philip lelyveld The world of entertainment technology


People Are Paying Insane Amounts of Real Money for “Virtual Real Estate”

1_c06WLXQ3jkLDO-g5z6ovNg-1200x613Genesis City is a plot of virtual land, roughly the size of Washington, D.C., that investors can buy slices of for obscene amounts of money. Even a simple 1,100 square foot plot can go for as much as $200,000, according to Bloomberg.

The company behind Genesis City, called Decantraland, had its initial coin offering (ICO) in August of last year. The company offered interested buyers a chance to exchange their MANA (their own cryptocurrency based on the Ethereum blockchain) for virtual “LAND” (parcels of 1,100 square feet each or 10 by 10 meters).  Its ICO raised a whopping $26 million in just 30 seconds from private investors, enthusiasts, and VR companies. Like all cryptocurrencies, there’s a ledger for the marketplace as the “LAND” changes hands.

It all feels very much like a well-organized, crowdsourced game of Sim City — except that investors would hate if you called it a game. Instead, in forums on Github, Slack, and Reddit, potential users are already calling Decentraland a platform, not a game — it’s something you build on top of, and can basically be anything (it’s not a 3D space with a story built around it as a game would be).

To put those prices into perspective, Second Life — a virtual world that promises to give its users a second chance — sells private plots of 256 by 256 meters for just $600.

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