Alt coins,  Technology

Will the Metaverse Live Up to the Hype?

Virtual land, concerts, and avatars being sold for thousands of dollars

In the last month, certain GameFi coins have taken off in price, hitting new all time highs and trading volumes. Decentraland (MANA) is the most prominent example. With a peak price of $4.69, the coin currently trades at $3.19, which is significant considering it traded at less than $1 in late October. Other gaming coins, The Sandbox (SAND) and Axie Infinity (AXS) have seen similar patterns of growth in the past few months. 

A big influence on the price of these coins was Facebook’s recent announcement of the changing of their company name to Meta. Mark Zuckerberg made an extensive video explaining what the Metaverse is and how it can change the future of the Internet and human interaction as a whole. The Metaverse is an online gaming world where everyone gets their own 3D avatars and are able to essentially have a second life in an online virtual space. You are able to buy virtual objects, clothes, avatars, property, and more in these online spaces, all as NFTs. 

In Decentraland, the player is able to use MANA as virtual currency for all transactions in the game. This includes the purchasing of land, which has been sold for up to $1 million dollars in MANA, and you can then sell it for USD or cryptocurrency on a number of exchange platforms. This isn’t a joke or a passing trend, but a legitimately viable option for the future of gaming, the economy, and the blockchain. Technology only continues to get better at an accelerating rate, so the graphics and fundamentals of these games will only improve as well.

During 2020, at the height of the Coronavirus pandemic, many were forced to stay inside their homes and turn entirely to the internet for their social interaction, work, and anything else they wanted to do. Some people now entirely prefer a digital lifestyle to that of real life, so they are willing to invest all of their money into making their digital life one as good as many people live in the real world. Buying land in a game like Decentraland enables you to host events like concerts or social gatherings, where people are able to participate from all over the world. These events often have special NFT keys that you need to purchase in order to attend, to ensure that not just anyone can go. On the Decentraland website, there are thousands of events users can choose to attend, and this is only one of the Defi games available to play.

There is a community that fully understands how these games work, and the value of owning virtual assets, but there are more people who are confused by the fundamentals, or by why anyone would want to own something like this. As big tech gets into creating a more complete Metaverse, big companies like Meta and Apple will surely find ways to foster a more widespread adoption by the public, but that will take time. However, land is already selling for tens to hundreds of thousands of dollars in these games. Will it really go higher? The chances are highly likely. Celebrities like Snoop Dogg and Marshmello have already come out and done events in The Sandbox and Decentraland. Imagine the chance to live next to Snoop Dogg, even if it’s in a virtual world. People will pay a large sum of money just for a chance to meet Snoop, much less live next to him. 

The main issue is that the costs of most of the land and avatars in these virtual worlds are huge. Most people don’t have $25,000 lying around that they can spend on land in a video game. There are cheaper options available, but even those are generally a couple hundred dollars, so at the moment these virtual worlds are only open to people with a lot of money on their hands, and who also have the time to research it correctly to ensure they aren’t investing in something that will lose all its value. 

There’s huge potential for the Metaverse if it’s done right, and as increasingly mainstream celebrities and companies pick it up, it’s bound to continue gaining traction. There is an affordability issue, and like with any investing, you always have the chance to lose most, if not all, of your money.

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Elijah Pollack is editor-in-chief of Modern Consensus. He has previously co-hosted the Audible podcast Extra Credit. Elijah has published work in the past for Book and Film Globe and The Observer.