Metaverse ABCs: What Is Decentraland (MANA) and How It Will Transform The Metaverse Ecosystem
The 2018 Sci-Fi Movie “Ready Player One” may have accurately put what many technology companies consider the new Internet into perspective. Inspired by an Ernest Cline novel, the movie’s orphaned protagonist detaches himself from his bleak reality and immerses himself into a virtual reality fantasy. The protagonist straps on his headset, analogous to the VR headsets we use today, and ventures into a trippy virtual universe called the “OASIS.”
Sci-fi concepts inspire many people in tech. They hope that one day soon, they could all be hanging out in an interactive virtual reality world, filled with games, adventures, shopping, and otherworldly offerings. Interestingly, there’s a term for that concept, and it’s called the metaverse.
What is the Metaverse?
The metaverse is an entirely new reality and perspective from today’s virtual reality, where heavy headsets offer isolated experiences and lock players from interacting or cross-playing with people who own other gadgets. Instead, the metaverse aims to establish a massive collaborative and open cyberspace, linking augmented reality and virtual reality together, empowering the player base to hop seamlessly from one activity to the next.
The concept of metaverse has recently gotten into the limelight, and for a good reason. Facebook, one of the tech giants, has made an announcement that they are changing their company name into Meta, as well as developing a metaverse platform.
It is undoubtedly a huge undertaking that would require standardization, cooperation, and collaborations among tech giants, who are more prone to competing with each other instead of collaborating with each other.
However, what if we told you there’s an ecosystem that would make all of that possible. What if the metaverse is already a reality, and people just don’t know about it?
If you’ve played games, you’ve probably experienced how games tend to offer siloed experiences. You’re stuck playing one game for the rest of your life, and your achievements are only limited to the game. Outside of the game, your achievements do not matter. It doesn’t matter that you spent hours, days, months, or years on a single game leveling up your characters.
Now imagine if the hours you put into one game have real-world value. Picture your achievements being worth something in another game you log in to. You have the complete freedom to move through an infinitely large virtual space of games, and you don’t have to start over again.
That’s what GameFi tries to achieve. GameFi introduces an infinitely large virtual world, full of opportunities for shared progressions, characters, questlines, events, and a mutually beneficial ecosystem that promotes a healthier, rewarding, and open ecosystem for its player base.
And there’s no better project than Decentraland in providing an infinitely large virtual space where users are open to move around, hop from place to place, activity to activity, and be free.
Decentraland: The “virtual” Land of the Free
Decentraland is a decentralized virtual reality platform built on top of the Ethereum blockchain. It’s the fastest-growing blockchain-based virtual world that empowers users with the ability to create avatars, interact with other users on the network, participate in concerts, fashion shows, art auctions, and even build houses on their virtual land.
Decentraland’s developers Estaban Ordano and Ari Meilich developed the platform to create a virtual space containing digital real estate parcels, items, and other customizable assets, all of which can be readily bought using MANA, the Decentraland’s ERC-20 token.
Decentraland is a completely decentralized and autonomous organization that allows users to buy and sell digital real estate as well as explore, interact, and play games within the virtual world. However, today, Decentraland has significantly evolved from being a platform for digital real estate to a behemoth platform for interactive apps, in-world payments, and peer-to-peer communication for users, which is why Decentraland is the main forerunner in promoting and establishing the metaverse ecosystem.
How Does Decentraland Work?
Decentraland is a virtual and online space that combines virtual reality with blockchain technology. Unlike most games, where developers have all the power, Decentraland is a decentralized autonomous organization, which means that players have direct control over the governance and rules of the online world. Asset holders have a say on in-game and organizational policies. This mechanism affects everything from the type of items dropped in the game to investments for the DAO’s treasury.
Moreover, everything in Decentraland is an NFT. NFTs represent everything, including in-game collectibles, clothes, items, and the game’s virtual real estate, LAND.
Now, Decentraland has two currencies that power the whole ecosystem, namely: LAND and MANA. MANA is Decentraland’s native cryptocurrency that functions both as a digital currency as well as a governance token that enables holders with voting power in the Decentraland DAO. MANA plays a crucial role because it allows users to interact with the platform by customizing their avatars, interacting with other users, and exploring the Decentraland metaverse.
Consequently, LAND is a non-fungible token that proves the ownership of the plot of virtual land within the virtual space. It allows LAND owners to control the content published on their land. They can publish anything from scenes and images to games and applications.
Decentraland Use Cases
Decentraland was engineered to provide a plethora of use cases such as:
· Applications where users can seamlessly create apps and 3D scenes with the platform’s scripting languages.
· Content curation where like-minded fans and growing organic communities can collaborate and interact.
· Advertising where brands can buy LAND and set up billboards.
· Digital Collectibles where users can collect, create, and trade rare and exclusive items in the platform’s marketplace.
· A social platform where users can experience a more immersive way of socializing with their friends.
Coca-Cola, Puma, Adidas, and other giant brands have joined the space, set up huge billboards, and created exclusive NFTs within the Decentraland Metaverse as interest in the platform surges to new heights.
With a market cap of just under $9 billion, and a price increase of over 500% in the past month, it’s safe to say Decentraland is the first and most promising multiplayer role-playing metaverse in the world. With real-world brands entering the space as interest in the metaverse grows, Decentraland could serve as the ideal platform to help these brands, games, and people interact and connect.
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