(VRfun18) RIFT-AR – An Augmented Metaverse

With so many metaverse platforms emerging almost daily, a project needs to truly stand out. Not only that, but it needs to feel achievable and accessible to all. This is exactly what RIFT-AR will be according to founders, Adam Wavy, Lofi Michael and Karo Kaylani. In order to be accessible, RIFT-AR will be built using the AR technology already used in your mobile phones, much like when playing games such as Pokemon Go.

When the app becomes available, it will allow users to see an augmented reality metaverse layered over our reality. Users will be able to purchase locations across the world and upload digital assets from crypto wallets. This could mean that businesses will be able to apply AR features to their store signage, creating a sci-fi world seen only through the screen of your phone, but hopefully through AR glasses in the future.

We sat down with Co-Founder Adam Wavy to explore RIFT-AR in more detail.

GMW3 – Can you tell us a little bit about how RIFT-AR came to you and why you are so passionate about integrating the metaverse with our reality?

Adam Wavy – Michael and I both grew up in small towns – we’re both curious people & our surroundings never really fulfilled our need to experience new things. There was no option to alter our surroundings at such a young age. Augmented reality is a missing link granting access to anyone with a vision to begin building a world they dream to live in.

We examined the current state of the internet and how we interact with it. The idea of building another marketplace seemed dull. We began to examine areas all the major tech companies are building and were most intrigued with VR/AR.

GMW3 – What’s the ultimate goal for RIFT-AR? Where do you start on a project like this?

Adam Wavy – Michael has experience working in an experimental technologies lab that gave him access to a lot of these tools – we both agreed VR is really cool, but it seems like a short term play. In order to participate in VR you have to wear a headset that isolates you from reality. We’d been living in isolation for two years due to the COVID-19 pandemic and humanity needs technology to support connection with one another and their communities; a seamless bond between reality and digital worlds is the ethos of RIFT, we aren’t giving up on reality – we want to enhance it digitally. 

GMW3 – It seems like AR is a natural evolution from QR codes…

Adam Wavy – I used to work with large brands producing experiential activations – we began plugging QR codes into our events and saw a large attraction to exclusive experience through technology – as we build RIFT, leveraging your phone’s capabilities to access augmented reality – I’m reminded of the early stages of onboarding people to using their camera to scan QR codes.

GMW3 – As RIFT-AR isn’t publicly available as yet, can you tell us a little of what to expect?

Adam Wavy – Our beta is an augmented reality app that allows you to view, purchase & build a digital layer over reality through the lens of your phone a lot like Pokémon Go. Our platform will be using Polygon’s blockchain to transact and store information. 

We wanted to create an even playing field and pondered ways to make this platform as accessible as possible – high price points seem to be holding Gen Z back from participating in web3 and metaverse projects. Utilizing Polygon’s low transaction fees and leveraging capabilities your phone already possesses is our approach to making the metaverse accessible for new and younger generations. 

RIFT will serve more as a foundation for the Metaverse, opening opportunities for collaboration – more so than a pre-constructed world for you to play in. We want builders, artists, dreamers etc, to focus on creating their “big idea”- they can plug their vision into the world. Notion being, creators stay creating – RIFT can handle the technology part.

GMW3 – Have there been any major challenges or pitfalls within development?

Adam Wavy – The biggest piece of the puzzle that’s taken the most time for development is how to map the world accurately in a decentralized manner. Our CTO Lofi Michael found the perfect solution- we are using “geohashes”- a public spatial data structure that assigns land coordinates and ranges, a unique code.

Utilizing geohashes allows for RIFT’s persistent land reference to be extremely accurate when mapping the world, while leveraging a developed system that doesn’t rely on mutable data (like street names).

Another note, we are very early and building in public – which opened the door to grow our founding team with Karo Kaylani. She helped organically boost our discord and sell out of our whitelist within 24 hours. It’s tricky seeing larger projects use influencers to boast big numbers while we remain in a lane to build organically and slow for the long term play. 

GMW3 – Can you depict how you see this metaverse developing? How will the aesthetic be created?

Adam Wavy – Initially, we were taking a lot of inspiration from the early 80s graffiti movement in New York – thinking artists can display their art all over cities and be competitive about “coming up” with cool art placements in their city in a legal manner. 

However, we found real estate developers were flocking to our project quicker than artists. We are opening the entire world up to be sold at a low price point and built on. We will put lots of effort in connecting creators with developers to begin construction of a beautiful digital layer not dominated by advertising. 

As an example, we’re launching our  “Creative Hubs Program” across the world partnering with creatives to build community spaces to inspire connection & creativity. We are modelling a lot of the Creative Hubs Program similar to the early stages of Wynwood Miami’s development.

GMW3 – Do you feel the public will be more attracted by augmented reality, as opposed to virtual reality?

Adam Wavy – AR is the long term play for sure. It is imperative we build the Metaverse with direct relationship to our surroundings. With the rapid decline in climate change, it seems a VR Metaverse is humanity throwing in the towel on our planet. We are building RIFT leveraging AR to help improve the way we build cities and support meaningful interaction with communities as well as being a platform that plugs into the new devices that will be coming out in the next 2-5 years.

GMW3 – How does RIFT-AR stand out among the many other metaverse projects coming soon?

Adam Wavy – There are some beautiful metaverse projects that currently exist, some of which I’ll be personally investing in. Competition is natural and helps the entire movement progress. We’re the only project I’ve seen sharing a vision of digital expansion being seamless with city development. Which is the most important bit of building in this space, in my opinion. The first skyscraper was built in Chicago in 1855 which forever changed the landscape of how we build cities and improve citizen interaction with our cities. We are building RIFT-AR with the same ethos.

RIFT-AR, even in these early stages, seems very promising. Many companies, including Niantic Labs, creators of Pokemon Go, believe AR is the way to go. It’s much more affordable for consumers, as they’ve mostly got a smartphone already and businesses have begun exploring unique ways to capture the attention of users through AR games. This metaverse concept may be more appealing to the larger society due to its limited impact on everyday life plus the lack of a potentially bulky VR headset.

RIFT-AR is currently attracting investors with a view to launch very soon.