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Crypto-Rich Investors Snap up Virtual Real Estate

VIRTUAL FESTIVAL, ANYONE?

Some early virtual land investors who bought in early are now selling to companies, said Samuel Hamilton, community and events lead at the Decentraland Foundation.

Atari, ahead of its plans to open its own blockchain-based world, has licensed a retro arcade within Decentraland and is due to open a casino, while an area called “Crypto Valley” is home to various crypto companies.

Decentraland has hosted a virtual fashion exhibition in collaboration with Adidas, where designs were auctioned as NFTs. It is also attracting interest from musicians who can perform in the space, selling tickets and merchandise as NFTs.

“We’re going to have several well-known global festivals all doing stages, and when we get to that point we expect hundreds of thousands or even millions of people,” Hamilton said.

Last year, American rapper Travis Scott drew an audience of 27.7 million visitors to five concerts within Fortnite, the popular online game owned by Epic Games.

IS ‘CRYPTO WINTER’ COMING?

Sebastien Borget, co-founder of The Sandbox, described the commercial activity within virtual worlds as a new nation forming and said the NFT-based economy would outgrow the real-world one within a decade.

There are, however, many in the fledgling industry who warn of dangers ahead for investors.

“I expect that there’ll be a crypto winter in the next couple of months, the whole NFT boom will explode and then all the value will absolutely collapse,” said Ben Nolan, founder of the virtual world Cryptovoxels.

“Doing NFTs as an investment or as a way to make money is really ill-advised.”

However he does see a future for virtual worlds and NFTs.

“Do I think most people will use virtual worlds? Probably not, but I think a lot of people will and I think NFTs are a big part of that growth,” he said.

“Actually walking around with another person in a virtual space and looking at art together is a really nice way to spend time,” he added.

Whale Shark said the vast majority of NFTs had no commercial viability, and expects only a small number to emerge as winners.

But some investors such as Australia-based Mateen Soudagar, aka DCL Blogger, have little interest in moving back into real-world investments.

Soudagar says he has made millions of dollars through cryptocurrency and NFTs, but rather than cash out, he keeps around 75% of his money in crypto assets and reckons many of his peers do the same. Other than upgrading his laptop, he hasn’t changed his lifestyle.

“If you’re a believer in the movement then you think that the world will move into this space,” he said. “So when you’re putting it into fiat you’re going backwards.”

(Reporting by Elizabeth Howcroft; Editing by Pravin Char)


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