The Land Price Insanity Continues at Decentraland

Someone recently posted the following offer to sell an 80m-by-60m parcel in the initial Genesis City region in Decentraland (each red square on the map below is one 10m-by-10m piece of virtual real estate, called LAND):

Land Bubble Insanity on Decentraland 4 Apr 2018.png

MANA is the cryptocurrency in use in Decentraland. According to this MANA to US dollar converter website, that asking price works out to:

MANA to USD 4 Apr 2018

That’s right, a million dollars for 4,800 square meters of land. Compare that with Second Life, where a 65,536 m² plot sets you back US$600.00 with a monthly fee of US$295.

The seller justifies his asking price by saying, “but there’s nothing else on the market of this size with this much land next to a road”. Keep in mind that proximity to a road is a moot point when you can usually teleport from place to place in any virtual world (but, of course, you can’t even visit Decentraland yet, let alone teleport anywhere).

The only active, functioning part of Decentraland at the moment is the land market, where people are frantically buying and selling virtual land in anticipation of making a huge profit when Decentraland actually goes live (and nobody can say when that will be, yet). Given how extremely competitive the virtual world market is, and how much further ahead most of the other platforms like Sansar, High Fidelity, and Sinespace are in terms of functionality, this is extremely risky speculation.

I notice that since my last blogpost about the Land Marketplace in Decentraland, the developers have turned off the website’s ability to sort and view the marketplace listings by most expensive first. So you can no longer easily find out what the most expensive land is selling for. Well, actually, it’s still pretty easy to see, you just select the sort by Cheapest option and scroll to the very end of the listings:

Decentraland Most Expensive Land Prices 4 Apr 2018.png

I just keep shaking my head, and I keep watching from the sidelines.

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High Fidelity and JanusVR Announce the Virtual Reality Blockchain Alliance

VRBA.jpeg

Remember that blogpost I wrote, way back when, about the idea of the Universal Avatar? Well, we seem to be one step closer to that today.

Philip Rosedale, the visionary founder of Second Life and CEO of High Fidelity, has just announced that JanusVR and High Fidelity have founded the Virtual Reality Blockchain Alliance (VRBA), “a group dedicated to establishing a universal digital identity built on the blockchain and outside the control of any specific corporate entity.” He goes on to say:

As a member of VRBA, Janus will host a node of the High Fidelity blockchain and have the ability not just to read from the ledger but to register assets and record transactions on it as well.

As a member of VRBA, Janus will recognize avatar identities created in High Fidelity, and equally personas created within Janus will transfer to High Fidelity. Users of both services will be able to control what information they share or keep private for each experience and tailor how they present themselves. Together we’ll add more features to our identity platform to help build trust as people traverse VR.

Soon High Fidelity users can bring their virtual goods to Janus, along with ownership rights — the precursor to avatars and property moving effortlessly from world to world.

Janus is also developing a Blockchain Explorer that will allow people to view and render their assets, regardless of which service they used to buy them. You’ll no longer have some of your stuff on one platform, some of it on another. It’s just your stuff, everywhere you go.

High Fidelity Coin (HFC) is our cryptocurrency for peer-to-peer transactions and purchases on the High Fidelity Marketplace. Janus will soon support HFC in its digital wallet, meaning anyone will be able to purchase Janus content using HFC. We’re creating a kind of ‘HFC free-trade zone’ between all the virtual worlds on both platforms.

JanusVR, a decentralized service which re-imagines webpages as collaborative three-dimensional webspaces interconnected by portals, also had a statement on their website of this new alliance. It states:

Fundamentally, Janus builds a universe of virtual worlds from the decentralized platform of the web itself. The use of blockchain technology is the next logical step, as it provides a meaningful solution to an important problem: portability of identity between virtual worlds. Such portability enables many new capabilities, for example: avatars that provide a consistent appearance between worlds, or enabling transactions with cryptocurrencies or any other kind of digital asset, with transactions occurring in-world or even between-world. All of this data will exist within a decentralized, public, secure network that will itself allow open exploration and visualization (something we are very enthusiastic about working on).

Of course, there’s still a bit of skepticism in some quarters about how well blockchain technology will stand up in actual virtual world use. It’s a fascinating debate, well worth following. Philip Rosedale is obviously a big believer in the blockchain. Maybe his bet will pay off.

And maybe—just maybe—the day of the Universal Avatar isn’t as far away as it once appeared to be…

Decentraland Launches Their Land Marketplace

Decentraland has announced the launch of a website for people buying and selling LAND (what they call the 10m-by-10m parcels of virtual real estate in Genesis City, their first city). Here’s a recent Decentraland blogpost going into more detail on how it all works. Be warned, the website can take a while to load.

As I have written before, I am shocked at just how much money some people are asking for their LAND. I used the new Decentraland Marketplace website to find a piece of LAND for sale near the central square in Genesis City, for sale for 13,140,000 MANA (their cryptocurrency):

Decentraland Expensive Land 20 Mar 2018

According to this cryptocurrency converter, that works out to:

Decentraland Expensive Land 2 20 Mar 2018

And that’s not even the most expensive land for sale, according to a sorted listing of the most expensive LAND:

Decentraland Expensive Land 3 20 Mar 2018

Clearly, these people are not serious, and are probably only testing the boundary values of the system. This reminds me of the joker who placed this item up for sale in the Sansar Store:

Gold Box 20 Mar 2018.png

Still, it’s fascinating to watch the LAND auctions in Decentraland. Remember, Decentraland is a virtual world where the economy has been built first, before the actual world itself. This is pure speculation, with not a little greed thrown in for good measure.

You may wonder what the cheapest LAND parcel is selling for. It’s 8,500 MANA for one 10m-by-10m parcel of LAND, which works out to about US$740. This makes Second Life (a virtual world you can actually visit) seem like a bargain! It makes any other virtual world seem like a bargain.

Elysium VR: Another Cryptocurrency-Based Virtual World

Early this morning I heard about yet another cryptocurrency-based social VR space/virtual world. This one is called Elysium VR, and the emphasis appears to be on roleplaying:

We are RAV3 team, we are working on Project Elysium. Elysium is a multiplayer Roleplaying game designed for virtual reality. The player falls into a sandbox world (Saint-Graice islands), in which he or she will live, work and have fun. The everyday life is detailed, starting from the need for water and food, finishing with decoration of their apartment / house. You just have to comfortably settle in this world and go in search of adventure with your friends. Each player can have different jobs, ranging from a dangerous bandit from the hood, ending with the president of the island state of Saint-Graice islands. You are guaranteed to experience maximum immersion in the gameplay! After all, all this will happen in VR ( and PC )!

Here’s a YouTube promotional video for the project:

The graElysium Avatars 16 Mar 2018phics remind me of the VR game Job Simulator. There’s a rather disturbing reliance upon handguns and other weaponry in the promotional video, and the avatars look pretty blocky and unappealing, according to this picture taken from their website (left). We’re obviously not aiming for realism here!

And it looks like they are going to have a smartphone app (below), allowing you to “be able to control all important game processes even if you are not in game!”:

Elysium App 16 Mar 2018.png

Their cryptocurrency is called MINERAL:

Mineral 16 Mar 2018.png

It would appear that they are currently in the fund-raising part of this venture. They are asking for donations from interested users:

Elysium DOnations 16 Mar 2018.png

So, if you’re interested in becoming among the first to set foot in Elysium, you can shell out US$10 or more to get a game license.

Like the three other blockchain-based virtual worlds I’ve blogged about previously—Decentraland, Mark Space, and VIBEHub—I’ll be watching from the sidelines. I refuse to invest in any of these new virtual-world-based cryptocurrencies because I am skeptical of the current massive hype around anything with the word “blockchain” attached, and I don’t have faith that I’m not going to lose my money when these novice virtual worlds shut their doors, as some of them surely will. The marketplace is getting overcrowded and frankly, many of these startups are not going to survive.

I buy Linden dollars and Sansar dollars and other virtual world currencies when I have confidence that the virtual worlds where I can use my currency are going to be around for the long term. High Fidelity and its HFC coin beta test is an evolving situation which I am continuing to monitor, but I haven’t yet actually purchased any HFC. All the HFC I currently own was donated to me by HiFi.

And so I’m not touching any blockchain-based virtual world currency with a ten-foot pole until I see evidence of a truly three-dimensional virtual world which I can actually visit! Decentraland, VIBEHub and Elysium VR do not yet meet that requirement, and Mark Space is NOT a three-dimensional virtual space at all!