When real estate first encountered virtual currencies and blockchain, the immediate discussion turned to something like an immutable ledger and the disruption of the title industry – that is not happening anytime soon unless title companies adopt the technology and disrupt themselves.

Here is what is happening. I just splurged $300 on wearables and concert tickets — and I’ll never see any of those IRL. In 2022, digital asset shopping could become as mainstream. Digital asset sales have boomed this year from NFT art to virtual apparel and real estate. NFT sales hit $27B in 2021, surging 7X from 2020. Art auction sales alone hit a record $6.5B, largely thanks to NFTs. Since e-pparel is booming, Nike filed trademarks for virtual shoes and merch. As people prepare for an immersive internet future, more treasures could live on the blockchain.

Welcome to Web3

What is happening now – and happening in a big way ($27 Billion) – is virtual real estate in a space called the Metaverse; it is currently in its infancy. There are only a few hundred thousand people who even understand what is going on. But one of those is Facebook, er… Meta. Yes – the largest social media company in the world changed the biggest brand name in the world to Meta. That is a signal that we all need to wake up and pay attention. Virtual living is becoming as relevant as real living for an entire generation of gamers. Over $150 Million was invested in virtual real estate NFTs last month!

It started in online gaming

If you are of a certain age – say over 50 years old – you are probably not a gamer. Solitaire, online poker, and Sudoku do not count. If you have tried Candy Crush, you understand the process of in-app purchases (IAP). When you get into organized groups to play games – referred to as multi-player – things get interesting. Playing multi-player games are entertaining because you are playing with other people from around the world that you would normally have no reason to meet.

Gamers are all about looking flashy, pretty, or flexing. They do this by buying or earning premium skins (like Nike shoes) for your avatar, special weapons, and other fancy stuff; this all makes the game more entertaining. You can typically pay to become stronger, faster. Gamers are dropping thousands of dollars into their online characters and enhancing their virtual properties. They are also creating communities on Discord – a place where you should set up a profile now. Discord is used as a private membership group for NFT owners – it is how brands connect to customers. Twitter is big too, and to a lesser extent – Instagram. Facebook – not so much.

Some of the top growing games include Clash of Clans, Game of War, Fortnite, and Call of Duty Mobile. In Clash of Clans, you purchase Gems to build your village and build your fighting skills for competition in clan wars. In Game of War – Fire Age, the most popular in-app purchase is a $99 pack of 28k Gold. In both Fortnite and Call of Duty Mobile, the player can either unluck achievements (and skins) by accomplishing certain tasks or they can pay $$ to get those enhancements faster.

During Covid, I started a game called State of Survival. It is similar to Clash of Clans. I am on a team of 100 players. We each build our own settlement with virtual buildings, but band together as a team to fight other teams or kill zombies.

Every day, players log into the game for around 30 min or up to numerous hours to do simple tasks like collecting food from farms or partake in other personal challenges that allow you to get stronger. What is important to know about these games is that you play with people you know every day – and are communicating with them via voice, text, and video every day. The investment in time to build up your player and the relationships that you make are significant. These games are hard to leave because of the feeling of being part of a community.

The bad part about these games is that you really do not own your place. This is where virtual worlds kick in. There are a few virtual worlds that have become quite popular recently – Dencentraland and SandBox. These virtual worlds are known as ‘Metaverses’. It’s a place to own all things digital and share them with others. Buildings are intended to deliver experiences that can range from an art gallery to a theme park. OpenSea is a marketplace for these virtual worlds – click the link to browse some of them. As a primer – OpenSea trades using Ethereum [or Eth] – and one Eth is currently around USD$4,000.00.

Digital Land Sales

Here is the part that should interest people in real estate. Recently, Metaverse Group, a subsidiary of Tokens.com, purchased a patch of digital land for about $32.43 million. That land is set in the so-called fashion district of Decentraland.

Want Snoop Dogg as your neighbor in the metaverse? Like many artists – Snoop’s people hare heavy into NFTs for property, music, and art.