The New World of the Metaverse
2021 has been a banner year for digital goods and the Metaverse. Crazy to think that two decades ago we were barely willing to shell out a dollar for a digital song. NFT artist Beeple sold 5000 JPGs for close to 70m. A Claude Monet painting from 1917, Le Bassin Aux Nymphéas, sold for $70.4m earlier this year.
A plot of land sold for close to 2.5m in virtual world, Decentraland. The land measures 6090 square feet or about $410 per square foot which compares to $1K in San Francisco, and $1.3k in Manhattan, New York City. A mega yacht in another virtual world Sandbox sold for 149 ETH, or $650,000 at the time of the transaction. A used but real casino boat from 1978 on yachtworld.com could be had for $750,000. Sure, there are a lot of speculators thinking that the Metaverse could become the real world, but is there something that we might be missing?
What’s going on out there?
People are making big bets on the Metaverse becoming the next big thing including Facebook who has now officially turned their holding company into Meta. (To be fair, Facebook owns a few other businesses including Oculus, WhatsApp, and Instagram, similar to Alphabet which is the parent company to Google). However, with the success of the kids Metaverse Roblox, things are looking up. Roblox doubled their revenue this past year and their stock has doubled since the IPO earlier this year. Can you imagine what the earnings would be if it was your own credit card? Other Metaverse stocks like Unity and Nvidia have hit all time highs.
Will we be living our lives out in the Metaverse?
As more and more people are living their lives out on social media our online personas are becoming our real life personas. Apps on our phones tell us how much time we spend on our phone and try to limit that, but unfortunately for most people they are failing. That being said, the coronavirus pandemic has shown us that all of the online tools we currently have are no replacement for being with our friends in real life.
Real estate prices in major cities around the world are skyrocketing. However, the online tools can only get better. Zoom can only get better. It might not happen in the next 20 years but it might eventually happen. (Or maybe this is the Metaverse and we are really in the Matrix!)
But it might not.
In 2003, a virtual world called Second Life was released. IBM and other Fortune 500 companies invested millions of dollars into it. Today, Second Life is still around with about 200,000 daily active users and $600 million annual GDP, an amount that is larger than many countries. However, it is still a niche product that is not mobile, requires a software download, and needs maximal bandwidth and hardware systems. Will Second Life be the forerunner to the myriad of Metaverses out there just as Friendster was the precursor to Facebook?
How to hedge your bets?
Many entrepreneurs and speculators are creating virtual items that can be used in virtual worlds. The spike in NFTs is partially following this trend. Others are investing in real estate and creating shops for virtual goods, similar to what a town’s Main Street or a shopping mall might provide.
Still others are developing games, giving concerts, and building other real life businesses in the virtual world. Metaverse 1.0 which could be also called Web 3.0 might be very similar to Web 1.0 where regular businesses went online. (Remember Pets.com?) People might simply set up a shingle to sell virtual lemonade.
Are you in the Metaverse?
Are you an influencer in the Metaverse? Have you made some money in a virtual community? Are you investing in virtual world real estate, luxury products, or NFTs? Drop us an email and let us know your experience or plans in the Metaverse.