Bulletins

The metaverse real-estate boom is on

A company called Republic Realm has paid $4.3 million for land in a virtual world called Sandbox.

Sandbox screenshot

Sandbox is a virtual world that allows players to own a piece of it.

Image: Sandbox

Virtual homes, land and shops in metaverses are quickly becoming hot-ticket items for investment firms.

Republic Realm, a metaverse real estate firm, paid $4.3 million for a plot of land in virtual world Sandbox, representing the largest public virtual real-estate deal to date, the company told The Wall Street Journal. The company purchased the virtual plot from video game company Atari.


The purchase broke the previous record set by investment firm Tokens.com last week, which reportedly bought a $2.5 million piece of land in Decentraland, another popular virtual world.

Despite the risks involved due to the volatility of cryptocurrencies, investment firms are diversifying their assets among several virtual worlds. Republic Realm told The Wall Street Journal it owns 2,500 virtual land plots throughout 19 virtual worlds, with two specific investment vehicles focused on virtual real estate, including a mall, a community of 100 virtual residences and a private island.

This isn't the first boom in virtual real estate. Businessweek chronicled a rush to buy land in Second Life that minted millionaires in a 2006 cover story. That market, incredibly, is still functioning, though it appears rentals are more popular than outright purchases these days.

Latest Bulletins

The CFPB said it has terminated a sandbox deal that gave earned wage access provider PayActiv “temporary safe harbor from liability” under key lending regulations.

The CFPB granted PayActiv “special regulatory treatment” in December 2020 to offer “earned wage access” products that would allow employees to obtain wages they already earned before payday.

PayActiv gets paid back through a payroll deduction from the employee’s next paycheck. The company makes money through fees.

The CFPB said it had informed PayActiv early this month that it was “considering terminating the approval order in light of certain public statements the company made wrongly suggesting a CFPB endorsement of its products.”

The company requested that the CFPB end the sandbox order after notifying the agency that it planned to modify its product fee model, the CFPB said.

The move underlined the CFPB’s increasingly critical view of sandbox deals that the agency said “proved to be ineffective.”

Safwan Shah, PayActiv’s founder and CEO, is credited with coining the term "earned wage access," which has been criticized by consumer advocates as being potentially predatory, especially when it comes to workers who don’t make much money.

Shah has argued that it benefits ordinary workers, citing a dieting principle: "The less you are paid, the more frequently you should be paid," he told Protocol in a 2021 interview. "If you're going to eat 500 calories, don't eat them in one sitting. Spread them throughout the day."

Correction: This story has been updated to correct the spelling of PayActiv's name. This story was updated June 30, 2022.

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Bulletins