Something is happening right now.

New technologies are skyrocketing almost out of control, and huge amounts of money are changing hands. Artists and startup companies are being crowned as pioneers of a new era.

You’d be forgiven for not knowing about it all, though. The phenomenon I’m describing is occurring in an alternate reality.

The “metaverse” is a convergence of our physical and digital lives that is being brought on by advancements in internet connectivity, AR/VR, and blockchain. It’s just the culmination of all our science fiction fantasies—what ‘Tron’ and ‘Ready Player One’ imagined, but starting to happen right now.

If that sounds exciting to you, then perhaps you won’t be entirely surprised that people are investing heavily in the space. That over 400 million dollars have been dropped on the metaverse’s chosen currency, the non-fungible token (or NFT). That 40 million dollars are moving every month now, and that all of the most expensive NFT transactions in history have occurred only within the last couple of months. Just last week, Christie’s auctioned off a piece of digital art by Beeple via NFT that sold for more than $69 million.

Or maybe you still are surprised. After all, that is a lot of capital in a market that probably 99 percent of people on earth don’t even know exists.

To make sense of how this niche is attracting so much attention, we can look to leading startups in the space—what they have to offer—and entrepreneurs—what they have to say. These folks were in head-first before the boom, with insights that the rest of us are only starting to discover now.