There are several crypto coins featuring one of the internet’s favorite dog breeds, the Shiba Inu, but only one is in the middle of an initial land sale for its new metaverse. SHIB: The Metaverse is a project born from the SHIBArmy, a community for holders of the Shiba Inu coin (SHIB -1.53%), as well as other coins and tokens belonging to the same ecosystem.
When I first heard they were launching their own metaverse with land available for purchase, my ears perked up. However, there are several reasons that I’m steering clear of picking up virtual real estate in SHIB: The Metaverse for the moment.
1. The lack of a developmental roadmap
Although members of the SHIB Discord assure me that they generally work without a net, I’m a relatively conservative investor (for someone who dabbles in cryptos and metaverse spaces). I like to see that there’s a solid plan and that I can really sit down and put some numbers together about what the future of a platform might look like.
Unlike Decentraland (MANA 80.17%), which is documented to death and has been open to investors for many years, or The Sandbox (SAND 31.48%), whose creators have a long history in open-world game development, I don’t yet see enough evidence to convince me that I understand what SHIB: The Metaverse will look like, or how it will behave.
This does matter when it comes to metaverse real estate. For example, some platforms will display everything that exists in the world around a real estate lot all at once, so you’ll be standing in front of a metaverse coffee shop, but you’ll be able to see the billboards across the street, the businesses next door, and so forth — just like in real life. Others only render the specific parcel that you’ve chosen to explore, in which case, for example, a billboard company might not do so well because you can’t really see anything but the one project you’re engaging with.
I don’t know which perspective the platform will offer, and I don’t think there is anyone who does yet. The software developer hasn’t been announced as of the writing of this article on April 13, 2022. For some metaverse real estate businesses, this detail may not matter, but for others, that’s most of what does matter. For that reason alone, now is definitely not the time to buy. As they say, the devil is in the details. This is a detail that makes a huge difference.
2. It’s not using its own coin
SHIB: The Metaverse was a great opportunity for a consistent utility to be finally granted to the Shiba Inu coin. Instead, metaverse property purchases are secured with a token called LEASH and purchased using Ethereum. The developers explain that this is because they intend to cash out all sales into stable coins (cryptos that are backed by a real-world currency), and they fear devaluing the Shiba Inu token.
Perhaps that’s a real risk, but it’s also a move that feels a bit like this project is still more in the idea phase and less in the practice phase. For a real estate investor, we need to know what we’re buying, who we’re buying it from, and what the vision is. A lack of documentation in a new world and the refusal to use its own native coin makes me think that this project has a way to go yet, despite the hype and the very real dedication of the SHIBArmy.
3. The SHIBArmy itself
A lot of cryptocurrencies develop their own followings. That’s completely natural and normal, and it generates a sense of community. If there’s no reason for people to hang around, a metaverse platform is simply an empty program with nothing in it. Having a pre-built community is absolutely a plus for this metaverse project.
However, it can also be problematic if you have too tight of a community that is still relatively small when launching real estate sales. Only a percentage of SHIBArmy members are going to be both interested and willing to purchase virtual real estate in this new world at this phase. Right now, the sales are limited to holders of Shiboshi NFTs, of which only 10,000 were created. This is, ironically, probably great for Shiboshi holders but may create too exclusive of a club to really power up a metaverse platform’s real estate economy.
For now, I’m staying out of SHIB: The Metaverse
I do hold some SHIB coins and mostly bought them out of curiosity last year, but until I can see a more solid vision for what SHIB: The Metaverse wants to become, I can’t endorse a purchase there. Once a game developer is secured and a clearer picture emerges of what kind of platform this is and how it will work, that story may change.
After all, we’re real estate investors first. With that, we need to know that what we’re buying is a property we can develop to our own strengths or have faith that someone will want to buy what we’re holding. Buying these virtual lands blind may get you a decent price (provided the metaverse platform makes it), but it’s the same as buying a piece of vacant land without knowing if you can run utilities to it or if it’s ever been surveyed.
There are just too many unknowns to be able to get a solid picture of what these properties’ highest and best uses really are and the expense that will be involved in developing them.