A crypto-assets company called “Tokens.com” has just put out a press release announcing “the acquisition of a 116 parcel estate in the heart of the Fashion Street district within Decentraland via its subsidiary, Metaverse Group. Decentraland has declared this to be the largest metaverse land acquisition to date.”
This sounds downright hilarious, of course! It’s not real land, after all. But this is what some of us have worried about lately.
“Each parcel purchased in this transaction is equivalent to 52.5 square feet,” the press release enthuses, “making the acquisition equivalent to 6,090 square feet of land. The acquisition was purchased for 618,000 MANA, an Ethereum based token used as currency in Decentraland.”
Right now, apps like AltSpaceVR (owned by Microsoft) give free space to “World-Builders”; and Oculus (owned by “Meta,” the conglomerate formerly known as Facebook) gives free access to anyone who wants to visit an amazing world. I can live in a mansion in AltSpace, and watch Prime and Netflix on my spectacular wall-size home theater, in my home nestled in what appears to be the Swiss Alps. I don’t have space in my real apartment to throw a big party, so I throw one in my manion.
I can go to fancy nightclubs in Tokyo or in beautiful, mythical landscapes (see the incredible Mandala Festival, going on right now, hosting hundreds of party-goers in a world of fireflies, waterfalls, neon forests and a towering ferris wheel). We can all be young and handsome and beautiful again.
Many of us are concerned about the billionaires acquiring “land” in VR, and pricing the rest of us out; and the headset manufacturers further restricting access. One day, Disney could literally own the universe in which we all live.
This news is worse than troubling.
We will try to get to the bottom of this. More to come.
Illustration: a screenshot of the ferris wheel at the Mandala Festival, from the festival’s FaceBook page.