Today faithful reader, we will return to the Metaverse so that you can be up to date with the latest in modern life and able to hold an intelligent conversation with your grandchildren.
If you recall my post of 12/13/21, the Metaverse is a virtual (i.e. not real) universe which is very much like stepping into a movie. If the movie was “Where the Crawdads Sing”, you’d be slogging around in the swamp, sleeping in a hut and drooling over the Tate character. I know you’re drooling over Tate in real life but your chances with him are better in virtual.
In today’s Metaverse, it’s gotten to the point where it’s possible for you to plunk down some real money for some imaginary land. So yes, you can own the virtual manifestation of the swamp, the hut and the tower—but you’ll have to pay for it. With Crypto. You’ll remember that Crypto has many forms—like Bitcoin or Ether—and that you buy it with real US money. It’s sort of like getting Euros when you travel, except that the value of Crypto has nothing to do with anything real. It’s the perfect currency for the virtual world. If you want to get the grandkids going, tell them you bought a couple hundred dollars of Bitcoin at $10 a while back and watch them light up.
To buy virtual real estate, you head to the internet to companies like Metaverse Properties (MV) or Tillia Earth. On MV, you can buy in the Sandbox neighborhood and be located near Snoop Dogg’s sandbox. People were literally paying hundreds of thousands of dollars for spots next to Snoop. Of course, many of these locations were bought last year when Bitcoin was $65,000 (for 1). Today, it’s $21,469 so there goes the neighborhood.
A lot of this real estate is being purchased or leased by companies and organizations that want to promote something. The Australian Open rented virtual land to host a festival during the Open. The space included digital stadiums where enthusiasts could interact and watch historic matches together. Atari has purchased land near Snoop where you can pop in and play virtual games. Snoop has mentioned that he’s considering providing small concerts for the neighbors. One benefit is that in a virtual environment, the kids will only be able to buy virtual drugs.
If you’re thinking that this sounds a lot like the Theranos finger-prick blood testing scam you aren’t alone.
“Metaverse investments are risky. There's a very high likelihood that you're going to lose everything,” says Fabian Schär, a professor at the University of Basel and the managing director at the school’s Center for Innovative Finance.
There are differing opinions on where this Metaverse thing is going. In June, McKinsey projected that the “metaverse could grow into a $5 trillion market by 2030, which would equal the size of Japan’s economy, the third-largest in the world.” McKinsey should know about booming markets: they’re the company that helped Purdue Pharma supercharge the sales of OxyContin.
Mark Cuban, a well-known player in the Crypto world (and owner of the NBA Dallas Mavericks) said of virtual land: “The worst part is people are buying real estate in these places. I mean, that’s just the dumbest shit ever,” Cuban added that purchasing metaverse land was dumb “because there’s unlimited volumes that you can create.”
I don’t know, Mark. There’s a suck born every minute.
Credit Forbes August 14,2022 edition as my source on this story. Every once in a while they have a zinger.