A 566sqm piece of prime retail real estate sold online for US$2.4 million this week – but there’s a catch: it doesn’t exist.
The land is ‘located’ on Fashion Street, a luxury retail precinct in Decentraland, a metaverse where people can buy land, visit buildings, and walk around and meet people as avatars. The buyer: crypto investor Tokens.com which says it plans to use the space to host digital fashion events and sell virtual clothing for avatars.
The transaction was settled in a cryptocurrency called Mana and the agreed price of 618,000 Mana equates to US$2.4 million in real money.
Decentraland said the site was the most expensive purchase of a plot of virtual real estate on its platform to date. It comprises 116 smaller parcels, each measuring 4.9sqm taking the plot said to 566sqm of virtual space.
Decentraland is a specific type of metaverse that uses blockchain. Land and other items in Decentraland are sold in the form of non-fungible tokens (NFTs), a kind of crypto asset.
Crypto enthusiasts buy land there as a speculative investment, using Mana.
Andrew Kiguel, CEO of Tokens.com, said the assets would complement the ‘real estate’ already held by Metaverse Group.
In June, a plot of virtual land in Decentraland sold for 1,295,000 Mana, worth $913,228 at the time. The buyers built a virtual shopping centre to sell digital clothing, but Reuters reports it has visited this site multiple times since and has yet to see any shoppers.
Environments such as Decentraland have grown in popularity this year, as the pandemic caused people to spend more time online. Interest in the concept surged last month when Facebook changed its name to Meta to reflect its focus on developing virtual reality products for the metaverse.
- Original reporting by Elizabeth Howcroft. Editing by Saikat Chatterjee and Barbara Lewis of Reuters, rewriting by Robert Stockdill of Inside Retail.