A piece of land was acquired on November 30 for about 3 million euros. It is not located in Paris or New York, in fact, it is not anywhere in the material world. It is made up of data and is located in The Sandbox, one of the many platforms in the fledgling Metaverse. The million-dollar transaction was made between the iconic video game company Atari, which since June this year has entered the cryptocurrency and NFT business, and metaverse real estate firm Republic Realm.
Who would spend that kind of money on digital land? A lot of people. Digital land trading has taken off in the last year and is now moving hundreds of thousands or even millions of dollars a month, especially since Mark Zuckerberg renamed Facebook Meta.
Five days has contacted Janine Yorio, co-founder of Republic Realm, whose firm not only holds the record for the largest investment in digital land for the November transaction, but also for the most expensive “NFT asset” sold in a video game: a digital yacht valued at $650,000.
Yorio is not some deep web hacker. He studied at Oxford and worked in finance and real estate for over a decade. The entrepreneur assures that the real estate sector in the metaverse is full of opportunities: “In one of our latest projects, called Fantasy Island, we sold about 100 residences in the metaverse, each one for about 15,000 dollars. Today, the same properties are being resold for about $300,000 each.”
Yorio clarifies that most of his clients are investors who have become rich with cryptocurrencies and that the transactions are carried out in these currencies. Likewise, the plots are located on platforms such as The Sandbox The Decentraland, which give users the ability to move at will and create in a giant virtual territory.
Republic Realm is not the only company in the sector. On November 24 the signature Metaverse Group, a subsidiary of the company Tokens.com listed on the Frankfurt Stock Exchange, bought a plot of land on the Decentraland platform for around $2.5 million. According to the company, the property “will be developed to host fashion and trade shows for the growing digital fashion industry.”
The dynamics of these platforms could be compared to video games like Minecraft, Second Life, Fortnite or Grand Theft Auto, but with a decentralized administration that gives users greater freedom and interactivity. In this sense, according to Yorio, the developers’ business is to buy an empty plot, develop 3D objects on it and resell it at a higher price. Ownership of plots and objects is confirmed by NFTs, which are certificates of authenticity generated and backed by blockchain systems, the same technology used by cryptocurrencies that allows network users to prove ownership in a decentralized manner.
Companies like Adidas, Binance or Atari, the Hong Kong newspaper South China Morning Post, The Walking Dead and the Smurfs franchises, and rapper Snoop Dogg are some references that already own land on these platforms to develop projects. In fact, Atari claimed in August that activities related to NFTs and its cryptocurrency had already generated €2.5 million in revenue.
“With the blockchain, it has been possible to verify the authenticity of digital files and now people can buy a property or a digital object like someone who signs a contract to buy a home,” he assured. Five days the digital artist Javier Arrés, recognized for having earned hundreds of thousands of euros from the sale of objects in the Metaverse.
Arrés assures that he recently sold a work in exchange for two digital plots of land: “I sold one of the plots and the other I kept, although I haven’t done anything on it yet. A year ago they were worth between 6,000 and 10,000 euros, now they could be worth more, it all depends on the area”.
The Sandbox. It is a community platform where creators can monetize assets and experiences. Creators are paid in cryptocurrency for creating games or places within the territory. You can also trade land and items. It features interoperability with other platforms such as Minecraft.
Decentraland. It is a decentralized virtual reality platform and is powered by the ethereum blockchain system. Your users can create, experience and monetize your content and apps. The territory of the platform is divided into parcels. Some plots are further organized into thematic communities or districts, where users can democratically vote on the fate of the community.
The Dream Space. It has a more realistic approach, similar to Second Life or The Sims. They assure that one of their “philosophical” objectives is to seek “eternal life” through digitization and reflect on the future of the human species. For this, it seeks to establish a parallel world where users can create, own, buy and sell objects, places and experiences as they would in real life. It also intends to offer augmented reality and virtual reality experiences and is the platform with the greatest interoperability.