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Offline and online

I was out for dinner this week with a group of real estate developers. And as you might expect, we spent the majority of the time talking about real estate and complaining about how long things take. But a good chunk of time was also spent pontificating about the world of crypto. That’s what happens these days. In fact, one of my friends joked that my/this blog used to be a real estate and cities blog, but now it’s a crypto blog. It’s a joke, but I guess it’s becoming partially true.

For as long as I can remember, I have always been interested in what’s new and what’s next. And I think this is next. So I’m reading, playing, thinking, and writing about it. And the more I do these things, the more my conviction grows. But what really did it for me was the hands-on playing around part. I’m not interested in owning a crypto ETF (the US is about to get its first bitcoin ETF based on futures contracts). I want to own the cryptocurrencies directly so I can see what they can do and how everything works. (Though I will say that this space is still not very user friendly.)

One of the things that comes to mind as I continue to play is the future interrelationship between our offline and online worlds. Because already we are living in a world where people now buy and collect rent on virtual real estate in places like Decentraland (REITs are even starting to emerge). Where parties happen online instead of offline (but still attract big name DJs). Where people buy digital fashion instead of physical fashion, and pay just as much for it and sometimes even more. And where augmented reality is changing how we experience our cities in real life. A few weeks ago, I came across a park in Paris that had partnered with Snapchat to deliver an AR experience, to give just one example.

These are meaningful shifts that are gaining traction (and this post is by no means an exhaustive list). And while I remain steadfast in my belief that cities are profoundly resilient and real-world experiences are irreplaceable, I do believe that our emerging digital worlds are going to have an impact on how we design and build our cities going forward. From art murals of NFTs to entire new virtual worlds, this is an exciting time for cities and technology.

Enjoy the weekend.

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