The term "metaverse" is suddenly everywhere, from debates over Fortnite to the pages of The New York Times to the speeches of Mark Zuckerberg, who proclaimed in June 2021 that "the overarching goal" of Facebook is to "bring the metaverse to life."
But what, exactly, is the metaverse? As pioneering theorist and venture capitalist Matthew Ball explains, it is the successor to the mobile internet that has defined the last two decades. The metaverse is a persistent, 3D, virtual world-a network of interconnected experiences and devices, tools and infrastructure, far beyond mere virtual reality. And it is poised to revolutionise every industry and function, from finance and healthcare to payments, consumer products and even sex work. The internet will no longer be at arm's length; instead, it will surround us, with our lives, labour and leisure taking place inside the metaverse. With sweeping authority, The Metaverse predicts trillions in new value-and the radical reshaping of society.