Someone Paid 450K to be Snoop Dog’s Virtual Neighbor


On December 3, 2020, a man who uses the online alias “P-ape” bought a plot of virtual— yes, virtual— land for $450,000 . To put that into perspective, you can buy an entire house for that price. You can buy nine brand new cars off of a car lot and still have money to spare. He made this purchase in a metaverse called, “The Sandbox,” where users can create worlds and build games. Users of The Sandbox can build on virtual land and drive virtual cars inside of the metaverse. They even have a chance of attending virtual concerts with Snoop Dogg and a chance to actually speak with him. The Sandbox has millions of dollars worth of investment with major companies and brands, such as The Walking Dead, The Smurfs, and Hell’s Kitchen, owning virtual land.

The metaverse uses a highly controversial way of protecting users’ creations by using Non-Fungible Tokens (NFTs). NFTs are like receipts but for virtual items. The items are kept on a blockchain that keeps track of who owns what. This may all sound great, but NFTs are infamous for being expensive and harmful to the environment. On average, NFTs’ carbon emissions are worth one entire month of the average European household for a single image, gif, or video. The NFTs and blockchains do not prevent other people from screenshotting or downloading the video, so you’re just paying for a virtual receipt that costs thousands of dollars and hurts the environment.

But wait, what even is a metaverse, and how did companies think of the idea? The first instance of the metaverse ever being mentioned was in the book, Snow Crash, written in 1992. The book was critiquing how companies and privatization are seeping into our day-to-day life. It depicts that the future will have corporations being stronger and bigger than actual governments and that the metaverse is a place where people escape from the real world into a virtual reality, only for the metaverse to be overrun by corporate mafias.

It seems kind of weird that Meta (formerly known as Facebook), of all companies, would rebrand themselves after a world that is run and ruined by corporations and all the messed up things they do in the said world, but at the same time, Meta is known for being evil.

Many developers of the metaverse give credit to Roblox and Fortnite for making virtual social hubs and paving the way for the metaverse to be more widely used and accepted. Most places in the metaverse allow for users to use cryptocurrencies (any form of currency that exists digitally or virtually and uses cryptography to secure transactions) to buy in-game items. Cryptocurrency is another controversial topic because it is possible to lose your virtual wallet or delete your currency, and the fact that it stresses the power grid and damages the environment even more, but I have a question for the readers of this article: would you buy virtual land for you and your friends to hang out virtually, or would you buy and spend money in the real world to hang out with your friends in person?
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