Meet the real estate mogul of the metaverse, who has already spent millions and plans to profit from rent and billboards
Forget media, oil, or even social networks, a new generation of moguls is emerging in the nascent sector of metaverse real estate.
Andrew Kiguel, the CEO of crypto-asset investment firm Tokens.com, said he and his company have amassed a portfolio of metaverse properties across several virtual worlds, some of which are worth millions of dollars.
Kiguel declined to reveal how much the company had made off its metaverse land, but did say the company looks at its investments with a long-term mindset. As for his company’s digital real estate portfolio, he says this is just the beginning.
“We don’t want to sell the land, we want to continue buying land,” he said.
The metaverse refers to a number of platforms creating digital worlds where users can socialize, attend digital concerts, play games, and buy and sell things. Some metaverse worlds, like Decentraland and The Sandbox, incorporate NFTs and cryptocurrencies to give users more ownership of items like land within the platforms.
In the physical world, real estate moguls make their money in a few ways: by collecting rent, creating advertising space, or selling their properties when they appreciate in value. The same is true in the metaverse.
“We think there’s a great business plan here with respect to advertisers wanting to pay for space from us, whether that’s digital billboards, virtual stores, or preparing events for them in this new form of social media and gaming environment,” said Kiguel.
One of the most valuable Tokens.com plots in the metaverse is in the center of one of Decentraland’s most popular neighborhoods, the Fashion District. The plot made headlines last November for being, at the time, the most expensive metaverse land ever purchased at $2.43 million. It will be used this month to host a metaverse “fashion week.” Tommy Hilfiger and Dolce & Gabbana, among other designers, will be participating in the fashion show that will be hosted on a plot measuring the metaverse equivalent of 270,000 square feet.
Kiguel also said the company is planning to build advertising spaces on every street corner of its fashion district land to sell to companies that want their name in front of the fashion week attendees.
At another property, shaped like a giant office tower complete with a rooftop events space, Tokens.com is selling advertising and hosting events for companies.
There is a risk in having so much invested in metaverse real estate. The price of real estate could depreciate quickly depending on the popularity of a certain platform, resulting in major losses. Kiguel, however, is all in, and says he sees the metaverse as a big monopoly board.
“As people land on your spaces you collect revenue and rent,” he said. “If there were millions of people on the same monopoly board, you could collect all the time.”
Many metaverse platforms have specifically limited the amount of “land” they make available to create a market out of that scarcity. Decentraland, for example, only has 45,000 plots of digital real estate available for sale, but it hopes to attract legions of users. Already, the metaverse platform said it hosts about 300,000 users every month. The Sandbox, another major metaverse platform, has only 166,464 plots of digital real estate available. It surpassed two million users last week.
As the users have poured in, so have the brands. Companies like Miller Lite and Samsung have already created metaverse experiences and others like McDonald’s and Walmart have plans in the works. The entry of these large companies means the metaverse could soon be filled with brands and advertising.
“Kids today don’t watch TV, they don’t go to malls—they do their shopping online, they don’t read newspapers, they’re consuming information on social media platforms, and the metaverse is the next social media platform,” Kiguel said.
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