A digital nomad is an individual who has the flexibility to work from anywhere. Due to the ability to earn through some type of online interaction, geography is not important. For most people, being within a commutable distance from one's place of employment is vital. Digital nomads do not have the same requirement.
Technology allowed for the expansion of this idea. It was accelerated by the lockdowns in many countries associated with COVID-19. Due to physical constraints, a great deal of knowledge work moved into this category, at least temporarily.
Digital nomads take it another step further. They tend to have minimal possession forgoing ownership of things such as real estate. This allows them to travel around, enjoying the freedom that comes without being tied down.
Work is done via:
- temporary housing
- hotels, cafes
- public libraries
- co-working spaces
- recreational vehicles
The tools of a digital nomad are laptops, Wi-Fi, smartphones or mobile hotspots. Elon Musk is blanketing the world with Starlink satellites looking to bring the Internet to remote regions. This could further enhance the digital nomad movement.
All digital nomads engage in Remote work. The opposite is not true. Most who work remotely do so from their home or some base location. These are different concepts.
Web 3.0 could drastically change the landscape of employment, jobs, and how corporations are structured. The idea of bringing ownership stake to online projects that are decentralized in nature is starting to take off.
This means the pool of potential digital nomads could expand greatly.
The foundation of Web 3.0, which many consider to be the next generation of the Internet, is based upon blockchain and cryptocurrency. Through the use of account ownership, social media platforms could be vastly changed. The merger of this with finance appears to be underway as social media activities can be monetized.
Web 3.0 could be the tokenization of the Internet.
This means content creation can be shifted to a new level. No longer do people have to work for travel websites to get paid to travel and write articles about the experience. With Web 3.0 applications, one could simply post about it and get rewarded in cryptocurrency. Platforms such as 3Speak are providing a monetized alternative to YouTube.
Gaming could also offer a big boost to the digital nomad push. Blockchain enables the ownership of digital assets through the use of non-fungible tokens. This means that people can monetize their playing of games. In game tokens and other assets could be traded on secondary markets since they are housed in the player's wallet, not housed in the game itself.
Digital nomads can become a discussion within a larger context of society.
If this movement does grow large enough, what impact does this have on real estate? There is already great debate about the future of commercial real estate due to the remote work concept. Many offices in major cities are vacant, a couple years after the COVID lockdowns were lifted.
Here we see the debate between in-office work versus remaining home. Technological advancements made it possible for companies to get work done during the lockdowns. Now, many employees are finding the do not want to commute to work. The preference is to remain working from home.
Digital nomads can impact both commercial and residential real estate. The fact they work remotely means that, if the numbers grow, less office space will be required. At the same time, since they prefer the nomadic life, buying homes is not on their agenda. Again, large numbers could impact the demand for residential real estate.