Companies are paying millions to snap up Sim City-style virtual real estate – and it could herald the start of a bizarre hybrid property market.
Tokens.com, a blockchain technology company, recently purchased a 50 per cent stake in Metaverse Group, one of the world’s first virtual real estate companies.
Metaverse Group is based in Canada but has a virtual headquarters in a world called Decentraland in Crypto Valley, a virtual world featuring districts for gambling, shopping, fashion and the arts.
Then Tokens.com went one further, and bought a $2.5m plot of ‘land’ in the metaverse, which it plans to develop into a Rodeo Drive-esque shopping district.
“Rather than try to create a universe like Facebook, I said, ‘Why don’t we go in and buy the parcels of land in these metaverses, and then we can become the landlords?” said Andrew Kiguel, co-founder and chief executive of Tokens.com.
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Homes, art, and music will be available for purchase as NFTs, or fungible tokens.
Interest in the metaverse boomed after Mark Zuckerberg announced that Facebook would rename itself as “Meta.” Digital currency investor Grayscale estimates that the the market for goods and services in the metaverse will be worth $1 trillion.
Technologists believe that the metaverse will become a fully functioning economy in just a few years and become just as second nature as email and social media.
The metaverse contains multiple digital realms that are essential 3-D cities where a person’s avatar can live, work, and play – not unlike world-building video games like Minecraft, Fortnite, and Animal Crossing.