Why Digital Ownership is the Future

by | Dec 9, 2021 | Blog, Metaverse

Stepping into a virtual world that allows you to do most of what you do in the physical world may sound impossible. But the CEO of Meta, formally known as Facebook, thinks otherwise.

Towards the end of October 2021, Mark Zuckerberg changed the name of Facebook to position his company for what he believes to be the next version of the internet. And with this version, it’s all about combining the virtual and physical worlds, which Zuckerberg discussed in-depth at a recent developer’s conference.

At the beginning of his presentation, Zuckerberg admitted that his vision of the metaverse includes spaces for games, virtual public rooms, and homes that you can personalize with art. Of course, similar to your physical home, you’ll be able to dictate who can and can’t come into your virtual house. However, unlike the real world, the metaverse will allow you to visit places plucked from history and have a house there if you’re lucky.

With the metaverse, the possibilities will indeed be endless. That’s why so many tech companies are trying to create a piece of the puzzle—they know the day is coming where the virtual and physical worlds seamlessly weave together, and they want to help build it.

Microsoft, Fortnight, Roblox, Epic Games, Amazon, and Snap, the owner of Snapchat, are all taking steps to help build the metaverse. These companies are either creating the necessary hardware and software, building 3D avatars, developing digital worlds, or doing a little bit of all three.

However, while major tech companies are racing to build the metaverse, consumers are preparing for this new era by focusing on arguably the biggest benefit of this virtual world: digital ownership. Currently, people are buying digital assets in droves to stake a claim in the metaverse and have ownership over items once the virtual world exists.

What’s the big deal with digital ownership?

The interest in digital ownership starts by understanding blockchain and non-fungible tokens (NFTs). You’ve probably heard of these two terms since they’re popping up in mainstream media and have grown in popularity, but there’s still a lot of jargon surrounding them, making the technologies difficult to understand. However, at their cores, blockchain and NFTs are pretty simple.

For example, blockchain is just a digital ledger that stores data. It’s decentralized, meaning no one entity owns or houses the data. Instead, it’s available for everyone to see.

On this digital ledger, you’ll notice a few different types of information. There will be immutable records of cryptocurrency transactions, smart contracts, and brief details about the owners of NFTs.

At the most basic level, an NFT is simply the formal term for “digital asset.” However, these types of digital assets are unique because they’re non-fungible, meaning you can’t swap them out for something similar.

Think of your birth certificate—that’s a non-fungible asset. You can’t replace it with someone else’s and have the same thing, and that example also applies to NFTs. It doesn’t matter if it’s an in-game purchase, sports trading card, a piece of art, song, or virtual handbag. An NFT is unique in nature, and it’s only available in limited quantities, making it more valuable to consumers.

Keeping all of that in mind, owning an NFT (i.e., a digital asset) and having proof of ownership with blockchain technology is attracting many consumers who are ready to enter the metaverse. Just like in the physical world, people want to own things in the digital realm.

They want to have virtual real estate, artwork, pets, clothes, shoes, and whatever else they find interesting and valuable. And they want these items because they know a digital world is coming where they can resell, showcase, and capitalize on assets the same way they do with physical purchases.

People are spending millions to own digital assets

The best way to show the significant role digital ownership will play in the metaverse is with examples of people buying NFTs. Unsurprisingly, there are many examples on the internet, but here are three big ones that effectively paint a picture of the virtual economy.

1. Virtual real estate

Blockchain-based online environments have become increasingly popular among consumers. The most well-known ones are Decentraland, The Sandbox, Somnium, and Cryptovoxels, where you can find virtual real estate prices hitting all-time highs.

For instance, on Decentraland, a patch of land sold for $572,000 on April 11. The land was around 41,216 virtual square meters, and its sale set a new record. Another plot of land on the platform also sold for hundreds of thousands of dollars. On March 21, the land generated $283,567.

Overall, the online environment has seen more than $50 million in total sales, but Decentraland isn’t the only place where people are buying digital assets. On March 16, a virtual estate on Somnium Space sold for more than $500,000.

2. Digital artwork

For collectors, digital artwork is worth spending millions on, and for those who don’t believe it, all you have to do is look at Vignesh Sundaresan, the Singapore-based investor who bought Beeple’s digital artwork “Everydays: The First 5000 Days.”

He purchased the painting for $69 million during a virtual auction hosted by Christie’s, and Sundaresan plans to put the artwork on display in multiple virtual world environments. In fact, he’s reportedly working with architects to design gallery complexes that people can enter through virtual reality technology or web browsers.

Of course, once the metaverse comes into fruition, seeing Sundaresan’s art collection will be like stepping into a real art gallery. You’ll be able to visit it with friends, mosey around, and maybe even meet Sundaresan and Beeple as well.

3. NFT fashion

In the physical world, consumers like to look good, and that desire won’t change in the metaverse. People are currently buying clothes, shoes, and designer bags to outfit their avatars in style.

Recently, Gucci showcased its Dionysus bag on Roblox’s platform and generated $4,115. For context, that’s more money than the cost of the physical item. So, it’s safe to assume that people are placing more emphasis on their digital assets than their physical ones.

However, big-name luxury brands aren’t the only ones that people are focusing on. Smaller companies are also selling fashionable pieces that consumers are purchasing. For example, in February 2021, RTFKT—which is considered the frontrunner in NFT fashion—sold around 600 pairs of virtual sneakers and earned $3.1 million in seven minutes.

It’s not too late to own digital assets

As tech companies build the metaverse, consumers will continue to prepare for it by purchasing digital assets that they will own and use in the virtual world. And if you want to get involved, it’s not too late.

There are plenty of NFTs that you can buy to start creating the avatar and lifestyle that you want in the metaverse. All you have to do is get on a credible NFT marketplace and find something you want to buy.

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