The Metaverse is an immersive world combining virtual reality and augmented reality, where users are represented by avatars and roam virtual spaces. It comprises a variety of platforms and environments that can be explored, experienced, and developed. Online social games like Second Life, Fortnite and Minecraft are among the first wave of successful Metaverse games. Now, Meta and Microsoft see the Metaverse as a place to play, live, and work. A JP Morgan white paper stated that opportunities in the Metaverse seem “limitless.” The bank predicted that virtual worlds will “infiltrate every sector in some ways in the coming years.” A March 31 report by Citi concluded that the Metaverse has the potential to become a $13 trillion opportunity by 2030, with total global users of between one and five billion. According to Citi, the Metaverse will become a significant part of the next iteration of the internet (referred to as Web3) enabled by a variety of existing and emerging technologies, including 5G connectivity, secure blockchain and payment platforms, crypto assets, cloud computing, artificial intelligence, 3D modeling tools and headset devices.
A Land Rush, Virtually Speaking
Not surprisingly, investors are speculating regarding the value and potential of “virtual land” within the Metaverse, where land sales in 2021 exceeded $500 million and attracted a lot of attention and hype. The Sandbox, Decentraland, Somnium Space and CryptoVoxels are the most active platforms and owners can build almost anything on their virtual parcels. The open-source Ethereum blockchain, with self-executing smart contract functionality, operates as the foundational layer for most platforms. Parcels of land in The Sandbox and Decentraland are purchased with cryptocurrencies (called SAND and MANA, respectively) on their platforms and can also be sold and purchased on secondary marketplaces like OpenSea.
Reprinted courtesy of Robert G. Howard, Pillsbury, David W. Wright, Pillsbury and Craig A. de Ridder, Pillsbury
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