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Decentraland: a New Decentralized Reality

20 August 2020 14:04, UTC
Decentraland: a New Decentralized Reality
By Bogdan Vinogradov

The name of the project — Decentraland (ERC20-token MANA) — sounds a bit funny, but behind this name there is a very serious, albeit controversial, project.

Small country ... Or not?

Decentraland developers do not conceal the fact that they were inspired by the science fiction of the 90s, where computers rapidly increasing in power made illusions real. Their goal was to create a unique virtual world based on blockchain technology, different from the classic, yet outdated, Second Life, or other MMO projects. This idea was born in 2015, in 2017 there was a successful ICO that raised $ 25 million, and in February 2020, the project was finally launched at full capacity.

"Your passport to the metaverse"

This is the phrase that the website visitor sees after the beautiful semi-interactive animation, reminiscent of the No Man's Sky game, ends. You can access the project directly on the site, a regular browser is enough for this. VR headsets are supported, but not required.

You can also visit the virtual world as a guest while creating your own avatar will cost 100 MANA. Decentraland runs on the Ethereum blockchain and is run by the decentralized autonomous organization DAO, representing a three-dimensional virtual world with streets and squares. Decentraland's main unit is the “Land” (LAND), which is technically a non-fungible (NFT) digital asset based on the ERC-721 standard. As one might expect, it will no longer be possible to purchase a piece of that directly from the developers, since everything was sold out by the first participants of the project. But the aftermarket for virtual real estate is booming. There are approximately 90,000 plots of land in total. The maximum size of one object on such a plot is 100 square meters. However, the objects themselves can be arbitrarily high.

User-generated content is created inside the built-in 3D editor and implemented in the form of NFT tokens. As a rule, in-game items are one of the main components (and, often, the main method of monetization) of traditional virtual universes. Decentraland is not far behind — in the built-in store, you can buy clothes, hairstyles, or even a rare name for your avatar. The good news is that NFT token transfers from third-party platforms like CryptoKitties and SuperRare are supported.

Virtuality and beyond

24.07.2020  |   in Innovations
As many users have noticed, one of Decentraland's biggest problems is the lack of a clear direction for growth. It may not be obvious to beginners what to do in the world of strange 3D models. But the same feature can be looked at from a different angle — lack of direction means freedom. Over the months since its launch, Decentraland has become home to a variety of projects: exhibitions of contemporary art (one of which was by Jose Delbo, an artist who worked on the popular DC and Marvel comics); casinos, virtual bars. A game jam is planned for September, which will be an interactive content creation competition with a prize pool of $250,000.

The project still has visible potential — the MMO that allows you to earn real money by creating content, bypassing boring game mechanics and auctions, will certainly attract attention. And objective indicators, like the exchange rate and capitalization, do not give cause for concern: at the time of this writing, 1 MANA token costs almost $ 0.85 with a steady upward trend. Just a quick comparison — in January the price of it was about $0.03. Over the past month, the cryptocurrency has significantly increased in capitalization and is ranked 91th.

Decentraland is too unusual a project — so it’s almost impossible to predict its future fate with confidence. In the end, any virtual world is most dependent on its real inhabitants, without which it will inevitably fade — and the world of Decentraland cannot be called overpopulated. Until recently, the average daily number of "active" avatars did not exceed 500. And the technical side is also far from perfect — there are complaints about the long execution time of smart contracts and high commissions.

Also, the uncertainty remains in Decentraland's interaction with the laws of real states — for example, in the field of copyrights. However, this did not stop Samsung from adding support for the MANA token to its wallet, which is a good sign for the project developers. It is possible that other, equally significant partnerships, will follow soon.

Image courtesy of: All Tech Asia

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