Shaking Up The Metaverse: What Is Decentraland?

Shaking Up The Metaverse: What Is Decentraland? – The rise of virtual real estate is turning Metavas into a Wild West. And there are true believers on its fringes.

Emerging metaverses are pouring money into virtual real estate on all platforms. It could shake up one of the oldest post-game markets.

Shaking Up The Metaverse: What Is Decentraland?

Shaking Up The Metaverse: What Is Decentraland?

Although encrypted, the virtual land is not unlimited, as Decentraland, Somnium, and others limit the supply.

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When Artur Sykov, founder and CEO of metaverse platform Somnium Space, opened his webcam for an interview, a black lizard-like creature stood up and greeted me, displaying white and green light patterns on its face and chest. . I was on the other end of a zoom call, bored and transfixed by the animated world I saw sitting in my living room. It felt like Facetiming someone from a rotary phone.

Shaking Up The Metaverse: What Is Decentraland?

Sychov was interviewed at Somnium, which aspires to be one of the first and most advanced metaverse platforms that many tech and gaming companies are now striving for, as a hybrid video game and its own economy. He walked me through a build, showed off some of his NFT collections, and even played a little video game created by one of the platform’s users. The game itself is a first-person horror experience set in a dimly lit dungeon that contains, you guessed it, a unique NFT, Somnium. Sychov told me that if the creator wanted, he could sell the entire game to another user, who could monetize it however he wanted.

Unlike most of these current process products, Somnium is virtual reality compatible. It allows Sikov to design his avatar, which will also be an NFT, using a headset and hand-tracking controller, capable of moving through the virtual landscape as if it were in the real world. You can buy, trade, and use NFTs in Somnium, which includes everything from avatars and cars to art projects and fantasy lands, interactive exhibits, and mini-games like Sikov’s Demo for Me. But it’s virtual real estate that Sikov says he’s especially careful about.

Shaking Up The Metaverse: What Is Decentraland?

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“I’m not a big fan of the hype around price or how it’s reported right now,” Cichow told me of the current speculative culture surrounding virtual real estate. “It fuels FOMO and throws a lot of people into this dumpster fire without understanding why they’re doing it or where they can actually use it.” Somnium, on the other hand, isn’t just about buying and selling virtual land or NFTs, Sikov told me. The company wants the virtual world to be the next generation of Fortnite or Roblox, of course, given that Fortnite or Roblox won’t come first.

Sikov offers one side of the Metaverse coin, a techno-brilliant goal to use games and use the Internet to benefit everyday gamers using decentralized blockchain platforms and cryptocurrencies. On the other hand, well, it’s all about money. Speculation is now rampant in the crypto community, and nowhere is this more true than in crypto real estate.

Shaking Up The Metaverse: What Is Decentraland?

“I’ve been playing Ultima Online since 1999,” says Cichow, referring to the classic massively multiplayer online game that helped pioneer concepts like expressive virtual avatars and in-game items and land ownership. “I started working on Somnium with the idea that it would be a massive, seamless virtual reality platform where people could create content, build things, and interact together.” Somnium will keep 7.5% of post-market NFT sales in OpenC on the market, which Sikov says will help sustain the company and reduce leveraged speculation.

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Ownership of property in video games, like the Metaverse itself, is not new; As Sychow points out, it’s been around since Ultima Online and Second Life. Over the years, and with the aftermarket of other virtual video game products like Team Fortress hats and World War Gold, the idea of ​​a virtual economy began to take on a more tangible form, often in the lower corners of Internet. With most games. The developers are more than happy to take another look. Back in 2010, Entropia Universe online player Club Navardi quietly hinted that he might shake up the future of virtual real estate by selling a virtual nightclub on an asteroid for $635,000 at the time.

Shaking Up The Metaverse: What Is Decentraland?

It wasn’t until the rise of the modern crypto movement in recent years, with the popularity of NFTs and, more recently, the hype surrounding the Metaverse, that the concept of investing in virtual lands went from unthinkable to the next big thing. gold game. Rush In that context, Somnium is one of the Metaverse platforms that has been making headlines lately with its mind-boggling financial implications. Others may include The Sandbox, Decentraland and Cryptovoxels, funded by Softbank. Think of the Metaverse as the “Big Four” in the real estate market.

Behind these platforms, all of which have grand ambitions to create a decentralized future for the internet, are a number of companies who see this as America’s new internet frontier, provided they buy the right land. Time for the right price. By 2021, more than $500 million worth of real estate will be sold on the Metaverse platform, CNBC reports, and prices have risen as much as 500% in recent months.

Shaking Up The Metaverse: What Is Decentraland?

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Companies like Republic Realm, which this week raised $60 million in funding led by Andreessen Horowitz and launched a new real estate offshoot, and are spending millions on artificially rarefied virtual land. These companies, like real-world developers, want to build virtual luxury condominiums for the tech-savvy and ultra-rich, and invest in brand activations in commercial spaces, malls and entertainment venues, all within the competitive platform. Metaverse for years, if not decades. . , far from widespread adoption. Although it is structured by codes, the land is not unlimited, because Decentraland, Somnium and others limit the offer.

“Imagine coming to New York with farmland, and you have the option of owning a block of Soho,” Michael Gord, founder of virtual real estate firm Metaverse Group, told The New York Times last fall. . “If someone wants to buy a block of real estate in Soho today, it’s priceless, it’s not on the market. There should be a similar experience in the metaverse. Gord, a subsidiary of, is optimistic about Decentraland, predicting that it will one day become “the most populous city on Earth and possibly the most desirable real estate on Earth.”

Shaking Up The Metaverse: What Is Decentraland?

Other startups like Superworld and Upland are selling real-world addresses and landmarks as virtual parcels that can be decorated with advertising, art, or futuristic mobile phone screens or AR glasses. . There’s a cyberpunk theme to Pokemon Go with a dash of Monopoly, and the legal implications are definitely up in the air, my colleague Janko Roetgers reported earlier this month.

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“With the growth of metaverses like Decentraland and The Sandbox, virtual land can offer an attractive (and affordable) option for brands to reevaluate their physical footprint. These virtual locations can serve as highly realistic virtual shopping experiences for events or digital or real-world goods,” Newzoo analyst Mihai said. “A Metaverse location has the potential to reach a larger share of customers than most physical locations,” Vicol wrote in a Blockchain Gaming Trends report last month.

Shaking Up The Metaverse: What Is Decentraland?

All of these assumptions not only damage the public image of the market among true believers, but can also alienate the everyday gamers that these platforms are trying to attract. Mythic Games, another company backed by Andreessen Horowitz, operates a blockchain platform and its own game, Blockchain Block Party, which allows players to own, buy and sell NFTs, as well as allowing other companies to develop the technology and make tools. it is. It does not currently dabble in virtual real estate, and the company is now clearly dabbling in cryptocurrency as well.

“We’re moving away from virtual tokens. It’s already hard to balance a game with a stablecoin. There may be some issues this year, and a lot of game studios are going to jump into the space and have some regulatory issues,” John Linden, CEO of Popularity , he told me. “This get-rich-quick scheme.” No, because it won’t feel right or realistic, but it’s a great experience when you have integrity and create value and authenticity.

Shaking Up The Metaverse: What Is Decentraland?

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Unlike some popular play-to-win blockchain games like Axie Infinity, Somnium has no startup costs, Sikov said. He worries that too many competing platforms that are becoming speculative hot spots could displace existing game fans and members of society.

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