Metavers: You Can’t Walk This Land Or Build A House, But Plots Are Still Selling For Thousands Of Pounds | Scientific and technical news

Johnny McCamley has spent nearly £5,000 on land.

But he can’t physically walk on this land – and he can’t live on it or build a house on it.

That’s because the 23-year-old’s investment is in the metaverse, meaning his country is completely virtual and only exists in a digital world.

Mr McCamley, from Belfast, is one of the many people who have decided to buy a virtual property in the metaverse.

Last year, virtual land transactions reached $350 million (£267 million) in The Sandbox, the largest digital real estate platform, according to a report from the Center for Finance, Technology and Entrepreneurship.

Additional transactions worth $110 million (£84.2 million) were made in Decentraland, the second largest metaverse platform.

The metaverse allows users to interact with others, play games, build art galleries and shops. Photo: Johnny McCamley

What is the Metaverse?

The metaverse is not a single digital space. It is a network of virtual reality worlds, set up by companies and platforms, where users can interact, play games, attend events and buy land.

A better known metaverse is Horizon Worlds. It was created by Facebook, which has now changed its name to Meta, as the tech giant focuses on virtual spaces.

Other brands have also announced their own digital realms.

Manchester City plans to build the first Metaverse football stadium in partnership with Sony.

McCamley, the chief executive of CryptoClear, bought his land in The Sandbox last October. He said: “There are casinos in the metaverse, there are also museums, but there are also events like podcasts and also conferences that I attended. So the best way to look at it is to take the real world and really digitize much further than Zoom’s.”

Facebook has changed its name to Meta
Facebook renamed Meta in October 2021

Why do people buy virtual real estate?

For Mr. McCamley, the chance to claim a property in this fantasy world was an opportunity not to be missed, despite the uncertainty in the market and price volatility that make it a risky investment.

“It’s like any new investment, any new asset class. When I entered Bitcoin when it was $300, I was told it was extremely risky, same with Ether at $4. I think getting land at Decentraland for $4,000 is an absolute bargain,” he said.

He plans to hold onto his purchase for 10 years: “I think the metaverse will mature in about ten years and I’ll think about selling the land when the time comes.”

Landowners can also use their virtual spaces to design experiences for others to enjoy.

“Community land is my favorite. A very, very good example is, I believe it’s a ‘gecko beach’ that someone made that, as you might guess, is a beach full of geckos,” says Mr. McCamley.

Johnny McCamley, from Belfast, owns three virtual plots in the metaverse
Johnny McCamley, from Belfast, owns three virtual plots in the metaverse

Find a house in the virtual world

The search for the ideal home in the metaverse is similar to real life.

Land next to roads and close to popular areas such as fashion or museum districts will have a higher price and more attractive investment opportunities.

In The Sandbox, busier central areas near other points of interest are much more expensive than newer neighborhoods on the outskirts.

Who your neighbors are also affects the value of your property.

In September 2021, rapper Snoop Dogg announced his own digital “Snoopverse” in The Sandbox.

Two months later, a property next to his land was sold for over $450,000 (£350,000).

But, unlike traditional real estate purchases, there is no third party or legal presence that can guarantee the legitimacy of the transactions.

This can be risky when buying on a secondary market such as OpenSea, where purchases are made using cryptocurrency.

“Meta-Architects” help design interactive virtual spaces for individuals and businesses

Why do people build virtual real estate?

In addition to land owners, there is a new generation of ‘meta-architects’ who design virtual spaces.

Stavros Zachariades is a traditional architect who works in South London but started designing for the digital world during the pandemic after his brother Adonis founded Renovi, an NFT marketplace.

The 37-year-old recently designed pop-up stores for Metaverse Fashion Week.

“The appeal of the metaverse and building in the metaverse is” [people and businesses] can show what it’s all about,” Zachariades said.

“They can show their products. We can offer meeting rooms for different people, especially now with COVID and the last two years where people are more distant.

“You can, from the realm of super-sci-fi, have floating buildings that twist and change — and on the other side of the realm, historic and classical architectural styles.”

He thinks the metaverse could open doors for people who don’t have connectivity in real life: “I was thinking about how accessibility can change, for example that someone who doesn’t have the same mobility can just be an equal in the metaverse. Why not? ?”

With an increased demand for virtual properties,
With a growing demand for virtual properties, “meta-architects” are stepping in to help design interactive digital spaces. Photo: Stavros Zachary

“It’s just impossible to know what the endgame is”

But many warn that these investments could fail.

Birmingham YouTuber ‘Mitch Investing’ regularly delves into topics such as personal finance and emerging technology on his channel.

He thinks the promises that the metaverse will become a part of our daily lives are exaggerated.

“It’s so early in its development that it would be like investing in a company that’s only been around for a year. I’m not sure if it will take off or not, not so sure where the business is going, sure how the business model might evolve… it’s highly speculative in my opinion,” the 26-year-old said.

It is feared that not all virtual worlds succeed in attracting sufficient users.

“There can be thousands of metaverses like there are websites today. It’s just impossible to know what the endgame is,” he warned.

YouTuber Mitch Investing thinks buying virtual real estate is a very risky investment strategy
YouTuber Mitch Investing thinks buying virtual real estate is a risky investment strategy

Risk and Volatility

The Financial Conduct Authority has called crypto assets “very high-risk speculative investments” and warned that people trading them should be prepared to lose all their money.

There are also wider concerns about user safety in terms of online harm.

The new online security law will take into account activities in the metaverse, requiring companies to act if fraud is committed by their users, including those in virtual reality spaces.

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