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What is Decentraland?

Decentraland is a three-dimensional (3D) virtual world powered by the Ethereum blockchain, with a focus on virtual lands that can be bought and sold. With a total of 90,601 parcels of land (approx. 23 sq km or 9 sq mi), it’s the largest virtual blockchain world (VBW) available today. The platform is overseen by the nonprofit Decentraland Foundation and was opened to the public in February 2020. Decentraland is a decentralised virtual world, meaning it doesn’t run on a central server. Instead, all content is hosted on nodes that run on numerous different computers worldwide. Therefore, the platform can’t be shut down and will exist on the blockchain forever.

Virtual lands in Decentraland are simply called LAND. The virtual world has 43,689 private land parcels, 33,886 district LANDs, 9,438 roads, and 3,588 plazas. Each land is 16X16 metres, and they’re NFTs, so they’re unique and cannot be forged or duplicated, just like physical land in the real world. Users can buy these virtual lands using Decentraland’s official cryptocurrency, known as MANA.

The core of Decentraland is to be able to create creative things. Therefore, once a user purchases a plot of land, they can use it to create an entirely virtual city using animation and interaction, including virtual properties and other creations. Users can create almost anything they want, from homes where they can hang out with family and friends to art galleries where they can sell their NFT arts.

History of Decentraland

The original creators of Decentraland are Ari Meilich and Esteban Ordano. Upon its original creation in 2015, Decentraland was a proof-of-concept for assigning digital real estate ownership to blockchain users. Before evolving into a 3D virtual world, the digital property was implemented as a pixel in an infinite 2D grid. The initial creation of Decentraland was called the “Stone Age of the Decentralised.” By the end of 2016, Decentraland was developed into a 3D virtual world divided into plots. This version of Decentraland is called the Bronze Age. 

The next version of Decentraland, the Iron Age, offers a social experience with an economy driven by the levels of land ownership and distribution of content. In this stage of Decentraland, users can create, distribute, and monetise applications to other users. 

In 2017, the Decentraland team held an Initial Coin Offering (ICO). They raised 86,206 ether (approx. 26 million USD at the time) to fund Decentraland’s future operations. In the same year, Decentraland was officially launched in beta, and the first LAND auction where developers pick prime virtual property locations was held. During this launch, developers sold virtual land within Decentraland for as little as 20 USD. Due to high demand, the Decentraland Marketplace was released in March 2018. The marketplace allows users to buy and sell lands, as well as explore virtual worlds on a map. In 2019, Decentraland unveiled customisable avatars with passports. 

With the boom of NFT art in 2020 and 2021, the most desirable virtual land in Decentraland was selling for over 100,000 USD.

Popular Areas in Decentraland

The virtual world of Decentraland is divided into several community areas or districts. Every district comes in different sizes and themes, ranging from a Vegas-style gambling district and fashion district to a battleground where users can play games and festival land where interactive events are held. Since each district in Decentraland governs itself, they have their own rules. The primary and most popular areas in Decentraland are as follows:

  • Aetherian City – With 8,008 LAND, Aetherian City intends to be the largest cyberpunk agglomeration of the metaverse. It will be one of the primary attractions for visitors and dwellers of Decentraland. The district is planned to house a nightclub, tournament area, gaming, dwellings, and other activities.
  • Vegas City – This is the gambling district of Decentaland. Designed in a strip style configuration, the digital sin city is filled with a row of casinos, concert and performance halls, shopping centres, and nightclubs.
  • Dragon City – The Dragon City reflects Eastern and Western civilisations. It offers a combination of China’s ancient culture and Western modernisation.
  • Decentraland University – Within this district, a definitive centre of education of Decentraland is created.
  • Fashion Street – This is the shopping district of Decentraland. The plan is to bring top fashion brands to open a store within the virtual world and give users a high sensory shopping experience.

Other popular districts include District X, Festival Land, Crypto Valley, Amusement Park, and Conference Center.

Types of Property in Decentraland

There are four types of digital properties users can buy in Decentraland, these include:

  • Land parcels – The main focus of Decentraland is virtual lands where users can build anything they want. Each parcel of land comes with a unique coordinate representing a specific location on the map. The value of land parcels is determined by proximity to popular areas, such as plazas and roads. The size of each land is 16X16m square spaces.
  • Estates – Estates are two or adjacent parcels of land grouped together. These parcels have to be directly adjacent and can’t be separated by any other land parcel, road, or plaza. Estates allow users to build bigger and higher scenes. Having an estate will make it easier for users who own multiple land parcels to manage and develop their lands.
  • In-game wearables – The Decentraland in-game wearables are the various items of clothing, accessories, and body features that users can use to customise their avatars. While default wearables are available for free, Decentraland also supports the creation and use of custom wearables that NFTs represent.
  • Scenes – A scene is an experience that users can build on one or several land parcels. Every scene in Decentraland has its own little world, meaning items from one scene can’t extend into another. Users of Decentraland are free to create, sell, and buy scenes.

Native Tokens used in Decentraland

Two types of tokens govern operations in Decentraland. These include MANA and LAND. 

MANA is a cryptocurrency (ERC-20 token) that facilitates purchases of LAND. It can also be used to pay for various virtual goods and services within the Decentraland marketplace, such as avatars, names, wearables, and more.

LAND is a non-fungible digital token (NFT) used to define the ownership of land parcels representing digital real estate. On average, one parcel of LAND in Decentraland costs around 6,900 MANA.

Top 3 Reasons to Invest in Decentraland

Below are the top 3 reasons why you should invest in Decentraland:

  1. Decentraland high market capitalisation – The currency fueling Decentraland, MANA, has a high market capitalisation. Market capitalisation is the total value of a cryptocurrency. This means that the higher the market capitalisation, the more stable that cryptocurrency is likely to be. Like all cryptocurrencies, MANA is volatile and prone to losing value at any one time, depending on the prevailing market forces. However, MANA will likely withstand any adverse effects hitting the market with a high market capitalisation.
  2. Decentraland is a leading metaverse game – Decentraland has essentially paved the way in creating a digital world where users can hang out with friends, shop, and work. Given the amount of investment that is expected to come into the metaverse from institutional investors and companies, this is a sector that investors should be interested in.
  3. Major companies in Decentraland – Anyone can buy and develop land on Decentraland, and among them are major established companies. These companies plan to develop virtual gaming arenas, host events, and more. With this in mind, you can expect more and more people to join Decentraland to experience the activities for their entertainment. The platform will get even more mainstream. Thus, the value of MANA will continue to grow, and the virtual world is certainly going to stay.