It’s hard to have a conversation about Web3 and music without mentioning Snoop Dogg. The iconic American rapper is an early pioneer in the world of Web3 and music being an investor in Web3 music streaming/NFT platform Sound.xyz and being one of the first major artists to perform in the metaverse. 

However, so far this year, the potential of Web3 looks, to many, like a short-lived burst of hype, as does Snoop’s latest metaverse venture. 

The Sandbox, one of the most prominent projects in the metaverse, first partnered with Snoop in September 2021. After having orchestrated several smaller collaborations, including with video game company Atari and the Cloudco Entertainment–owned Care Bears brand, Snoop lent the startup early legitimacy.

The Sandbox hosted five sold-out presales for land in its metaverse, and later hosted a sixth that unloaded about 80% of its land despite technical issues—all before it launched its first public sale on Feb. 11, 2021. At that time, a piece of metaverse real estate in the Sandbox could be yours for about $400.

As part of Snoop’s partnership with the Sandbox, he got his own space in the game called the Snoopverse. The company rushed to offer up more than 800 digital plots of land near his large estate, some of which included special access to the Snoopverse.

By the time of the first Snoop Dogg land sale, the cheapest plot in the Sandbox would set an investor back at least 15 times what it originally cost in February after the price of SAND, the platform’s cryptocurrency, skyrocketed to a high of almost $7.

By the end of December 2021, the Sandbox claimed it had sold $1.66 million worth of metaverse land in just a few weeks, in part because of the Snoop-related sales, according to VentureBeat.

“Regular” plots of land had sold for about $6,773 when the Sandbox’s native cryptocurrency, SAND, was near its all-time-high of about $6.70, according to CoinMarketCap. At today’s price, about 42 cents, each of those plots is worth just $424, a whopping 94% decrease. The “premium” parcels, offered up at about $31,300 in 2021, are now worth about $2,000.

Investors who rushed in to be near Snoop in the Sandbox have gotten soaked, but the performance of the rapper’s own Web3 portfolio is hardly any better.

Because of the anonymous nature of the blockchain, where a decentralised crypto wallet can stand alone without being associated with an individual, it’s difficult to identify with certainty the full extent of Snoop’s personal Web3 holdings. Crypto data firm DappRadar, for instance, identifies two wallets as tied to Snoop, but some have cast doubt on whether one of the accounts, associated with anonymous crypto investor Cozomo de’ Medici, is his at all.

Still, DappRadar data for the non–Cozomo de’ Medici wallet tied to Snoop suggests he currently owns about $540,000 dollars in crypto and NFTs. This is nearly half of the $1.2 million his wallet was worth just in January, according to DappRadar. The rapper owns an estimated 6,976 different NFTs across 346 collections. At least 21 collections are worth less than what he originally paid, and his purchases in just three collections, including the most popular NFT series Bored Ape Yacht Club, have earned him any money. The vast majority of his NFTs were airdropped or transferred to him. 

By reviewing DappRadar’s data on profit and loss numbers for the NFTs in Snoop’s crypto wallet, Fortune found that of the collections where he has lost money, he has an estimated average loss of 81%.

Interest in advanced technology so far in 2023 turns more attention to AI than to that of NFTs and the metaverse. “Ultimately, it wasn’t fun enough,” said NYU’s Chung. “It wasn’t advanced enough, and it wasn’t something that was ready for prime time.”

The price of metaverse land is now a fraction of what it was worth at its peak, and it’s unclear if it will ever rebound. There is a spot of hope for owners in the Sandbox, at least: The company announced this month that by the end of 2023, it plans to open the game up to its estimated 23,000 virtual land owners and enable them to publicly launch their own experiences, like games, on their land.

Other metaverse land buyers said they’re less concerned with the decline. Ruben Santa, a senior UX designer at YouTube, bought a plot of land close to the Snoopverse for tens of thousands of dollars in 2022. As of Wednesday, the best offer for his parcel on OpenSea was less than $1,000.

Elsewhere in Web3, some of Snoop’s efforts have paid off. After being turned down once by its former owner, eOne Music, the rapper finally bought the first label that signed him, Death Row Records, from its new owner, MNRK Music Group, in February 2022. Just days after buying it, the label released its first line of NFTs, B.O.D.R. Stash Boxes, which included a mix of NFTs from the artist and launch partner Gala Games. The sale raked in at least $45 million in less than a week.

The rapper has since said that he wants to make Death Row “an NFT label” and bring artists into the metaverse. Just this month, Snoop also launched a new collection called Passport Series that evolves as he progresses on his tour this year.

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