need servers to handle this.
#5. NETWORK TECHNOLOGY
Metaverse will rely on pervasive network access for executing computation heavy tasks remotely, accessing large databases, communicating between automated systems or offering shared experiences between users.
Metaverse will produce a large amount of data. Data will be generated by users, sensors, etc. Network technology needs to support these amounts of data, transmission of high-resolution video streams.
5G FOR SCALABILITY OF THE METAVERSE
The 5G technology of today can reach a maximum of 10-20 Gpps as in theory. But to reach the real metaverse point, you need technology beyond what 5G can offer. The table will show a comparison of 5G with existing telecom networks.
|3.5 G||42.2 Mbps|
|4G/LTE Cat 4||150 Mbps|
|4G/LTE Advanced||1,000 Mbps|
SOLUTION IN NETWORK TECHNOLOGY FOR SCALABILITY OF THE METAVERSE
For scalability of the metaverse, the following measures can be adopted in network technology.
- Peer to peer (P2P) communication can be a solution to huge requirements of network, bandwidth, etc.
- Human and use centric networking that falls under Quality of Experience (QoE)
- Network Aware Applications for resource provisioning, distributed learning optimization and content distribution.
On a final note, metaverse has been dubbed as the next internet and the next technology. Many big tech gains like Apple, Google, Meta, etc have already stepped their foot in the metaverse. So, it will be a crowded space within 5-6 years. So, scalability of the metaverse is the top most priority as of now.
I have discussed in detail all the points on which scalability of the metaverse depends like blockchain, bandwidth, network, video and number of participants. There are many challenges and some solutions are coming now and then to solve the scalability of the metaverse. We need be working hard to make metaverse the next big thing.