The Convergence Of Real Estate, Media And Technology – The convergence of physical and digital experiences has long been described as inevitable in science and fictional work. In the 1980s, the advent of computers for home and work began the journey into the digital world. In the 1990s, the Internet connected the world’s population like never before and changed the way the world works. In the 2000s, social media transformed users’ online experience and created platforms for social connection. Now digital currencies and the metaverse are poised to revolutionize the way people conduct financial transactions and interact with their physical environment. Emerging technologies are accelerating this intersection, and the rise of a new, experimental Internet that extends beyond phones and computers and into the physical world—the Internet of Everything—has changed tenant and consumer expectations in real estate.
Leaders in the real estate industry are playing a role in this development. They will shape what the world of digital real estate looks like and how tenants and consumers experience the space.
The Convergence Of Real Estate, Media And Technology
Like other technological paradigm shifts, the adoption of this technology is based on the disruption it continues to cause. According to Raul Pal, its president
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The technologies and ecosystems – known as digital assets – that underpin this new space have the potential to transform the ownership and governance of goods and services. A distributed ledger technology, commonly referred to as blockchain, serves as the foundation of this enhanced network by providing digital property rights. Many investors are asking What is this new space? What potential does it have to change the real estate industry? How can I invest in it?
The goal of this article is to demystify digital assets and blockchain technology and share information about Jamestown’s strategy to capitalize on this digital revolution. We explore Bitcoin, the original distributed ledger. the macro digital asset ecosystem, including alternative blockchains and the metasystem; and the Jamestown Digital Asset Strategy.
Bitcoin introduced the world to blockchain technology and decentralized ledgers, commonly referred to as cryptocurrencies, after it was launched in 2009 by its pseudonymous creator, Satoshi Nakamoto. The system provided a first-of-its-kind, peer-to-peer settlement system, eliminating the need for a trusted third party to verify and record a transaction.
The Bitcoin protocol records transactions in an open source and public blockchain. These blocks are then added to the block chain of previous transactions after miners validate them. Miners are rewarded for their efforts with Bitcoin tokens in a process known as “proof of work”. They also secure the network with their collective computing power and have so far prevented the protocol from being breached. A limit of 21 million bitcoins can be mined, and the reward for miners for their work is halved every four years. About 19 million Bitcoins have been mined to date and at the current mining rate, the last Bitcoin is expected to be mined in 2140.
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Bitcoin as an asset has no intrinsic value, but derives value from immutable proof of ownership, portability and a frictionless settlement network. In minutes, a Bitcoin holder can transfer unlimited value anywhere in the world with minimal transaction fees. By comparison, the existing financial system can take days to transfer funds to bank accounts, weeks to transfer currencies internationally and a month to settle between merchants and credit cards.
The Bitcoin Network explains the exponential growth of Bitcoin as an asset. Its growth trajectory has followed a similar exponential path of technology network companies such as Amazon, Facebook and Google. This growth is explained by a concept known as Metcalfe’s Law: as a network grows, the value of the network grows exponentially for its users. The value of Bitcoin as an asset is subject to extreme volatility up and down, often affected by significant changes in the size of the network.
Bitcoin’s environmental, social and governance (ESG) assessments have mainly focused on the network’s energy consumption, which exceeds that of some small countries and uses 1% of the world’s energy produced annually. Historically, miners have gravitated toward cheap energy and purchased power generation from coal and natural gas plants. Recognizing ESG concerns is changing the industry. Today, more than half of Bitcoin mining is done through renewable energy generation, compared to 12% of the entire US electricity grid, according to the Bitcoin Mining Council.
From a social perspective, Bitcoin offers an alternative to the traditional financial system for the unbanked population, roughly 20% of the United States and 50% worldwide. Through Bitcoin, the unbanked have the opportunity to store and transfer wealth without paying the fees and higher interest rates charged to those without a credit history in the traditional financial system.
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Although Bitcoin remains the largest component of the digital asset market, similar protocols have emerged that provide new blockchains and their own cryptocurrency tokens. Together, they build a diverse crypto ecosystem with use cases united by the common theme of decentralized ownership and governance.
Decentralized applications (dApps) built on these blockchains have the power to transfer the value of data to the user and eliminate the need for a traditional central party. Users can be encouraged to leave a centralized system and look for a decentralized version that offers a financial reward for using it.
The Ethereum network has emerged as the second largest digital asset and hosts more than 3,000 dApps. Like Bitcoin, it has both a blockchain and its own cryptographic incentive for its users. On the Ethereum network alone, there are many budding applications with use cases that include search, social networking, and gaming.
Non-tradable tokens (NFTs) have emerged as a popular use case for retail investors. These are smart, programmable contracts on the blockchain that record the ownership of physical and digital goods. NFTs can be a commodity that is freely available, like an avatar in a video game. They can also be rare and valuable, such as the Christie’s digital artwork auctioned in 2021 for more than $69 million. Since ownership of the asset is recorded in a digital contract that lives indefinitely on the blockchain, an artist can participate in subsequent transfers of the same NFT. For example, if Picasso had designated his works as NFTs, his family would receive a portion of the sales proceeds whenever his work was sold indefinitely.
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The concept of a virtual, interactive world outside of a person’s physical experience was popularized by films such as
Although Bitcoin remains the largest component of the digital asset market, similar protocols have emerged that provide new blockchains and their own cryptocurrency tokens.
They have advanced a cross-connect experience and amassed hundreds of millions of users over the past ten years. These platforms are owned and managed by centralized parties that act as low-cost or free utilities to control user data. The use case for these platforms has previously evolved into games and a social network, where recent virtual concerts by artists such as Ariana Grande and Lil Nas X have attracted tens of millions of participants. Meta (Facebook’s parent company) has invested about $10 billion in developing its virtual and augmented technology hardware and aims to connect its 3 billion user network through hybrid physical and digital experiences.
Decentralized, blockchain-based metaverse platforms have emerged that provide users with ownership and governance of the platforms. In one of the leading decentralized worlds, Decentraland, users acquire digital land with a closed supply. On these digital parcels, owners can create structures, games and experiences that can be monetized and traded on a blockchain. These platforms have also evolved to create micro-economies that have game-to-win incentive mechanisms that reward users for the value of their skills.
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Everyday users estimate the numbers of decentralized interconnection platforms in the tens of thousands, but they have financial incentives for the users who provide the sky wind for the development of the network. Metaverse platforms that provide digital additions to physical spaces and experiences through augmented reality will be poised for success in the Internet of Everything.
Jamestown expects that the transition to a digital asset economy will digitize the ownership and control of physical goods and services, including real estate. We believe this convergence will accelerate as augmented reality technology and tokenization open up new hybrid experiences in our portfolio.
In anticipation of this anticipated change, Jamestown has developed a strategy that meets the needs of our tenants and investors and is leading the real estate industry toward widespread adoption. Jamestown’s digital asset strategy focuses on the following four key themes:
“The future of real estate is the thoughtful integration of the virtual and physical worlds, optimized for user experience.”
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Technology is a disruptive force in real estate, from the rise of e-commerce to the latest telecommuting shift. These disruptions, like others in the past, created a series of winners and losers whose outcome was determined by the ability of investors to anticipate and adapt to change. Jamestown has developed a digital asset strategy to prepare for the convergence of real estate and digital assets and unlock the power of the underlying technology for our investors and tenants.
Although recent volatility in Bitcoin has raised concerns about its long-term sustainability, the Economist
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