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How to shop in the metaverse: The cryptocurrencies you’ll need to buy, and how to get them

December 10, 2021, 8:11 PM UTC
a metaverse computer game
Courtesy of Axie Infinity

People can’t seem to get enough of the metaverse these days, and metaverse tokens, the currency used to participate in many virtual experiences, were some of the best-performing cryptocurrencies this year. 

Shopping is a big part of the platforms that make up this emerging virtual world, from buying designer clothing, to purchasing a virtual house next door to Snoop Dogg.   

But to do all that, you’ll need money. Here’s how to get started. 

Get a crypto wallet

To even open an account on metaverse platforms like Sandbox or Decentraland, you’ll first be asked to set up a crypto wallet, which will hold all of your digital currency. A popular wallet is MetaMask, which can be set up through downloading the app on your phone or a Google Chrome browser extension. Your wallet will allow you to exchange U.S. dollars (or whatever fiat currency you’re using) into cryptocurrency using your debit or credit card. Crypto exchanges like Wyre or Transak will facilitate the conversion, but be warned that they will usually charge a fee.

Exchange your dollars for crypto

Some popular platforms to buy metaverse cryptocurrency include Binance, Gemini and Coinbase. These exchanges will help you convert fiat currency into the metaverse crypto that you need. If you already own cryptocurrency like Bitcoin or Ether, you can exchange that directly for metaverse tokens.

While the value of many cryptocurrencies continues to soar, it’s also known to be extremely volatile. That’s at least partly because the lower liquidity and lack of regulation of the crypto market makes it more susceptible to global market changes and major selloffs. But experts say the interest in crypto isn’t going away anytime soon.

What cryptocurrency should you get?

Well, that depends on which platform you plan on exploring. Each metaverse platform usually has its own crypto tokens that users can buy and use online. 

Ether (ETH): The most commonly used cryptocurrency for digital land purchases, Ether is the cryptocurrency that powers blockchain platform Ethereum, used to build decentralized applications and NFTs. Since Ether is one the most popular cryptocurrencies, it can be bought across almost all crypto exchanges, such as Coinbase, Gemini or eToro. Digital payment apps like PayPal and Venmo have also begun to allow their users to buy the cryptocurrency on their platforms. Because Ether isn’t specific to any metaverse world, it can be used to make purchases directly across the most popular platforms, including Decentraland and The Sandbox. 

MANA: MANA is the native cryptocurrency on Decentraland, a virtual world where users can own land and interact with other users. It can be used to buy parcels of land, avatars, and “wearables” like clothing and accessories. Since Decentraland is a decentralized autonomous organization (DAO), owning MANA also gives you the ability to vote on certain aspects of the game, like policy updates and NFT auctions. You can buy MANA on crypto exchanges Binance, Kraken and 

SAND: The crypto used on metaverse platform The Sandbox, SAND serves as a similar function to MANA. It can be used to sell assets as NFTs on The Sandbox’s marketplace, buy land and play games. You can buy SAND on exchanges like Binance, Huobi, WazirX and UPbit.

AXS: AXS is the cryptocurrency for popular gaming platform Axie Infinity. Players can buy this cryptocurrency in crypto exchanges, but they can also earn AXS tokens by breeding digital pets called Axies, which are unique NFTs that can also be used to compete in matches and tournaments. You can buy AXS on Binance, Coinbase, Gemini and more.

Fortune’s upcoming Brainstorm Design conference is going to dive into how businesses are building experiences in the metaverse. Apply to attend the event on May 23-24 in New York.