Virtual real estate plot sells for close to $1 mln

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LONDON, June 17 (Reuters) - A patch of virtual land in the blockchain-based online world Decentraland sold for more than $900,000 on Thursday, in a record purchase for the platform, the Decentraland Foundation said.

In Decentraland, ownership of virtual land is bought and sold in the form of non-fungible tokens (NFTs). An NFT is a kind of crypto asset which records the ownership status of digital items on blockchain. read more

The buyer was an investment vehicle called Republic Realm, a digital real estate investment fund, the Decentraland Foundation said. Republic Realm is owned by Republic, a U.S.-based investment platform backed by investors including Binance and Prosus.

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It was the most expensive purchase of NFT land to date, according to DappRadar, a website which tracks NFT sales data.

Made up of 259 units or "parcels" of land, the plot of virtual real estate represents 66,304 virtual square metres (16 virtual acres), making it also the biggest Decentraland land purchase in terms of virtual size.

The purchase was made using MANA, Decentraland's own cryptocurrency. The land cost 1,295,000 MANA, which was worth $913,228.2 at the time of sale.

Blockchain-based real estate in virtual worlds has surged in price as part of the NFT market frenzy which began in early 2021. read more

In virtual worlds such as Decentraland, people can display their NFT art collections, walk around with friends, visit buildings and attend events. read more

As part of a recent Sotheby's NFT sale, the auction house opened a virtual replica of its London building within Decentraland and exhibited the NFT artworks there, attracting more than 3,000 virtual visitors. read more

In another blockchain-based virtual world, The Sandbox, a patch of virtual real estate sold for around $650,000 earlier this month, the site's co-founder Sebastien Borget said.

Meanwhile in Somnium Space, an estate which fetched $500,000 in March is still the record high, Somnium Space's founder and Chief Executive Artur Sychov said.

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Reporting by Elizabeth Howcroft; editing by Jonathan Oatis Editing by Rachel Armstrong

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Reports on the intersection of finance and technology, including cryptocurrencies, NFTs, virtual worlds and the money driving "Web3".