Wed. Oct 4th, 2023

When it comes to non-fungible tokens, Chris Adamo thinks he’s a bit late to the game. In the summer of 2021, he got his first one. When it comes to purchasing property in the metaverse, Adamo is ahead of the game. The MetaCollective DAO, a Miami-based venture capital group, used a virtual real estate broker eight months ago to buy 23 parcels in The Sandbox, a user-generated blockchain-based virtual world, for prices starting at 1ETH ($3,000). A nearby house sold for about 42ETH, which is about $130,000 today..

Land that borders the Bored Ape Yacht Club compound, a bustling NFT community, and a plot owned by Adidas is made up of pixels. As a nod to Silicon Valley’s famous Sand Hill Road and The Sandbox, the platform on which this “land” exists, they’re calling it Sandbox Hill Road. With a price increase of about ten times, the parcels’ value is now worth millions of dollars.

This is “The Sandbox’s Manhattan,” Adamo explains. The Lower East Side or Soho of New York City, in other words. In other words, they think it’s cool—or at least, they hope it is.

In addition to TIME,

Investing in real estate parcels can be seen as one type of metaversal investment, often listed as NFTs, if the metaverse is meant to encompass everything that exists virtually, from digital art to virtual worlds. There are a variety of virtual worlds out there for users to explore, including The Sandbox, Decentraland, Cryptovoxels, Earth2, Nifty Island, Superworld, and Wilder World. (Snoop Dogg has a sandbox in The Sandbox, and Paris Hilton has a Roblox island.)

It’s a Risky Game, But NFT Art Collectors Are Winning It

If you open The Sandbox in a web browser right now, all you’ll see is a flat map of brand logos scattered across land-shaped masses composed of vibrant pixels. While online, the concept of scarcity is a farce, these virtual worlds—as well as our physical one—often have real-world value. At Cryptovoxels, on the other hand, it’s more like an early-stage video game with a bunch of blank walking mannequins as characters. It’s not uncommon for these creatures to take to the skies. A billboard’s link to OpenSea, the NFT marketplace, will give you more information about the NFT work and artist you’re looking at.

For the blank squares, MetaCollective has big plans. This corner of the future internet will be developed into a learning centre or “university” for self-education on all things web3, according to Drew Austin, managing partner at venture capital syndicate RedBeard Ventures and leader of MetaCollective. He envisions a world in which students can take classes online, rent rooms in dorms, and engage in a full range of social interactions. “In this new digital world, we can re-create what an educational digital experience is,” he says. There has been no construction or design of this yet. However, the money is there.

In a virtual world. Sandbox

To put it another way, it’s like buying a domain name or getting a good handle on social media. Personal property in the form of virtual real estate may be the Web 3 equivalent of email and social profiles like Facebook or Instagram pages, which were the Web 1 and Web 2 home bases, respectively. Web 3 property is intended to be built by the end user, rather than relying on providers or platforms to design, regulate, and control the experience. It could mean something far more dynamic and engaging for brands than their current online presences. Playing games or selling products could be ways for individuals to make money.

Sfermion managing partner Andrew Steinwold refers to it as “unlimited optionality,” which means breaking free from the confines of our personal and professional profiles and pages. Virtual world developers have already established a thriving industry in and of themselves. One of the most exciting and fascinating aspects of the metaverse is that it’s all about cocreation, right?” says another MetaCollective member, Jessica Peltz Zatulove. Therefore, the merging of creators, celebrities, and communities is also something we’re witnessing. Then again, this is all just speculation at this point.

Platforms and developers are reaping the rewards of early buyers, at least for the time being. After being valued at just over $2 billion in 2021, Animoca Brands, the company behind The Sandbox, recently reported that it is now worth $5 billion. It’s worth $42 billion to value Roblox, a more well-known gaming universe, as a stock on the New York Stock Exchange in March 2021. Virtual gaming worlds alone could be worth $400 billion by 2025, and the broader metaverse industry could be worth more than $1 trillion, according to one research report.

NFTs Are Changing the Art World—But They Could Do So Much More!

Many of the early buyers of virtual real estate are self-serving because they are invested both in the platforms and in their own DAOs, which buy and develop new land. Both platform investments and individual property investments are handled by Steinwold’s fund; Austin runs a fund that invests in five worlds. It’s early for the technology, too—Adamo is the first to admit we’re about a decade away from easy mass adoption, and Austin notes plenty of “room for improvement,” from the interface to the technically complicated process of buying property.

Web3 investors are hungry, however. According to CNBC, since Facebook’s much-hyped transition to Meta, virtual property prices have increased by up to 500 percent. The cost of a plot in some virtual worlds is already comparable to the cost of a house in the real world.

By Adam

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