The Metaverse is getting its first luxury brokers, the clearest sign yet that the value of virtual property may in fact be real.
Oren and Tal Alexander, Douglas Elliman’s top artists of the past two years, have formed a partnership with Republic Realm, the metaverse developer that paid a record $4.3 million this week for a virtual domain. They plan to develop and sell properties in a “planned community of architectural significance” in the virtual world, Republic Realm said.
“We want to focus only on the properties of trophies in the various metaverses,” Oren Alexander said in an interview. Location and design will be primary considerations.
Metaverse champions say virtual property carries weight even if you can’t touch it, wear it, or live in it. Its value, they say, stems from bragging rights: few people live in or even visit actual mega-mansions, but everyone knows who owns them.
The arrival of a team with cachet in the world’s wealthiest real estate enclaves lends credibility to a market that many still think is just a fad – or worse, a bubble. The brothers, known as the Alexander Team, are among the most profitable residential real estate brokers in New York and Miami, with a client list ranging from Ken Griffin to Kanye West.
Elliman is not directly involved in the deal as the Alexander brothers are independent contractors for the company.
The constellation of luxury virtual properties will span The Sandbox, Decentraland and at least one other unidentified metaverse and will be branded Alexander Team, Oren Alexander said.
Republic Realm is best known as the creator of Fantasy Islands, one of the first NFT real estate projects in The Sandbox and among the most profitable NFT ventures ever. He recently sold a virtual “mega yacht” in the metaverse for 149 Etherium, the equivalent of around $650,000 at the time.
Janine Yorio, co-founder of Republic Realm, said early investors in digital property are “pioneers and visionaries” who will benefit the most from the expansion of the metaverse. “They understand that if you get started early, something like the Metaverse can be extremely profitable,” she said.
Demand from the Alexander team’s existing customers and the brothers’ interest in the cultural and business possibilities of the metaverse inspired the move. Alexander said he and his brother are digital property investors themselves and will market the newly developed mansions to the team’s actual customers.
People inside and outside the cryptocurrency sphere see a “wide range of opportunities” in the metaverse, Alexander said.
“We strongly believe in this metaverse digital real estate world,” he said. “The world has changed, society has changed people – especially the younger generation, who not only play in the digital world, but to some extent live in the digital world.”