It’s no secret the real estate market is skyrocketing, but the Covid pandemic is creating another little-known land rush. Indeed, some investors are paying millions for plots of land — not in New York or Beverly Hills. In fact, the plots do not physically exist here on Earth.

Rather, the land is located online, in a set of virtual worlds that tech insiders have dubbed the metaverse. Prices for plots have soared as much as 500% in the last few months ever since Facebook announced it was going all-in on virtual reality, even changing its corporate name to Meta Platforms.

“The metaverse is the next iteration of social media,” said Andrew Kiguel, CEO of Toronto-based Tokens.com, which invests in metaverse real estate and nonfungible token-related digital assets.

“You can go to a carnival, you can go to a music concert, you can go to a museum,” Kiguel said. 

In these virtual worlds, real people interact as cartoon-like characters called avatars, similar to a real-time multiplayer video game. Today, people can access these worlds through a normal computer screen, but Meta and other companies have a long-term vision of building 360-degree immersive worlds, which people will access through virtual reality goggles like Meta’s Oculus.

A recent report by crypto asset manager Grayscale estimates the digital world may grow into a $1 trillion business in the near future.