Friday, March 31, 2023

"The Future is a Dead Mall - Decentraland and the Metaverse"

I've found Folding Ideas annoyingly inconsistent. Line Goes Up remains perhaps the definitive overview of the NFT mania, but most of his other videos had left me definitely underwhelmed.

"The Future is a Dead Mall" doesn't reset the high score but it is certainly the second best thing I've seen on the site. The story of Decentraland is wonderfully absurd and rich with telling details about the culture that produced it. The length is a bit daunting (though still shorter than "Line Goes Up"), but there's more than enough content to fill the time. 

To get the full comic effect (and further lower your opinion of the ever credulous NYT), check out this article on virtual real estate from the height of the bubble. (You can find it here. It does not deserve another direct link.)

The Metaverse Group has a real estate investment trust, and it plans to build a portfolio of properties in Decentraland as well as other realms including Somnium Space, Sandbox and Upland. The internet may be infinite, but virtual real estate is not — Decentraland, for example, is 90,000 parcels of land, each roughly 50 feet by 50 feet. Among investors, there’s a sense that there’s gold in those pixelated hills, Mr. Gord said.

“Imagine if you came to New York when it was farmland, and you had the option to get a block of SoHo,” he said. “If someone wants to buy a block of real estate in SoHo today, it’s priceless, it’s not on the market. That same experience is going to happen in the metaverse.”

Last week, closed an even larger land deal in Decentraland’s fashion district for roughly $2.5 million. The company, which says the real estate transaction was the largest in metaverse history, plans to develop the area into a virtual commerce hub for luxury fashion brands, à la Rodeo Drive or Fifth Avenue.

Mr. Kiguel estimates his portfolio in the metaverse is valued at up to 10 times more than its purchase price, and much of the reasoning will sound similar to anyone who has ever bought or sold real estate.

“It’s location, location, location,” he said. “A parcel of land in the downtown core, which has a lot of visitor traffic, is worth more than a parcel of land in the suburbs. There’s a scarcity value.”

Written by Dan Olson and Nathan Landel 

 Produced and performed by Dan Olson 

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