The term “metaverse” was first coined in the 1980s. In Neil Stephenson’s novel “Snow Crash,” the metaverse was a virtual place where people could escape the current reality, which was a totalitarian apocalypse. Fast forwarding a few decades to the announcement that Facebook would be changing its name to Meta Platforms Inc. (doing business as “Meta”), and the question that come up is what, exactly is the metaverse?
According to Wired Magazine, metaverse is a hugely complex term, that can encompass everything from virtual 3D worlds to digital economies. And speaking of the latter, real estate is starting to make moves into the metaverse, and people are buying digital real estate property with help from cryptocurrency.
In fact, prices for some metaverse property plots are selling for millions of dollars—PricewaterhouseCoopers, Adidas and Warner Music Group are all investors. They (and other investors) are putting their (virtual) dollars to virtual platforms: The Sandbox, Decentraland (the brainchild of J.P. Morgan Chase), Crytovoxels and Somnium Space.
Virtual property owners are planning to do more than hold the digital land. HBSC, for instance, acquired a plot of virtual real estate, with plans to build a virtual sports arena on the site. And Republic Realm topped off 2021 with the largest ever acquisition in The Sandbox, approximately 1,200 city blocks of land, paying $4.2 million in the process. Republic Realm is partnering with Atari to develop a voxelated gaming environment similar to Minecraft.” Voxels are defined as three-dimensional digital representations of images or objects. And news continues about financing issued to pay for these assets.
Owners of metaverse land can do anything they want to it; develop, sell, lease or use it as they wish. The National Law Review also said that owners can develop office buildings, build and operate store fronts or even erect advertising billboards.
But is the metaverse a fad? The National Law Review noted that “as consumers and businesses adopt the metaverse, advertising spending is expected to follow.” As blockchain becomes better understood, and digital mortgages, financing and real estate becomes more accepted, expect the price on those voxelated plots to continue increasing.
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