While the term ‘metaverse’ has come to characterize all things web 3.0, and in particular virtual worlds proposed by Meta, Decentraland, and The Sandbox, the reality is that web 2.0 applications such as social media, or even older virtual world applications such as Second Life, were metaverses of their own. Games such as Fortnite, Roblox, World of Warcraft, and League of Legends are all examples of metaverses.
Essentially, anything that constitutes a virtual world that people across the globe can interact with in real-time is a type of metaverse, including the Twitterverse.
However, when it comes to the virtual worlds of web 3.0, there is no one metaverse but several metaverses. The World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) is currently working on making metaverses interoperable so that your avatar can seamlessly move from one world to the next with its NFTs and skins intact, but for now, each metaverse is stand-alone.
The Sandbox is also a Minecraft-esque virtual world, much like Decentraland, with a strong social angle. The Sandbox is a community-driven platform where creators can monetize digital assets and gaming experiences on the blockchain.
The Sandbox has not officially launched yet and is expected to open its world to the public in March of 2022. Despite this, the price of SAND increased eight-fold in November 2022 and has risen by 13,000% over the past 12 months off an admittedly low base. It has already generated 500,000 users or SAND token holders.
One of The Sandbox's strengths is its simple graphics and native tools, making it easier to develop in, and go viral. Simplicity is key to any meme going viral, (this was true for the English language) and is true when it comes to metaverses.
The Sandbox is owned by Animoca Brands, a gaming firm, and has raised over US$93M in
funding. Its current market cap is US$5.8B.
The Sandbox has a very strong brand and social component, with notable residents such as Snoop Dogg, A$AP Rocky, Deadmau5, Care Bears, The Walking Dead, Atari, The Winklevoss Twins, and numerous others buying up land in its metaverse.
LAND in the Sandbox is limited to 166,464 parcels and currently sells for an average price of US$12,000, in some cases, sells in the low six-figures, depending on location and proximity to influential personalities and brands.
Such PREMIUM LAND generates more traffic, creating additional monetization opportunities through the sale of NFTs, renting out land, and selling advertising such as digital billboards.
The Sandbox is also an environmentally conscious platform, integrating with Polygon’s energy-efficient proof of stake system, purchasing carbon credits, and planting trees.
Decentraland is a 3D virtual reality metaverse that is arguably the world’s leading metaverse today. The company essentially operates as a DAO (a decentralized autonomous organization) and is owned by its users (cryptocurrency MANA token holders), who collectively vote on critical decisions.
Decentraland consists 90,601 parcels of land that are spread out over a number of different worlds.
Since its launch in 2017, it has generated a total of $25.5M in funding over three rounds.
Virtual estate in Decentraland are NFTs that can be bought with MANA, based on the Ethereum blockchain.
Decentraland has featured performances from the likes of Paris Hilton, Deadmau5, Alabaster dePlume, and 3LAU. Despite this, and despite launching over three years ago, it boasts only about 20,000 users.
The average price of land parcels in Decentraland has risen from US$5,800 in March 2021 to about US$20,000 today, reflecting an increase in market sentiment to the metaverse and web 3.0. Land in Decentraland is capped, creating artificial scarcity, but it also creates an incentive for land to be developed and activated. Without scarcity, the value of land would be insignificant, and parcels would be abandoned, thus compromising the experience of the metaverse.
The same holds true for other metaverses with a capped number of land parcels with a mandate not to create additional parcels of land.
At the moment, Decentraland runs on the Ethereum blockchain, and as such exorbitant transaction, or ‘gas fees’ apply. This creates scalability issues and financial overheads and comes at a cost to the environment. However, Ethereum is moving from a proof of
work consensus to proof of stake consensus, which ultimately means that transaction costs should come way down, and with it scalability way up.
For the moment, Decentraland has partnered with Polygon to help reduce the high gas fees.
The price of its MANA token has increased over 5,022% over the past twelve months, off a low base, and Decentraland’s ambitious roadmap has seen some analysts predict that the price of MANA will increase 25-fold by the end of 2025.
Unlike Decentraland and Sandbox, which have more substantial social angles, Axie Infinity is an NFT-based online video game developed and owned by Vietnamese studio Sky Mavis.
As of May 2021, it boasts the most expensive collection of NFTs.
Having launched in March 2018, Axie boasts 1.8 million daily users and has generated in-game sales of NFTs of over US$2.3B.
Axie Infinity has raised a total of $9M in funding over three rounds.
Land (or Terra) in Axie Infinity’s Lunacia ranges from $4,000 to over $200,000, depending on what type of land and which region it is in. A plot of land sells for an average of US$20,000, not dissimilar to Decentraland and The Sandbox.
While a powerful gaming platform with a huge user base at the forefront of NFTs, we would not recommend Axie Infinity for meeting Creso Pharma’s metaverse objectives.
Bloktopia is a Skyscraper made up of 21 levels to pay recognition to 21 million Bitcoin, set to launch in conjunction with The Sandbox in March 2022. The price of its BLOK token has increased 2,900% over the past 12 months.
Bloktopia is backed by the Polygon blockchain and is billing itself as the ‘home of crypto’. BLOK holders, or ‘Bloktopians’will be able to earn revenue through real estate ownership, advertising revenue, play games, build networks, and much more.
Unlike The Sandbox which presents users with somewhat regressive pixelated visuals, Bloktopia will run on 3D Creation Engine, fueling stunning visualisations and what it says will be a superior user experience.
Bloktopia has raised just US$4.2M in funding to date. Land cannot be purchased on Bloktopia at the moment.
Cryptovoxels is a virtual world and metaverse, powered by the Ethereum blockchain. Players can buy land and build stores and art galleries.
It boasts 10,000 users, and land in its virtual world retails for an average price of US$10,000.
There are a number of other metaverses worthy of cursory mention such as WWW3, Starlink, Nakaverse, Star Atlas, NetVRK, and Bit Country, in addition to well established games such as Fortnite and Roblox.
Like anything, it all starts with your objectives.
Are you planning to move into the metaverse to promote your brand, sell digital assets, forge partnerships, build a stronger community, or all of the above?
Second, who is your target audience? How old are they? What are their tastes and interests?
A platform like Roblox predominantly attracts a pre-teen audience, whereas a platform like The Sandbox has made a concerted effort to partner with brands and personalities such as Snoop Dogg who have mass appeal amongst older audiences.
You will want to weigh up the following factors when it comes to selecting your target metaverse:
Finally, you’ll want to weigh up the following factors when selecting which parcel of land to buy in your preferred metaverse.
Land can typically be purchased from NFT marketplaces such as OpenSea, and sometimes through the respective metaverse itself.
If you’re still unsure how to even begin contemplating your brand’s move into the metaverse, get in touch with our team for a no obligation, free 30-minute consultation.
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