I can’t believe I have to write these words, but a giant virtual yacht just sold on a video game for $US650,000 (A$911,482) in real money, well real crytocurrency, successfully combining all the worst aspects of the NFT and crypto trends into an actual and yet somehow still fake purchase, as reported by Hypebeast and Business Insider.
There are a lot of moving parts to this whole situation, so I’m going to try to break it down for those of us — myself included — who have no idea what on Earth is happening. This sale took place in something called The Sandbox, which is basically a virtual gaming world, a “metaverse” where players can “play, build, own, and monetise their virtual experiences,” the website claims.
I feel like this whole concept needs an example to make it make sense. Let’s say you built a house in Minecraft (or some other video game of your choice). Despite the fact that you built it, it’s still technically ‘owned’ by the makers of Minecraft. In The Sandbox, anything you make is owned by you, and you can sell it for in-game tokens that have a monetary value in the real world, theoretically.
On gaming platforms like The Sandbox, then, people can buy and sell luxury items like yachts. And this giant yacht — horrifically christened the Metaflower Super Mega Yacht — sold for 149 Ethereum, which at this moment translates to about $US650,000 (A$911,482) in real, actual money.
Were The Metaflower Super Mega Yacht a real thing, it would probably be pretty cool. Metaverse trading website OpenSea says it has “a DJ booth, helicopter landing pad, and hot tub, among other amenities” and “provides access to The Fantasy Marina and is designed to be the crown jewel of The Sandbox.” But I can’t park it in the harbour and watch the Monaco Grand Prix — unless there’s expensive virtual racing in The Sandbox? — so the concept just seems ridiculous.
It also just looks… like a low-poly yacht. I don’t get it.
As you’ve probably gathered by now, I simply don’t see the appeal of this whole… thing. I can’t wrap my head around spending my hard-earned dollars on something that only exists virtually, but some people have seen enough value in it to spend over $US2 (A$2.80) million on virtual plots of Sandbox land. And I can’t find anyone to explain the point of the metaverse’s so-called “three-dimensional internet” who haven’t already totally bought into the idea.
I think I’ll just stick to my Animal Crossing, where I can spend my hard-earned fake money on fake luxury items without it ever costing me a cent in real life. The rest of you… well, good luck.
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