It wasn’t that long ago that buying a brand-spanking-new mansion was kind of a big deal all by itself, but in these strange times, it seems that there’s a way to one-up even that particular accomplishment: You can do it in the real world and get a matching one in the metaverse. That’ll show all those 2021 mansions.
As real estate experiments in the metaverse continue, a particularly inventive builder, Gabe Sierra, and his company, Meta Residence, are creating a one-of-a-kind pair of twin structures: one based in the real-world city of Miami and the other in the popular metaverse platform The Sandbox. The physical house should be completed in fourth quarter of 2022, barring any unforeseen problems, but the actual sales date is so far undisclosed.
Through the looking glass (into the metaverse)
This bi-universe sale will take place using the Ethereum blockchain, which means that the primary item being sold is the non-fungible token (NFT) that represents the ownership of the virtual real estate in The Sandbox. This is a common way to sell virtual real estate and acts as a deed that secures a property located at a specific coordinate location in a particular metaverse platform, much like a legal description on a deed describes a property in the real world.
Transferring a metaverse estate like this is kind of old hat at this point and is exactly how most virtual real estate transactions take place. A buyer comes in, makes an offer, it’s accepted, they pony up the virtual dough, the transaction is recorded on the blockchain, and the property’s NFT (the deed) is transferred to the new owner’s virtual wallet. Easy as pie and happens in just a few moments.
What’s particularly interesting about this transaction is that Sierra is attempting to overcome one of the more tricky moves with NFTs: selling real-world real estate. Because of real estate law in the United States, you can’t simply make a real-world house deed into an NFT and be done with it — not yet, anyway. So, in this case, the two properties are bound together, and it’s the NFT real estate that’s being sold, with the real-world property going along for the ride. The buyer will own both versions, and everything will be on the up and up, but the mechanics are a little different and, some might argue, a bit easier.
The buyer not only gets a spectacular 11,000-square-foot mansion in an exclusive part of Miami, they also get an 11,000-square-foot mansion in The Sandbox, perfect for entertaining guests from all over the world in an instant, no passports or fresh COVID tests required.
“The metaverse counterpart of the home will serve as an extension of the real-world home, allowing the buyer to host in-home meetings, events, and parties with guests from around the world,” Sierra said in an interview with Forbes. “By mimicking the real-world environment of the buyer, we are creating an experience that blends the lines between metaverse and reality … After interacting in your virtual living room, you exit the metaverse, and you are now sitting inside that same real-world house. That is the experience we are creating.”
This cross-realm experiment could change real estate forever
There are so many little signs that virtual real estate stands to become a significant part of the real world, especially for investors who are leading the way in many capacities. Everyday people don’t have to buy anything in the metaverse to participate, but as people get more comfortable in the space, they’re going to find more ways to use it, and maybe they’ll eventually want to participate in things they can only do with an ownership stake.
Sierra’s Meta Residence is just one more way that the boundaries are blurring between the real world and the metaverse, and it’s absolutely fantastic. The more that people are going into the metaverse and investing in it emotionally, the bigger it will grow and the more possibilities that will create for communities of all types. The sky, after all, is not even the limit in the metaverse.
We don’t know yet what the metaverse can become. What we do know is that only through a sense of collective investment (both financial and emotional) will it really reach its full potential.
This article represents the opinion of the writer, who may disagree with the “official” recommendation position of a Motley Fool premium advisory service. We’re motley! Questioning an investing thesis — even one of our own — helps us all think critically about investing and make decisions that help us become smarter, happier, and richer.