Think of arriving in Downtown Manhattan when it was still all countryside and buying a plot of land in, say, SoHo. Not a bad investment, right? According to those who are investing on real estate in the metaverse–or rather, in the digital worlds where you can buy land on which to put up all kinds of buildings–today we are going through a similar pioneering phase. Buying a piece of land in blockchain-based and still relatively uninhabited environments such as Decentraland (300,000 users) or The Sandbox (500,000) allows you to own of a piece of those digital worlds where – it is thought – we will transfer more and more of our daily lives in the future.
First of all, it is important to clarify one thing: the metaverse does not yet exist. That is to say, there is no single immersive, open, virtual reality world where one can work, play, attend concerts and move around without restrictions of any kind – imagined and described by Mark Zuckerberg, among others. Instead, there are various individual (virtual reality or not) digital environments, each with its own specific functions. Some, such as Fortnite, give particular emphasis to gaming; others, such as VRChat or Zepeto, looklike immersive social networks; still others, such as Horizon Workrooms or Microsoft Mesh, are designed for work. And then there are those such as Decentraland or The Sandbox, which allow you to buy (and sell) land in cryptocurrency, and then to construct all kinds of buildings on these lots: art galleries where you can display your most prestigious NFTs, digital clothes shops or places to invite your friends’ avatars to.
As crazy as it sounds, not only has the idea worked, but prices have skyrocketed: in November last year a plot of Decentraland was bought for $2.4 million by a company that wants to build a commercial site for luxury brands. A few months earlier, an investment fund had spent $900,000 on Decentraland to acquire a piece of land, betting on the continued growth of its value; crazy prices were also seen on The Sandbox, Axie Infinity and others.