The Metaverse is becoming more real every day, with new inventions allowing users to enter this digital world as themselves or their avatar to join meetings, social gatherings, play games, and much more. Gone are the days of sitting in front of a screen with a console in hand, talking over a microphone. Now, users can put on a smart headset, such as an Oculus, that gives them a 360-degree view and a completely immersive experience. Users can high-five their colleagues in the Metaverse, explore impossible worlds, and go out to a restaurant or casino with friends — all while never leaving their home. With these leaps forward, digital technology has come to a whole new reality, with people getting real jobs, such as waiters and shop assistants, and soon doctors and lawyers, in the Metaverse itself. Now, the next cross-over between the real world and the digital world has arrived — buying virtual land.
What Is Virtual Land?
Just as we have real land on Earth, we now have virtual land, i.e., land that exists in a virtual space — the Metaverse. That land can be anything, from a plot of terrain to build a house on, a garden, or a park, to the real estate on the land, such as a mansion, casino, bar, or anything else. All that land is being built in a digital universe and being put up for sale for real currencies — and it’s selling fast.
In June 2021, a virtual real estate firm bought up 259 parcels of land on Decentraland for just under $1 million, by December, meanwhile, over $100 million worth of virtual land had been sold in a week. This might seem slightly crazy, since by definition, it is not real. However, tech fans and celebrities alike have been buying up all the virtual land they can, slowly creating their digital real estate empires.
Why Would Anyone Buy Virtual Land?
The idea of buying land that is not real for real money is mind-boggling to some, and it is easy to see why; one cannot raise a family in a digital house after all, and what if the house just disappears? It is not real, so surely this could happen. Yet, this is happening and there are a good few reasons why:
- Hosting parties and events: By owning virtual land, a virtual landowner can host events and exclusive parties in the Metaverse and charge for entry. They can also create a party like no other, since the décor, lighting, and special effects (SFX) possibilities are limitless in the digital sphere. Moreover, while throwing a surreal and unforgettable party, they can keep the realism and human connection by employing virtual bartenders, dancers, performers (all of them being real people who have joined the Metaverse).
- Building a business easily and affordably: By buying virtual land, a user has the chance to build a Metaverse property that they can turn into a business, for example a bar, restaurant, casino, gaming center, or something else entirely. They can hire employees and run a real profitable business in the Metaverse, without having to pay the huge prices and deal with the extensive paperwork that this would require in the real world — virtual land is after all decentralized.
- A profitable investment: It’s no secret that the decentralized market, including cryptocurrencies and NFTs, is booming business with a huge potential for profit. The Metaverse, as part of it, is just one such possibility. This is the beginning of something that has the potential to be absolutely huge and that means that many are running to buy virtual land with the intention of selling it during a bull market. Many investors will see this new style of decentralized asset as possibly being the next Bitcoin (BTC) and they don’t want to miss out.
What is Metaverse Land?
Now that the concept of virtual land has been understood, it is important to understand how it is built and how it functions. Virtual land exists within the Metaverse, that is, a digital universe that is slowly coming together across many platforms, from Facebook to Decentraland and Sandbox, among many others. This Metaverse land is formed in the following ways:
- NFTs: Virtual land comes as non-fungible tokens (NFTs), which makes them easy to buy and sell in the digital space. They can be bought, sold, traded, and are customizable. Purchasers can even add NFTs together, buying up whole areas on a carefully partitioned map and building mansions, customized swimming pools, tennis courts and the like. The land can also be modified, with users able to customize it, making unique mountains, rivers, and forests, as well as add on new NFTs from the marketplace.
- Blockchains: Most virtual land platforms have been built on the Ethereum blockchain, however, new platforms are increasingly being built on the faster Solana blockchain. This use of blockchain technology means that security is high, with virtual land information and transactions all stored in the unchangeable blocks within the chain. Moreover, it helps the decentralization of the land, meaning that governments cannot get involved and complicate the process with paperwork, taxation, maintenance, regulations, and the like.
- Cryptocurrencies: Transactions on these virtual land platforms are all done using cryptocurrency; usually the one associated with the individual platform. This standardizes the currency used by all the sellers and buyers on the platform, as well as that used by the individuals working and participating in the activities on the platform. Moreover, users and landowners have easy access to their funds while on the platform, allowing them to attend events, pay for tickets, etc. Finally, by using cryptocurrencies, users can again avoid government regulations, making the Metaverse a truly decentralized universe with its own currencies, homes, and businesses.
Which Are the Top Platforms Used for Metaverse Land?
With virtual land being such a lucrative new investment with high potential, it is not surprising that many entrepreneurs and developers have rushed to build a platform supporting it. However, as with any sector, there are a few that have come out on top.
- Decentraland (MANA):This is one of the oldest Metaverse land platforms, offering users the chance to buy virtual property (LAND) and artwork NFTs, trade in their native crypto (MANA), and fully customize their virtual reality. In addition, it is renowned for often throwing virtual festivals and concerts, making it a very interactive platform. It also has an active development team and a good value performance, making it a good investment opportunity. However, it is a huge world and this can make it hard for users to meet each other naturally. Additionally, as it is run on Ethereum, it has relatively high gas fees.
- Sandbox (SAND):Sand also suffers from Ethereum’s high gas fees, however, it offers more user freedom to create amazing creations in their virtual space. With Sandbox, users can use the editor tool and the native SAND crypto to build anything they can imagine. This platform is also Snoop Dogg’s platform of choice, where he has partnered to recreate his villa, display his $17 million NFT collection, sell his own Snoop Dogg NFT collection, and host private parties and performances.
- Axie Infinity (AXS):With a quarter of a million daily players, Axie Infinity has an active and loyal userbase. It is also a little different to the other platforms as alongside being able to buy land, players continually compete and play to gain NFT monsters known as Axies. These Axies vary in their rarity, being sold both inside and outside of the platform for prices ranging from $150 to $100,000, with the most expensive being sold for 300 Ether (ETH). The platform also became the highest valued NFT platform in the world last August 2021, with sales surpassing $1 billion. Its native token AXS also means that its user have a stake in the platform, while the most active users also obtain AXS rewards.
- Other platforms to watch out for include CryptoVoxels, Somnium Space, Star Atlas, and the upcoming NetVRk, to name a few.
How to Buy Land in the Metaverse
How to buy virtual land in the Metaverse will depend on which platform you are using, however, most work by listing the available land and its price on the platform marketplace — just like looking at the window of a real estate office. Each listing will have a description of the land, including the size, location, rarity, and game popularity — all of which are factors that will impact its price. To buy Metaverse land, an investor will usually follow these steps:
- Visit the platform where you want to buy land.
- Create an account and link to a crypto wallet.
- Explore the platform’s marketplace and choose your land.
- Ensure that you have enough of the native cryptocurrency in your wallet.
- Proceed with purchase.
Metaverse land is a new and exciting project that shows indications of growing in popularity and value in an exponential way. The legion of developers is constantly creating new products that surpass anything that a prospective buyer can find in the real world, and the opportunity to customize the land is near-limitless. With this development, record breaking sales, and high-profile collaborations, whether looking to make a profit or simply buy out of interest, investing in virtual land could well be the next big thing.