🏡Fancy Living In The Metaverse? Now You Can!

Two years ago, meeting with a colleague over Zoom and exercising on a stationary bike (ahem, those overpriced Pelotons) were pretty unheard of and were even seen as weird things to do. But guess what? Within a matter of months these virtual worlds soon collided with our physical ones. And they quickly became the norm. We’ve moved on. And now, instead of gathering at football stadiums cheering with fellow fans and feeling the atmosphere (as a Brit, going to a football game is something I seriously must do so before it’s too late!) or even singing along with Ed Sheeran at his concert in London, you can do all this on the metaverse! Fun? Or full on foolish? You tell me. 

Companies (cough, cough Big Tech) are pouring billions and billions of dollars into this new virtual world that we call the metaverse in the hope of it becoming The Next Big Thing. They’re hoping for this buzzword that never stops buzzing to become more than that. That it will soon dominate our lives; filling their pockets. Take Facebook who has changed its name to Meta, fillings its metaoffices with metamates. And trust me, this rebranding is a lot more than a marketing spiel! It’s a strategic move. One that shows investors, and us lot, what they’re really about. Aka all things Meta(verse). Oh, and they’ve already spent ~$10 billion on doing just that.

Facebook is the obvious one but there are loads more companies (not just tech ones) who are ploughing through this new virtual arena. JP Morgan, for instance, recently snapped up some land on Decentraland. They’ve set up their own lounge on this blockchain-based virtual world but before you can get comfy on their couches, you’re greeted with a tiger and virtual (CEO) Jamie Dimon.

Meetings And Medicine

The metaverse is slowly starting to come to life and it has some pretty cool applications within the business world. Like the ability to have a proper meeting that’s livelier and way more interactive than meeting over a boring ol’ Zoom screen yelling “you’re on mute!” for the umpteenth time. With the metaverse, you can be transported from your dull office to some sunny spot in Silicon Valley as you hang out with colleagues and clients. This application is radically changing the way businesses interact with their people and will continue to accelerate the changes that are already happening, not to mention drastically cutting down on companies’ air travel which remains one of their most polluting activities. 

Photo by Martin Sanchez on Unsplash.com

But think about the metaverse’s impact on students and education, especially medical students as these lot practice on 3D anatomical models as they get to master their skills. This kinda stuff isn’t exactly possible over Zoom or Teams. Students at Queen Mary University of London are among the first in the world to try out lectures in the metaverse as they popped on their Oculus headset (aka computer for your eyes) and began their virtual, 3D lectures! The metaverse can also help train in doctors and surgeons by using simulations of a real-life medical procedures in VR. They’ll get to try it out on avatars before they operate on humans! This is a massive win-win. 

Musical Metaverse 

It’s been two years since the pandemic broke out and we’re no closer to knowing when our social lives will return to normal. A new, far deadlier variant could spring itself on us at any moment and while here in the UK we’ve just made mask wearing non-mandatory and have officially ended all sorts of restrictions (YAY!), it could all reverse in an instant. With all these rules forever changing, it’s put a massive strain on the music industry from nightclubs to music venues not to mention musicians since they could all technically be shut down. At any minute.

If you work in this industry or know anyone who does, then you’ll know how cruel covid has been to them. Live music revenues are only expected to recover in late 2023 (they’re still way off their 2019 figures) and the metaverse is one way of keeping the beat well and truly alive for our beloved music industry. Artists like Justin Bieber, The Weekend, Ed Sheeran and Ariana Grande have already played in these virtual (metaverse) concerts. Take Ariana’s concert: around 78 million Fortnite users showed up and some are speculating that she’ll earn as much as $20 million from this one (though probably not one-off!) virtual gig. Zara Larson who also had a go at performing a virtual show (on Roblox) earned seven figures for sales of items that were purchased in the game from hats to sunglasses whose prices started at just $1. Nice. 

Photo by Richard Horvath on Unsplash.com

It’s not just the convenience of the metaverse that’s moving the music industry and its tech borders but it’s the fact that celebs can earn tons more revenue this way. Spotify, which we all use, reduce celebs’ music revenues but take Animal Concerts, who allow performers to take home 50% of the revenue from both the ticket and NFT sales! Celebs benefit more and they’ve now got an incentive to usher in their fans to this new and exciting metaverse. No more cancelled tours and no-go shows for these celebs to worry about. The metaverse has got their (avatar’s) back. 

Virtual Villas 

If you’re gonna be spending a whole lot more time on the metaverse, you’ll be needing a crib of your own. Or better still, an island of your own! With your very own virtual villa! There’s an uber-exclusive 100-person community called Fantasy Islands whose prices start at a cool $104,000. Though considering that here in the UK, the average house now costs more than two times that we could be looking a real bargain here. The resale listings for Fantasy Islands on Rarible (an NFT marketplace) ranges from 40-1,000 ether which is between $104,000 to $2.6 million. Let’s see if someone is actually gonna be willing to $2.6 million for a virtual home. I’m waiting. 

You’re probably wondering how, exactly, do you buy this virtual home of yours? Well, users buy a digital receipt (the NFT) that’s recorded on a public digital ledger (aka the blockchain), pretty similar to how crypto transactions are stored. Millions upon millions of dollars have already been thrown at the metaverse as folk desperately try to hop onto the virtual property ladder. Meanwhile us lot are still trying to buy an actual home, on the ground. In real time. 

Last year, as the pandemic was raging on and people were buying first (and second) homes in the countryside in a bid for more space, some folk were out buying superyachts. Virtual ones, I mean. For $650,000. Has the world gone nuts?! Wait, there’s more. Republic Realm is looking at bespoke (virtual) homes. Prices start at 350 ether. That’s almost a million bucks. Reader, what do you think of all this? If you had the dosh to splash would you be snapping up virtual villas or would you be inclined to buy real (real) estate? I’m also curious what your thoughts are surrounding the metaverse in general! Does it excite you, worry you, confuse you or all three?!

Photo by Jess Loiterton on Pexels.com

Meanwhile, Decentraland has been busy dividing itself into 90,000 spots of land. Prices start at $10k. But, just as in the real world, location is everything! Land that’s close to hotspots like public plazas will command higher premiums even though you could literally transport yourself to wherever you want at the click of a button. But hey, you’ll get the bragging rights then!  All I can say is this: it’s is a sign of the times. There is simply too much money sloshing around that we’ve hit peak madness! Wait till the stimis get cut off and everyone’s back to reality. Physical reality. 

Connected, For Real! 

With this talk of all things metaverse and ‘connected tech’, there’s only one thing I’m thinking. We need less screen time, not more! Ever since social media snuck into our lives, from Snapchat to Tik-Tok, we’ve become crazy snappers and tickers. Glued to our screens. We’re spending more and more time on our devices than we are with real people. And this only became a whole lot worse during covid. When we actually had no choice but to interact with folk, via our phones. 

And to be honest, I’m not at all sure that a virtual world is the solution to our problems! It’ll only encourage young ‘uns to be glued to their screens as they play with each other –virtually, when they should really be kicking a real-life ball on some real grass or painting with each other, getting their hands and faces filthy. Or hanging out and enjoying being in each other’s (actual, in-person) company. That’s the beauty of being a kid/teen and the metaverse seems to strip all of that away. Leaving us feeling border and lonelier than ever before. With an eye computer strapped to our faces.

Disclaimer: This blog is not investment or financial advice. It is my opinion only. This blog is not a personal recommendation to buy/sell any security, or to adopt any such investment strategy. Always do your own research before you commit to any investment.