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The Roundtable: Metaverse Primer, Part I

Two experts explain how the Metaverse functions and why it matters.

What, exactly, is the metaverse? In this three-part primer on how it works and how it will change the world, Roundtable’s Rob Nelson sat down with Dan Mapes, founder of and The Spatial Web Foundation, and Dr. Sarah Grace Manski, Assistant Professor of Business and Global Affairs at George Mason University. In this segment, Dan Mapes explains how the Spatial Web works to connect 3-D websites the way the conventional internet connects two-dimensional sites.

Mapes begins with a reminder of just how much the Internet has grown since dial-up connections went mainstream in the late 1990s. 

“A mere twenty-five years ago, at the birth of the worldwide web, there was no Amazon, there was no Google. There was no Facebook. There was no Alibaba. There was no Yahoo," he says. 

The current moment on the cusp of Web3 and the metaverse, he continues, reminds him of precisely that point in the Internet's development. 

"Now, we are at a similar inflection point, and it could easily be many times larger as we take the world into the three-dimensional web. For 25 years, we've been building two-dimensional websites, we've been playing 3-D computer games, but the 3-D computer games are not on the internet. You had to play them on a Sony PlayStation because the internet couldn't handle it. It takes a lot of bandwidth to move a 3d model around, across the internet and view it on a 3-D screen or, or a 2-D screen in 3-D.”

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“The metaverse is simply a 3-D website," he says. "Now the problem we have is [that] we don't talk to each other. You're in Gucci, but you can't get over to Disney. Whereas on the web, you can go from one metaverse to another. There we call 'em websites. You can move easily from Amazon to Facebook, to Google and whatever, but we can't do that in the metaverse yet. And that's what the spatial web enables. We created the protocols that allow all the metaverses now to have a common framework so that you can move between metaverses the way you move between websites.”

Watch the full discussion here:


Dan Mapes, founder of and The Spatial Web Foundation

Dr. Sarah Grace Manski, Assistant Professor of Business/Global Affairs at George Mason University