Property on Lake Garda or rather on the east coast of Australia? While the dream of owning your own piece of land has become more and more expensive in real life, it is affordable in the “NextEarth” Metaverse. That could soon change.
In the film “Another Earth”, released in 2011, an unknown celestial body approaches the earth. It looks like a reflection of our planet, which is why scientists gave it the name “Earth 2”. science fiction? Of course, the planet does not exist. But there is such a picture of our land – on the Internet. There is no life there like in the movies, but the same seas, mountains, cities and roads as here. And: the same plots. Some of them are sold, auctioned and resold at very high prices.
The platform on which the plots are sold is called “NextEarth” and is a metaverse. The term is a portmanteau of meta – which means as much as beyond – and the word universe. So, the metaverse is a place that is on a higher level of our reality. A bit like the earth in the movie “Another Earth”. You can see them but not touch them.
Basically, a metaverse is a virtual world programmed by developers like a video game. Many companies create their version of a metaverse. The most well-known companies are the Facebook group Meta and IMaker of T Microsoft.
In the future, life will increasingly take place in digital worlds
These companies see the metaverse as the next step in the evolution of the Internet. They want our social and professional interactions to take place in these digital worlds at some point. To do this, users need the right hardware, like data glasses, to meet there, play games together, and talk to each other.
And then there are companies like “NextEarth” which have sold real estate and are landing their business model. The platforms of these companies use technologies like the Ethereum blockchain to record money transfers and the sale of items like a ledger. For this, companies usually use their own so-called tokens, which are linked to the respective blockchain and with which users can buy their real estate as with real money.
There are only a few tiles left in the Tiergarten in Berlin. (Source: NextEarth)
To do this, users must first purchase the digital tokens with real money. The most famous virtual world that has created its own Ethereum token is “Decentraland”. Launched in 2015, the company sells its properties on its platform to corporations and states, which build galleries and embassies there, in exchange for its own digital currency MANA.
$4.3 million for land in the metaverse
examples? In November last year, Canadian crypto firm Tokens.com bought land from Decentraland for $2.4 million. A few days earlier, the island nation of Barbados had opened its embassy in the Metaverse. On another metaverse, “The Sandbox,” New York-based Republic Realm bought land for $4.3 million.
Unlike “Decentraland” and “The Sandbox”, the worlds of “NextEarth” are not invented. On the contrary: The platform offers an exact image of the earth, almost like in the movie “Another Earth”. Except that our planet is not visible in the sky on “NextEarth”, but in satellite image as in Google Earth on a website.
On the platform, however, users can buy properties, for example in Castrop-Rauxel, New York, Port-au-Prince or on Sylt, just like in the real world. The whole world is for sale there. For this, “NextEarth” has divided the world map into tiles. Each of them is 10 by 10 meters. In “NextEarth”, our world consists of many 100 square meter boxes.
Land in metropolitan areas is sometimes expensive
A tile costs an average of $1.97. Payment is made in the currency “NextEarth” (NXTT). Thus, users can purchase a 400 square meter piece of land for around $8 in NXTT. Provided that the land does not already belong to another owner. Then users can make the owner an offer for the space.
In big cities like Berlin or New York, most sites and properties in known neighborhoods like Manhattan or Berlin-Mitte have already been sold. And sometimes expensive. The World Trade Center Memorial property with the Millennium Hilton in New York is priced at $31,045. The Victory Column in Berlin consists of several tiles and costs US$2,469.
NFT art on Miami Beach, Florida (Source: NextEarth)
Also on the beach in Miami Beach, Florida, the chances of finding cheap properties are bad. Many companies have bought boxes there by the sea and display their company logos or small works of art in front of the popular beach. According to ‘NextEarth’, this is only possible if the properties are outside of cities or are in water areas.
The blockchain is like a cadastre
How do users know you own a property on NextEarth? Each tile is associated with a part of NextEarth’s Ethereum blockchain. This part is called NFT (Non-Fungible Token). NFTs are certificates for unique digital objects and certify their ownership.
As in the real world, a tile or NFT on NextEarth can only have one owner. The blockchain is like a land register that shows which user owns the respective tile. Or what account the tiles were purchased with.
How does the purchase work? It is true that acquiring a property in the Metaverse is easier than in real life. There are no brokerage fees or notary fees. There are also no registration fees in the land register. Nevertheless, there are barriers for users.
Barriers to Buying Virtual Land
On the one hand, interested parties need an account on the website of the respective provider. With “NextEarth”, membership is required. Since the company also offers its tiles on the auction platform for NFTart, OpenSea, sold, an account there too is enough.
However, probably the biggest hurdle for new users is converting real money into cryptocurrencies. Because it’s the only way to acquire the lands of “NextEarth” and “Decentraland”. Cryptocurrencies like Ethereum can be purchased on trading platforms like Coinbase or Binance.
Since “NextEarth” only offers the option to make purchases using the MetaMask crypto wallet, users must first transfer their digital money to this wallet. A wallet is a digital wallet that stores cryptocurrency.
“NextEarth” invests in a game studio
If the cryptocurrency is in the wallet, nothing stands in the way of buying a property in the metaverse. What does the user of the purchased land do? At least with “NextEarth”, there is currently not much else possible than owning and modifying the tiles with works of art. But that should change. The company plans to integrate virtual reality in order to be able to visit the country virtually.
In addition, “NextEarth” has invested in a game studio specializing in the development of adventure games and role-playing games. Such content is also conceivable on the platform in the future and could attract new users.
And that would make “NextEarth” very different from “Earth 2” in the movie “Another Earth.” In the film, scientists suspect that life on “Earth 2” evolved alongside that of our planet. In “NextEarth”, on the other hand, the developers are creating brand new content. Only the visual resemblance to the real earth remains.