So, I heard a bizarre item on the CBC newscast last night. The owner of a Montreal diner just paid $15,000 to purchase a plot of "land" in a "place" called Decentraland, located in a "world" called the Metaverse. The plan is to "open" a virtual version of his restaurant, Cosmos.
As you might guess from the flurry of quotation marks above, I think the Metaverse, whatever the hell it is, must be the biggest scam going. Of course, it could take off among millennials, leaving denizens of yesterday's world like me in the dust. Maybe. For the record, Grandpa here also believes that "non-fungible token" is a synonym for "boy, did you just get swindled."
As baffled as I am, I can grasp the sociology behind it, I guess: the real world is such a disaster that starting all over and creating a virtual world is the way to go. Fair enough. But $15,000 for a virtual restaurant in a virtual world? Really?
"It's a great location, right by the university," the guy crowed on my nightly newcast. Right. That would be the University of Nowhere, which grants all manner of virtual degrees that aren't worth the virtual paper they aren't printed on. Great score, dude! Now, the $15,000 was apparently paid "using mana, the currency of Decentraland." Uh-huh. But it's still $15,000 real, Canadian dollars, and to me, for all you're getting you may as well have put that $15K through a shredder and tossed the remnants down the sewer. If he'd paid $15,000 in Monopoly money or something, I could kind of see it. Almost.
More from our friendly restaurateur: "You'd just be able to come in, see our store, see what we have going on there, see the workers that are working in Decentraland Cosmos. The customers that we'll have at the counter there, you're going to be able to talk to them. So you get that whole experience. But if you want the food component, you're going to have to be in a city where we have a ghost kitchen set up."
Leaving aside the absurdity of visiting a restaurant with no intention of wanting "the food component" ... a ghost kitchen? What the what? Our man explains: "Let's say for people in Toronto—and we have a ghost kitchen there—you can come into Decentraland, place your order with the waitresses. It will link to our ghost kitchens and you'll have the food delivered to you in that city." Oh, swell. So, there is (or could be) actual food involved. Neato. Presumably whatever space bubble you'd need affixed to your head so you can visit Decentraland isn't yet able to manifest real burgers.
I heard another news item last week about a Toronto woman who paid about the same amount for a Decentraland law "office," and it makes me wonder: who's the modern-day P.T. Barnum selling all this "land"? He/she is raking in the dough by duping a boatload of zany millennials.
Anyway, a final thought from the proud new owner of Decentraland Cosmos: "You know, time will tell. It's either going to be a great idea or it's going to be like owning a pet rock and I'll look pretty stupid down the line. But it's something you have to do as an entrepreneur."
No, it's not, my poor fellow, and my money is on the pet rock.