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The Metaverse – just a buzzword or the future of the internet and how we interact with technology and each other?
While the concept of the Metaverse has existed for decades, the Metaverse has become more popular recently – thanks in part to the pandemic.
When the pandemic upended daily life, people went from meeting in person to interacting with family, friends, school, work, entertainment, and more through virtual tools. The pandemic forced people to live a larger part of their lives online in shared virtual spaces – also known as the metaverse.
As the average person relied on the metaverse more heavily, it became a topic at the forefront of business, technology, marketing, and more.
But, what is the Metaverse? And, how does it impact PropTech? That’s what we’ll cover in this post. To get started, let’s look at what exactly the Metaverse is.
The Metaverse is a potential successor to the internet. It makes use of virtual reality, augmented reality, the internet, and other tech to create shared digital experiences, spaces, and content. People can access the Metaverse from devices like smartphones, laptops, and VR headsets.
However, the Metaverse is a nebulous concept that’s impossible to completely define because it hasn’t been realized yet.
But, some core attributes are likely to be central to the Metaverse. The Metaverse will be always on (much like the internet). It will also be a living experience that exists in real-time. And, it will have no limits on users, while possibly providing each user with a unique digital identity.
Plus, the Metaverse will have a fully functional economy and provide an experience that exists in both digital and physical realms. And, the Metaverse will be populated with content and experiences created by a wide variety of contributors.
Interoperability is also central to the Metaverse. Instead of digital spaces being completely separate, people will be able to move digital items, data, content, and more across the Metaverse. For example, instead of items being confined to a single game, the user can move any item between any game.
Because the Metaverse is so abstract and undefinable, it often gets confused with things like a virtual world, games, virtual reality and spaces, user-generated content platforms, and more. While the Metaverse is none of these concepts individually, all of these concepts have a place in the Metaverse.
Technology is years (likely decades) away from being able to support a fully-fledged Metaverse. But, the Metaverse is still having an impact on finance and real estate today. Let’s take a look at how the Metaverse is impacting finance with Blockchain and NFTs.
Blockchain technology is the new way of storing and managing data. With a blockchain, data is stored and secured in encrypted blocks or data sets. These blocks generally contain data related to sales, digital use, and payments so content creators and digital buyers/sellers are protected with secured transactions and activity.
Blockchain builds a new digital asset while providing the users with complete ownership of it. Virtual worlds, powered by the blockchain, allow users to create, enjoy, and finance virtual reality content and applications within self-contained economies. These virtual worlds simulate real-world interactions and substantial real-world applications.
An NFT is a cryptographic asset that represents ownership of one-of-a-kind items like digital land, art, clothes, music, and in-game assets, and more. Most NFT’s are part of the Ethereum (a cryptocurrency) blockchain.
NFT's most distinguishing property is that it is not replaceable or fungible. As a result, each NFT is one-of-a-kind. So, there’s a scarcity value because the data that underpins an NFT makes its existence completely exclusive. In the metaverse, virtual land is signified by an NFT. And, prices are beginning to compete with real-world real estate prices.
As mentioned in this article by Techcrunch, Blockchain startup Propy was the first to auction an apartment as a collectible NFT. The auction took place over 24 hours, and the winner immediately received the ownership paperwork. Natalia Karayaneva, the CEO of Propy, aims to achieve self-driving real estate transactions by leveraging NFT tokens and blockchain technology.
The company Spatial recently launched a web browser that consists of a 3D workspace and NFT galleries. The VR and AR platform lets people enter a three-dimensional work environment from any smartphone, tablet, computer, or VR headset. To add to this, the gallery view created by Spatial allows artists to display their collections in the environment and generate sales via NFT tokens.
PropTech is booming. And, VR, AR, and AI contributed to this rise in real estate digitalization. And, real estate is impacted by the Metaverse through these technologies.
One way the Metaverse impacts real estate is through virtual real estate investing, instead of in-person showings. It is a cost-effective option to invest in out-of-state properties without the need for travel. It can also simplify the process of scouting for off-market properties, without having to drive around neighborhoods.
To start as a virtual real estate investor, all you need is the right tech and resources.
For data and real-world analysis, Propstream is a great tool. In terms of prospecting, Dealmachine is a great resource that helps you find info like ownership history, equity details, and property owner contact details. If you’re looking to invest in real estate crowdfunding, there are popular platforms like RealityMogul, Crowdstreet, and Fundrise that are worth exploring.
Along with finding properties to invest in, you can also buy, sell, and manage property completely digitally. Companies like Metaverse Property use the Metaverse to sell properties. And, companies like GDA Group manage properties using the Metaverse.
Going beyond using the Metaverse to interact with physical properties, the Metaverse also houses virtual properties you can buy and sell. In virtual worlds like Decentraland, you can buy and sell properties in the form of NFTs. With interest in virtual property skyrocketing, sellers can make as much as 500% more selling virtual property vs. physical property.
The Metaverse is a complicated combination of virtual space, experiences, content, and more that merges the physical and virtual worlds. While the Metaverse likely won’t be realized for decades to come due to technology limits, savvy brands are still taking advantage of all the Metaverse has to offer today.
And, companies at the forefront of technology, like those in PropTech, stand to see the most benefit from low-cost but highly technical Metaverse marketing.