KEY POINTS

  • Interest in the metaverse has soared recently
  • The prices of associated metaverse tokens have also risen, contributing to the surge
  • Metaverses possess roughly $1 trillion worth of revenue opportunities for investors

(This article was first published on Nov. 20, 2021.)

The virtual real estate market is on the rise, with investors ready to pay millions in fiat money to secure their spot as a rightful owner of land in the metaverse -- a world where virtual personalities interact, build assets and connect with others in their digital avatars. 

Metaverse refers to a highly interactive virtual world where humans can interact with others, and can easily buy, trade and sell property like in the real world, using cryptocurrency. It has been gaining immense popularity and has become a booming investors' market with roughly $1 trillion worth of revenue opportunities. Let's take a look at four popular metaverse deals that have hogged the headlines recently. 

Metaverse Group purchases $2.43 million land in Decentraland: Decentraland, a virtual world comprising 90,601 parcels of land, had on Nov.23 made headlines when the Metaverse Group purchased a patch of land in the 3D virtual world for 618,000 MANA or $2.43 million. 

Plot sale on Decentraland worth $913,228.20: Republic Realm, an active investor and developer of the metaverse ecosystem, purchased 259 parcels of land in Decentraland for $913,228.20. The price was slightly higher than the average home price in Manhattan. 

$2.3 million land purchase on Axie Infinity: Axie Infinity, a popular play-to-earn gaming platform on Thursday, announced that it sold one of its plots for 550 Ether, or about $2.3 million. 

Sandbox Mega Yacht purchase: A virtual mega yacht was recently sold on the Sandbox for a whopping $650,000, or 149 Ether.   

The recent popularity surge of the metaverse ecosystem has also impacted their token prices. The prices of MANA ( Decentraland) and Sandbox (SAND) have recorded a notable rise, making more investors to venture into the virtual ecosystem. 

The price of SAND at 12: 10 a.m.ET Tuesday was $6.97, and MANA was trading at $4.74, Coinmarketcap data showed.

What makes the metaverse so popular?  

Metaverse platforms usually run on mainstream blockchain networks — or a database that ensures a transaction made is never replicated or tampered with by any means. The concept has gained immense popularity owing to the growing number of activities that the virtual world offers to its investors. A user can buy, shop and sell different properties, socialize with friends, attend concerts and meetings, just like in the real world. 

The concept involves spending cryptocurrency to accumulate resources in the virtual metaverse world, and hence many metaverse-inspired tokens have come to the market in the hope of enticing investors and make them join the growing rally. 

Apart from SAND and MANA, other metaverse tokens such as Axie Infinity (AXS), Enjin Coin (ENJ) and Render Token (RNDR) have also amassed a loyal fan base, and are used extensively as a metaverse currency to thrive in the virtual 3D world.

Cryptocurrencies such as AXS, ENJ and MANA are used extensively by users to purchase the in-house gaming content and to help with expanding the virtual ecosystem and the features they can access. The growing hype over the metaverse has also accelerated the adoption of NFTs, fueling their acceptance and usage at a global level.

These metaverse tokens also offer intrinsic offline value with their regular price hikes as the metaverse concept further expands and grows. The prices of such tokens can also be converted to U.S. dollars, or any fiat currency, and be traded on leading crypto exchanges as a means to earn more.

What are the risks associated with metaverse technology? 

While the majority of the investors have been looking at the brighter side of things, the metaverse ecosystem — like other blockchain platforms — is also susceptible to traditional cyber security attacks. Since the technology is in its early stages, much of it has not been explored in detail or is widely known to the average user, which makes these transactions look quite tricky and complicated. 

Barbados, shown in this file photo, plans to open an embassy in the metaverse Barbados, shown in this file photo, plans to open an embassy in the metaverse Photo: GETTY IMAGES NORTH AMERICA via AFP / JOE RAEDLE