Episode 5

Why Should We Live in the Metaverse?

To understand why tech billionaires love the metaverse, we had to go there ourselves

By Zack Guzman

December 4, 2022


If there's one thing in crypto that tech billionaires really love to talk about, it's the metaverse.

Just ask Meta née Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg, who loves the metaverse so much he not only renamed his company after it, but is continuing to spend billions of dollars trying to make sure we all live there. And he's not alone.

In fact, it's not just Meta's Horizon Worlds we have to consider for a story on the metaverse, but also Decentraland, the Sandbox, Nvidia's Omniverse, and even original pioneers like VR Chat and Second Life (oh and games like Roblox and Fortnite.) TLDR; it's a crowded space.

But why? Why are there so many people building the metaverse? And what's even the point?

This week on Coinage, we decided we needed to dive in ourselves — but not just to explore. Instead, we dove deep into Decentraland with a purpose. We wanted to make some money.

Coinage Host Zack Guzman jumped into Decentraland and we haven't seen him since. Does anyone want to host the show now?
Coinage Host Zack Guzman jumped into Decentraland and we haven't seen him since. Does anyone want to host the show now?

As wild as it might seem, there is some real money to be made. Just ask the person who paid $450,000 to buy the virtual plot next to Snoop Dogg's virtual home. Even the European Union's foreign aid commission spent north of $400,000 to build out its own presence in the metaverse.

Things can be quite expensive and quite nice in these digital utopias. But then again, building more of that seems blasé — especially amidst another crypto crash. Instead, on Coinage's mission into the metaverse we opted to go in a more frugal direction.

Luckily, as a former broke college graduate who moved to New York City with student loans and a laughably small budget for any sort of living arrangement in the Big Apple, I have experience with humble abodes. There was one apartment I lived in without a bathroom sink — yet, a shower in the kitchen. There was another that featured bed bugs, a perpetual leak that caused the ceiling to cave in, and a kitchen so small that the dishwasher opened into the wall. If I had to live there in the real world, maybe someone else might be interested in taking it off our hands in the metaverse.

Big Apple. Small kitchens. And... leaks from pipes you're afraid to ask your landlord about.
Big Apple. Small kitchens. And... leaks from pipes you're afraid to ask your landlord about.

First, we had to buy a virtual land plot. You can find a few of them listed on each platform. For the purposes of this experiment, we opted for a plot in Decentraland that set us back about 5,800 MANA tokens, or roughly $3,000. Then we had to find a designer who could re-create the magic of my apartments in the metaverse on our plot of land. After a desperate search, New York-based metaverse architect Vukosi Bayomi accepted the challenge.

"It gets hard to do things that don't look great in the metaverse because everything is meant to draw people in and it's supposed to look amazing. They didn't build the assets for crappy looking things," Bayomi tells us. "I'm not sure about the bed bugs."

And yet, even without that touch, we felt we had more than enough to please whoever we might be able to find to help us list and flip our virtual monstrosity. But in order to maximize the chances of selling it we'd need someone who knows all about terrible apartments.

The hell that man had thrust upon the world in New York City's East Village circa 2014 hath now been thrust upon the virtual world.
The hell that man had thrust upon the world in New York City's East Village circa 2014 hath now been thrust upon the virtual world.

Enter Stephanie Turk, a New York City apartment broker famous for highlighting some of the most "farkakte apartments" the Big Apple has to offer. But could a real real estate broker at a real real estate company really flip a virtual farkakte apartment?

"As long as there's a home, there's someone to fill it, right?" Turk said. Frankly, I liked the optimism. "This is the first farkakte apartment in the metaverse, ok? That has a lot of social currency. Your buyer is going to be someone who appreciates buying some pop culture piece of art."

With our plan moving along swimmingly, we re-listed our plot in Decentraland. New York City's first virtual farkakte apartment was born. Feel free to explore it yourself. Turk also gave a virtual tour on her TikTok page with a pretty succinct, albeit dark, reality.

"The reality is that in 25 years, your current physical living conditions may not be as great as the metaverse, which is why you might want to be living there," she said.

As it turns out, maybe an apartment really can be too farkakte in the metaverse. In the first couple of weeks since our apartment was listed, there have only been a few nibbles and nothing yet worth entertaining.

"Farkakteness ... sometimes it needs its time to marinate," Turk says.

So we shall wait and see. Until it sells, the NFT-holders that make up the Coinage community shall remain its virtual owners.

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