COVID-19 wasn’t the only thing to take off in 2020. The idea of a virtual reality is nothing new, but during the pandemic more companies began taking larger steps toward bringing the idea to life. Last year, the Facebook parent company officially changed its name to Meta, staking its claim on the metaverse. Other companies have devised their own versions of virtual reality platforms, and now land is available for purchase.
JP Morgan Chase recently created a lounge in the virtual reality platform, Decentraland, featuring a photo of the bank’s CEO Jamie Dimon. Shortly after, HSBC agreed to a partnership with San Francisco-based startup, The Sandbox, to purchase virtual real estate. This is not the first time businesses have purchased land or even opened stores in the metaverse, but now that banks are taking the plunge many are beginning to wonder if it’s finally time to jump on the virtual reality bandwagon as well.
New York-based company, Everyrealm, buys and develops land in different metaverses and is already invested in 25 different virtual reality platforms including, Decentraland and The Sandbox. Everyrealm made history last year when it closed on $4.3 million for land in The Sandbox, in the largest known virtual real estate deal as of yet. Everyrealm co-founder, chief strategy officer and head of production, Julia Schwartz, stated, “I get calls every day from brands, companies, artists, athletes, retailers, banks, investors–every segment–looking to get into this place.”
With real estate sales on the four largest metaverse platforms reaching $501 million last year, the virtual real estate market is heating up, and it’s only expected to increase, potentially reaching $1 billion this year. However, it’s not just a free for all. Purchasing real estate in the metaverse also comes with some guidelines and restrictions, just like purchasing real land. Those interested can receive information on how many parcels are available, and each parcel is even subject to face zoning-like restrictions on what exactly can be developed on that parcel.
Whether or not the metaverse will be as revolutionary as many believe, it’s gained the attention of the real estate world, as well as the world of finance, and is well on its way to becoming the virtual social hub we’ve only seen depicted in literature and on the screen.