The concept of virtual reality is catching on and with the maturation of the cryptocurrencies, developers are leveraging the blockchain technology to create decentralized realities. Over the years, we’ve heard of numerous metaverses built on blockchain technology, which not only offers complete digital ownership of the virtual property but also opens up alleyways for generating revenue using decentralized smart contracts.
The focus of the world is moving towards work-from-home through the adaptation of virtual spaces and metaverses. One such virtual world, Decentraland, is an example of a virtual world whose users have leveraged the opportunity for their personal gains. From using digital real estate to create a virtual workspace to building entertainment hubs to secure the land as an investment opportunity, Decentraland truly revolutionized the concept of virtual reality.
Decentraland, which has already launched its beta mode, lets users take a peek at the virtual reality experience. At the same time, other blockchain-based metaverses are still in infancy mode and years away from becoming a reality. Decentraland’s virtual world has seen a soaring success with enthusiasts investing in the early in-game content and grabbing the limited Decentraland LAND parcels to immerse themselves in the virtual world.
Today’s round-up will include a detailed Decentraland review where we’ll discuss all the metaverse's distinctive features that set it apart from other virtual worlds built on the blockchain.
What is Decentraland?
Decentraland is a virtual world that is powered by the Ethereum blockchain. It is an immersive metaverse with the concept of dual-tokenomics which users can leverage to acquire digital real estate to develop and monetize it as they see fit. Decentraland offers a decentralized infrastructure to its players, enabling them to develop the land and control the in-game assets, policies, and development using Decentralized Autonomous Organizations (DAOs).
The concept of a decentralized metaverse transfers the executive role to its player instead of a centralized company that benefits from the affairs taking place within the system. Using fungible and non-fungible tokens, Decentraland offers complete digital ownership to its users, enabling them to use their creative imagination to leverage the developing technology to build everything from innovative buildings to engaging mini-games within the metaverse.
Founded in 2015, Decentraland offers a 3D grid with a limited number of LAND parcels. The parcels are the in-game NFTs that can be customized, transferred, and utilized for monetary gains. Each parcel within the metaverse has its own unique coordinates for easily navigating through the gigantic metaverse.
Dual-token economies fuel the Decentraland economy, a medley of fungible MANA tokens and non-fungible LAND parcels. Leveraging blockchain technology, the Decentraland in-game economy has a limited supply which makes them valuable in the long-term investments plan.
Players who plan to get a piece of the virtual estate for themselves, it’s vital to understand the basic concepts of MANA and LAND parcels.
MANA token is the fungible ERC-20 token that is burned to acquire LAND parcels or they can be traded to buy land on the massive 3D grid. These tokens have a limited supply of approx 2.20 billion tokens. The fungible nature of the MANA crypto tokens makes them interchangeable and since it is vital to the ecosystem of Decentraland, MANA is also used for utility purposes to purchase various digital assets within the gigantic metaverse.
Decentraland's in-house marketplace offers a variety of digital assets to the players for investment, and MANA tokens are used to purchase these commodities. In terms of value, MANA tokens have seen a rise in value, and it is considered to be one of the most stable currencies in the crypto world.
MANA holders will get to have a say in the development and policy-making phase through the democratic system of the Decentralized Autonomous Organizations (DAOs). The voting results will be significantly impacted by voters who hold a greater amount of MANA tokens.
The LAND token is a non-fungible token built on the ERC-721 protocols which represent the 16mx16m parcels on the gigantic 3D grid of the metaverse. These LAND tokens aren’t interchangeable and are considered in-game NFTs since they can be traded on the marketplace for a profit.
There’s a limited supply of LAND tokens within the metaverse and approximately 90,601 LAND parcels are placed within the metaverse. Moreover, by acquiring the LAND parcels, players have control of digital ownership over the land. And with the builder tools available at the disposal, players are able to place 3D objects of certain dimensions on these parcels.
A number of parcels that are adjacent to each other can be acquired to build an estate. However, since most LAND NFT parcels are sold in private auctions, there are quite a few chances of acquiring adjacent parcels. Nevertheless, the marketplace of Decentraland sometimes offers interested parties to acquire estates at the asking price of the seller.
Holders of a large inventory of LAND, MANA, and Estates enjoy the pleasure of having more voting power and have a say in all the autonomous democratic ecosystem of Decentraland.
Moreover, most of the parcels on the grid are sold out and new interested users can browse through the marketplace to acquire a piece of the virtual land themselves. While there’s a limited supply of these LAND parcels, developers often hint at the inclusion of additional LAND parcels once authorization has been obtained from the DAOs.
Decentraland boasts a wide array of features which makes it stand out from other virtual worlds on the market. With the use of blockchain technology to create an immersive metaverse, Decentraland hosts various decentralized characteristics which enable the players to experience the futuristic digital world in a true sense.
Since the concept of virtual worlds is new and not properly mainstreamed, people are unaware of the distinctive features of these metaverses. Nevertheless, here are some of the Decentraland features that make it one of the most successful metaverse projects of the decade.
Every Decentraland player is required to create a unique avatar with distinctive features of their own choice. After selecting the gender, players can customize their avatar using the vast customization settings. Similarly, those with an acquired taste looking for something out of the ordinary can always browse the Decentraland marketplace to get hands-on sophisticated pieces of clothing for their avatar.
Moreover, each avatar will need to be named by the player which is also a sort of an NFT. This means that once you’ve selected a name for yourself, you could always sell it on the marketplace to turn a profit. Similarly, pieces of clothing and other NFTs related to the avatar such as beanies, trousers, backpacks, and other wearables can be sold for monetary gains.
In the Decentraland world, avatars represent you, so it is imperative to build a good reputation. Premium wearables will serve that purpose quite well. Moreover, emotes, which represent your emotional state, are also on the offerings, and everything from the Heart emote to Fortnite-inspired dances are on the menu.
Before choosing the avatar, keep in mind that the avatars can only be created once. While there are a plethora of opportunities to customize these avatars through the wearables, it won’t be possible to re-create the physical attributes of your avatar.
Decentraland builder tools enable LAND parcel owners to place pre-rendered 3D tools on their land. There are tons of different terrains to choose from and thousands of utility objects which can be placed on the parcels for development purposes. Non-tech savvy people can use pre-built 3D objects free of cost and place them using the builder and employment tool.
Everything from house structures to terrains to other 3D objects can be deployed using the builder tool. While the inventory of the 3D objects is more than enough to cater to the needs of every user, Decentraland builder enabled its players to import 3D models to offer complete freedom to its players.
3D editing tools such as Blender can be used to create and render the required 3D objects which can be placed on the parcel. Moreover, using the builder tool, there’s a limitless possibility for the objects that can be placed on the land parcels.
Some are using these object builders to build skyscrapers and amusement parks with mini-games to attract by-passers. Others are using this tool to curate the advertisement campaign for major brands around the globe.
The Decentraland’s marketplace caters to the needs of all of its players by offering all the in-game essentials. Built on the Ethereum blockchain with the support of Polygon, players can browse the marketplace to sell, purchase, and trade supplies. For beginners, the marketplace is the spot where LAND plots can be acquired.
While there’s tons of free stuff in the game, some in-game items are often airdropped or won through completing various in-game quests. All such acquired commodities are tradable on the native marketplace for a price. Everything from wearables to LAND parcels can be sold on the marketplace to turn a profit.
3D objects that can be deployed on land are in heavy demand and people with some knowledge of rendering 3D objects could use the opportunity to make a living. Moreover, registering prominent names such as a celebrity’s name or a country name could come in handy since these names could also be sold on the marketplace for a handsome amount.
The MANA tokens are required to make any purchases on the native marketplace of Decentraland. Since MANA is a universally recognized cryptocurrency, it can be acquired through various decentralized exchanges such as Binance.
By leveraging the democratized system of Decentralized Autonomous Organizations (DAOs), the developers of Decentraland are handing over the policy control to its players. Through this democratized voting system, holders of MANA, LAND parcels, and Estate holders get a final say in the policy-making and the development phase of Decentraland.
All the operations within the gigantic metaverse are monitored by the developers, but the smart contracts, NFTs, and tokenomics are governed autonomously by the holders. By leveraging the smart blockchain technology, Decentraland is marking an evolution of the decentralized space by diminishing a centralized control over the affairs of the virtual world.
From adding new fungible tokens to policy moderation, every developmental change within the metaverse will be governed through the Decentraland DAOs. Moreover, by eliminating a centralized form of management, there would be more opportunities for building smart contracts which enable players to utilize the digital land to earn revenue through various streams of money-making methods.
Similarly, non-fungible tokens (NFTs) within the game such as LAND parcels are available in a limited amount. However, in the near future, the DAOs will be able to decide to let developers add more parcels through the voting system. And as mentioned above, wealthy holders will heavily influence the final polling results.
How to get started with Decentraland?
Decentraland virtual world is fairly simple to get into since it can be played through any web3-supported browser such as Google Chrome. Similarly, there’s a dedicated application for Windows as well where players can download the Beta version of the game to get started. Unfortunately, the developers have not announced any mobile version of Decentraland. A mobile application for the gigantic metaverse may be forthcoming, but there is no confirmation from the developer’s end.
Moving on, in case you’re wondering how to get started with Decentraland and spot the amplest part of the grid for yourself, here’s how you can do it:
Step 1: Access the Browser App
The first step is to access the official website of Decentraland and click on ‘Start Exploring’ at the top-right corner of the window. The Windows users have the luxury to download the Beta version and start playing Decentraland on the application or, they can use the browser version of the game as well.
Next up, players will be asked to either join the metaverse by connecting the ETH-supported wallet or play Decentraland as a guest. If a player enters the metaverse as a guest, they will be able to wander through the gigantic grid and get a lay of the land. For serious players, connecting the wallet is required to get started in Decentraland.
Step 2: Connect your Wallet
Decentraland supports MetaMask, Fortmatic, WalletConnect, and Coinbase Wallet. It’s up to the players to choose the ideal crypto wallet for them but in most cases, MetaMask is a perfect choice. To connect your wallet with Decentraland, follow these steps:
- Create an account on MetaMask.
- Navigate to the Decentraland browser version of the game.
- Click on ‘Play Using Wallet’ and a screen will pop up.
- Click on the desired wallet to continue. In this case, click on MetaMask and confirm the transactions through the pop-up extension notification.
Once the process is completed, the avatar customization screen will pop up.
Step 3: Set up your Avatar
Users are provided with a plethora of avatar customization options that allow them to create the perfect avatar to represent themselves digitally. Firstly, players are asked to choose the gender and color tone of their body and then navigate to the top menu to choose other physical attributes of the avatar.
Everything from head to feet could be customized using the menu. There are tons of different options to choose from and it's all up to the users to generate the most sophisticated-looking avatar to stand out from other metaverse users. Moreover, once the gender is selected and the avatar is generated, it cannot be changed but, there’s always a possibility of customizing the look by purchasing premium wearables from the marketplace.
Moreover, there’s also an option to randomize the avatar style and customization which would allow the AI to create a stunning-looking avatar for the players. People who aren’t too keen on spending some time customizing their avatar could always opt for this option to save them the hassle.
Once the character customization is completed, players will be asked to create a username for themselves. At this point, users can create and register a unique name which would act as a non-fungible token since the name once registered won’t be available to any other player in the metaverse. Later on, players with a unique name could sell their name on the marketplace to turn a profit.
Lastly, once every step is completed, the player will be given a Decentraland passport with their credentials and will enter the Decentraland metaverse where they will be able to roam the vast grid for various opportunities.
Decentraland Team: Who’s behind the Project?
A number of experts have contributed their skills and time to the development of the much-awaited metaverse of Decentraland. Ari Meilich is the lead project manager of Decentraland metaverse and he has previously worked in the development of various top-level applications such as Benchrise. Currently, Ari is serving as the CEO of Big Time Studios, a company working towards mainstreaming the trading of NFTs.
Moreover, Esteban Ordano is the co-founder of the Decentraland project. His previous work includes the development of BitPay Inc, a cryptocurrency wallet. Esteban’s previous work experience with decentralized applications enabled him to incorporate the developing blockchain technology into an immersive metaverse with limitless boundaries.
Colleagues of Esteban which includes an Argentina-based software engineer, Yemel Jardi, and Manuel Araoz who worked alongside Esteban at BitPay also worked on making the Decentraland metaverse project a success.
As of late 2020, both the founders, Ari Meilich and Esteban Ordano have stepped down as the founders of the metaverse. While they’re serving as advisors to the project, the control of the core mechanics of the metaverse is handed over to the Decentraland users of the metaverse through DAOs.
Since the metaverse is now governed by Decentraland DAOs, the development team and the founders of the project won’t be able to make new policies or offer further updates to the project. However, users can introduce new policies under the democratized voting system through DAOs.
In just a short span of time, the play-to-earn game Decentraland world has managed to attract millions from around the globe. The immersive virtual world not only offers a unique look within the blockchain ecosystem but also opens up alleyways for the Decentraland community to generate revenue.
Every aspect, from the smooth mechanics to the phenomenal 3D graphics, shows how incredible the virtual universe is. In spite of the lack of native applications for mobile devices, Decentraland has managed to create a unique metaverse experience that stands out from the competition.
Moreover, while most decentralized applications are built to lure players for financial gain, Decentraland changes the paradigm by offering a variety of experiences that do not only provide monetary gain but offer diverse entertainment opportunities as well.
In closing of our Decentraland review, the metaverse may not be without its ups and downs, but one thing you can rest assured of is that it is a top-notch metaverse and one of the best on the market today. Curious about the metaverse and would like to experience it for yourself? Decentraland won’t disappoint you.