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What is Somnium Space: social network, blockchain game or NFT marketplace Cover

What Is Somnium Space: Social Network, Blockchain Game Or NFT Marketplace

Filmmakers and science fiction writers have been thinking about virtual worlds for a long time. Think of Steven Spielberg’s Ready Player One or Neal Stephenson’s novel Snow Crash, which formed its basis. The technological prerequisites have been around for a long time: VR headsets, haptic suits, eye tracking systems. All that was missing was a metaverse, a place where all these inventions would be brought together. And the Somnium Space project just solves this problem.

In the article, we will tell you what kind of metaverse it is and how it differs from social networks, games and marketplaces. At the end of the article, we will look at Somnium Space analogues and alternative views on how the metaverse should look like.

What is Somnium Space

Somnium Space is an open social virtual reality platform built on the blockchain. Any user can purchase virtual land and build whatever they want. For example, they can build museums, play areas, parks and much more. You can immerse yourself in the metaverse using a VR headset. Web mode is also available to visit places directly in the browser.

types of avatar in somnium space
Users can create any kind of avatars

Somnium Space is more like an advanced version of the internet than an open world game like GTA Online. It’s more like a three-dimensional version of Internet corporations like Google or Amazon, which combine huge ecosystems of different products. But the main thing that distinguishes the metaverse from everything else is a unique economy built on the blockchain.

Features of The Blockchain Economy

Thanks to the blockchain, the Somnium Space economy is built in a decentralized manner. Users have full ownership of their digital assets, that is, they can use and exchange them even in other apps. And even the developers themselves cannot remove or change the territory of the land that someone has already bought.

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For those who want to dive into the virtual world of Somnium Space. In the article, we show you how to register in the metaverse, create an avatar, and where to go to have a good time.

Below we describe the main components of the Somnium Space economy:

Ethereum. It is the second largest blockchain in the world and also serves as the “foundation” for the metaverse economy. With it, companies can create and sell digital goods in the form of NFTs. It is more efficient and safer than doing business through an online intermediary.

CUBE. These are the ERC-20 tokens on the Ethereum blockchain, which are the in-game currency of Somnium Space. Users pay with each other with these tokens. For example, CUBE can be useful to buy a ticket to a virtual concert.

eth cube trading pair on uniswap
CUBE trading on Uniswap

Marketplace. Somnium Space users can freely trade their crafted items on any NFT marketplace, such as OpenSea. It will become the centerpiece of the Somnium Space’s economy. Everyone will be able to monetize their work, whether it be art, music or program code. All media files from NFTs are stored on servers, and digital information about them along with the proof of ownership are stored on the Ethereum blockchain.

trading somnium space's items on opensea
Somnium Space’s items trading history on OpenSea. Users sell CUBE tokens, virtual plots of land and avatars to each other

Using blockchain technology, Somnium Space users can exchange any goods and services without intermediaries. For example, artists can sell their paintings and musicians can stream their music. Each piece of art is a unique token in the blockchain, which confirms the ownership.

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Immersion in Virtual Reality

In addition to a decentralized economy, the Somnium Space metaverse differs from other virtual worlds by a high level of immersion. Games like World of Warcraft and GTA Online have always existed only on computer screens. It is impossible to distract from real objects and extraneous noise with their help, therefore they cannot be called metaverses.

The term “metaverse” first appeared in Neal Stephenson’s 1992 novel Snow Crash. This was the name of a photorealistic virtual reality in which the characters could communicate with each other. 30 years later, VR equipment has become available, that science fiction writers of past decades could only dream of. The embodiment of the metaverse has become technically possible.

street racing in somnium space
Somnium Space users on the race track

Somnium Space is available for all major PC-connected VR headsets such as: Valve Index, HTC Vive, Oculus Rift, Windows Mixed Reality and more. They have built-in displays that show separate images for the left and right eyes. Headsets come with different controllers and sensors depending on the model.

VR headsets are still not widely used, so Somnium Space has a web mode. You can enter the metaverse directly in the web browser and without registration. For this purpose, Somnium Space has a guest mode.

View of the Somnium Space metaverse from above

The Somnium Space metaverse is being built by the “residents” themselves. For construction, they use special programs — Builder and UnitySDK. With the help of the first, you can create physical objects, such as houses or decorative items. And the UnitySDK allows you to upload your own avatars and animations to the metaverse.

These tools are suitable for advanced users as they require 3D modeling skills. This is why companies that are exploring the metaverse often turn to virtual reality designers. For example, such services are offered by BeFuture

VR headsets are not the limit to how deep you can dive into Somnium Space. The metaverse’s programming code supports finger, lip, and eye tracking, as well as the transmission of smells, wind, and even touch. But all these possibilities will appear only in the future, since the equipment for such technologies has not yet entered mass production.

Benefits of Good Karma

Social interactions play a big role in the Somnium Space metaverse. To encourage users to have healthy communication, the Karma system was developed. It reflects the social status of the “residents” of the metaverse.

Karma Level is calculated as a combination of several factors. For example:

  • Ratings from other users. Respectable players with higher Karma levels will affect your Karma if they decide to rate you.
  • Involvement in the world of Somnium Space is also important. Karma is increased by your time in the metaverse, the number of lots you own, and transactions with other users.
  • and there are many other factors as well. For example, organization of events, participation in them and other social activities have a positive effect on Karma.

In future updates, Somnium Space developers plan to add the ability for users to receive CUBE tokens depending on their Karma level. For example, “residents” who provide the services of guides or instructors in the metaverses will be able to earn money.

Activities in The Metaverse

Somnium Space cannot be called a game. This is a true metaverse that brings together entertainment, communication, business and creativity. Here is a short list of possibilities that anyone can implement:

  • Developers can sell tokenized digital items and avatars.
  • Streamers can have their own virtual studio inside Somnium Space.
  • Content creators can showcase and monetize their work.
  • Companies can set up their own stores inside Somnium Space.
  • Game designers can post short demos of their games.
  • Universities can create educational courses, events and immersive museums.
  • Architects can design a building and upload it to the metaverse via UnitySDK.
  • Entrepreneurs can sell digital or physical goods and offer services.
  • Artists can showcase their art works, from sculptures to 2D and 3D paintings.
  • NFT collectors can create galleries to showcase their collection to others.

Other Versions of The Metaverse

Metaverse researcher Matthew Ball compares the term to the internet. In the future, it will be a complex of multiple technologies and companies. In the meantime, as in the early Internet, all projects develop in parallel and it is impossible to move between them. Each company has its own approach and its own vision of what the metaverse should be like. Let’s take a look at the most popular Somnium Space competitors.

Epic Games. On April 12, 2021, the company announced that it had raised $1 billion to create the metaverse. Their games have been evolving in the direction of the metaverse for many years. For example, major artists and companies are already bringing their products to the virtual worlds of Fortnite and Rocket League.

travis scott show fortnite
The recording of the Travis Scott concert in Fortnite scored 170 million views on YouTube. Source: Youtube
world editor mode fortnite
World editor mode in Fortnite. Source: fanbyte

Atari. Video game developers Atari have partnered with NFT platforms Bondly and Enjin. Together, they will release music and gaming NFTs that can later be used in the new Atari Metaverse.

atari rollercoaster tycoon
RollerCoaster Tycoon — a franchise of amusement park simulators developed by Atari
atari kick off evolution
Kick Off Evolution — a football simulator developed by Atari in collaboration with blockchain company Enjin

Voxels (ex. Cryptovoxels). In the Voxels metaverse, you can buy a piece of virtual land and build a museum, gallery and other objects on it.

street of voxels
User avatar on Voxels street
voxels museum
Digital Art Museum at Voxels

Decentraland. A calendar of events is available in the Decentraland metaverse: you can sign up for a Halloween party, racing or football. The variety is limited only by the technical capabilities and imagination of the organizers.

events calendar in decentraland
Decentraland Events Calendar
cinema entrance in decentraland
User avatar in Decentraland at the entrance to the cinema

The Sandbox. This is a classic sandbox game where users can create worlds. The created objects can be sold for SAND tokens, which are then exchanged for dollars on a cryptocurrency exchange.

the sandbox game
Standard mode in The Sandbox. Source: Gamespace
the sandbox editor
Editor mode in The Sandbox. Source: The Sandbox’s Medium page

Sensorium Galaxy. Startup at the intersection of virtual reality and show business. The platform will stream live performances by famous musicians and dancers in real time.

sensorium galaxy stage between shows
Empty concert hall. Also available for visits during free time. Source: Sensorium Galaxy
sensorium galaxy stage
Concert venue during the artist’s performance. The audience can interact with the stage. Source: Sensorium Galaxy

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For those who want to learn more about the definition of the metaverse. In the article we tell what the metaverse is and list popular misconceptions about it.


Somnium Space is a metaverse built on the blockchain. Users can buy land and create whatever they want on it in virtual reality. For example, they can create malls, games, parks, and more. To immerse yourself in it, you will need a VR headset, but even without it, you can visit interesting places using the browser version. For example, you can visit dance parties and concerts by young performers.

In the classic definition of writer Neal Stephenson, there can be only one metaverse. Researcher Matthew Ball agrees with him, comparing it to a new version of the Internet. However, Somnium Space has several competitors: Epic Games, Decentraland, The Sandbox and others. All of these projects are developing separately and have different visions of what the metaverse should be like.

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James Armstrong

Cover and illustrations:
Delilah Jones

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