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The metaverse may sound like a futuristic wonderland, but it’s already here and accessible to anyone with basic computer knowledge and an interest in exploring digital worlds. Plus, it’s possible to even make money in this digital universe. We take a closer look at how the metaverse works and how you can make money in the metaverse through virtual real estate, digital assets, and more.

Key Takeaways

  • The metaverse comprises multiple virtual worlds you can explore using a computer or virtual reality headsets.
  • Savvy metaverse participants can earn money through investing, trading, and creating in a chosen metaverse.
  • While you can make money in the metaverse, it’s a relatively new concept with a high likelihood of volatility and losses.

How Does the Metaverse Work?

To the untrained eye, the metaverse looks much like many video games. Metaverse platforms offer the ability to explore and interact with other users, virtual objects, and virtual locations. If you’ve ever played the popular game Minecraft or interacted with others on Second Life, you would likely find metaverse platforms familiar and intuitive.

While it’s commonly referred to as “the” metaverse, in reality, users can access multiple metaverse-style applications, and each works independently. Top metaverse platforms include Meta, Decentraland, Roblox, Axie Infinity, and The Sandbox.

Ways To Make Money in the Metaverse

There are several options for how to make money inside any, and/or all, of these platforms.

Virtual Real Estate Investment

Like buying physical properties in the real world, you can buy virtual land and buildings in the metaverse. You can often keep and modify the property or hold and sell it, ideally with an investment gain.

For example, in the Decentraland metaverse, land holdings are bought and sold as non-fungible tokens (NFTs) using cryptocurrency for payment. Parcels and estates are bought and sold primarily through the Decentraland marketplace. As of September 2023, the cheapest parcel would cost about $730.

Other Decentraland assets include items your character can wear and character actions called emotes. Landowners can customize their piece of the metaverse using a builder tool.

It’s possible to create unique digital assets for the metaverse. For example, you can create outfits, character items, decorations, artwork, and other objects, depending on your specific metaverse platform.

Content Creation and Monetization

Like Decentraland, many metaverses offer options to buy and sell digital items, including character outfits and digital objects. Metaverse platforms feature the ability to own digital assets, but they have to be created by someone. Creators can include platform owners and participants looking to get more involved and potentially make money in the metaverse.

Once created, you can list them for sale to other users in an online marketplace. Some platforms operate their own marketplaces, while many also support generic NFT marketplaces like OpenSea or Rarible.

Digital Assets Trading

If you don’t consider yourself creative, you can still make money in the metaverse by buying and selling digital assets. Similar to the stock market adage, if you can buy low and sell high, you could walk away with a profit.

Digital artwork represented by NFTs are among the most popular ways to trade online assets. Some metaverses enable you to use and display artwork NFTs on their platforms. Certain collections of NFTs, such as Bored Ape and Crypto Punks, earned a reputation for quickly increasing (and sometimes decreasing) in value. In the metaverse, Axie Infinity Axies are another example of an asset you may be able to profit from buying or selling.

Cryptocurrency and NFT values can change quickly. Be careful to avoid scams and only consider investing what you can afford to lose, should your plans with such metaverse assets not work out.

Metaverse-Based Businesses

Most people think of businesses as being a place with a physical storefront, warehouse, or office. But companies can operate digital storefronts or offices in the metaverse as well. Some major companies with a metaverse presence include Nikeland on Roblox, a Samsung store in Decentraland, and Gucci locations in Roblox and The Sandbox.

If you run a business or want to create one, opening a metaverse branch where you sell digital goods or even link to real-world services like banking, as J.P. Morgan has done with its Onyx blockchain platform, can offer opportunities to make money in the metaverse.

Potential Risks and Challenges

Unlike most financial markets in the U.S., there’s relatively little oversight in the metaverse. There are certainly opportunities for savvy users, creators, and investors to profit in the metaverse. But just as easily, you could put in huge effort with no return, or even worse, you can experience significant losses.

Reality Labs is part of Mark Zuckerberg’s Facebook empire; both are divisions of parent company Meta. In its most recently reported quarterly results, Meta experienced $3.8 billion in losses from its metaverse unit, and those losses are expected to increase, according to Meta’s guidance for future earnings results.

Most individuals are likely to lose far less if they experience losses related to the metaverse. Still, corporate losses can act as a warning for what’s possible when trading and investing in a new digital world.

Can You Make Real Money in the Metaverse?

It’s possible to make money in the metaverse. In most cases, you’ll earn profits in the form of cryptocurrency. You can convert cryptocurrency into fiat currency using a cryptocurrency exchange.

How Can I Profit from the Metaverse?

You can make money in the metaverse in several ways. Popular methods include investing in digital real estate, creating digital objects, trading digital assets, and building metaverse-based businesses.

Is the Metaverse Profitable?

The metaverse works somewhat like other financial markets, where you can make money or lose money. Metaverse investments can be extremely volatile and risky, so it’s best to take a careful approach and avoid investing more than you can afford to lose.

The Bottom Line

Metaverse platforms offer an exciting opportunity to build digital estates and customize avatars representing you in the digital world. While you can make money in the metaverse, losses are also possible. Proceeding carefully can help you learn to navigate the metaverse and find the best path to potential profits.