The metaverse is getting its first luxury brokers, the clearest sign yet that the value of virtual property may actually be real.
Oren and Tal Alexander, Douglas Elliman’s top performers for the last two years, formed a partnership with Republic Realm, the metaverse developer that paid a record $4.3 million this week for a virtual estate. They plan to develop and sell property in an “architecturally significant master-planned community” in the virtual world, Republic Realm said.
“We want to just focus on trophy properties in the various metaverses,” Oren Alexander said in an interview. Location and design will be prime considerations.
Metaverse champions say virtual property has weight even if you can’t touch it, wear it or live in it. Its value, they say, derives from the bragging rights: Not many people get to live in or even visit real 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 many still think may be just a fad — or worse, a bubble. The brothers, known as the Alexander Team, are among New York and Miami’s highest-grossing residential real estate brokers, with a client list that ranges from Ken Griffin to Kanye West.
Elliman isn’t directly involved in the deal because the Alexander brothers serve as independent contractors for the firm.
The constellation of luxury virtual properties will span The Sandbox, Decentraland and at least one other unidentified metaverse and will carry the Alexander Team branding, Oren Alexander said.
Republic Realm is best known as the creator of Fantasy Islands, an early real estate NFT project in The Sandbox and among the highest-grossing NFT ventures on record. It recently sold a virtual “mega yacht” in the metaverse for 149 Etherium, the equivalent of about $650,000 at the time.
Janine Yorio, co-founder of Republic Realm, said early investors in digital property are “pioneers and visionaries” who stand to benefit most as the metaverse expands. “They understand that if you get in early, something like the metaverse can be enormously profitable,” she said.
Demand from The Alexander Team’s existing clients and the brothers’ own interest in the metaverse’s cultural and commercial possibilities inspired the move. Alexander said he and his brother are investors in digital property themselves, and that they’lll market the newly developed mansions to the team’s real-world clients.
People inside and outside the cryptocurrency sphere see a “wide range of opportunities” in the metaverse, Alexander said.
“We believe heavily in this metaverse digital real estate world,” he said. “The world has changed, society has changed people — especially the younger generation, who are not only gaming in the digital world, but to some extent living in the digital world.”