Cast your mind back to the summer of 1984; the sun is shining, funk and hip hop are thriving, and rollerskating is in its golden years. Granted, not everyone can actually remember living through this time, but it’s an iconic era nonetheless, and one that has made a permanent mark across generations — so much so that it’s currently seeing a cultural resurgence.
In fact, The New York Times dubbed 2021 “the summer of roller skates”, while the Los Angeles Times said that old-school roller skating became the “perfect pandemic pastime”. These days, so much of our appreciation for the past is about trying to find a way to bring it into the future. This is precisely what inspired one company to bring roller skating into the digital space of the emerging metaverse and create a place for a global, interconnected skating community.
Bringing Skating into the Future
Maya Bernaia, a Ukraine-born tech entrepreneur and keen roller skating enthusiast, felt a sense of restlessness in the pandemic — the same itch that got people lacing up their skates and kickstarting new creative ventures. “During the lockdown, I worked every day non-stop. I made the decision to move my business forward and used the opportunity to grow and develop during the chaos and uncertainty,” she says. “I’m aware that it’s equally important what I do and how I do it, so I had a fantastic motivation to kickstart things.”
One of her most ambitious projects yet was creating a new world within the metaverse for skaters. “My projects stimulate creativity, and we encourage creative people to be brave and push themselves to the edge of creativity and entrepreneurship.” While the metaverse is still a relatively new concept to some people, Bernaia hopes her new platform will help them see just how broad the possibilities are with this new technology.
Metarollers is just what it sounds like — a virtual skating world in the metaverse. Set to launch September 30, 2022 as an offshoot of strategic solutions platform IAmFuture, the skill and creativity-based game for mobile platforms is a tribute to the worldwide rollerskating community. Within the game, players will skate through real cityscapes around the world, where they can enjoy the landscapes, dodge obstacles, perform tricks, collect artifacts, and even meet celebrities in the roller skating scene. It will also give players the opportunity to socialize and engage in a global community. Metarollers will operate upon a “Perform-2-Earn” structure — based on the typical “play-to-earn” setup — where users can transfer in-game rewards to something with real-world value. Previews on the website of what the game might look like include New York City landmarks as well as NFT artifacts like the classic NYC hotdog and skating wheels.
One of Metaroller’s most anticipated in-game features includes NFT collection, minting, and turnover. “The IamFuture team proudly created the set of 6,000 NFTs of our rollerskating girls,” Bernaia says. “The collection is devoted to the diversity, joy, equal rights, and creativity of women worldwide. NFTs provide a way to influence governance in our ecosystem.”
The unique artwork features vibrant, colorful skaters in the hopes to connect “fun, profit, and purpose,” as Bernaia explains. “Interconnection of the metaverse and real-world fun is highly concentrated in our digital art,” she adds. “All our female characters have bright individuality, charm, special skills, and value.”
While the metaverse is still something of an elusive concept to many, it nevertheless boasts immense potential in connecting like-minded people with similar interests and a passion for community. In the case of Metarollers, that interest and passion is roller skating — so grab your boots and boombox, and skate on over into the metaverse.