The metaverse, a virtual world where people have avatars and interact with digital assets and augmented reality, is developing together with blockchain technology and its commercialization is increasing rapidly: it is manifested in the form of companies establishing their business on what is expected to be a huge network of platforms.
If metaverse is one of the trend words, the NFT (and blockchain technology) is another. The NFT technology is growing as the basis for monetizing the metaverse. Property prices for “shops” and “offices” in the metaverse are booming.
Buying property in the metaverse
In the last week of October, after Facebook announced it was rebranded to Meta to expand its reach beyond social media and into the Metaverse, over USD 106 million worth of Metaverse land was sold in seven days, cointelegraph.com reports.
And with the commerce growing, property is booming Users of Legacy, an NFT-based “London”, spent USD 54 million on plots of land in the game. SuperWorld, a virtual planet, says the average user spends USD 3,000 on property purchases.
Republic Realm, a company that manages and develops digital real estate, has paid USD 4.3 million for land in a platform called the Sandbox that will in the metaverse. And Tokens.com has spent USD 2.4 million for a plot in Decentraland’s Fashion Street district.
And fashion for your avatar of course
Big players like sports fashion Adidas, fashion chain H&M and others are also already in the growing metaverse. Adidas has said the company is launching a new collection, available both in the metaverse and in reality at the same time, so that your avatar in metaverse can have the same type of trainers as you yourself have going to the office.
Clothing brand H&M has announced that it will offer its customers a three-dimensional shopping in its virtual store in the metaverse. Customers can purchase what they want in the CEEK City universe, a three-dimensional digital world.
Customers can also order these clothes from H&M’s physical stores with CEEK coin, a metaverse coin project connecting artists, athletes and digital content creators directly with their fans in virtual worlds.
How do you pay?
Non-fungible tokens -records of digital ownership stored in the blockchain- will be the solution for proving ownership in the metaverse.
“For metaverse property rights, you simply cannot fake it because of the way smart contracts are defined, and the NFTs programmed,” says Eric Anziani, COO of Crypto.com, told cointelegraph.com. “You know you own an asset and can demonstrate ownership fully. Based on the terms and conditions of that virtual environment, you can then assert ownership rights.”
William Quigley, co-founder of stablecoin Tether and an authority on cryptocurrency space, told news agency Bloomberg that the metaverse is a huge economic force that’s going to change people’s lives significantly in coming years.
Payments are normally made in crypto currencies with more and more alternatives being introduced. The hatch for people with their economy in reality is that the value of cryptos is very volatile.
However, it can be expected that more stable digital currencies are on their way. Several central banks have started experimenting with totally digital currencies as an alternative for digital transactions. Central bank supported digital currencies, when introduced, would have a value supported by the bank with more normal volatility.
Marketing and research firm Gartner predicts that 20% of large organizations will use digital currencies for payments, stored value or collateral by 2024.
“Increasing mainstream acceptance of cryptocurrencies on traditional payment platforms and the rise of central bank digital currencies (CBDCs) will push many large enterprises to incorporate digital currencies into their applications in the coming years,” says Avivah Litan, vice president at Gartner.
According to a report by DappRadar, 2021 was the best year for the NFT market generating over USD 23 billion.
Does any of this ring a bell?
Zuckerberg has managed to give the impression that the metaverse is his vision, his brainchild, though his metaverse is more expanding a metaverse, or pre-metaverse, that has existed for more than fifteen years. The word was invented in 1992 in the book Snow Crash as a mix of meta and universe. And in the real world, the beyond-real has existed for a decade or more in the form of gaming with multiple players remotely playing against each other in a virtual world inhabited by the avatars that represent the players.
And one attempt to create a metaverse has famously faded and is by now almost forgotten. In 2003, Second Life was launched. It was going to be our virtual world beyond reality with shops and even governments opening embassies in the Second Life. In was inhabited by “residents” in the form of avatars. In 2007, Second Life had more than 11 million residents. Since then, it has faded with users moving to other forms of social media, but it still has some loyal residents.
And the commercialization of the gaming pre-metaverse is equally old. Many of the games are cheap, or for free, but the players have to buy things within the game’s metaverse.