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Metaverse and smart contracts

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Technology has been pioneering innovations in the digital world, leading to the creation of new and exciting possibilities. The emergence of the Metaverse is the result of such technological evolution. People generally think of the Metaverse as a holistic world of interconnected virtual spaces, and it grants access to users through augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR). Although this perception is largely correct, the Metaverse is much more than an interconnected web of virtual worlds.

With the recent boom of blockchain use cases such as NFTs and cryptos, many new and revolutionary projects have been launched, including the decentralized Metaverse. Decentralization of Metaverse projects is provided through blockchain technology, which brings along other benefits like DAO (Decentralized Autonomous Organization) integration, improved governance, and interoperability elements.

Based on project-specific requirements, enterprises can choose a blockchain protocol from a wide range of options, but the demand for smart contract-enabled platforms is comparatively high. The smart contract and its allied technologies improve many aspects of the Metaverse, and it creates a new paradigm in which Metaverse applications can operate and run in a decentralized manner.

Let’s dive deeper into the Metaverse smart contract, its role, and a step-by-step process to develop a smart contract for a gaming-based Metaverse project.

Why are smart contracts needed in the Metaverse?

Because the Metaverse is a virtual depiction of the real world, activities in this virtual world are similar to that of the real world. Users, with their avatars, can enter the Metaverse, socialize with other avatars, and engage in activities like trading and exchange, playing games, and socializing. The Metaverse comprises a 3-D version of real-world objects such as enterprises and buildings.

Like the real world, trade and exchange in the Metaverse are regulated through smart contracts. Smart contracts in the Metaverse exist to automate operations and ensure that actions such as trading and transactions are done according to the predetermined rules. Smart contracts are digital contracts that are programmed and run on the blockchain. The contracts coded on smart contracts are automatically executed as soon as the predetermined conditions are duly met.

Simply put, smart contracts are like the backend programming of the blockchain that regulates the blockchain-powered solutions and decentralized applications built on top of the respective blockchain. Every blockchain use case, irrespective of industry type or usability, is supported by self-executing written programs—smart contracts. The role of smart contracts is integral in the decentralized Metaverse.

metaverse-and-smart-contracts

What are the potential challenges that exist in the Metaverse?

A smart has the power to revolutionize the conventional centralized structure of Metaverse. If we look at the beginning of the internet, Web 1.0 facilitated web surfing via static websites. Users were not allowed to contribute to those static websites; their access was limited to reading and exploring the provided information.

Web 2.0 was more focused on allowing users to generate content, interoperability, and usability in the next iteration. Web 3.0 is the evolution of the next iteration that powers technologies like Metaverse and blockchain. For Web 3.0, smart contracts are essential to automate contracts.

How can smart contracts solve Metaverse challenges?

To better understand the prevailing challenges in the Metaverse and how smart contracts solve them, let’s understand the Metaverse with respect to centralized versus decentralized Metaverse.

Centralized Metaverse

A centralized Metaverse is when a single authority governs a Metaverse platform, and users have to abide by the entity’s internal servers, terms, policies, and parameters. The idea of the Metaverse by Facebook and Microsoft is centralized where users have to trust Facebook’s authority and submit their data to enter their Metaverse. Furthermore, the users’ interactions are limited to the horizon of the single Metaverse they are using. In a way, the users’ access is restricted, and they cannot interact with the users in a parallel Metaverse or participate in activities such as trade and exchange.

Decentralized Metaverse

A decentralized Metaverse has the potential to address the major challenge of the centralized Metaverse—interoperability issues. The idea of a decentralized Metaverse strives to create an open-source space comprising interconnected virtual worlds regulated through smart contracts. Based on the rules written on smart contracts, users can enjoy cross-Metaverse trading without any compliance issues. Instead of a single entity, a blockchain-based Metaverse is controlled by the users, mainly through a DAO. Users can decide governance, participate in decision-making strategies, cast votes, and perform other vital roles via smart contracts.

How to build a smart contract for Metaverse?

The functions of smart contracts differ according to the structure, feature requirements, and technical aspects of a Metaverse project. Hence, the smart contracts for different projects may differ. Gaming-based Metaverse projects are more prevalent and worth more hype than other projects.

For example, smart contracts for popular Metaverses such as Decentraland and Axie Infinity focus on managing the trading processes for land, real estate, and other digital assets available in NFTs. A smart contract can support a variety of tokens, including ERC tokens—ERC-721 and ERC-1155. Let’s discuss a smart contract development example for ERC standards: ERC721 and ERC1155.

Gaming smart contract development using ERC-721 token standard

Step1: Compile the contract

The pragma directive, which resides on the top of “Character. sol” tells the smart contract compiler about the compatible solidity version to be used:

pragma solidity ^0.8.0;

Step2: Import the contract

Utilizing the OpenZeppelin, you need to import contracts and save a considerable amount of time. Below are imports from other contracts:

import "@openzeppelin/contracts/token/ERC721/extensions/ERC721URIStorage.sol";
import "@openzeppelin/contracts/utils/math/SafeMath.sol";
import "@openzeppelin/contracts/utils/Counters.sol";
import "@openzeppelin/contracts/access/Ownable.sol";

Step3: Get started with the smart contract development

With the ease of importing a smart contract, you can skip a significant coding step. Hence, you can begin straight with the smart contract development. Following is the command that defines the inheritance of the imported smart contract code:

contract Character is ERC721URIStorage, Ownable {
using Counters for Counters.Counter;
using SafeMath for uint256;

Step4: Set up the smart contract’s functionality

As the next step, you need to create the state variable required to set up the smart contract’s functionalities. For example, the following command is executed for setting up the maximum token transfer and maximum token fees for a Metaverse smart contract:

uint256 fee = 0.00 ether; // <-- any fees we want to change on txs
uint256 public constant maxSupply = 10000; // <-- max supply of tokens
uint256 public maxMintAmountPerTx = 1; // <-- max mints per tx
uint256 public perAddressLimit = 100; // <-- max
string public notRevealedUri = "ipfs://INSERT_YOUR_CID/character-hidden.json"; // <-- link to metadata for e.g. hidden opensea listing of token
bool public paused = false; // <-- stop interaction with contract
bool public revealed = true; // <-- is the collection revealed yet?
address public contractOwner; // <-- game dev/studio wallet address

Step5 (final step): Record the attributes and functions of the characters

Define the “struct” type representing the complete record of the gaming Metaverse characters’ attributes. It allows you to monitor the characters inside the gaming Metaverse. Run the following command to enable this function:

struct Char {
uint256 id;
uint256 dna;
uint8 level;
uint8 rarity;
uint256 evac;
string tokenURI;
}

Furthermore, we need to locate the “struct” to a public “var” that enables you to retrieve the on-chain information about the game’s characters. Run the following command regarding this:

Char[maxSupply] public _tokenDetails;
event NewChar(address indexed owner, uint256 id, uint256 dna);
mapping(address => uint256) public addressMintedBalance;
constructor() ERC721("Character", "CHAR") {
contractOwner = msg.sender;
}

From this point, you focus on the functions that support the logic of the Metaverse smart contract. Like, you can start with a utility function that can generate a verifiable random number used as the identity for the characters.

Comprehensive development services to help you lead the future-ready Metaverse projects.

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Gaming smart contract development using ERC-1155

ERC1155 is the other most prevalent token standard among the top three Ethereum tokens—ERC20, ERC720, and ERC1155. So, let’s discuss an ERC-1155-based gaming smart contract development for the Metaverse.

Step1: Compiling the smart contract code

The structure of the ERC-1155-based smart contract is quite similar to ERC-720. That means the “Asteroid. sol” smart contract structure is similar to “Character.sol.” Run the following command to compile the contract code:

pragma solidity >=0.6.12 <0.9.0;

Step2: Import the contracts

Run the following command to get imports of other contracts:

import "@openzeppelin/contracts/token/ERC1155/ERC1155.sol"; //
import "@openzeppelin/contracts/utils/math/SafeMath.sol";
import "@openzeppelin/contracts/access/Ownable.sol";
import "@openzeppelin/contracts/utils/Counters.sol";
import "@openzeppelin/contracts/utils/Strings.sol";

Step3: Define the inheritance

Next, you need to define the inheritance from the above, imported contract. Run the following command for it:

contract Object is ERC1155, Ownable {
using Counters for Counters.Counter;
using SafeMath for uint256;
using Strings for string;
Counters.Counter private _tokenIDS;

Step4: Define public variables

Using the following code of line, you define the public variable for the contract:

uint256 public cost = 0.00 ether;
uint256 public maxSupply = 10000;

Step5: Define the contract’s structure

As the next step, you need to define the structure of the contract or the “struct” type and map it. For this, you need to use “constructor()”. Execute the following command:

constructor()

ERC1155("ipfs://QmPJvYnCSeZUyqdiNpEgv4KWBVWK1SEh2Y8X1uScXWCCYg/{id}.json")
{
name = "Asteroid";
symbol = "AROID";
tokensInCirculation = 0;
}

ERC-1155 is vital for today’s innovative gaming Metaverse projects. This token standard enables users to mint objects like a piece of land completely decentralized via the InterPlanetary File System (IPFS). In addition, ERC-1155 is designed specifically to support bulk minting. In a way, ERC-1155 serves more purposes than ERC-721 when a gaming Metaverse, in particular, is taken into account.

Deploy the gaming Metaverse smart contract

With all the smart contract development processes followed correctly, your smart contract becomes ready to deploy. Using Remix, you can deploy the contract seamlessly. Remix is a browser-based essential developers’ tool compatible with various kinds of smart contract development and is easy to use.

Furthermore, you can use the smart contract examples given in the previous steps and copy the codes to the Remix. First, create a new file, paste code into it, and proceed to save.

Once the code is saved, compile the smart contract. Now the contract is ready for deployment. Keep a wallet, MetaMask, ready with sufficient test tokens to cover the computation.

Metaverse smart contract development by Leewayhertz

LeewayHertz offers smart contract development for diverse projects, ranging from blockchain, NFT, and DeFi to Metaverse. We develop and integrate smart contracts into your Metaverse project and optimize the existing contracts’ features. Following is the Metaverse smart contract development process we follow:

Architecture

Execution of smart contracts requires a bug-free workflow. Considering this, our team of smart contract developers abides by stringent practices to develop a service-oriented self-executing contract for your Metaverse project.

Design and development

Following the best design and development practices and programming languages such as Solidity and Rust, we compile code for the smart contract and deploy it to architect the Metaverse smart contract.

Audit

Through multiple analysis processes—manual and automated testing—we eliminate any anomalies and ensure the robustness of the smart contract code.

Optimization

We optimize Metaverse smart contracts before deployment, making them more efficient and aligned to the clients’ business logic.

Conclusion

The growing prevalence of Web 3.0 has launched the initial idea of the Metaverse. It supports the development of blockchain-enabled dApps required for the functioning of the Metaverse. With big technologies like IoT, AI, and VR powering its infrastructure, the Metaverse will soon dominate today’s web while decentralizing the infrastructure. Smart contracts will continue to be an essential part of the Metaverse. However, considerable evolution remains for the smart contract to support the frequent innovation and changes on the horizon.

If you are looking for secure and efficient smart contract development for your Metaverse project, connect with our experts and discuss your project requirement.

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Author’s Bio

Akash Takyar
Akash Takyar
CEO LeewayHertz
Akash Takyar is the founder and CEO at LeewayHertz. The experience of building over 100+ platforms for startups and enterprises allows Akash to rapidly architect and design solutions that are scalable and beautiful.
Akash's ability to build enterprise-grade technology solutions has attracted over 30 Fortune 500 companies, including Siemens, 3M, P&G and Hershey’s. Akash is an early adopter of new technology, a passionate technology enthusiast, and an investor in AI and IoT startups.

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