In this episode of BeInCrypto’s Video News Show, host Jessica Walker takes a closer look at Decentraland.
Although it seems as though everyone is talking about the metaverse with Facebook renaming itself, we think another project is a bit more interesting at this point. Today we’ll talk about what Decentraland is, who its founders are, as well as what makes it unique.
What Is Decentraland (MANA)?
Decentraland defines itself as “a virtual reality platform powered by the Ethereum blockchain that allows users to create, experience, and monetize content and applications.” In this virtual world, users can purchase plots of land that they can later navigate, build upon and monetize.
Decentraland was launched following a $24 million initial coin offering that was conducted in 2017. The virtual world launched its closed beta in 2019 and opened to the public in February 2020. Since then, users have created a wide range of experiences on their parcels of LAND, including interactive games, sprawling 3D scenes and a variety of other interactive experiences.
Decentraland uses two tokens, LAND and MANA, which we will break down for you.
What Is LAND?
In Decentraland, the spaces that you interact with are called 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. But recently Decentraland created LAND Estates, a feature that allows you to more easily manage your LAND by associating adjacent plots. 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. You can vote on District issues through Decentraland’s voting dApp, Agora. The amount of LAND you hold in a specific district correlates to the weight of your vote.
What Is MANA?
MANA is Decentraland’s cryptocurrency token. It’s an ERC-20 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 11,750 MANA while more popular areas have price tags in the millions. The highest selling plot went for 2,000,000 MANA, or about $175,000, in March 2018. Quite a bit of money for a virtual plot of land!
Who are the founders of Decentraland?
Decentraland was co-founded by Ariel Meilich and Esteban Ordano, both of whom have stepped down from major positions at the project, but still work alongside Decentraland as advisors.
Ariel Meilich previously held the role of project lead at Decentraland between 2017 and 2020, and is a serial entrepreneur that has founded several other startups, including an online translation agency and a CRM platform. He also worked as an analyst at Charles River Ventures, a prominent Silicon Valley venture fund.
The other founder, Esteban Ordano is Decentraland’s former tech lead and has a long and varied history in the cryptocurrency space. He has worked as a software engineer at BitPay, Inc., an advisor to Matic Network and briefly operated his own smart contract development firm known as Smart Contract Solutions.
Although Ariel and Esteban are no longer leading the project, the development of Decentraland is still ongoing, with efforts being directed by the recently established Decentraland Foundation.
What makes Decentraland unique?
Decentraland is built for content creators, businesses and individuals that are looking for a new artistic medium, business opportunity, or source of entertainment. In total, the Decentraland gameworld — called the “Metaverse”, but not to be confused with Facebook’s version — is divided into 90,000 individual parcels of LAND.
Though LAND holders are free to develop their plot into whatever they choose, much of the Metaverse is broadly divided into several districts, each of which has a different size and theme. These districts were generated through individual crowdsales for MANA tokens, and parcels of LAND in these districts cannot be traded.
Decentraland is also one of the growing number of projects to use a decentralized autonomous organization (or DAO) structure for governance decisions. As a result, MANA token holders are in control of how the Decentraland world behaves, by proposing and voting on policy updates, the specifics of upcoming LAND auctions and the types of content that are allowed with the Metaverse.
Besides being a creative outlet, many Decentraland users currently monetize their LAND through leasing, advertising and paid experiences. Likewise, other users generate an income by creating and selling items on the Decentraland marketplace for MANA tokens.
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