- The Metaverse Group owns large swaths of virtual land in various metaverses.
- It’s not just a landlord — it has developers who can build spaces to any advertiser’s heart’s desire.
- It’s designed virtual stores for Forever 21 and threw the first metaverse fashion week.
If you still don’t understand the idea of buying “land” in the so-called metaverse, you’re not alone — the concept isn’t even close to reaching mass adoption.
But that doesn’t mean it hasn’t grown in popularity during the pandemic, with some supporters saying it could be a $1 trillion market.
One of the industry’s major players is The Metaverse Group, which has quietly made itself the chief landlord on the virtual block. Andrew Kiguel, the CEO of the company’s parent organization, Tokens.com, told Insider it’s poured eight figures — or more than $10 million — worth into digital real estate purchases.
For the firm, it’s an early investment in advertising space — and people’s eyeballs.
“If you go back 15 years and when you’re scrolling through Facebook, Instagram, you’re served ads,” Kiguel said. “If you could go back 10, 15, 20 years and repurchase blocks of space within those social media platforms when they were still in their infancy, and you could do whatever you wanted with that space down the road, that would be quite valuable.”
A hybrid landlord and real estate developer
The metaverse, in theory, will be a sweeping digital world where people can interact via digital avatars, while tethered to their living rooms via AR glasses and VR headsets. But right now, these are just nascent, individual spaces with little connection between each other.
That hasn’t stopped The Metaverse Group from snatching up space across various virtual ecosystems, like Somnium Space and Sandbox, where rapper Snoop Dogg’s own metaverse lives. Its portfolio also includes space in Decentraland, the largest and most popular metaverse — and the most fully realized for holding actual events.
Decentraland is made up of about 90,000 parcels, and only about half are available for companies to own and develop. Kiguel declined to disclose a full figure the company has invested but noted it had in November purchased a Decentraland plot for $2.43 million worth of crypto. It also bought the 34-parcel Music District in Decentraland, too.
Virtual parcels derive their value from the finite nature of virtual land, Kiguel said. That’s a familiar talking point among those who also rally behind bitcoin and its limited 21 million coin supply.
Advertisers, musicians, and retailers are going to want to use this virtual space to reach their audiences, Kirguel hopes — and The Metaverse Group is perfectly positioned to help them with that, all for a fee.
The first metaverse fashion week was hosted in March on the company’s land. As Vogue noted, the design elements were somewhat rudimentary and reminiscent of the 1990s. But more than 100,000 users still flocked to the platform during that week — much more than an in-person show could ever hold.
Other brands come to the company for help designing their virtual storefronts, digital billboards, and NFT wearables, which are unique, blockchain-based digital items that people’s avatars can wear inside the metaverse.
It’s especially useful for existing companies like Forever 21, a client of theirs, who want to get in on the metaverse but don’t have their own in-house experts.
“We have a group of programmers and software engineers so that when a client comes and says, ‘my vision is this,’ we’re able to design it for them, we’re able to create what they have in their minds and bring it to digital life in the metaverse,” Kiguel said.
Metaverse land is for advertisers — not everyday users
Experts previously told Insider that metaverse real estate is nothing more than a “risky” crypto asset, unable to appreciate in value as physical property can. In Fact, Kiguel said residential real estate, or everyday investors buying a “home” in the metaverse, is merely a novelty.
For advertisers, however, it’s a different story. If demand from advertisers for metaverse land increases, then whoever owns it will be in a good spot.
“If I was to go into Decentraland right now, probably a bit of a ghost town other than the casinos,” Kiguel said. “But when there’s an event going on or people are holding things,” it’s a different story.