An NFT marketplace CEO explains why he bought a $1.2 million plot of metaverse land as the 'first digital gentrification' ramps up
- Portion CEO Jason Rosenstein told Insider about his company's acquisition of a $1.2 million plot in Decentraland.
- The virtual real estate includes an entire district that is close to a road with heavy foot traffic.
- He said the current metaverse land boom is the "first digital gentrification" in history.
Portion, an NFT auction house and marketplace, purchased a $1.2 million plot of virtual real estate last month, and the company's CEO believes property values and market trends in the metaverse mirror those in the physical world.
The metaverse property deal was completed January 27, with the company paying 425,000 MANA, worth about $1.2 million at the time, for the "Portion District" in Decentraland.
"We took this giant leap for a mega plot in Decentraland because artists have kept asking us to build something, a space to bring NFTs to life in a new way," Portion CEO and founder Jason Rosenstein told Insider.
While he said the metaverse is "super experimental," he remains optimistic on the purchase, calling the rush into virtual land "the first digital gentrification" in history.
Portion selected its 52-parcel plot in Decentraland because it was next to a road and a major plaza where other brands were buying land, Rosenstein explained. "Plus, you want to be as close to the center of Decentraland as possible."
For companies looking to get involved in digital land, he recommends starting small, and double-checking that your audience will take to the metaverse space — "it's not for everyone," he said.
"Build in an area where there are other similar brands doing the same thing as you, and try to get as close to a road as possible," Rosenstein said. "Make sure you do your own research to make sure you aren't overpaying."
This isn't Portion's first move in the metaverse. It has previously received free land in the Decentraland Arts District. And last July, it debuted a seven-floor virtual museum in Decentraland, featuring a broad array of NFT artwork.
Rosenstein is now looking to build out the brand's presence further as a place for artists and creators to congregate and exchange work. He predicts that the metaverse will host the next evolution of artwork.
"Virtual land is where the next wave of NFTs will land," Rosenstein said. "It'll bring them from 2D jpegs to a 3D metaverse. People will start to own 3D models of NFT artwork, that's why we were so bullish to get this major virtual estate."
—Portion (@PortionApp) February 4, 2022
Portion's acquisition is the latest seven-figure deal in the metaverse. In November, Metaverse Group made a $2.43 million purchase in Decentraland. A week later, video game publisher Atari made a $4.3 million purchase of land in the SandBox metaverse.
But some experts remain skeptical about the metaverse land rush, likening virtual plots to crypto assets rather than property that will appreciate. Others see metaverse land as a way for brands to build out new, digital experiences for consumers.
Rosenstein said companies are looking for digital storefronts to sell products, adding that Portion has partnered with companies that want to use its virtual land to sell digital wearables for avatars.
"Buying land in the metaverse is like buying land in Manhattan in 1800," he said. "No one really knows too much. But you just have to take an educated guess and try it out."
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