A traditional mindset, and one that has proven its worth over the centuries, is investment in real estate. More precisely, the age-old belief has been to purchase land as a store of value, since in the vast majority of cases, land always appreciates in value. Should the said plot be anchored by a national highway, public transit hubs, major facilities, or is located in the heart of a city, its value increases exponentially.
Physical land has been a prudent investment vehicle
In the sprawling metropolises of Gurugram and Noida in India’s national capital region, erstwhile agricultural plots saw their values spike within months or even days when real estate developers began acquiring large chunks. Many a farmer, who’d earlier sustained on agriculture, were in many cases, turned into dollar millionaires.
In the years since, land has become a coveted investment for the bulk of the population that can afford it. Even in tier-3 Indian cities, there is barely any land available at affordable prices and one must venture outside to a fairly distant location, away from the urban precincts. The next best bet is to purchase an apartment.
But in what has been a most interesting development is the development of virtual real estate. In fact, there is virtual land up for grabs. And in case one reckoned that this was going to be an affordable bet, it isn’t.
Yes, there really is virtual land
The metaverse is evolving at furious speed. Given that both institutional and private investors have been quick to identify the metaverse’s use cases, virtual land prices have increased manifold. But why would anyone want to invest in virtual land, you ask?
Allow me to cast the spotlight on one blockchain project that is currently among the epicentres of virtual land transactions. In the past week alone, a Bitcoin.com analysis highlighted that virtual land sale transactions amounted to several million dollars. The first such virtual land sale, meanwhile, took place in February 2021, when a blockchain firm called Axie Infinity sold eight plots of land for a total of USD1.5 million.
The anonymous buyer said, “We’re witnessing a historic moment; the rise of digital nations with their own system of clearly delineated, irrevocable property rights. Axie land has entertainment value, social value, and economic value in the form of future resource flows.”
What are the stats?
Let’s take a deeper dive and examine what Axie Infinity is and what its origins are. It is a game similar to the popular 2010 era Facebook game called Farmville. But in this case, gamers can not only purchase land but they can also engage in collecting, breeding or raising tokenised creatures called Axies. These Axies can then be traded with other participants.
AXS–its listing name on crypto exchanges–tokens are currently trading at an estimated USD127 following a stratospheric increase of 102345.63 percent! Yes, this figure is correct; it is not a typing error.
Meanwhile, Axie Infinity is the brainchild of a Vietnam-based blockchain developer called Sky Mavis. I am sure all of this information must sound like it is out of some fantasy-driven science fiction film. But the truth is these are the actual goings on in the digital world, or more specifically, in what is termed the metaverse.
So, Gurugram or Noida, or some other similar urban area will almost certainly deliver returns of 100 percent in a decade or so. However, do keep in mind that a virtual plot of land might just appreciate by four- or five-figure percentages.