When the world scampered around outside through high grass and into streets looking to “catch” fantastical creatures during the summer of 2016’s Pokémon Go craze, Hrish Lotlikar’s next great idea started percolating.
“If we can’t build the next Pokemon Go, what if we could build a world?” Lotlikar wondered. “What if we could build a way for anyone to create, discover and monetize anything around them in the real world?”
Lotlikar’s done just that with SuperWorld, a virtual world in augmented reality, as stated on its website. Lotlikar is the co-founder and CEO of SuperWorld; it launched in 2017 and allows people to buy and sell virtual plots of land using non-fungible tokens (NFTs).
The SuperWorld divides the Earth into 64 billion properties of virtual real estate as NFTs, each property covering a 100-by-100-meter city block of land. When someone buys a property in SuperWorld, they’re able to activate real-life monetization in that location. The vision for SuperWorld, Lotlikar said, is to have people use the blockchain—where cryptocurrency transactions are stored—and enjoy the authenticity of ownership for any content created or interacted with.
The evolving motto of SuperWorld is “live to earn,” Lotlikar said, meaning, “How can we utilize tokenomics to incentivize real-world activity around the things that people love to do?”
“On the creator side,” Lotlikar said, “we want to enable anyone to be able to create around them. So create any type of content, 3D, 2D, audio, any type of medium, whether that’s VR [virtual reality], AR [augmented reality], WebGL [Web Graphics Library], any type of immersive content as well. And the point there is you have the full ability to create content and then for anyone to discover that content from anywhere in the world, whether they’re at the location, whether they’re sitting on the beach in Los Angeles, or they’re halfway around the world, they can click and view that content immersively in AR, VR, WebGL. That’s No. 1.”
Each unpurchased property costs one Ethereum—a popular cryptocurrency—which, right now, is equal to about $140, Lotlikar said. Then, once someone purchases a property block, it’s theirs—they can reprice the area for whatever they deem it should be worth. Lotlikar said SuperWorld is working to provide more data to virtual real estate owners on their area’s real-life land-pricing and price movements.
Purchasing a property in SuperWorld opens the buyer up to all the activity happening there in real life, he explained, from e-commerce, advertising and decentralized finance, among other opportunities.
Lotlikar said SuperWorld helped a club in New York and Miami sell NFTs that gave buyers of them lifetime access to their clubs, and it had a 3D yacht pull into the Monaco Harbour after gaining admission into the Monaco Yacht show.
“There are no limits to what someone can actually do. By owning these properties, they’re stakeholders in those locations.”
Additionally, Lotlikar said, people use SuperWorld to supplement their actual jobs with intent or linkage behind their purchases. For example, if someone owns a retail store, he said, they might purchase that same block of property to bring in more customers.
Lotlikar said government employees in Barbados are building an embassy in SuperWorld. And an artist, for instance, might want to create a gallery to sell art, or a musician a live concert or event.
“What we want to enable is anyone to come up with ways creatively that best optimizes what their business goals are,” Lotlikar said. “We found that, for every one of our real estate owners, there are different specific interests that they have, which is what’s really beautiful about this.”
But also, some people might purchase locations because they’re nostalgic to them. Downtown New York City, Tokyo and Piccadilly Circus in London are hot commodities, Lotlikar said, as well as the Taj Mahal and the pyramids of Egypt. Even a block of land with someone’s high school football stadium can be sentimental to someone, he added, and therefore purchased.
“The beauty of this is that everywhere in the world has value to someone. And what we’re finding is that when we enable people to come on to SuperWorld and to be able to find places in the world that they love, that they’re they’re telling us those stories. And so I hear a lot of stories every day of places that really are very personally important to our users.”
Lotlikar said SuperWorld is getting more into the event space. In October, he worked with New York Tech Week and Miami Tech Halloween. He said the idea is to make it easy for people — when they’re attending a conference and don’t know which events to go to — to use spatial technologies and learn what’s happened and what’s going to happen at each event.
As far as his grand vision for SuperWorld, Lotlikar wants it to help its partners—World Bank and UNESCO, among others—and “super citizens” accelerate their businesses. And with other elements of the metaverse permeating into society, Lotikar said he thinks innovations can combine and benefit society together.
“If we think of the whole world as a video game,” Lotlikar said, “anything is possible.”