Aussie landmarks under ‘virtual properties’ are up for grabs

Some of Australia’s most iconic landmarks and prestigious addresses are for sale at rock-bottom prices, but one expert has compared the fad to ‘buying a star in space or Scottish nobility’.

Some of Australia’s most prestigious addresses and landmarks are on sale at rock-bottom prices.

But there is a catch. You won’t be able to move in, or even get VIP access – at least not yet.

Forty-seven Aussie addresses are currently listed for sale in one virtual marketplace where you can “buy” real estate, or rather non-replaceable tokens (NFTs), based on the real world, rather than just random pixels in the metaverse.

And those lists have dropped from over 60 a week ago.

Brisbane’s iconic The Gabba has already sold for $1768.72, while the MCG was recently picked up for a whopping $6078.90.

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And while that may sound cheap by traditional brick and mortar standards, remember, you don’t really own the real deal.

Optus Stadium in Western Australia is currently listed for $4777.42, while Rod Laver Arena can be yours for $3326.05.

In Sydney you can buy everything from Westfield Sydney to the NSW Crime Commission.

You can even bet your spot in the NSW seat of power, with Parliament on the list for just $634.63.

But not only stadiums and government buildings find their way to virtual real estate portals.

There is even a strange housing offer.

A riverside property in Brisbane’s St. Lucia, where the real average house price is $1.62 million, could be yours for as little as $469.03 in the virtual world, or roughly the average weekly rent for an apartment in the desirable suburb.

In Western Australia, an off-market house in South Perth is the cheapest offer at $321.83.

Ownership records show that the home sold for $400,000 in 1991.

QUT Associate Professor of Architecture Simone Brott, who is also the author of: Digital Landmarkssaid new virtual real estate platforms are popping up every day.

“When you buy a virtual piece of real estate, you buy an asset as if you were buying a brick and mortar building,” said Dr. Brott.

“If that asset increases in value, you can sell it for a profit, and so on.

“But unlike the real world where you can only make a profit once, if you sell a real estate NFT to a second buyer who then sells it to a third buyer, depending on how the NFT is set up, you can also make a profit every time. earn royalties. the NFT sells.”

dr. Brott said you only buy the virtual NFT, without any link to the real property.

But she said owning that NFT could one day come with some real benefits, like VIP access to special events, or even some stock in a constructed building.

Special counsel Graeme Fearon of Moulis Legal, with offices in Brisbane, Canberra and Melbourne, was both intrigued and cynical.

Mr Fearon, an expert in blockchain technologies and intellectual property rights, said buying virtual property was “largely a novelty”, akin to buying Scottish nobility or a star in space.

“It’s like a virtual land grab right now, but how valuable that virtual land will be, if at all, will depend on there being others out there who see value in buying the metaverse next to you, the quality of the interaction and the community,” he said.

“You’re basically buying an item in a database that someone has created, but there’s really nothing stopping you from theoretically making your own database and owning or selling it. How do you value something when there is potentially an unlimited supply?”

Mr Fearon said homeowners who found their own bricks and mortar on virtual sales platforms shouldn’t worry, adding that the metaverse owner would have no claim to real estate. But he warned that people should be aware of scammers.

“Like anything else, scammers will target vulnerable people, perhaps telling them to buy ‘their’ property before someone else does. We’ve seen that happen with things like domain names,” he said.

He said the other problem was the lack of transparency and understanding, which makes it difficult to distinguish legitimate offers from scams.

“Of course you can make some money, but it’s a huge risk,” he said. “You really have to understand what you’re buying and what you’re getting.

“If it’s for fun, and you’ve got a few hundred bucks to spare, fill your boots.

“But if someone is trying to sell you something in the chain and you don’t know what they’re talking about, or you don’t understand the risks, tell them they’re dreaming.”

According to Canstar, buying virtual real estate is also volatile – just like the real deal.

“The Everyrealm Metaverse Index, which tracks virtual ownership across 14 different metaverses, recorded a 1,400 percent increase in average prices in the second half of 2021,” the comparison website said.

During the first quarter of 2022, however, the index was down 35.3 percent.

Nicola Field, Canstar’s personal finance writer, said some virtual real estate owners have made big profits.

“But as is often the case with all things crypto, it’s a fair bet that many have lost money on virtual property,” she wrote.

Real estate agent and coach Tom Panos said the irony was that virtual real estate was “pretty much the opposite of traditional real estate”.

“That’s bricks and mortar you can actually touch,” he said.

“I don’t think it has broad appeal, and I agree, it’s a very new idea.”

But there are some pros and cons to the fad, according to Dr. Brott.

“Cons are that it’s seen as a risky investment,” said Dr. Brott.

“Pros, early entry and significant market opportunities.

“The metaverse is just the next iteration of social media.

“But unlike Facebook, which is owned by a CEO, the metaverse is collectively owned by those who own the property.”

A spokesperson for ScamWatch said virtual real estate sales were represented by an NFT, a “financial asset.”

“If third parties offer, promote or advise the purchase of NFTs, that could raise concerns under financial advisory regulations and is a matter for ASIC,” he said.

Originally published as Aussie landmarks among ‘virtual properties’ up for grabs

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