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The Agency Turks and Caicos is bringing its real estate services to a new world.
The luxury franchise, which launched in 2016, has opened an office in the metaverse as one more outlet for clients and agents to connect, the company announced Thursday.
The office is headquartered in the virtual world of Decentraland and was developed in partnership with metaverse investment company MREIT. For The Agency, it marks the first office brokerage-wide to be developed in the metaverse.
“At The Agency, we are always focused on drawing more eyes to the Turks and Caicos,” Sean O’Neill, managing director of The Agency Turks and Caicos, said in a statement.
“Our first goal is to get people to these ‘Beautiful by Nature’ islands and then explore the opportunities for investment,” O’Neill added. “Through our partnership with MREIT, we have been able to create a first-of-its-kind digital presence in Decentraland that will expose the Turks and Caicos and our listings to a greater audience.”
The metaverse office will essentially serve as an extension of The Agency Turks and Caicos’ marketing plan, with clients given access to explore the company’s listings, get exposure to Turks and Caicos and interact with agents virtually.
The metaverse office will also serve as a place for agents to meet for training programs, and ultimately, office events. O’Neill told Inman that they’re just beginning to tap into the possibilities for the office in the future, but that he was excited to continue to learn more about the platform and its potential for more integrated metaverse solutions moving forward.
What the entrance into the metaverse does not mean for the company is the selling of any virtual assets. The Agency Turks and Caicos will not be selling virtual land in Decentraland, for instance. It also will not be transacting in any form of cryptocurrency due to local regulations in Turks and Caicos.
“Countries like the Cayman Islands have regulations pertaining to the holding and trading of cryptocurrencies,” O’Neill explained. “Turks and Caicos does not currently have the legislative framework to support cryptocurrency transactions. While this may change in the future, the primary goal of this space is to promote Turks and Caicos and our listings.”
MREIT launched in late 2021 by founder and CEO Eric Klein with a tokenized offering that brought in over 750 token holders in the first few weeks of launching. It provides ownership and advisory services for companies that want to expand into digital assets.
“The industry isn’t what it was six months ago,” Klein said in a statement. “The opportunities today aren’t the same opportunities we saw yesterday, so we’re advising our clients to plan for the future. That means building foundations in order to prepare for a decentralized and digital economy. What I believe we’ll see is the combination of platforms and consolidation of metaverses with more approachable uses for businesses.”
When asked about the timing of his decision to enter the metaverse now, as Meta has come under fire for investing billions in metaverse research and development with few results in the roughly year since Mark Zuckerberg announced it, not to mention cryptocurrency’s recent scandal with FTX’s bankrptcy, O’Neill said he saw those circumstances as unrelated to The Agency’s endeavor, noting again that the company’s expansion into the metaverse is primarily a marketing play to better connect with potential clients.
O’Neill said he feels a bit “nervous” to be the first Agency office to open a location in the metaverse, but that that nervous energy also excited him.
“Any time you do something new, you get that feeling of nervousness and excitement,” O’Neill told Inman. “We didn’t set out to open this office to be the first ones to do it, that just happens to be the case. Our goal has been to create this space to give Turks and Caicos and our clients another platform to be discovered and that is really exciting.”
O’Neill noted that other brokers have already reached out to him to ask about the process of entering the metaverse.
Although a main goal of launching the metaverse office is to get more eyes on the company’s listings, O’Neill, who is a native of Turks and Caicos, said that even if clients who use the platform don’t end up buying properties as a result, he’ll still be happy if it spurs more people to visit Turks and Caicos and support the local economy.
Real estate agents who entered the metaverse early on and were some of cryptocurrency’s first investors have had a tough ride through crypto’s ups and downs, but remain optimistic that crypto will make a comeback, according to Inman’s reporting.