Pina Coladas, pink sky sunsets, and pristine beaches… the islands of Hawaii are famous for all three. Now, you can buy a piece of virtual paradise too.
First, some context: The Hawaiian islands have a long history as vacation getaways for well-off Americans. In recent years, that’s changed. The price of real estate on the islands has skyrocketed as vacationers struggle to afford the high costs of accommodations and activities. Not to mention, interest in traveling is way down in a post-COVID world.
NFT-based virtual real estate ownership has the potential to bring this paradise back to the masses. The concept is simple: Buy virtual real estate assets on a blockchain, and hold them as your one-of-a-kind virtual property, or re-sell them. All this is made possible by Next Earth, the project that’s put a digital replica of Earth on the blockchain.
Virtual real estate ownership offers metaverse enthusiasts the opportunity to have a piece of virtual land that can be used for building houses, parks, casinos, hotels, and other structures. These plots of land are called “tiles” and they’re sold as 10×10 square meter parcels. That’s different from buying a plot of land in Hawaii or another popular vacation spot where you’d need to buy an entire acreage.
In Second Life, which was one of the first online metaverse games with its own currency system and economy, people would purchase virtual land using Linden dollars. These could later be exchanged for real-world money at will. While there are many similar games out there today, these are largely centralized, which means that the assets users acquire aren’t truly their own.
With Next Earth, the virtual land you buy is yours as an NFT on the blockchain, instead of it being stored in a centralized registry.
A Pivotal Moment for Virtual Real Estate
With the ongoing NFT boom, buying into decentralized virtual real estate is a new—but highly viable—option. The rise of NFTs (non-fungible tokens) has given everyone the ability to buy and sell unique digital assets, like art or sports cards. In this case, you’re not buying a card; instead, you’re buying a property.
This is because each digital asset is uniquely identifiable and represents ownership of something tangible: land, buildings, content…even ocean-view properties! With NFTs, you can own a piece of land that exists on a unique place in the blockchain ledger.
But what makes virtual real estate so interesting isn’t just its asset potential; it’s also the opportunity to own property without leaving home. You can buy a Hawaiin Condo as if it was a stock on an exchange—just like Facebook or Apple—and benefit from its potential appreciation over time. And there are plenty of opportunities out there for those who want to get involved.
Similarly, the concept of the metaverse is booming as well, and now is the time is now for blockchain enthusiasts to capitalize on virtual real estate. The trend of people wanting to be somewhere else has only accelerated within the last few years. People want a slice of the action without having to leave their homes. With so many people opting out of travel, there’s an opportunity for people to stay at home but enter a whole new virtual world.
The last couple of years have been largely defined by blockchain and cryptocurrency, but with it all comes new opportunities as well as new risks. Virtual real estate has become one such opportunity for savvy cyber citizens who are willing to take on some risk in order to potentially reap big rewards later down the line.