Note: This is not financial advice. This is for educational purposes only. Please note that metaverse digital assets are a highly speculative market; only invest what you can afford to lose.
It’s bizarre, strange and downright freakish, isn’t it? I never in my wildest dreams thought I’d be writing a how-to on purchasing real estate in the metaverse, but here we are. People are actually scrambling to buy virtual land — yes, virtual — meaning it lacks tangibility and doesn’t exist in the physical world. You technically can’t see nor touch it, but folks are paying tens of thousands of dollars to own one.
Laptop Mag recently interviewed a Las Vegas resident who purchased a virtual gas station inside a play-to-earn game called PolkaCity.
You may snort at the absurdity, but that online petrol station pays out weekly passive income, yielding $16,000 a month. Who’s laughing now? The PolkaCity gas station is currently sold out, but don’t worry, there are other digital real estate options up for grabs inside metaverses such as Sandbox, Decentraland and more.
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I’ll show you the ins and outs of buying sweet digital digs in the metaverse. Even if this concept sounds too unfathomable, I’m sure you’re curious about the process. Stick around to find out how folks scoop up virtual real estate in simulated realms.
How to buy real estate in the metaverse
The hottest metaverse platforms for purchasing virtual real estate are Sandbox and Decentraland. For both apps, you’ll need to download a Chrome extension called Metamask, an online wallet designed to hold digital assets. Next, you must fund it with either SAND (for Sandbox plots) or MANA for (Decentraland properties), two Ethereum-based cryptocurrencies.
Once your Metamask wallet is sufficiently funded, you’re ready to shop for virtual real estate. First, let’s dive into how to purchase plots on Sandbox.
Did you know that Snoop Dogg and Steve Aoki own land in Sandbox? A plot of land situated between these two celebrities is currently on sale for a cool $2.5 million.
That’s pretty steep — and you won’t even get to spy on Snoop as he grabs his mail nor watch your mansion shake violently as Aoki practices a DJ set.
Fortunately, there are cheaper plots of land. Sure, they may be located in the grittiest parts of the Sandbox where you won’t find a Whole Foods for miles, but chances are high that their value will increase over time. As of this writing, the lowest-priced virtual territory is just under $10,000. Follow the instructions below to snatch it before someone outbids you.
1. Go to TheSandBox.com/game.
2. Click on Market.
3. On the left panel, scroll down to NFT Type and click on Lands.
4. Choose the filter that best fits your needs (e.g. Newest, Oldest, Lowest Price, Highest Price). For this tutorial, I’ll be selecting Lowest Price.
5. Select the plot of land that catches your eye and click on Buy.
6. After clicking Buy, OpenSea (an NFT marketplace) will launch, taking you to the property listing. Link your funded Metamask wallet to the site by clicking on the wallet icon (Don't have one? Here's how to set up a Metamask wallet).
7. Take note of the highest offer as you’ll need to outbid it to get the seller’s attention. Click on Make Offer.
8. Next, input how much you’d like to offer in SAND (make sure you have enough SAND in your Metamask wallet or you’ll get a “Not enough SAND to make offer” message). Note: You can buy SAND on Binance or KuCoin and transfer it to your Metamask wallet.
9. Select how long you want your offer to last: 3 days, 7 days or a month. If you prefer, you can set a custom date. Click on Make Offer.
10. Your Metamask wallet will pop up and you’ll be prompted to click on “Sign” (to validate your intention to make an offer on the OpenSea listing).
11. Finally, you should see your offer appear under Offers. If your offer gets accepted, you’ll be notified via email.
While Sandbox has been attracting rappers and DJs, Decentraland — another blockchain-based, metaverse game — has caught the eye of tech brands such as Samsung. The Korean based tech company announced its Decentraland property purchase in early January. It’s a simulated shop that can be explored virtually, and it’s modeled after its New York City-based store.
As mentioned, before purchasing anything on Decentraland, your Metamask must be funded with a cryptocurrency called MANA. You can buy MANA from Coinbase, KuCoin or Binance and transfer it to your wallet. Once you’re set, here are the steps to buy virtual real estate on Decentraland.
1. Go to Decentraland.org
2. Scroll down to Trade and click on Start Browsing.
3. Click on Sign In followed by Connect.
4. Click on Metamask. This will allow the website to see the funds inside your wallet. Note: If you get a “Could not connect to wallet error,” click on the Metamask icon on Google Chrome and click on Next followed by Connect.
5. Click on Land (located on the top-left corner).
6. You’ll land on a page that shows you a map of Decentraland (all the plots that are on sale are highlighted in light blue).
7. Click on a plot of land that has a price and location to your liking.
8. Click on Buy and follow the prompts to the plot of land.
Keep in mind that location is just as important in the metaverse as it is in real life. Landholdings next to plazas (green areas) and districts (blue areas) have more value than plots on the outskirts of Decentraland. The downside is that they’re the most expensive on the map, but there’s a possibility that they can appreciate the fastest and make greater profits for owners.
Another downside you must consider is that, unlike PolkaCity, Sandbox and Decentraland does not dole out passive income to landowners. As of this writing, investors make money by buying up properties, waiting for an increase in value and flipping them for profit.
Although metaverse properties are all the rage, they’re highly speculative assets. The metaverse market could plummet at any time, leaving you with worthless virtual real estate. Please invest responsibly.
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Kimberly Gedeon, holding a Master's degree in International Journalism, launched her career as a journalist for MadameNoire's business beat in 2013. She loved translating stuffy stories about the economy, personal finance and investing into digestible, easy-to-understand, entertaining stories for young women of color. During her time on the business beat, she discovered her passion for tech as she dove into articles about tech entrepreneurship, the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) and the latest tablets. After eight years of freelancing, dabbling in a myriad of beats, she's finally found a home at Laptop Mag that accepts her as the crypto-addicted, virtual reality-loving, investing-focused, tech-fascinated nerd she is. Woot!