Cosmos, a half-century-old greasy spoon known for its house omelette with bacon, ham, salami and sausage, isn’t exactly synonymous with cutting-edge technology.
But the new owner, David Minicucci, wants to bring his Montreal restaurant into the fledgling three-dimensional realm of the metaverse.
Minicucci envisions customers in different cities using virtual reality headsets to get together in a 3D version of the restaurant – even enjoying Cosmos’ signature dishes, prepared in kitchens set up across the country and delivered to your door.
“Just like we got onto UberEats or went on to other technology platforms that help us increase sales or get our name out there … it’s just the next level of that,” said Minicucci.
While the metaverse concept was coined in Neal Stephenson’s 1992 novel Snow Crash, the idea that interconnected, immersive virtual worlds could be the next phase of the internet has gotten a lot of attention lately – particularly after Facebook rebranded itself as Meta.
For Minicucci, who has owned Cosmos since 2020, that meant purchasing a plot of virtual land in a digital world called Decentraland, paying the equivalent of $15,000 in cryptocurrency.
Metaverse real estate transactions worth millions
And he’s not the only one willing to spend money on land that doesn’t actually exist.
A recent report by the Centre for Technology, Finance and Entrepreneurship in the U.K. found that land transactions in the metaverse last year hit an average of $100-million US each month.
In Decentraland those sales were worth $110-million US, the report says, and in another virtual world, The Sandbox, they hit $350-million US.
A subsidiary of Toronto-based company Tokens.com, which invests in digital assets linked to the metaverse, recently paid nearly $2.5 million US for virtual land in Decentraland’s fashion district.
At the end of March, the company will host Decentraland’s fashion week, with avatar models showcasing NFTs, which are unique digital assets like art or media, and virtual products from brands such as Tommy Hilfiger and Dolce & Gabbana.
“A lot of people were scratching their heads at how much money we spent on it,” said CEO Andrew Kiguel, who sees an opportunity for digital advertising – and more.
The fashion show, he said, is an example of how his company could make money off its virtual land.