How to make money in the metaverse
Discover ways to earn an income in the next iteration of the internet.
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The metaverse revolution is here — and it'll profoundly redefine the way we work, experience, play, socialise and learn, among other things.
From taking on virtual jobs to creating digital assets, the opportunities to earn money in the metaverse are boundless — but not always guaranteed.
What is the metaverse?
The metaverse is a network of highly immersive, 3D virtualised worlds focused on social interaction, where users come together to do activities through their avatars, such as playing games, attending a concert or even working.
Simply put, the metaverse is a virtual realm that parallels our real lives, in which almost anything is possible. Talk about living a double life.
The metaverse is made possible by technologies such as:
- Web 3.0 and digital assets
- Augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR)
- Artificial intelligence (AI)
- 3D reconstruction
- Internet of things (IoT)
Although many aspects of the metaverse are still abstract, some clear components, such as cryptocurrencies and nonfungible tokens (NFTs), are expected to play a foundational role in its internal infrastructure and economy.
Ways to make money in the metaverse
Metaverses are taking shape, and we expect virtual metropolises, fully functioning economies and new job opportunities to redefine the way we work.
While these virtual worlds are in their infancy or have yet to be publicly released, opportunities for earning income in the metaverse are already available.
Investing in metaverse tokens
The simplest way to get involved in the metaverse is investing in metaverse economy projects, which are mostly powered by cryptocurrencies and digital assets.
When Facebook rebranded itself as Meta in 2021, most major metaverse cryptocurrencies, such as SAND and MANA, witnessed an exponential increase in value as the concept of virtual worlds gained traction.
So if you do your due diligence and believe that a metaverse project will take off, you may want to fill your bags with some of its tokens, especially if you intend to participate in the space.
While waiting for token values to appreciate, you can generate passive yields by staking them. Some projects, like The Sandbox or Axie Infinity, launched native staking facilities. If not, most top metaverse coins can be staked on decentralised exchanges, such as SushiSwap or Uniswap.
Blockchain-based games with play-to-earn (P2E) models, such as Axie Infinity, Aavegotchi and Pegaxy, introduce virtual economies that reward players with tradable in-game assets and cryptocurrencies in exchange for their time and skill.
However, most of these P2E games require a somewhat hefty initial investment — usually an NFT — to get started. Players are often required to reinvest for other in-game items or upgrades to increase their earning potential.
With metaverses, these blockchain-based games would likely be embedded in the form of mini P2E games. This means that gaming would most likely be the leading activity — at least for the start.
Game developers on metaverses like The Sandbox, or people learning the ropes, can use free "Game Maker" tools designed to help its users create their own games without the need for any coding knowledge.
Once you create a game, you can monetise it by deploying it on a land parcel — we'll cover more on this later — and earning fees from players or simply selling the creation to another person.
Metaverse real estate
As companies, major brands and investors rush to own a slice of the metaverse, virtual real estate is experiencing a boom in both demand and prices.
In early 2021, users could grab a small piece of land in popular metaverses such as The Sandbox and Decentraland for under US$1,000. By the end of the year, people were selling these plots on secondary marketplaces for over ten-fold their initial investment.
Land parcels in metaverses are NFTs stored on the blockchain. This means that each plot is unique, cannot be duplicated and is owned by the one who holds the private keys to the wallet address that holds the NFT.
Just as you would in the real world, research the metaverse project, consider plot locations and scarcity of the virtual land parcels before buying virtual real estate in the metaverse of your choice.
7 ways to make money with virtual real estate
Take a look at the various avenues of generating money through virtual real estate:
- Flipping. Buying plots of virtual land or digital properties inside metaverses like The Sandbox and Decentraland and then reselling them at a higher price is the most straightforward way to make a profit.
- Renting. If you have a plot inside the metaverse, you can rent the space to creators or game developers to operate their business, earning a passive monthly yield on your property.
- Build a commercial venue. Develop, manage and landlord your own commercial venues such as virtual malls, hotels, casinos, exhibition halls, performance venues and other properties. This way, you can lease or sell smaller units — like shops, offices or advertising space — to businesses.
- Advertising. With the metaverse, brands and advertisers are presented with an entirely new vector to reach their audience. Imagine huge signage and billboards on virtual buildings — and owning your own land means opportunities to capitalise on these advertisement platforms.
- Brokering. Perhaps you'd work under virtual real estate companies or be an independent metaverse land broker. Either way, you could make generous commissions on successful deals by connecting buyers and sellers.
- Real estate management. Become a manager of other users' properties. For instance, you can potentially carve out a full-fledged career by helping landowners manage their venues and overseeing virtual events, such as concerts or art exhibitions.
- Real estate designing. Conceptualise and create 3D worlds on plots of digital land. According to Fortune Daily, digital architecture firm Voxel Architects is making up to US$300,000 per project to design real estate in the virtual world.
In the metaverse, you can cross borders — or even time — without having to leave your home. For example, you can visit the Grand Canyon, Great Wall of China, Stonehenge, Pyramids of Giza and more within an hour, or even experience historical events that are recreated in virtual worlds — be it the eruption of Mount Vesuvius or the American Civil War.
So if you're looking to buy virtual plots, metaverse tourism can be part of your land development plan. Virtual tour guides and travel agents may be in demand once the sector takes off.
Buy, sell or create NFTs
The vision of the metaverse is to eventually integrate and connect smaller metaverses that are in development to form a single overarching metaverse.
When that happens, user avatars and NFTs are expected to be interoperable and easily migrated between metaverses.This opens possibilities of earning from NFTs throughout the metaverse.
Buy and Sell NFTs
One common way to profit from NFTs is to buy cheap and flip when the value appreciates. Obviously, this is purely speculative, but famous NFT collections such as Bored Ape Yacht Club and CryptoPunks have traded at astronomical prices.
While most NFTs have limited utility at the moment, one foreseeable use case is to display NFT art in a gallery within the metaverse. When the digital art industry establishes at a larger scale in the virtual world, we expect job opportunities for NFT art curators or brokers.
NFTs in play-to-earn games, which may eventually be part of the metaverse, also reward users with new NFTs or cryptocurrencies that can be traded for real-world value.
Create and sell NFTs
Almost anything within the digital space can be minted as an NFT. This means you can invest your time in developing and creating your own NFTs — such as apparel, collectibles, decor, equipment, furniture and more — for a metaverse and then list the assets for sale on the marketplace.
For example, The Sandbox offers a free-to-use 3D modeler called VoxEdit that allows content creators to construct and animate NFTs from voxels — which are essentially 3D pixels — before minting and monetising them through The Sandbox's marketplace.
In addition, creators can earn royalties for each subsequent sale of their NFT. This means that you can earn passive dividends from a percentage of the sale whenever your creations are sold or resold on secondary markets.
Compare NFT marketplaces
A growing list of high fashion brands are experimenting with virtual clothing and other wearables — minting them as NFTs and promising future utility to holders, such as exclusive access, to both online and offline events.
Here are prominent brands and their foray into the digital space:
- Gucci. Opened virtual pop-ups on metaverse platforms Roblox and Zepeto. The brand also acquired land in The Sandbox
- Ralph Lauren. Like Gucci, American fashion house Ralph Lauren has also held virtual pop-ups on Roblox and Zepeto.
- Balenciaga. Partnered with online game Fortnite and offered four signature items from its collection for players to use as skins in September 2021.
- Burberry. Partnered with Mythical Games to launch NFTs in Blankos Block Party.
- Ambush. Released 2,022 NFT versions of its iconic Pow! rings.
Digital fashion allows users to customise their avatar's clothing. This means monetisation opportunities for those looking to create their own digital clothing line.
Metaverse courses/metaverse education
The potential of education moving to the digital space was made evident when millions of students sat through online classes via Zoom and Skype during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Compared to video communication platforms, the metaverse offers a more immersive and interactive space for students to learn and unleash their creativity. We expect tutoring and educational initiatives to take off.
Entertainment plays a vital role in metaverses as past events show a positive uptick in attendance and revenue.
Lil Nax X's Roblox concert in 2020, for instance, attracted 33 million attendees. Such mega-events would not have been possible in the real world due to constraints such as space, security and other potential hazards.
In September 2021, Snoop Dog also partnered with The Sandbox to host a private party that allowed 1,000 NFT party pass holders to experience the rapper's private lifestyle, access exclusive NFTs and win a chance to have Snoop Dog perform an exclusive concert on their LAND — a digital piece of real estate in The Sandbox's metaverse.
So if hosting virtual parties or concerts is your thing, you may want to mimic this strategy for potential income.
Top metaverse projects happening now
There's a growing list of tech companies and game studios taking on the ambitious task of building their own version of the metaverse.
Here are some of the most notable metaverse projects as of March 2022:
- The Sandbox
- Star Atlas
- Gala Games
- Somnium Space
- Axie Infinity
As the metaverse expands, we foresee a collaborative, interoperable project where these individual "worlds" will connect by cross-metaverse bridges and be accessible on various platforms, such as VR headsets, smartphones, gaming consoles, personal computers and other means of communication.
Available metaverse-related job opportunities
To build and operate a metaverse, a vast number of virtual workers will be in demand. Here's a list of metaverse-related jobs to consider if you have the expertise:
- Digital asset creators
- Specialised 3D artists and designers
- NFT brokers
- AR and VR research scientists
- Game designers
- Community managers
- Web 3.0 developers
From virtual jobs to creating digital assets, there are many opportunities to earn money in the metaverse. But as with any investment or opportunity, profit isn't guaranteed. Realistically, you can make anywhere from $100 to $20,000 per month, depending on how creative you are in the metaverse and the type of expertise you offer.
As with all things crypto and digital, scams and rugpulls are incredibly common. Avoid getting lured by deals that sound too good to be true by doing your due diligence on offers you receive.
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