Identity can be hard to define. In the real world, we don different (often overlapping) masks depending on the situation—family, work, public service or private play. Online, the distance between the “real you” and these masks is often more pronounced. We adopt pseudonyms, handles, avatars and personas—each associated with a different reputation, a different level of trust from the community, and different data (profile pictures, posts, etc.). While some may be closer to what you might consider your “core” identity than others, they are all part of your overall digital identity. As the concept of the metaverse evolves, and with the prospect of avatars that span multiple virtual environments, identity becomes more complicated and protecting it becomes all the more important.
We’ve written extensively on the still somewhat recent arrival of non-fungible tokens (NFTs) as both a potential revenue stream, caveat-filled investment destination and pop culture marker of the moment. Back in 2018, we wrote about the Los Angeles Dodgers giving away digital bobbleheads to fans, who could redeem a private hidden key to send the bobblehead to a personal cryptocurrency wallet or sell the unique serialized bobblehead to another fan. Later, we wrote about NFTs in the art world, from a burned Banksy to the record-setting sale of Beeple’s Everydays – The First 5000 Days, which sold for $69.3 million (including fees). Increasingly, the practical uses of NFTs are being examined in places beyond entertainment and IP portfolios, including the real estate market. Recently, Spanish airline Air Europa even sold the first NFT plane ticket, called a “NFTicket,” for just over $1 million.
Non-Fungible Tokens (NFTs) are changing how we think about asset ownership in the real world and in the digital world. NFTs—unique digital tokens stored on a blockchain ledger that represent ownership of an asset, either real or virtual—have gained significant popularity in realms such as art, gaming and entertainment, as a means to establish authenticity and transfer various rights. As a result, entrepreneurs are searching for new industries to disrupt utilizing the advantages offered by NFTs and blockchain more generally. The traditional real estate industry, together with virtual land in the evolving Metaverse, has been on the radar of many.
The Metaverse is an immersive world combining virtual reality and augmented reality, where users are represented by avatars and roam virtual spaces. It comprises a variety of platforms and environments that can be explored, experienced, and developed. Online social games like Second Life, Fortnite and Minecraft are among the first wave of successful Metaverse games. Now, Meta and Microsoft see the Metaverse as a place to play, live, and work. A JP Morgan white paper stated that opportunities in the Metaverse seem “limitless.” The bank predicted that virtual worlds will “infiltrate every sector in some ways in the coming years.” A March 31 report by Citi concluded that the Metaverse has the potential to become a $13 trillion opportunity by 2030, with total global users of between one and five billion. According to Citi, the Metaverse will become a significant part of the next iteration of the internet (referred to as Web3) enabled by a variety of existing and emerging technologies, including 5G connectivity, secure blockchain and payment platforms, crypto assets, cloud computing, artificial intelligence, 3D modeling tools and headset devices.
Every year professional sports franchises introduce new marketing tactics and sponsorship models to increase their revenue streams—new gear, new placements for logos in stadiums/arenas and on jerseys, not to mention an array of online engagement opportunities. As the concept of the Metaverse becomes more established in the minds of fans, there is, not surprisingly, a good deal of buzz about this futuristic environment. But even as professional sports franchises announce their own forays into the Metaverse, organizations around the world would do well to consider how this bifurcation of the sporting experience (viewing the venue in person vs. in the Metaverse) creates a whole new world of marketing revenue streams.
Anyone who has ever been involved in a real estate purchase knows how complicated the process can be. Determining where and what one wishes to purchase, deciding how best to finance the transaction, even knowing exactly why buying something makes sense in the first place—there can be a lot to juggle before one even encounters the complexity of forms, contracts and payment mediums. While going through the process of purchasing real estate in real life, I became curious about purchasing real estate in the metaverse. What exactly would I be purchasing? What can I do on my new virtual real estate? How can I prevent trespassers? Eager to find out (and assuming it would only cost a few hundred bucks), I set out to buy some real estate in the metaverse.
Back in the day when I rushed home after school to play The Sims, I would have never imagined that one day I would actually become a Sim… Of course, it turns out The Sims—and games like it—have always been an early, somewhat limited iteration of what is now popularly referred to as the metaverse. And no matter the world you inhabit, where there are humans, there are efforts to sell things to them. But that raises the question: how different are the rules for advertising in the metaverse going to be? It turns out that whether “uni,” “multi” or “meta,” certain constants apply when it comes to advertising, no matter the ’verse.
This metaverse-meets-NFTs themed edition of News of Note includes travel, food and shoes, a big box retailer entering the NFT arena, and the purchase of (a film adaptation of) a sci-fi classic. Oh, and there’s also the opportunity to be virtual next-door neighbors with Snoop Dogg.