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Can You Buy Real Things in the Metaverse?

Are digital assets in the Metaverse real? How do you pay for them & can you purchase real world items there? The answer may surprise you

Updated: January 16, 2023

When one talks about the Metaverse, the image that comes to mind is a digital world tailor-made according to each user’s needs and preferences. That is partly true since the Metaverse takes inspiration from virtual world games in which people create virtual selves. Called avatars, people use them to roam around the virtual reality.

These games, the most popular of which is Roblox, allow a myriad of activities for the user. One of these is to buy in-world items like fashion accessories for their avatars. However, these commodities are only usable in the world in which they were purchased and are not real. With the Metaverse, it will be a different story, given what companies are currently doing in its context.

Big Brands Are Gearing Up for the Metaverse

Right now, the only commodity available in the Metaverse is real estate. Those who can afford the rates can purchase virtual plots of land within the digital world via one of its various brokerages. One of these providers, Decentraland, has set up a specific location where fashion retail companies can showcase their products to consumers when the Metaverse is fully operational.

As a result, many of the world’s largest brands are cashing in on Metaverse properties. For instance, Samsung has acquired an estate called 837X on Decentraland. Users can only currently buy non-fungible tokens or NFTs from the virtual shop. NFTs are digital collectibles that, in theory, could gain value in the future and earn profit for their investors.

However, Samsung and the many other brands on the Metaverse might start offering their consumers a brand-new, fully online shopping experience in the future with the help of artificial intelligence (AI).

AI can accomplish many things that allow a seamless experience for both the retailer and the consumer. For instance, AI can help analyze user behavior and decision history so remarketing becomes more effective.

How Can You Shop in the Metaverse?

Shopping in the Metaverse is not different from purchasing in-game items for games like Roblox. For example, a user can walk into a virtual fashion store and browse through the shop’s display. If they like a product, they can take it to a 3D fitting room where they can take the time to see how the apparel fits and looks on them.

The only difference is that those items will represent actual commodities in the store’s physical branch. After making a purchase through the Metaverse, the retailer will pack the order and either ship the item to the consumer or have them pick it up on location. In other words, shopping in the Metaverse will be a three-dimensional implementation of e-commerce.

How Do You Pay in the Metaverse?

For now, cryptocurrency is the Metaverse’s only method of payment. Decentraland and the other real estate brokerages in the virtual space accept only cryptocurrency for their transactions. The main benefits of these digital coins are speed and transparency. Being decentralized, transactions clear 80% faster than exchanges through traditional financial institutions.

On the other hand, crypto purchase records are stored in a public ledger called the blockchain. The blockchain is an endless database containing all the previous transactions from the coin’s history. Anyone can access these documents on a read-only basis, meaning the information stored cannot be changed once embedded in the blockchain.

The Bottom Line

Although it will take a few more years before the Metaverse can offer a full-blown shopping experience, it will significantly revolutionize commerce the day the technology kicks off. People can experience both the convenience of e-commerce and the reliability of real-world purchases.

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