In principle, the metaverse is a more physical version of the internet. Instead of writing an email or a Slack message or a phone call to your colleagues (a creepy option admittedly), you’ll enter a virtual world where your avatar, your digital version, will be able to have a conversation. in a digital version in your office. Instead of picking up a keyboard or controller or phone and looking at the screen to play video games, you can just walk around and let your avatar play. This concept could change the way people work, play, travel and live. Many companies are building their own metaverse environments to gain a foothold in this burgeoning virtual space. Many purchases and activities will likely move from the Internet to the virtual world, and companies will offer virtual world users countless paid opportunities to customize their digital environments and avatars.
Will I be living or working in the metaverse anytime soon?
Now, talking about the metaverse is first and foremost an exaggeration. Although the Metaverse’s vision is exaggerated, fantastical, and futuristic, it is currently little more than a set of independent virtual worlds, the most popular being Decentraland, Axie Infinity, and Sandbox. Honestly, it’s not too different from the massive online role-playing gamefi (MMORPG) suites on the market through products like Roblox, Fortnite, Halo, and Minecraft. In fact, they are both called metaverses. However, figures like Bill Gates believe that working in the metaverse might not be too far off. In fact, Microsoft’s founders have predicted that within the next two or three years, most virtual meetings will be held in virtual worlds using digital avatars.
In late 2020, Microsoft launched a virtual office space initiative called “The Nth Floor” with Accenture and AltspaceVR, and is developing “mixed reality applications” through initiatives such as Mesh for Microsoft Teams. As for the rest of the Metaverse, it’s definitely farther, though probably not for too long. Mark Zuckerberg believes that the metaverse will become mainstream within the next five to ten years. With everyone from Microsoft to Meta to Apple to Zoom joining the frenzy, that seems like a very likely possibility. But it’s not cheap: Investors plunged Meta stock by 25% after the company said it lost $10 billion on Metaverse-related projects. Of course, there are some who go further. Some scientists think we are already living in an analogy, with Elon Musk recently stating that our disagreement is at the core of one billionth of a reality. So maybe we are already there.
How are cryptocurrencies and NFTs involved in all of this?
The integration of cryptocurrencies, and all the market speculation associated with these highly volatile and risky assets, is basically what separates the proper metaworld from the world of online video games that has been around for decades. The main attraction of these Metaverse-based cryptocurrencies is their commitment to decentralization. Rather than having authorities such as banks or video game developers be responsible for in-game currency transfers, players can directly transfer money to each other, buy NFTs, or participate in scavenger hunts. .
If the metaverse is digital, how can there be real estate there?
Owning real estate in the virtual world has many similarities to owning it in real life. In fact, virtual real estate platform SuperWorld has a global map with listings of 64.8 billion parcels that correspond directly to real places on Earth, including iconic monuments, skyscrapers and natural wonders. For just 100 ETH and over €250,000, you can have a metaverse equivalent to the Eiffel Tower. Just like the real-life Earth, all of these metaverses are divided into a limited number of purchasable plots. For example, Decentraland consists of about 90,000 parcels. Each of them measures 16 meters by 16 meters. Once users have purchased this virtual real estate, they can interact with it just as they would in the real world: build the property, host an event or monetize the commerce and advertising that takes place on the ground.
Why do people pay so much for real estate like this?
We’ve all heard of buying multi-million dollar real estate in these virtual worlds. The answer to why people spend so much money boils down to three ideas: location, location, and location. In real life, buying an apartment in a celebrity-filled neighborhood is more expensive than buying a house in a rural town. The same logic carries over to the metaverse. For example, Decentraland has 39 main areas dedicated to a wide range of interests, such as Las Vegas City (online gambling), Fashion Street (shopping), and Festival Park (music). Land costs in these areas or near major highways are much higher than plots in virtual suburbs.
Companies are also competing for the best deals on real estate, which drives prices up even more. Last year, Sotheby’s launched a (digital) replica of its London auction house in Decentraland’s Voltaire art district, while Samsung just opened a limited-time virtual version of its 837 flagship in the same virtual world. These plots are limited, so scarcity drives up prices. So is the allure of being a celebrity neighbor: Decrypt reported last December that a plot next to Snoop Dogg’s digital mansion in a sandbox sold for 71,000 sand, or about $400,000 at the time of purchase.
Wait, so people actually make money in the metaverse?
Yes, you read that right. From freelancers to 3D modeling to pure speculation, people are finding creative ways to make money in the metaverse. And we’re not talking about insignificant quantities