If you think the metaverse announced by Facebook is a futuristic concept, it’s not futuristic enough for the Montreal-based founders of Lighthouse Labs. Their goal is to set up a search engine for even more mysterious versions of the metaverse, which will be based on the blockchain in the manner of cryptocurrencies.
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Barely five months after its inception, the company has managed to convince investors to put in 9 million following a funding round led by Accel, BlockTower and Animoca Brands, which will be announced on Wednesday.
For Jonathan Brun, co-founder and CEO of Lighthouse Labs, existing metaverses like those offered by Roblox, Fortnite and soon Facebook are just a first step. It is estimated that more than 40 million people spend time there once a month and communicate with their fellow human beings via an avatar in these virtual universes.
What Lighthouse Labs’ playground is is the sequel called “Web3” with metaverses that will no longer depend on established platforms but will be blockchain based. This decentralized registry, whose integrity is guaranteed to millions of users, represents “the future of the industry,” believes Mr. Brun.
There are currently around 500,000 monthly users in such an environment, on platforms such as The Sandbox and Decentraland, where, for example, digital plots can be purchased.
“It’s still very up-and-coming,” he agrees. When you think of web2 platforms like Roblox, the notion of the metaverse is established and it’s amazing how much time people spend there. »
The great challenge of these decentralized metaverses is that they can be indexed for users to access in the way search engines like Google and DuckDuck Go allow for the web. Traditional indexing methods based on caterpillarshowever, will no longer be effective in the Metaverse’s 3D interactive media, explains Justine Massicotte, co-founder and chief technology officer.
” That caterpillars are not at all suitable for immersive worlds, they are mostly text-based. »
Instead, Lighthouse Labs’ search engine will be fed directly from the public blockchain registry, as well as content from the key players we will seek to partner with.
But that’s not all. 24 years after founding Google and 18 years after founding Facebook, the founders of Lighthouse Labs dream of a truly democratic and decentralized web, similar to how cryptocurrencies work.
“As a company, we will decentralize,” announces Jonathan Brun. When the partnerships are finalized and we have an online platform, we will launch a non-fungible token (NFT) that will be available to people in the community. Our users are included in the governance. »
The 9 million raised should make it possible to accelerate the development of the project and more than double the number of employees in the team, which will grow to 15. “The more we can hire, the faster you’ll see a prototype,” the CEO promises. The focus is on expanding the team, both in engineering and growth, and we are proud to be building a local team in Montreal. »