Buying a $2.4 million plot of land to build a fashion outpost might not seem like a strange idea at first glance — depending on the location. 

But one buyer recently forked over the sum for a piece of real estate that exists entirely online, in a virtual, blockchain-fueled world called Decentraland.

The buyer, crypto website, announced the purchase Tuesday in a statement, claiming it was the largest online “metaverse” land acquisition to date.

In the online world of Decentraland, users can explore various areas, play games and interact with other users’ avatars on the virtual reality platform. They can also buy and sell digital goods as well as virtual real estate in this world using MANA, an Ethereum-based cryptocurrency.

A Decentraland spokesperson told Reuters that the transaction was the priciest purchase conducted on its platform so far. The news service also confirmed the transaction on NFT marketplace OpenSea.

The buyer plans to use the virtual plot of land — which amounts to roughly 6,000 square feet in the virtual reality environment — to sell digital clothing to Decentraland users and hold virtual fashion events.

In its report, Reuters said reporters inspected the virtual site of another major transaction, which sold for a value of $913,000 in June. The buyer built a virtual shopping center on that other plot. But in multiple visits to this virtual site, Reuters reporters didn’t catch a glimpse of any shoppers.

The $2.4 million piece of virtual land in question was sold as a non-fungible token. Generally referred to as NFTs, these tokens are encrypted digital assets that can be bought and sold.

MANA, the cryptocurrency used to buy the virtual plot, has been extremely volatile, and has shot up in price since the transaction occurred. 

Had the buyer simply held onto the cryptocurrency — 618,000 units of MANA — and instead exchanged it for dollars at the time this article was written, it would have been worth approximately $3.3 million, according to prices tracked by CoinMarketCap.

Cryptocurrencies aren’t just being used for purchases of digital real estate. The titles to physical properties have been bought and sold using NFTs as well.

Email Daniel Houston

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