The virtual land boom, explained

“Virtual real estate” may sound like an oxymoron, but a future where pixelated land rivals Manhattan properties is close.

Visual: Singdhi Sokpo

The virtual land boom, explained

There’s virtual reality — and then there’s virtual realty.

Today, “virtual real estate” may sound like an oxymoron, but a future where pixelated land is sold at values rivaling Manhattan properties is likely.

Actually, screw the future — it’s happening now.

What the heck’s a virtual land boom?

Let’s step back. “The Metaverse,” a conglomerate of ultra-interactive virtual worlds with economies of their own… is coming. Many say it’s already here with “The Sandbox,” “Decentraland,” “Minecraft,” and others.

Some predict it’s a $1T (if not $30T) opportunity. New virtual worlds mean new kinds of jobs, marketplaces (i.e., NFT malls), and experiences (i.e., concerts).

So think of it this way: If you had the chance to buy Manhattan real estate in 1750 and live to reap the benefits, that would’ve been nice, right?

And today’s world moves faster than Colonial America’s, which is why folks are jumping in now. In the last week of November, sales of digital land purchases brought in $105.9m across just 4 metaverse projects.

What’s the land used for?

Well, you can develop it, open a store, build a house, park your virtual $650k yacht, or establish an embassy like Barbados is doing.

One recent purchase on “Decentraland” for $2.43m equated to 6.9k square feet at $400/foot, about ⅓ the per-foot value of *actual* land in San Francisco.

The big risk here is that the value of virtual purchases can go “poof” in milliseconds. For example, if a newer, cooler metaverse like the OASIS happens to open up.

Remember, even a pile of dry dirt can hold some value in a real real estate bust.

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