This week alone, gamers, virtual reality enthusiasts, and the cryptocurrency community have invested nearly a million dollars worth of real world currencies into virtual real estate generated and maintained by blockchains.
The three largest blockchain generated virtual world games, The Sandbox, Decentraland, and Cryptovoxels, all saw the total trading volume of their digital tokens surge above $940,000 USD. That’s according to data compiled by Nonfungible, the largest database of blockchain gaming and crypto collectible markets. That figure includes volume from direct sales of blockchain real estate, and token trading in secondary exchange markets.
Blockchain Real Estate Sale at The Sandbox
Part of the surge in volume is likely due to a big virtual “land sale” going on in The Sandbox. The creative, blockchain generated virtual world is selling about 7% of its virtual land in the cryptocurrency video game’s second land sale. The Sandbox raised $168,000 from the sale in the last week. The platform registered over six thousand sales to Sandbox players, and the average order was for $28. There is still some 300 parcels of land available, but inventories are dwindling fast.
Decentraland (MANA) is the largest crypto video game out there as far as trading volume goes. Its virtual world is preparing for a Feb 20 launch. It’s attracted a lot of attention from gamers and cryptocurrency investors. Using the Ethereum blockchain, players can buy and secure their virtual names (registered through Ethereum Name Service Domains), while virtual clothes and player accessories are also blockchain available for sale.
Decentraland and Cryptovoxels Burgeon
Players and crypto speculators are also buying blockchain real estate on Decentraland. Over the past week, the Decentraland blockchain has seen some $572,000 in trading volume. Cryptovoxels has experienced over $200,000 in weekly trading volume as well.
Anyone can buy blockchain real estate in these digital worlds. Players who own crypto-secured virtual land can build structures on their land, and even run business enterprises in world and monetize their land to generate cryptocurrency cashflow as a source of income. The digital marketplace is attracting a mix of gaming enthusiasts and business people looking for a lucrative opportunity.
These blockchain powered titles to digital land in virtual worlds are shifting the entire gaming paradigm. (They could disrupt titling for real world real estate as well.) Now players can be more than consumers. They can be both consumers of gaming entertainment, and agents of production and market enterprise in digital universes. That’s something for economists and human behavior theorists to ponder. It’s something revolutionary, but it’s not something entirely new.
From Consumers to Blockchain Powered Producers
We began to see this shift in the role of gamers when Second Life debuted in 2003. It didn’t take long for a thriving digital economy to populate the virtual landscape of Second Life, complete with its own digital currency, Linden dollars, that had an equivalent real world economic value. The phenomenon was fascinating to economists and computer theorists.
It may have even been a visionary preview of what blockchain would make possible less than a decade later, digital currency that is completely secured by code in a trustless, distributed network. That would be a necessary next step in the evolution of virtual economies for them to scale with any degree of reliability and trust from the new consumer/producers who would participate in them.
The next step for blockchain powered virtual reality? Players may want to begin forming virtual governments with a democratic ethos, so they can have an equal stake, responsibility, and influence in the governance of these worlds. People could end up supporting their livelihoods with full time jobs in these worlds, so a government to protect their enterprise is a likely eventuality.
These pioneers are colonizing the final frontier—blockchain.