Most people are among the lucky ones to live in a democratic country where they have the freedom to use their vote. But let’s be honest, how nice would it be to do your own thing in a virtual world where there are no rules and where you can be the boss? The Sims has given you a taste of how interactive and intense a virtual world can be, but at Decentraland (MANA) you design your own decentralized society where everyone sets the rules!
What is Decentraland (MANA)?
Decentraland (MANA) is a decentralized 3D virtual world built on the blockchain Ethereum (ETH. It is a Virtual Reality platform where all users can give their own interpretation of this community. With the advent of the internet and technology, we live more and more online and with the arrival of Decentraland, we can also create our own virtual world that, in contrast to reality, is organized in a decentralized way.
Users buy and develop a piece of land within the network, in the broadest sense of the word. This can range from static or interactive objects to buildings, art, games, or even major events.
You can move freely in this virtual world. Open the map and move from one place to another. You can visit clubs, museums, casinos, view digital art, or even take a ride on a Ferris wheel. Invite your virtual friends for a housewarming in your virtual home or spend a day at the shopping center together. The possibilities are endless.
The virtual world of Decentraland is divided into small plots, called Parcels. A standard plot is 16m by 16m and is also the smallest piece of land you can own. Do you want a large surface because you have big plans? Then you can combine and buy different plots.
Each plot has X and Y coordinates on the interactive map and is determined by a LAND token on the Ethereum blockchain. LAND is an ERC-721 token, which means it is not replaceable. So it is a Non-Fungible Token. So it is scarce and unique and can be seen as a collector’s item. So it cannot be recreated or exchanged with another.
Just like in reality you only have one unique piece of land in that one place. You cannot build two houses on the same plot of land or own the same piece of land twice.
This makes you the unique user of that piece of land and that no one can replicate it. A LAND token, therefore, contains all information about the country, the location in the digital network of Decentraland, and the corresponding coordinates.
In this way, Decentraland is a representation of current society in which you also decide for yourself where you would like to buy a piece of land and then build.
In this construction planning, you are also free to realize what you want, as long as the community agrees. You can see this as a social control in which other residents determine whether or not it is an added value to their neighborhood or home.
Do you get a new neighbor or woman who has a construction schedule that does not match the street scene at all or that can ensure that your street gets fewer visitors in the network? Then you, together with the entire network, can choose to undo this planning.
This decentralized virtual world creates a parallel digital universe with its own economy, where everyone has complete control.
Decentraland’s project was first launched in 2017 with an Initial Coin Offering (ICO) that raised no less than 26 million, but before that, they were already busy behind the scenes with the project.
Developments started earlier in 2015 with a 2D concept. The developments took place in different phases which they themselves subdivide into 3 eras. The first developments are also seen as the ‘Stone Age’ of the project, where it all started.
The first advances of Decentraland. In this Stone Age, the development of Non-Fungible Tokens (NFT) was central. The design was a 2D grid in the virtual world made of pixels, each with metadata representing the owner’s personification. You had a piece of land, with x and y coordinates, in your name.
When mining a block, the user also became the owner of a certain piece of land, expressed in pixels and colors. Here, owners could also sell their land and transfer it to others through intra-network transactions.
In 2017 they already wanted to create a 3D variant of the world based on a comparable blockchain. They chose to opt for a clone of bcoin, a node implementation of the well-known Bitcoin (BTC). All information is now stored via a hash on the blockchain that represents a full content description. With this hash, another user can consult all the information for that piece of land.
The latest developments of Decentraland are seen as the ‘Iron Age’ in which everything has been further developed into an ideal and decentralized community. A smart contract now keeps track of who owns which piece of land in this virtual world. Just like in a previous stage, owners can transfer their share of land to other users, just like buying or selling a house in the real world.
From this moment on, Decentraland is a fully developed P2P network with which users can communicate with each other and with the rest of the network in this virtual environment. In February 2020, Decentraland was introduced to the general public.
What is MANA
We just saw the properties of a LAND token, but in the network, we also have MANA tokens. MANA is an ERC20 token built on the Ethereum (ETH) blockchain that is available on various exchanges. You need this token to buy LAND. For one LAND token in the virtual world, you pay approximately 1,000 MANA tokens.
MANA is therefore the token that you can buy on various exchanges. The more people who join this virtual community and then buy land or wearables will affect the price of MANA as well.
The idea of a virtual world is not new. We know from the past The Sims and popular games such as World of Warcraft. If you’ve played The Sims in the past, you’ve no doubt placed your avatar in the pool and took down the stairs or other things that weren’t exactly ethical. But the big difference of Decentraland, as the name suggests, is its decentralized character.
You have complete freedom to do whatever you want in this virtual world while keeping in mind that everyone within the network has a say in the governance of this virtual world and society. The land is owned by the community and is also decentralized by all members of the community.
This allows for unprecedented freedom of the users, but it also means that other users can cause them to censor or even ban you from the network. With Decentraland, the world belongs to the community and goes one step further. It is governed by a DAO, a Decentralized Autonomous Organization, which means that anyone can participate in voting procedures. This happens in the platform at predetermined times.
The digital and virtual world of Decentraland is the most accurate possible reflection of today’s society. Buying a plot of land and building land is of course a way of claiming your property within the network, but just like in reality, you also pay a certain price for your plot of land.
For example, there are various shopping centers and hubs in the network that many people visit. Do you want to live close to such a hotspot? Then you also pay more. You can even buy a name to make your property even more visible to other users. You can buy all of these at the Marketplace.
Each individual in the network is represented by a personal avatar. This is a digital representation of you as a person. It is therefore nice that you can completely personalize this avatar the way you want. After all, you want to make a good impression on others, right?
You can’t undo a first impression, just like you think it’s important in reality, Decentraland also gives you the option to style yourself completely the way you want. There are wearables that you can buy on the Marketplace. This is a shopping center where you can buy everything to make your avatar completely unique.
Non-Fungible Tokens (NFTs)
We cannot ignore it, the year 2022 and beyond will be dominated by Non-Fungible Tokens or NFTs. These tokens are developing at a breakneck pace and the possibilities are endless. Decentraland makes good use of the principle of NFTs. Every land you buy is an NFT where all information is stored on the blockchain. It is therefore impossible for someone to own the exact same piece of land.
In addition to LAND tokens, Decentraland also allows you to let your creativity run wild. You can also create unique building structures with some technical programming knowledge and imagination and then offer them as Non-Fungible Tokens. Do you want more information about these incredibly popular tokens or do you want to make an NFT yourself? See here how you can get started!
The topic of virtual events has never been more topical than during the pandemic in 2020 and 2021. Technology is developing at breakneck speed and Decentraland is also making use of all possibilities here.
Via its own platform, you get an overview of all events that will take place in Decentraland. This ranges from purely informational events to online auctions and even club nights with a live DJ. In the overview, you can see how many people are interested in the event and how many people will actually attend. For example, in the example above, you can see that there will be an online conference that will give you all the necessary information about NFTs and how they work. In addition to entertainment, Decentraland also wants to provide education in the network.
Integrate the event you want to attend into your personal agenda so you won’t miss it. Meet like-minded people from all over the world and expand your network!
The principle of an online world is not new. In the past, we had The Sims, Roller Coaster Tycoon, and many other variants. Technology has continued to develop, making the experience more realistic than ever before.
The difference that Decentraland makes compared to other Virtual Reality worlds is its decentralized character. Normally, every user of an online game or network is bound by established rules determined by the creators.
At Decentraland everyone is part of the community and everyone has a say in the developments and decisions through a DAO. With its own micro-economy and all additional possibilities, Decentraland creates a parallel and decentralized society.