Ready Player One Meets Monopoly

So you have seen Ready Player One and wonder when our current VR attempts will rival such complexity and immersion. While it is up to you if you see Ready Player One as a pinnacle of VR technology or a sociological nightmare, the pure technological requirements may be available in the few years from now.

At that point in time, the development of the Ready Player One universe is absolutely possible. So here is the issue; in the movie, the VR world is basically owned by the company developing it. All players have to pay to visit the VR realm.

So what if this VR realm isn’t owned by one company but the virtual places are being treated as virtual real estate? In other words you can buy a piece of property in this world and create whatever you want on there. In most cases this would involve a virtual business to make money of the players visiting your exciting property and take a virtual plunge in your virtual pool.

Decentraland Possible Content

This is basically what Genesis City in Decentraland is. Decentraland is a virtual reality platform powered by Etherum blockchain and running on open standards. The whole idea is to create a virtual world where you own a parcel of land and you can build anything you like. This allows the “property owner” to build an establishment and charge the visitors for the services provided. For example, this could be a game that the visitor is playing or a beautiful hangout space where you can go to dance like in Ready Player One. Of course there will be an entry fee for the dance floor and this how the code development is paid for.

You think this is a crazy idea? Well, let’s say this is already reality and people are working in VR to create a virtual realm that will attract users.

Well, here is where it gets really crazy. This thing is powered by an Etherium blockchain, in other words you are paying for anything with Mana, an ECR-20 token. This does include land purchases and like in real life; you can get a mortgage for a parcel of land (of course you will be paying interest of course). As a consequence you are owning a virtual piece of land with a title and the ability to sell or trade it within the VR realm of Decentraland. If you think I had too much eggnog already, just follow the links provided and see for yourself.

Decentraland ParcelsDecentraland Parcels for Sale

The land parcel is 10m x 10m and Decentraland just announced an auction to sell more land. In the old days of startup companies this might have been called round 2 financing, but now it is selling virtual real estate (oh, the irony). What you want to put on your land is up to you, of course, and I wonder if you could buy the land and then take out a second mortgage. Why you are asking? Well, Mana has a relationship with real money and this land does not exactly come cheap anyway.

Mana Mana to US$ relationship

As you can see, parcels can go from a few thousand Mana to many millions. We are looking at parcels selling for 10,000 Mana up to 10,000,000 Mana. The most expensive parcel currently on the auction page is offered for 1,530,000,000 Mana. In real world money this equates to US $580 to $580,000 for a 10m x 10m parcel and I am not even converting the most expensive parcel here. For my American friends, this equals to 1,076 sq ft. With that in mind this compares actually pretty well to apartment prices in the US. $580 per sq.ft. for the expensive parcel is on a par with the average cost of an apartment in Los Angeles and may I remind you that for that price, you actually get an apartment you can live in. In the case of Decentraland you get a virtual property that is only valid as long as Decentraland exists. All in all, this is a very interesting concept.

Decentraland MapDecentraland Map, see Legend key below for explanation

So who is investing in virtual property? I do not know, but according to the Dentraland auction site, there is a good number of parcels already sold. Taking a look at the Decentraland map you can see that everything blue is currently for sale. All the black squares with a grey border are already sold.

Decentraland Legend Key

As you can see this is actually a massive multiplayer version of Monopoly played with real money. In case you do not know what to do with all your time over the holidays you could invest a good portion of your bonus in virtual properties. So far, I haven’t found anywhere that you have to pay real estate taxes on those. (NH)