When one thinks of the metaverse, the usual imagery is one of an entirely virtual world with new digital experiences. But SuperWorld is a different take on the idea of the metaverse. It consists of 64.8 billion plots of virtual land, each plot represented as a non-fungible token (NFT), and digitally mapped over Earth as we know it. Each plot is located in the real world. So yes, your real, physical home probably exists as a plot on the SuperWorld. And each property on SuperWorld starts at 0.1 Ether or Rs 2,16,367 at today’s conversion rates.
But what exactly does it mean to buy land in the virtual world? And what does SuperWorld offer to users? We spoke to SuperWorld CEO and co-founder Hrish Lotlikar on the idea behind SuperWorld, and what exactly does it offer? Below is an edited version of the interview.
What exactly is SuperWorld and what’s the idea behind it?
Lotlikar: We’ve divided the surface of the Earth into 64 billion virtual blocks of land. Each block is a unique digital asset. If you buy along, you get a share of any of the commerce that happens on that block advertising, e-commerce, digital commerce, data analytics and gaming. On top of that, we’re building applications. We have a mobile application that allows you to create, discover and monetise anything, anywhere.
Another part of understanding SuperWorld is looking at Pokemon Go and how it adds digital information to the real world. In SuperWorld, if I come to Mumbai, or Delhi or London or Los Angeles or New York anywhere in the world, you could say, hey why don’t you check out my world. You could have left a hologram of yourself or photos and videos in different places or messages or even NFTs. These could be all over the world for me to discover and buy. You have the ability to personalise the world around you with anything you want. And so do I.
We also believe that users should earn crypto for using SuperWorld. I call it Live to Earn. The idea is can we use ‘tokenomics’ to incentivise your passions.
We have an NFT marketplace as well that allows you to create assets and put them anywhere, so you can create anything 3D, 2D, or simply audio and put it anywhere on SuperWorld. We also plan to launch a token soon, which will serve as a currency for decentralised finance and governance so users will be able to vote on things in SuperWorld.
How long has SuperWorld been around? How much do users spend on SuperWorld?
Lotlikar: We’ve been around for five years. We were here even before the craze of NFTs got started. Our average paying user spends about $2,000 in the first month of being on the platform buying about 10 to 15 properties. We’ve sold tens of thousands of properties around the world.
What exactly does it mean to buy a piece of land in the virtual world? Because land is always seen as tangible property. So how does it work in SuperWorld?
When you buy a plot of land, you’re buying virtual land that occupies the surface of the Earth. We’ve put that on the blockchain. And so when you’re buying this land, it is publicly verifiable that you own that block because it’s on the Ethereum blockchain.
The land has to be bought from our website SuperWorldapp.com. We have an enter your SuperWorld button, there’s a map page, you have to set up what’s called a web3 wallet, that gives you access to crypto, you add crypto in your wallet, then you find a place on Earth, and you use crypto to buy that location.
So how does one experience SuperWorld? Is it mostly AR driven?
Lotlikar: Well, SuperWorld is cross-platform, software and hardware agnostic and blockchain interoperable. Also, AR is on 3.6 billion mobile phones and it will soon be on 6 billion mobile phones. So AR is accessible on your mobile phone. We’re on the web, we’re on mobile, so we are accessible. We want to be accessible wherever our customers are.
Who are the people buying land in the metaverse? Are they the ones who are only interested in crypto or do you see this becoming a wider concept and gaining more acceptability?
Lotlikar: With SuperWorld obviously, there are, first movers in the crypto space or the technology space, who understand what we’re doing. So even if they’re not even crypto, but they’re into AR or they’re into technology in general, they jump on.
We’re also seeing this very strong interest in people that don’t know a lot about this technology but want to learn. And SuperWorld provides them with a really easy way.
When I talk to people and ask them, where did you buy land in SuperWorld, they usually have a very personal connection to a lot of these places. If you look at the broader space, the NFT space, a lot of people are a little confused or they don’t know why certain things are interesting. They’re like, I bought it because I think it might go up in value. But in the case of SuperWorld, they covet the land that they own. They’re very proud about it, they tell me a story about it, either they got married there, they went on vacation there, etc. So there is a very strong connection.
Most importantly, they’re telling me what they want to do there. If they’re an artist, they want to build a gallery with NFTs there. If they’re a musician, they do want to do a live concert there. Barbados wants to build an embassy in SuperWorld. The idea is that they’re being very prescriptive with us about what they want to build and do there.
What are the challenges of creating something like this? How is it different from any other company selling land in the metaverse? Is there a worry about being copied by another platform?
Lotlikar: To be clear, the definition of the metaverse is really the combination and summation of all virtual worlds. It’s an online-offline interface that’s persistent, that affects all parts of our life, where we live, work, play, etc. The idea is that the metaverse is really all of these virtual worlds combined.
There likely will be virtual worlds and there are other virtual worlds like Decentraland and Sandbox, which are completely virtual places. The big difference in SuperWorld is mapped on top of the real world. It has real-world relevance. And so again, just like any platform, you could probably do another Facebook or TikTok. That is not the limiting factor.
What makes Super World unique is that we’re building a community. All of these virtual worlds, all of these platforms are communities of people that have come together around the platform. These aren’t just typical users, these are people that have come together.
On the next generation as being the ones who will likely adopt the metaverse more seamlessly
Lotlikar: I do see that generation just being more natively involved in SuperWorld. I see it with my kids. I have a daughter who’s six and a son who’s two. She’s just just just more aware even though she’s not really allowed to play games. She already knows about these other worlds (Sandbox and Minecraft) that exist. I think they’re just more native digital natives and so they just kind of grasp it very clearly.
I also see that the reason that SuperWorld has really resonated with so many people is that we’re focused on the real-world and real life. We’re not a game in that sense. There are many adults, older adults who definitely don’t want to play a video game. And that’s what makes SuperWorld different. We want to keep you in the real world and bring a gateway to the metaverse.