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How to Buy Land in the Metaverse

June 01, 2022 - 25 min read

Purchasing virtual land is more popular than ever, but purchasing and profiting can be a challenge

Along with the broader NFT boom, buying NFT land in the metaverse has been one of the hottest crypto and blockchain trends in recent years. Industry data suggests that land sales in the metaverse peaked at $500 million in 2021 and are likely to increase by over 100% in 2022. Crypto asset manager Grayscale believes this trend will grow exponentially– with virtual land potentially becoming a $1 trillion industry in the next 5-8 years. 

Plus, it’s not just crypto enthusiasts investing in metaverse land– Samsung, PwC, JP Morgan, and other megacorporations have also bought virtual land in recent months. For instance, PWC recently purchased a small land plot in The Sandbox, perhaps the first professional services firm to do so. 

In addition to traditional finance and tech giants, major fashion brands including Dolce and Gabbana, Tommy Hilfiger, Perry Ellis, and a variety of others recently held the first metaverse fashion week in Decentraland. The week was a smashing success, generating millions in sales, with some NFTs of real-world fashion items selling for higher prices than the real-world items themselves. 

Gucci has also made a few bets on metaverse land, purchasing property in The Sandbox in order to create a specialized area for Gucci-based experiences known as the “Gucci Vault.” If that wasn’t enough, in June 2021, major auction house Sotheby’s opened the first-ever virtual gallery in Decentraland. 

It should be noted that investment in metaverse land is also beginning to imitate real-world real estate investment strategies. In December 2021, blockchain investment firm KleinCap investments’ MetaSpace REIT (MREIT), the world’s first tokenized virtual real estate investment trust, began trading on the decentralized exchange Uniswap. Another company, the Metaverse Group, which boasts a virtual headquarters in Decentraland’s Crypto Valley, plans to launch another virtual land REIT in mid-2022. 

In this article, we’ll review some of the top virtual land metaverses, including Decentraland, The Sandbox, and Upland, how to purchase and sell land there, and discuss profit strategies for virtual land investors and speculators. 

Is Virtual Land a Good Investment? 

While this article isn’t offering investment advice, virtual land is not a good investment for anyone who isn’t willing to lose everything they put in. Of course, this doesn’t mean that some people aren’t making large sums of money off of it. 

One major issue with virtual or metaverse land investing is the permanence (or impermanence) of today’s platforms. For instance, even if we make the assumption that the virtual real estate market will grow exponentially, we don’t know if Decentraland and the Sandbox will become the next Myspace or Vine– big platforms that eventually faded out or closed altogether– or if they’ll become industry giants like Facebook, Instagram or TikTok. 

Since the Web3 metaverse industry is so new, it’s certainly possible that newer competitors with better graphics, more advancements in AR/VR technology, or better tokenomics could potentially overtake the current market players. 

Despite these pitfalls, there are certainly ways that people and brands can profit from purchasing land in the metaverse. One, higher-risk method, involves buying, selling, and trading lands. This takes significant research, as investors must discover under-appreciated but potentially rare land plots, market them, and resell them at a higher value. This can be especially profitable if the land is in a good location and hence, is desirable for development by major brands or influencers. We may even see the proliferation of metaverse real estate brokers in the near future. 

Another method involves taking raw land and developing it into some type of profitable virtual business or attraction. After creating the business or attraction, the owner can charge other users to buy specific NFTs related to the land, or charge an entrance fee. They may also create exclusive clubs that only permit the holders of specific NFTs to become members. 

In addition to buying, selling, and developing virtual land, virtual land can be leased on most platforms, which is another potential source of profit for virtual land investors and entrepreneurs. 

How to Buy Virtual Land (In General) 

When you purchase a piece of virtual land, you’re purchasing an NFT that represents that land in a particular metaverse. Therefore, you’ll generally need to have an ERC-20 and ERC-721 capable crypto wallet. Common options include the popular Coinbase or Metamask wallets, though there are dozens of good options to choose from. 

Users can buy lands within each game, with a slightly different process for each game, which we’ll review later. However, another excellent way to browse through potential virtual land options is to utilize third-party NFT sales platforms like OpenSea or NonFungible.com. In order to make a purchase, you will also need a sufficient amount of tokens for the platform on which the land is located. For instance, if you want to purchase virtual land in The Sandbox, you’ll need to purchase SAND tokens. You will also need enough ETH in your wallet to facilitate the gas fees for the transaction. 

After that, you can usually purchase the property in one click, provided you have sufficient funds. After a few seconds (sometimes longer) the funds will be withdrawn from your wallet and you will receive your NFT. If there is a bidding process on the property, you can enter a bid, and if you win, you will be rewarded the property. 

The Major Metaverses for Purchasing Virtual Land

As of Q2 2022, the virtual land industry is dominated by two major players, Decentraland and The Sandbox, though there are a handful of other metaverses vying for the attention of casual players and serious investors alike, including Upland and Somnium Space. Since land in Decentraland and The Sandbox has become so expensive, with entry prices currently around $4,000 for the least expensive virtual land, investors are beginning to focus slightly more on other platforms in order to pick up virtual land at a discount. 

Below, we’ll review some of the major land metaverses, how they work, and how to purchase land there. 

Decentraland 

Decentraland, which was founded in February 2020, is a virtual reality-based land metaverse built on the Ethereum blockchain. As of May 2022, Decentraland is the largest virtual land metaverse by market cap, with its native MANA token sitting at a market capitalization of more than $3.9 billion. The game’s native ERC-271 NFTs are referred to as LAND tokens. 

In addition to the aforementioned fashion brands Dolce and Gabbana, Tommy Hilfiger, Perry Ellis, and Sotheby’s, Samsung, Australia Open 2022, Digital Currency Group, JJ Lin, and other major brands have also begun to promote themselves on Decentraland. 

As previously mentioned, lands in Decentraland are NFTs. LAND holders can use their LAND NFTs to build 3D spaces and applications inside Decentraland. Each land parcel is 16m x 16m (52 ft. x 52 ft.). However, there are certain height restrictions. The height is restricted based on these limitations as well. LAND is scarce; the Decentraland metaverse is limited to 90,601 total land parcels, including 43,689 private parcels, 33,886 district land parcels, 3,588 plazas, and 9,438 streets. 

In addition to basic land, there are also estates, groupings of two or more land parcels that are next to each other and can’t be divided by non-land areas such as roads or other parcels. Users can also connect parcels to create their own estates. 

Unlike some blockchain games, which operate with a traditional, centralized corporation at the helm, Decentraland is structured as a Decentralized Autonomous Organization (DAO), an organization in which the individual LAND and MANA token holders vote on how to allocate resources and how exactly to develop the rules and structure of the organization. 

Specifically, DAO members vote on how to upgrade the metaverse to add more features and wearable items, specify the details and times of LAND auctions, decide how and when to add and replace content servers, and determine primary sale fees. 

Despite its popularity, it should be noted that the game has suffered from speed and loading issues, and can sometimes be difficult to play even for those with high-speed internet connections. 

How to Purchase Land in Decentrand

  1. Create an account: As previously mentioned, before creating an account you’ll want to get on a crypto trading platform like Coinbase, as well as getting an ERC-20 compatible wallet, like the popular Coinbase or Metamask wallets. On the Decentraland homepage, you’ll need to enter your email address and create a password, as well as provide some information to comply with Decentraland’s KYC regulations. Then, you’ll be able to name and create an avatar and design it. 
  1. Explore Decentraland: Now that you have an Avatar, you can explore Decentraland in gameplay mode and check out properties in-game. 
  1. Atlas View: The Atlas View provides a map-like view of all areas in Decentraland. Users can toggle around the map to see available properties (properties available for sale will be outlined.) You can also see the public wallet address of the current owners of each owned property by clicking on the subject property. The Atlas view also allows you to make offers on the property or to purchase unclaimed properties. 
  1. Marketplace View: Users can go to the Marketplace View to check out all Decentraland properties that are currently for sale. The easiest way to visit the marketplace outside the game itself is to go to marketplace.decentraland.org. Users can view land parcels, estates, and collectibles. To view every item, you can click on the Explore tab, but users can also segregate items by categories, such as price and various other characteristics. Users can also use the category tab to view only properties that are not for sale. 
  1. Buying MANA Tokens: You can buy MANA tokens via a centralized exchange, like Coinbase, or a decentralized exchange (DEX), like Uniswap, or purchase them within the game’s built-in exchange. Users can press the “exchange” or “markets” link after registration and can use their wallet to swap other cryptos for MANA. 
  1. Buying Property: Explore properties and their prices to find deals. Users can do this in either the Atlas or Marketplace view. Select the buy button and verify it in your wallet to purchase it. You can also bid on properties that are not for sale. 
  1. Bids on Property: Pick My Bids from the top navigation bar to check on your bids. This area also shows other users’ bids on your NFT lands or products. 
  1. Selling Property: To sell property, you will need to go to the Access My Assets area and press Sell. Here you can set a price and an expiration date for your listing. If someone has bid on your property, you can verify the payment in your wallet and then wait for verification. You can update the price at any time prior to sale using the Update Price button on the property details page. 

The Sandbox

As of May 2022, The Sandbox is the second-largest virtual land metaverse by token market cap, with a market cap of the platform’s native ERC-20 SAND governance token sitting at just over $3.1 billion. 

The Sandbox was one of the first players in the virtual and metaverse land industry, having been founded in 2011 by gaming developer and publisher Pixowl. The company first launched two incredibly successful mobile games, The Sandbox (2011), and The Sandbox Evolution (2016), which generated a combined 40 million in downloads. However, the blockchain metaverse game that so many know and love today wasn’t launched until 2018. 

While it was initially created by a for-profit publisher, like Decentraland, The Sandbox is now operated as a DAO (decentralized autonomous organization). Therefore, the SAND governance token holders vote on how the game will evolve and how revenues will be utilized to further the metaverse’s growth and development. 

In The Sandbox, platform land sale fees are set at 5%. 50% of this revenue is apportioned to the SAND staking pool as staking rewards for token holders who stake SAND tokens, while 50% goes to The Sandbox’s Foundation, referred to as “Foundation,” to further the development and governance of the game. Foundation has created a $2 million Game Maker Fund, which it has used to fund over 15 gaming projects (including an ATARI licensed game) in The Sandbox metaverse and to fund over 100+ artists to create original in-metaverse NFTs. 

As a gaming platform, The Sandbox blockchain offers three major products that allow users to generate their own content. These include: 

  • VoxEdit: VoxEdit allows users to generate and animate complex 3D objects for free, such as plants, animals, vehicles, people, and consumer items, which they are guaranteed ownership of via smart contracts. These user-created items can grow in rarity over time, assisted by the newer Catalyst and Gem ERC-20 tokens used to help define the scarcity and rarity of an asset. An article from The Sandbox explains the somewhat complex structure of these newer tokens here
  • Marketplace: Like Decentraland, The Sandbox has a marketplace for user-created NFTs, as well as virtual land, that can be bought, sold, and bid on. 
  • Game Maker: The Sandbox Game Maker allows users to create complex, interactive games for free, which can be played by anyone inside The Sandbox metaverse. 

Like Decentraland, the game’s native ERC-721 tokens that represent virtual land are referred to as LAND tokens. However, user-generated items use the newer, semi-fungible ERC-1155 standard, offering them a much greater degree of flexibility, as well as (potentially) the ability to create dynamic NFTs that degrade or grow in value over time. 

How to Buy Land in The Sandbox

Purchasing virtual land in The Sandbox is somewhat similar to buying land in Decentraland, but there are a few key differences. Just like in Decentraland, virtual land can come in two types, independent LAND NFT parcels sized at 96×96 meters (much larger than in Decentraland) and Estates, which are combinations of multiple LAND NFTs. LAND can be bought from other players but can also be purchased through official presales, which have traditionally sold out in just a few hours. 

Here are a few basic steps detailing how to begin buying land and items in The Sandbox: 

  1. Create an Account/Buy SAND Tokens: Like other metaverse games, you should start by obtaining an ERC-20 compatible blockchain wallet, such as the aforementioned MetaMask or Coinbase Wallet, and purchase some SAND tokens on an exchange (as well as some ETH for gas fees), and then use your wallet to sign into The Sandbox on their website. Alternatively, if you don’t want to make any purchases, you can sign in with a Google or Facebook account to test a limited version of the platform 
  1. Go to OpenSea: Unlike on Decentranland, The Sandbox has officially integrated with the OpenSea NFT marketplace for its virtual land re-sales, so users will need to start an OpenSea account to buy LAND on the secondary market (where nearly all land is sold, other than presales). Here is a great guide from OpenSea on how to set up an account. You can see all properties for sale in general or click on a specific property to check out its current price or to make a bid. 
  1. Or, Check Out The Map View First: Instead of jumping right into an NFT purchase, it might make a lot more sense to view the Map section of Decentraland. Green areas are already owned by other players in the game, many of which have branded the area with their own brand name or symbol.
  1. Create an Avatar: To truly play the game, and not just purchase virtual land, you’ll need to click the Alpha section, where it will invite you to make an avatar. 
  1. Click a Space to Play and Download The Sandbox Client: After creating your avatar, you can return to the map area, and click any space to play and interact with that space’s particular experience, if it has one. Before doing so, however, it will invite you to download the The Sandbox client, which is necessary to interact with the game’s metaverse. 
  1. Begin Quests and Explore Areas: After downloading the client, you can begin exploring areas, interacting with them, and completing quests. 
  1. Create Your Own NFTs: In addition to taking the above actions, once you have bought land, you can improve upon it, as well as populate it with NFT objects or creatures that you’ve created through VoxEdit, which can also be sold on the aforementioned NFT marketplace.

Upland 

Upland was founded in 2018 by entrepreneurs Dirk Lueth, Mani Honigstein and Idan Zuckerman. The Upland token market cap is quite small, and as of May 2022, its native UPX token was reported to be less than $120,000. 

This is likely because UPX is not tradable outside the game and dollars must be converted to UPX inside the game, though this may change in the future. However, this small market cap doesn’t mean that the game’s economy isn’t thriving, at least for its relatively small size compared to metaverse giants Decentraland and The Sandbox. 

According to the Upland website, users have earned $1.8 million by trading properties in NFT in the Upland universe. In November 2021, the game raised $18 million at a $300 million valuation. With the prices of NFTs spiking in Decentraland and The Sandbox, the token price and the value of Upland NFTs could increase quickly as players look for lower-cost virtual land investments. Unfortunately, unlike other virtual metaverse games, users do not yet have the ability to take self-custody of their NFTs. There is also not nearly as much of an interactive MMORPG-style environment for players to interact in. These could both be major reasons why Upland’s economy is hundreds of times smaller than its competitors. 

To play Upland, you will need to download a browser extension, which is easy to download in the Google Play Store if you are using the Google Chrome browser, which is recommended. 

How to Buy Land in Upland

  1. Create an Account/Buy UPX: Like other virtual property games, you will need to create an account and verify this with your email. You can then login and enter the Upland universe. You will start by seeing a large map of the U.S., with symbols marking prominent cities where there is a significant amount of economic activity. You will be rewarded with 4,500 UPX to start, though you can click to buy more for U.S. dollars. 
  1. Understanding Color Coded Properties: Like other metaverse land games, Upland NFT land parcels are color-coded by type. Bright green properties are not minted and can be purchased/minted directly from the game. Dark green properties are already minted/owned and are currently for sale by the owner. Properties can be purchased in UPX or USD. Blue parcels are lands that are minted/owned NFTs but are not for sale, though users can make a bid to the owner, much like in Decentraland. Grey lands are unminted, but are locked, and cannot currently be owned by players. Dark blue lands are those that are currently owned by the player. 
  1. Buying FSA Property in Upland: Go to the Upland Marketplace. Your main choice now is if you want to purchase the grey-toned FSA “Fair Start Act” properties, which are intended to be cheaper and designed for newer players to get a less expensive start in the game. FSA properties are unminted. If your explorer is near the radius of the property, the parcel will turn bright green. You can click buy, and therefore exchange your UPX tokens for the listed property price. You will need to confirm your purchase to proceed. After purchase, you will receive a certificate of property to confirm your ownership. 
  1. Buying Minted Property in Upland: In contrast to FSA properties, you can also buy existing, minted properties from other players in the Upland Marketplace. First, click on the minted property– then, you will see a menu with the property’s information, including the sales price. If you want to purchase it at the going price, click “Buy,” or, if you want to offer a lower price, click on “Make an Offer.”’
  1. Selling a Minted Property in Upland: You can choose whether to sell your property in UPX or USD. For USD transactions, there is a 10% market transaction fee. 
  1. Becoming an Uplander: There are several account levels in Upland, based on the amount of UPX and the value of the property you own. These include: 
    1. Visitor: Visitors, who have a net worth of less than 10,000 UPX, do not truly own their digital assets. They will need to log in once every seven days to “renew their visa” in order to keep any lands or UPX they have accumulated.
    2. Uplander: Uplanders who have a net worth of between 10,000 and 100,000 UPX, own their digital assets permanently, including their land and UPX tokens. 
    3. Pro: Pros have a net worth of between 100,000 and 1,000,000 UPX. In a coming update, Pros will be able to utilize (buy, sell, lease) business licenses in Upland.
    4. Director: Directors have a net worth between 1,000,000 and 10,000,000 UPX and gain access to custom block explorers and additional Spark rewards. 
    5. Executive: Executives have a net worth of between 10,000,000 and 100,000,000 UPX and get custom 3-D objects and even more Spark rewards than Directors. 
    6. Chief Executive: Chief Executives have a net worth of 100,000,000 or more UPX and are eligible for additional, upcoming rewards. 
  2. Understanding Property Yield and Bonuses: One of the best parts of owning property in Upland is that users receive a 17% income (in UPX) on their property each year. Users can also receive bonuses for logging into Upland daily. 
  3. Visiting Properties: If you send your explorer to a property, a small fee is paid to the owner. Likewise, if someone visits your property with their explorer, you will receive a small fee in UPX. 
  4. Referrals: Those who refer Upland to others get a 50% bonus in UPX when they purchase their initial tokens. 

Somnium Space 

Somnium Space is a VR-focused metaverse, which like Decentraland and The Sandbox, is built on the Ethereum blockchain. Like those other metaverses, players can buy, sell, and trade land, as well as creating NFTs. 

Somnium Space was founded by Artur Sychov, who publicly launched the platform in September 2018. Unlike other competitors, Somnimum Space is heavily focused on VR, and can be played on VR devices, PCs, and on mobile (also unlike most other virtual land metaverses).

The Somnium Space map comprises 5,026 purchasable land parcels which are available in three different sizes. 

How to Buy Land on Somnium Space (H4) 

  1. Download the Somnium Space Client on Steam: Use Steam to download the Somnium Space client. Unfortunately, it is not available for Mac. 
  1. Register on OpenSea: Like some other metaverse platforms, the best way to purchase NFT land on Somnium Space is on OpenSea. You can also purchase NFT items made by players. Earlier in this article we linked to a guide to how to set up an OpenSea account. OpenSea also has a built-in integration with the Somnium Space website, so you can also simply click on “Marketplace” to access OpenSea through the website. 
  1. Make a Somnium Space Account: Use your information to make an account. 
  1. Create an Avatar: Use the Somimum Space Avatar Customization editor to make your own avatar. 
  1. Check Available Lands Via The Somnium Map View: The Somnium Map view is an overhead view of all lands on Somnium Space., You can isolate properties by “For Sale,” “Recently Listed,” and “Recently Sold.” If you see a property you like, you can then go back and bid on it or purchase it on OpenSea. 
  1. Explore the Platform: Like other metaverses, Somnium Space has a lot to explore– and you can take your avatar anywhere with Somnium’s virtual world. 
  1. Improve Your Land: If you have purchased land, you can improve it by building structures via the Somnium builder. You can also build custom NFT items this way. There are limits to how high you can build in Somnium Space. There are a limited number of tokens that allow you to build higher, but it’s unclear how many, if any, are still in circulation. 

Click here for a full guide on how to navigate Somnium Space. 

Cornerstone.land

Cornerstone.land, also known simply as Cornerstone, is a much newer NFT-based land metaverse which announced its’ launch in January 2022. Cornerstone.land was developed by ZOAN, a VR and graphics studio headquartered in Helsinki, Finland. While the metaverse is currently 100% owned by ZOAN, the company says that it plans to introduce community governance in the near future. Cornerstone, like Decentraland and The Sandbox, was developed on Ethereum and issues NFTs utilizing the popular ERC-721 token standard. 

Cornerstone’s first NFT land sale began in February 2022 on its proprietary Fun.gi platform and was denominated in ETH. It consisted of an extremely limited sale of only 10 lands. The Cornerstone metaverse is much smaller than other metaverses, initially consisting of only 100 land plots located on one island. 

However, when all land plots 100 are sold, volcanoes will erupt on the island, greatly increasing its landmass and creating more virtual land plots. Prospective initial prices have been set between €10,000 to over €20 million, though it’s unclear if how the market will respond to this aggressive pricing strategy. 

The game itself, which will be built on the Unreal gaming engine, and will emphasize VR experience, has yet to be launched, but is expected to launch in the coming months. It plans to create a strong competitive advantage by developing an extremely detailed world reminiscent of AAA video games and realistically animated films, in contrast to the somewhat basic graphics currently utilized by other land-based metaverses. 

In addition, unlike other metaverses, the Cornerstone metaverse incorporates geological principles into its construction. According to the Cornerstone website: 

“73.3% is base stone that is a great construction material for building foundations and hard-surfaced stone structures. 26.4% is organic soil that is used for the construction of more complex architectural structures because of its soft and sculptable nature. 0.3% is a stream of shape-shifting and active mineral, Noza. This material is programmable by nature.”

Unlike some other metaverses, Cornerstone emphasizes extremely strict property rights. Player avatars must be expressly invited to enter another person’s property and cannot wander freely. However, like other metaverses, users will have a lot of flexibility in developing their land. Despite this, they will typically need to purchase building materials in order to improve their lands. 

Like other metaverse platforms, Cornerstone NFTs are also available on OpenSea, though, as of May 2022, there has been no active trading of them on the platform. 

Sin City Metaverse

Sin City Metaverse is yet another virtual land metaverse that has been recently launched to some fanfare. However, as of May 2022, the company’s website appears to be down, so the current status of the project is a bit unclear. The virtual reality and gameplay aspect of the metaverse is expected to launch soon, but no date has been provided. Sin City Metaverse is reportedly designed to be a Rated-R collection of “the worst neighborhoods on Earth.” In early January 2022, it was reported that the initial land offering (ILO) sold out, with $3.5 million in virtual property selling out in only 2 hours.  

According to a Sin City Metaverse press release

“There are a total of 15,000 plots of land measuring 10x10m2 carefully zoned into 17 districts. Each of the districts have their own background story and gameplay but the most noticeable identifying mark will be whether the district is a low-security zone or high-security zone because this feature is what will determine the economic mainstay of that district and by extension the players’ roles.”

The game is designed to have four main districts, the Red Light district, a medium-security zone, the Cartel District, a low-security zone, the Chinatown District, a low-security zone, and the Strip District, a high-security zone. 

The Red Light District allows landowners to create their own strip clubs and adult entertainment businesses. These landowners can generate income in the game’s native SIN token if other players buy lapdances and other adult services, and can also own brothels. 

The Cartel District allows landowners to build drug processing facilities and farms that produce marijuana or coca plants, as well as warehouses for gun runners. Players in this district can form factions with other players, but face the threat of potential DEA raids.

The Chinatown District, which is considered even more dangerous than The Cartel District, is controlled by factions and gangs, particularly the Triads. The most valuable assets can be obtained in this district, including cash and Chinese medicine. NPCs can be killed here to obtain items like guns, swords, and cash. 

The Strip District, modeled after Las Vegas, is the safest zone in the game, where police will protect players who are threatened. This district allows landowners to construct casinos and hotels and to buy and trade high-end in-game items such as expensive designer watches. 

Applying NFT Rarity Sniping to Virtual Land

Rarity sniping” is the process of carefully pre-selecting NFTs by examining the characteristics that could make them rarer than other NFTs in the same collection. While this typically applies to generative NFT collections, it can also be applied to land and items in the metaverse games mentioned above. 

According to Tokenized: The rarity rank of an NFT indicates how rare an NFT is within a given collection based on the individual traits it has and how common they are.

For example, in Decentraland, estates and land near roads and plazas are rarer, and hence, more expensive. Land located near land owned by well-known influencers or brands is also generally more rare and more expensive. 

In an ideal situation, a prospective virtual land investor will be able to find undervalued land with characteristics that are not realized or understood by the seller, but are recognized by the buyer. This will make it more likely that the buyer will be able to flip the land for a higher price, or develop it into a profitable attraction at a lower initial cost. 

There are a variety of formulas to calculate the rarity of an NFT, with the most popular being the Trait Rarity Score formula: 

NFT Trait Rarity Score = 1/(Number of Items With a Rare Trait/Total Number of Items in Collection)

For example, if there are 10 lands with a specific trait and there are 10,000 pieces of virtual land in a specific metaverse, the NFT rarity score for that specific trait would be: 1/(10/10,000) = 1,000. 

The overall rarity of a NFT is calculated by adding the rarity score of each rare trait. 

There are a variety of free, popular tools NFT investors can utilize in order to check the potential rarity of an NFT, including Rarity Tools, Rarity Sniper, Rarity Sniffer, and RankNFT. Other options include Trait Sniper, RarityMon, MomentRanks, NFTSniff, NFT Stats, and HowRare.is. 

Users can compare the rarity scores of potential NFTs to their offering prices in order to determine which NFTs may be the most undervalued, and hence have the most potential for price appreciation. 

This Decentraland LAND parcel is labeled as “Rare” but is not necessarily particularly rare. 

In contrast to the LAND parcel labeled rare, this LAND parcel is actually quite rare due to the fact that it’s located in Crypto Valley, one of the most desirable and expensive neighborhoods in the Decentraland metaverse. 

In Conclusion: The Virtual Land Boom is Exciting, But The Industry Has A Long Way to Go

The virtual land boom is almost unlike any other phenomenon we’ve seen in modern times, except for perhaps the related boom in generative NFTs like the Bored Ape Yacht Club (BAYC). On one hand, virtual or metaverse land offers an interesting and exciting investment opportunity. On the other hand, its high risk, and the incredibly high prices virtual land has reached has led many people to compare it to a ponzi scheme, or, at the very least, a massive bubble that will burst in the near future. In some ways, this could be hurting the reputation of the overall blockchain and crypto industry, as outsiders may confuse potentially “scammier” or riskier investments like virtual land with more legitimate crypto, DeFi, and blockchain applications. 

Despite the excitement that the virtual land boom has caused, issues with UX and accessibility have also plagued the space. It’s relatively complex to even begin playing popular games such as Decentraland and the Sandbox. Both of these games require downloading memory-intensive clients, have slow gameplay and freezing issues, and do not have any type of fiat on-ramp, forcing users to transact only in crypto. This, along with the aforementioned high cost of virtual land in these metaverses means that, for now, the user base of these platforms will be limited to crypto native individuals. This will likely limit the overall growth and the sustainability of both property prices and token prices for these platforms. 

Other metaverse games, like Upland, are easier to play, but don’t carry the ownership and economic benefits of rivals like Decentrland and The Sandbox. In the future, competitors are likely to emerge that combine both the economics of Decentraland and The Sandbox with the easy onboarding and property purchase process and the fiat on-ramps of games like Upland. When this occurs, the virtual land market might be able to grow even further and truly earn the respect of both mainstream gamers and crypto investors alike. 

References: 

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  3. Kamin, D. (2021, Nov.) Investors Snap Up Metaverse Real Estate in a Virtual Land Boom.
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