Late last year, a flood of cash from tech enthusiasts and corporate marketers ignited real estate prices in the metaverse. Alt-coin owners and CryptoPunk NFT collectors with stars in their eyes and cash in their pockets looked to justify soaring prices by buying properties near those of celebrities, many of whom were using the metaverse for promotional purposes, rather than, say, the view.

To say that the boom was not built on solid foundations is both accurate and an understatement.

Snoop Dogg, to take one high-profile example, built a digital replica of his Southern California mansion in the middle of the Sandbox metaverse, calling the 144-parcel square the Snoopverse. Snoop’s virtual neighbors include the mega-DJ Steve Aoki and a handful of massive Atari developments, where visitors can play the company’s games and attend events.

Record-setting purchases hit headlines soon after, like when one buyer, known only as P-Ape, spent $450,000 on a nine-parcel property right next door to the Long Beach rapper. Just down the virtual block, an anonymous buyer paid 25 ETH—worth about $60,000 at the time—for a single parcel, which measures 16-by-16 meters.


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