We’re in the beginning stages of a relatively new revolutionary innovation. The metaverse is the web3 next wave changing the way we’ll socialize, work, play video games, and interact. We’ll soon see business started, office buildings constructed, meetings held for remote workers, and job interviews conducted in virtual reality.
Digital commerce in virtual reality will boom, especially as major companies such as Walmart are diving in. The big box retailer plans to sell goods virtually, ranging the gamut from electronics, home decorations, childrens’ toys and games, sporting goods, personal care products to physical fitness training services and health and nutrition classes in augmented and virtual reality.
They are not the first merchandiser to do this. It’s becoming a gold rush for retailers and apparel makers as they’re turning towards virtual reality, and don’t want to be left behind. CNBC reported that German sportswear company, Adidas, released NFTs and purchased land on the Sandbox VR, a virtual real estate company. Upscale fashion house Gucci partnered with gamemaker Roblox to sell items. Balenciaga struck a deal with Epic Games, the creator of Fortnite, to offer clothing that can be purchased in virtual stores. Louis Vuitton created Louis The Game showcasing it’s high-end brand.
Nike acquired digital sneaker company RTFKT, a popular metaverse company that has a line of sneakers. An eighteen year old artist at the group sold more than $3 million dollars in virtual sneakers in under seven minutes.
Google, Apple, Microsoft and Meta are in a heated race to get their VR/AR headsets to market at an affordable price point for widespread consumer adoption. Although, you may be able to participate and enjoy the metaverse without using the glasses and other gear.
To learn more about metaverse, we spoke with Andrew Kiguel, CEO of Tokens.com, an early real estate investor in virtual reality. The former investment banker recently made headlines with his company’s purchase of real estate in the fashion district of Decentraland, paying around $2.5 million for the space.
Kiguel sees the future in the metaverse. In a wide ranging interview with the tech executive, he points out that a confluence of events has set the stage for the rapid advancement of virtual and augmented reality becoming widely accepted.
The pandemic kept us indoors for two years, and it’s still not over. We’ve become acclimated to new technologies and heavily relying upon and using existing softwares, apps and platforms from the comfort of our homes and apartments. Young people—home from school as their classes went online— spent time gamming and interacting with their friends on discord and social media. We’ve all happily turned to the internet for our food and provisions to be immediately delivered to our doorsteps from Instacart, Amazon, DoorDash and a bevy of other apps that have made it easy for us to work from home or anywhere in the world.
Getting comfortable with new technologies, people went all-in on buying and trading NFTs, meme stocks and cryptocurrencies. The blockchain and other softwares and platforms democratized the stock market. While investing used to be the province of older folks who had the money, young college kids and Millennials saw the opportunity to make YOLO trades in stocks, options, Bitcoin and cryptocurrencies as a way to earn enough money to pay back their student loans and afford a house and better lifestyle.
When the pandemic swept across the world, businesses closed down sending workers home. We spent our days on Zoom meetings. To the surprise of CEOs, workers were highly productive and stock prices hit all time record level highs. From an initial wave of furloughs and firing, the economy bounced back so robustly that businesses can’t find enough workers. The last couple of years set the stage for the acceptance of virtual reality.
Kiguel says, think of what it would have been like for your ancestors to buy land in New York City one or two hundred years ago, and the generational wealth it would have created. You don’t even have to go that far back. In the early 1970s New York City was crime-ridden, falling apart and ready to file for bankruptcy. An intrepid real estate investor in the Big Apple could have bought prime real estate for next to nothing, and would now be a multi billionaire. Taking a risk at this time, staking your claim in the metaverse, may pay off big in the future.
In the metaverse you can purchase NFTs, develop buildings, play video games, attend concerts and events, and create businesses. It’s a way to start over. People who want to virtually live close to Snoop Dog in The Sandbox shelled out nearly $500,000 for the privilege and access to the rapper, his parties and concerts.
Kiguel’s $2.5 million investment in space at Decentraland, one of the largest developed land in the metaverse, sets the stage for commerce of all types. Kiguel is confident that his investment will pay off in the long run. As millions, and perhaps billions, of people join in on the metaverse, he plans to host a lavish fashion show on 24th to the 27th of March, highlighting premiere fashion brands that could include Gucci, Burberry, and Louis Vuitton. There will be avatar models, catwalks, pop-up shops, and pre and post parties.
His company may sell advertising to these other brands and try other means to monetize his real estate holdings. These high-profile, exclusive events were once solely restricted to a small segment of the rich and famous. Virtual reality opens it up to everyone who is interested, as there aren’t physical limits to the amount of attendees.
New York-based digital real estate developer Republic Realm paid about 1,295,00 in crypto Mana—equivalent to $913,228— for 259 parcels of Decentraland with the goal of turning it into a virtual shopping district. The area will be called Metajuku, as an homage to Tokyo’s Harajuku shopping district. Kiguel also plans to build towers in Decentraland’s Crypto Valley and in other cities that spring up in the metaverse, and rent out office and retail space.
Mark Zuckerberg, the CEO of Meta, makes it feel as if he’s running the metaverse. This isn’t the case. There are many places to go. Each universe uses their own preferred currencies to enact transactions. For example, The Sandbox uses SAND, and Decentraland has MANA. These virtual worlds are built on blockchain such as Ethereum and Solana.
Current social media platforms are like “prisons” Kiguel contends, as the companies who run the sites have all the control, possess the data and reap the financial rewards. The new Web3 wave will change the rules, providing people with control over their creativity. It’s a fresh start to build something new, similar to the early days of the internet.
Kiguel is also excited about the growing rise of play-to-earn games that are powered by cryptocurrencies. Gaming worlds like Axie Infinity enables and empowers people to make money from playing games. Many of these gamers never even had a bank account, and now they’re earning more money than they ever imagined.
The metaverse will impact nearly every type of consumer technology, including social media, gaming and fashion, Kiguel predicts. “Tokens.com is focused on bringing the most exciting growth areas,” and excited to enter into this new vertical of gaming with an acquisition. This is part of Kiguel’s goal to offer a “complete range of Web3 exposure,” providing exposure to the metaverse, DeFi and NFTs.
Original post: https://www.forbes.com/sites/jackkelly/2022/01/23/the-metaverse-is-the-web3-wave-that-democratizes-buying-and-building-real-estate-hosting-fashion-shows-and-monetizing-video-gaming/?sh=4b3d4347751f&s=09