The mythology of real estate is that its value never goes down, and ownership makes you more responsible and attractive to potential mates.
Metastate Virtual real estate is simple: plots of land in a digital world (i.e. the metaverse) whose value is determined by factors similar to those that drive the value of physical real estate — namely, how big/cool/developed/proximate to other cool people/events they are. In a virtual platform like Sandbox you can buy a beachfront property, or something next to the mall, or something next to the … Warner Music Group headquarters?
Money is pouring in, and a flood could follow. Virtual real estate sales exceeded $500 million in 2021. Analysts project that number will double in 2022. A plot of land on Sandbox was recently purchased for $450,000, as it meant … being meta-neighbors with Snoop Dogg. There’s also commercial real estate: Luxury designer Philipp Plein purchased a property on Decentraland for $1.4 million; it will soon become Plein Plaza. And dedicated real estate development: Metaverse real estate firm Republic Realm recently made the largest virtual land purchase in history — $4.3 million.
By 2007, Second Life’s GDP was larger than those of several small countries. It had a “population” (metaspeak for monthly users) of nearly 2 million. More than $3 billion was spent on in-game transactions within a decade. But then it faltered. There wasn’t much to do in Second Life, once the thrill of customizing your avatar and walking awkwardly around a cartoon landscape wore off. It required more powerful computers and higher bandwidth than most people had access to at the time. Security was feeble; vandals and griefers proliferated. Several competing virtual worlds entered the fold, splintering the already limited community.
There is precedent for this. In 2006, Ailin Graef (nom de meta: Anshe Chung) became a millionaire developing real estate properties on a virtual platform called Second Life. She soon got a profile in BusinessWeek and became the face of economic opportunity in the digital age. Perhaps it was possible to create real value in a virtual world.
1% That’s how much of my net worth I’m thinking of putting into virtual real estate, because that’s how much I’m willing to lose. If I were 25, I might invest 10% of my investment capital — an amount I could afford to see go to zero. Let’s be clear: As a standalone investment, this is gambling. But allocating a fraction of your portfolio to the crazy volatile shit that may offer asymmetric upside (i.e., an outsized return) is less irrational than it sounds.
Glasp is a social web highlighter that people can highlight and organize quotes and thoughts from the web, and access other like-minded people’s learning.