Why should you invest in the metaverse? Which Metaverses Should You Invest in Today? Is Decentraland Democratic and Meta a Socialist Metaverse? How should you start educating yourself? Dave Carr, head of Business Development at Parcel, who also previously worked at Decentraland, one of the most popular metaverses, shares his knowledge.

Why should real estate investors buy something in Decentraland when Meta is going to potentially dominate that space?
Meta could very well do the real estate sales in the Metaverse experience, I don't know for sure that they wouldn't do that. There'll be a lot of benefits to being involved in the Meta experience, brand relationships that Meta is able to bring into that will be huge. There'll be a lot of users who want that curated experience, they feel very much open to more established virtual worlds, there are a lot of people who would prefer to have the content served to them. It's almost like you go to Disneyland, because you want that experience served to you. Whereas the Decentraland is more like walking in the gate, it's up to you what happens now, and there are things that you can do, see, and engage in. It's also about the fact that you're a creator, you're involved in helping us create this space. Meta could dominate for a large section of the population, people could have a profile in Meta, as we all have Facebook profiles, and also experience with other social media channels, it comes down to who is going to be offering the most compelling value and experience. It's just a matter of understanding who the creators are behind those worlds, what their roadmap looks like, and that gives you a good guide to the world that you want to be a part of.

Does Meta have anything out there yet, or they're literally just building it as you mentioned?
Yes, they are still starting to build. There'll be many other virtual worlds popping up that are more niche, more virtual related. If you have different interests, you should choose which one will probably be in there for the long haul. What that allows creators to do is put content on that layer. That's a whole other side of the metaverse which could actually hit the mainstream before we access virtual worlds like Decentraland, The Sandbox, those parcels of land are also for sale and present an opportunity for virtual real estate.

What would you invest in today?
I love the idea of the metaverse, that it enables creators to do all sorts of fantastic things and own their creations as well, for musicians to not have to get their works through a platform that somebody else owns and takes the vast majority of their money from. For me, it's about virtual worlds that are enabling creators to get their work out there, but are also incentivizing users to come and use the space, and deriving benefits from that. If you look at it at a very specific level, the NFT's that have come out this year, all of the different avatars, the different projects have sold for an extraordinary amount of money. A lot of these NFT projects have just disappeared or gone very quiet, some of them have failed, the ones that survive are the ones that are able to create a really strong community around them, that have shown a very clear roadmap of where they are headed, and how the benefits will be rolled out to people who own it.

It's the same for virtual real estate. If you can see the world, the experience that you are buying into has a very clear project, and it's a unique project as well, has a very clear roadmap for how it's going to benefit users and anybody who contributes to it, then that's the one to get involved with. I understand that investment and the return on that investment on your property is, for many people is the first step. But I think we need to look at this in terms of what's coming to that. It's the same in terms of physical investments, you buy a piece of land in an area that is going to develop and be valuable to the people who move into that space. It's about knowing where that particular land is headed, and spread across different worlds would be a smart choice as well. Avoiding putting all of your eggs in one basket is probably one of the golden rules, so do your homework and find a spread of worlds that makes sense and have good long term prospects.

Would it be safe to assume that places like The Sandbox and Decentraland are more democratic and Meta would be a more socialist world?
In terms of control, you could say that Decentraland and The Sandbox are more democratic. That's a whole other discussion in terms of the governance structures of these open virtual worlds in the open metaverse because even the governance structure is still a test case if you like. But in terms of Meta, I'd be very surprised if they handed over control to the users, but I don't see that happening. Facebook, has been incredibly successful because you are the product and your data has been monetized. Some people are very happy with that, it's absolutely fine. It'll be a different experience to the decentralized worlds, I don't see it as a bad thing for Meta to be entering into this space because it educates people to what else is out there. The people can make the decision as to which experience they want to devote most of their time to.

Anybody could come up with the next Decentraland and they can all create these worlds, tell us why we should invest in these worlds?
Yes, anybody could come along and create a new Decentraland, and try to replicate this and potentially do it better. The benefit that Decentraland has is that it has the lead time it has been doing this longer. The Sandbox is not fully live yet, but it has been doing the backend development work, they will get it right when it launches, and be sure that it is working properly. Similar to Decentraland and other virtual worlds, they have the runs on the board, they have the brand partnerships in place, they have the content community familiar with it, they have the architects in their building, and they've been developing those people as well and supporting them. If things go according to plan then they will continue to be one of the more established worlds. They've made the mistakes that everybody is yet to make, so there's a lot of benefit to be had in being first to market.

Technically, anyone can hack into your account and take your land away. How can people protect themselves, is it through two factor authentication? What are some other ways that people can and should look into protecting what they own out there?
The fact that these lands are NFT's and they are created on the blockchain means that they're much more secure. Obviously, you hear about exchanges being hacked and cryptocurrency being stolen, but that's an exchange issue. I also get the question, What happens if the game falls over and stops working, or they go out of business, the fact that the land has been minted on the blockchain with an open contract, means that it is much more secure than if you were holding money in the bank or any kind of asset that was not on this open ledger.

Wallet storage is absolutely crucial, a lot of people keep their cryptocurrency and the NFT's in the cloud, but cold storage or hardware wallets is a great idea and there are loads of options out there for that. But Decentraland it is designed to continue working, even if the body behind the platform or the foundation ceased to exist, Decentraland would keep going because it is separated and hosted across many different servers and it's not centralized to one. The central server would still operate because that content is served and hosted on many different servers around the world, the blockchain won't fall over because it's not controlled by one particular person. So there are layers of security involved with this, the fact that they are non fungible tokens, NFT's, the underlying technology for this land means that they are unique and there's only one other kind of those things.

Is there anything else that we haven't covered that you think it's important for our audience to know?
Parcel has existed for six months, it's been a really extraordinary six months. The reason Parcel exists is because people wanting to buy land in all of the different virtual worlds and marketplaces, it's kind of scattered all over the place. You really had to navigate through different user interfaces and different repositories in order to get that information. That's why we were created Parcel, to aggregate those listings into one place, so you didn't have to go searching. There's a lot of education and information that exists on our site as well. My recommendation is to find those sources of information that will speak to you in basic terms, they are out there and and there's a lot of great videos as well, there is a way to make sense of this. And I think that the best way to do it is to jump in and get your hands dirty and have a bit of a play around. It does start to make sense and it becomes really fascinating. It moves at lightning speed, but the fundamentals remain the same.

Dave Carr