Place/Date: - December 1st, 2020 at 2:07 pm UTC · 6 min read
Source: Terra Virtua
In 2019, a single Magic: The Gathering trading card was sold at some $166,000, the price of a Mercedes-Benz S-Class luxury car. Great for a piece of painted cardboard and some glue, right? Considering that this card is not the most powerful one in the deck, it must be drawing its real power from another source: its rarity or scarcity.
But, if physical objects can do it, where does it leave us in the age of all-things digital? Welcome to the magic world of digital collection in which we marry age-old passion with modern technologies. This new, exciting space is exploding in growth, creating new forms of brand connection and exciting innovation in fandom.
Recently, the world’s first mass market digital collectibles platform has launched under the name of Terra Virtua. The platform is powered by blockchain, spanning multiple platforms including web, PC and AR, promising to be more than a global hub for digital collectors, with its focus on a fully functional economy running on non-fungible tokens, social interaction and gamification.
People have been collecting stuff since the dawn of time. Hobbies such as coin and stamp collecting are much respected, combining passion for the collection with the love of knowledge. While we live in the age of ubiquitous digital ownership, you do not hear people claiming that they “collect” digital albums and games. While the majority of games and music no longer come in cardboard boxes and record jackets, this does not mean that the interest in them has waned. What about digital collectibles, then?
Just as physical items, digital collectibles are not defined by their “palpability” but rather their scarcity. A rare piece of digital art in the form of a picture, a poster or an in-game item can be just as worthy to a collector as long as it is hard to acquire. Naysayers may point out that digital items are somewhat less worthy of your attention since they cannot be “touched” – well, tell that to the readers of digital newspapers or those who stream films instead of renting them from video stores.
Digital ownership has become the new normal, and digital collecting is its natural evolution. In short, a collection of genuine rarities will tickle any collector’s nerve, be it a digital or physical one.
Collectibles we want in our possession lend us some of their uniqueness. By owning something rare, some of that quality becomes associated with us. It’s the same with digital items which you can store on your virtual shelves, in attics and collectors’ equivalents of Batcaves.
Let’s say that you want to get your hands on a unique piece of digital artwork from your favorite film/game/book. If it was a physical artwork, the only people that would feast their envious eyes on it would be those that you let into your home/cave/attic.
At the same time, your digital item moves with you whenever you go based on its ability to be accessed from a mobile phone, a tablet or any other portable platform. Your unique collection will be more readily shared with the rest of the world and other enthusiasts if you can fit all of your collectibles into the palm of your hand. As a bonus, the same applies to a life-size digital statue of your beloved movie character and a 2.5-inch trading card.
Not all digital collections are created equal, despite sharing similar basic features. You can say that an in-game unique item, such as your hypothetical Broadsword of Uniqueness +5, will have a harder time linking with your physical world, despite its worth. Its value is primarily realized in the game environment, but this does not mean that your digital collector’s items cannot shine & bedazzle in the physical world just as well.
Let’s imagine that instead of an in-game item, you own a unique digital poster from your game. You can easily fit it inside a digital picture framework and hang it in your living room. It will be just as pleasing to the eye, with an added bonus that you can use the same frame to display other rarities in your collection. You are not limited to switching places between two items, as you can virtually redecorate an entire room with a new collection of digital valuables in a blink of an eye. Yet, no antiquities, frames or glass display cases will be destroyed in the process.
This is one of the things which sets Terra Virtua apart. Sharing and being able to show off what you own is sometimes just as important as owning the asset itself. Terra Virtua has built into its ecosystem a series of social spaces where you can spend time and show off your collectibles which you own. These range from your own small ‘fancave’ to art galleries and a vast ‘Terradome’. From a Godfather poster, to a wild beast from Lost in Space to a 100 foot high Jaeger from Pacific Rim. You can now own them and share them with the world.
The rise of virtual and augmented reality (VR/AR) technologies should put an end to discussions about the value of digital vs. physical collections. Posters and pictures could be fine, they say, but what about collecting statues, vintage cars or baseball bats? Well, we have finally come to the point at which digital collectors will be able to showcase their collections in their full spatial glory with the help of VR/AR technologies.
You will be able to see a digital item from all angles and take it in your hand, just as you do with a rock or a weapon in a VR game. With the holograms and synthetic skins leaving the world of science fiction for the mainstream, this level of interaction will become a regular feature of digital collections in no time.
If you are still on the fence about this, just ask the Pokemon Go players if the cute virtual beasties they were hunting across the cities were sufficiently “real”. In the same manner, you will get to enjoy your digital prized possessions in any type of simulated environment you want to put them in, be it a volcano island or the surface of Pluto. Yes, digital collectibles are here to stay and judging by their ability to withstand the ravages of time, we can say this new hobby has its eyes set on nothing shorter than eternity.