The global shortage of lumber is now also affecting digital construction, a new research report shows. Image: Pixabay.
A new report released today by the industry group Lumber Supply Research Group (LSRG) reveals a dramatically increased scarcity of lumber in the digital realm as demand for the sought-after material has skyrocketed within the last quarter, leading to significant price hikes and delays in construction projects throughout the industry.
According to the report, average rates per cubic pixel of digital lumber have increased by 73% since the beginning of the year, marking a three-fold price jump compared to the beginning of Q2 2021. Throughout March alone, prices soared to unprecedented levels, leaving wholesale traders of the coveted commodity often without inventory and contractors stranded.
“What the market has been experiencing over the past months can be attributed to two major factors,” says LSRG analyst Michael Chen. “One reason is the unregulated deforestation in Minecraft which has left entire stretches of old-growth forest barren without sustainable concepts in place to replant the resource.”
“Another significant culprit has been a recent sudden shift to trading digital lumber as non-fungible tokens, or NFTs. Conventional trading markets have been replaced with crypto platforms virtually overnight,” Chen explains. “While running lumber off the blockchain has led to increased transparency and decentralization, the advent of NFT-traded construction material has, however, increased the element of speculation, sparking astronomical price hikes.”
Meanwhile, construction projects of all scales throughout the metaverse experience noticeable delays or find themselves unable to break ground altogether.
“The situation is beyond frustrating,” Clarissa Parker, a first-time homebuilder from Tallahassee, Florida, tells Archinect. “Everything went according to plan, and the relationship with our architect and contractor was perfect. But then, prices started soaring, and the supply quickly dried up.”
Having settled on a sustainable masstimber design for her envisioned dream home in Minecraft, Parker is feeling material remorse. “If things don’t improve, we’ll have to revise the plans and opt for NFT-free concrete.”
LSRG’s report does not predict an easing of these market trends in the near future, rather estimating a further rise throughout Q2 with the chance of prices plateauing in late 2022 when Minecraft forests have reasonably grown back for renewed logging.