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Perth woman buys virtual penthouse in the metaverse

A Perth woman recently dropped a bit more than $1000 on a virtual penthouse in a metaverse that hasn’t even launched yet.

Retired school teacher, Christie, told ABC News she bought the piece of virtual real estate in the Uphoria metaverse, which, according to a promotional video on YouTube, features towering skyscrapers, restaurants, fountains, sports centres, hotels and even a teleportation centre.

​​”The vision for this penthouse is rather than me hosting Zoom calls, I can send out my link to people to join me there,” Christie informed ABC News.

“If we’re going to do Zoom calls anyway, we might as well do it in style.”

The metaverse, which is a network of 3D virtual worlds focused on social connection, has taken off recently with Bloomberg estimating it was worth $500 billion in 2020 and could reach $800 billion by 2024.

The Uphoria metaverse. Source: YouTube

Million Dollar Listing New York star Ryan Serhant believes half of all real estate transactions will soon be done with cryptocurrency and businesses are focusing on metaverse integration.

“I see a world very soon in which 50 per cent of all real estate transactions are done with crypto, and where contracts are recorded on the blockchain and ‘signed’ as NFTs (non-fungible tokens),” Mr Serhant said.

“Cryptocurrency has created the largest wealth transfer of our lifetime.

“Many of our buyers in 2021 have either used those profits to make home purchases or actually transacted in crypto, wallet-to-wallet.

“Our agents are currently working on many wallet-to-wallet crypto transactions now, both in New York and Florida. This is a trend you’ll read a lot about in 2022 as wealthy crypto holders look to diversify into hard assets.”

The penthouse in the Uphoria metaverse. Source: YouTube

Late last year, Republic Realm, which describes itself as “one of the most active investors in and developers of the metaverse real estate ecosystem”, paid $4.3 million for a block of land in The Sandbox metaverse.

The Sandbox is a virtual metaverse where players can play, build, own and monetise their virtual experience.

Head of the real estate group at Republic Realm, Janine Yorio, said in a blog on the platform, that virtual land was similar to domain names in that it trades for high prices because it is considered rare.

“So when a friend recently asked me, ‘Why would I pay real money for fake land?’ I explained that digital real estate is like a combination of NFT art and domain names,” Ms Yorio wrote.

“That’s because the marginal cost to produce a digital parcel of land is almost nothing, and its value is more closely related to its perceived scarcity than to its actual utility.”

Just a week before The Sandbox deal was struck, crypto investor Tokens.com bought a virtual block of land in Decentraland for $2.4 million.

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Rowan Crosby

Rowan Crosby is a senior journalist at Elite Agent specialising in finance and real estate.

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