April 13, 2018 | STEVEN BUCHKO
Decentraland is an Ethereum-powered virtual reality platform. In this virtual world, you purchase plots of land that you can later traverse, build upon, and monetize. There’s no limit to what you can do. It’s the first digital platform that’s completely owned by its users.
Similar to games like Skyrim and Fallout, Decentraland is an all-immersive virtual universe. However, instead of playing on a 2-dimensional screen, you participate in a 3-dimensional world. It seems to be the logical next step before creating full-blown AI-based games in the physical space à la Westworld.
In Decentraland, the spaces that you interact with are LAND, non-fungible digital assets that you purchase in the game. Once you own a plot of LAND, you’re free to do with it as you choose. You can create games, applications, gambling services, or even dynamic 3D scenes. But, why stop there? Although not its primary purpose, you can also create LAND-based services around education, professional development, tourism, etc…
The number of LAND is capped, and each plot of LAND is 33 feet by 33 feet, but there’s no limit to its height. If you’re interested in purchasing LAND (or just want to see the map), you should check out the LAND marketplace.
Similar groupings on LAND comprise Districts. Districts are basically communities that revolve around a shared theme. For example, there may be a District just for crypto enthusiasts with cryptocurrency apps and services.
MANA is Decentraland’s cryptocurrency token. It’s an ERC20 token that you use to purchase plots of LAND as well as pay for in-world goods and services.
When you buy LAND, Decentraland burns the MANA that you purchase it with. The Decentraland team originally sold each plot of LAND for 1000 MANA. Now that there’s a secondary market, though, the LAND prices vary. Currently, the cheapest plot of LAND is 8,888 MANA while more popular areas have price tags in the millions.
Decentraland’s protocol has three layers:
The team is building the virtual reality platform using A-Frame. To build in the world, you can first create a model in SketchUp and/or Blender, and then import it onto the platform.
The Decentraland team is led by Ari Meilich (Project Lead) and Esteban Ordano (Tech Lead). Ordano previously worked at Bitpay as a software engineer and founded Smart Contract Solutions, Inc. Both founders have also worked together in creating Stremium and Bitcore.
Decentraland has been around for longer than you may think. The team hit their first development milestone, Stone Age, in June 2015. This was a simple, pixelated grid that allocated pixels to users through a proof-of-work algorithm. Most recently, they held a Terraform Event in which they sold LAND in the new, 3D world.
Decentraland is fairly unique in the blockchain world with no large, direct competitors. High Fidelity and Sansar both provide spaces to create and sell virtual reality experiences, but they aren’t blockchain based. MARK.SPACE seems to be the most similar project; however, it’s far behind Decentraland in both development and notoriety.
Decentraland is a virtual reality platform that you can purchase land on. Tapping into the imagination of gamers and entrepreneurs everywhere, you’re able to do whatever you want with the land that you purchase.
This is a unique project in a largely untested market. The popularity of “alternative life” games is a good sign, but it’s hard to tell if this will carry over into the 3D and blockchain space. However, if Decentraland gains the adoption that its supporters hope it will, then we may just see an entirely new ecosystem of businesses and experiences flourish before our eyes.
Steven is the executive editor at Coin Central. He’s also the co-founder of Coin Clear, a mobile app that automatically turns your daily spending habits into cryptocurrency investments.