‘Ready Player One in a wide-open virtual metaverse on steroids and blockchain power' is the best way I can describe what this experience is, and one we'll explore in detail through this Decentraland review.
In a world where NFTs are becoming ever popular, Decentraland takes it up a notch by building a massively 3D open-world virtual reality game around it. Here, there is no goal apart from just having fun, where players can buy and trade land, as well as other in-game goods and services.
But more than that, Decentraland's video game ethos has blended into an expansive economy and marketplace, where players can create their own custom games, which could then be explored with their friends or other gamers. As is the name, Decentraland is a wholly decentralized game, where you – the community – can take control, while having a huge grin. So, are they a preview of what games of the future will be like? Well, you'll have to read along our Decentraland review to find out.
What Is Decentraland?
Launched to the public in February 2020, Decentraland is a virtual reality game built and powered by the Ethereum blockchain and is overseen by the Decentraland Foundation. However, its birth began much earlier, in 2015, by Ari Meilich and Esteban Ordano. Originally, it was a pixelated grid-based interface that allocated pixels through a Proof-of-Work algorithm. But soon, it evolved into a large 3D open-world game, before the beta version then went live in 2017.
Initially, developers can sell parcels of virtual land in the game for as little as $20. But following the NFT craze in late 2020 and early 2021, entire virtual homes and real estate were being sold for $100,000 or more. One house on Decentraland once sold for more than $500,000, while a New York-based digital real estate investment company, Republic Realm, paid nearly $1-million ($913,228 to be exact) for 259 parcels of digital land in Decentraland to build a virtual shopping district.
How Does Decentraland Work?
The first aspect of this digital reality that we should be exploring in our Decentraland review is how does it all works? As we noted earlier, the whole game revolves entirely around the idea that you create your own experiences, or choose to enjoy ones created by other players. There's a great degree of freedom to enable players – within the game's mechanics, of course – to build and enjoy in-game minigames, aside from the virtual life-like experience of buying houses.
You can purchase, for example, apparel for your in-game character, or change its appearance. Within each ‘parcel' of land, each player can practically do whatever they want, such as remodeling their homes or set up virtual businesses. Players can then visit other users' parcels or lands. There are contests for creating and displaying digital NFT artwork, play around with the aforementioned minigames, design various applications, or offer goods and services for sale within Decentraland.
As you can imagine, this has helped to create a very large and diverse economy, where players can earn income or rewards from their participation in the many events held across Decentraland, not to mention spending tokens to acquire goods and services. As of this Decentraland review, there are nearly 20,000 users signed up. Since the total amount of land is capped to just 90,000 parcels, there is also an incentive to speculate on virtual property prices, where you can earn massive returns.
What Is LAND?
On Decentraland, there are technically two cryptocurrency tokens – MANA (which we'll discuss more of later in our Decentraland review), and LAND. The latter is a non-fungible ERC-721 token that is used to represent a single parcel of virtual land in Decentraland, and can be purchased with MANA. Everything else in between, such as in-game items or services, are all NFTs that can be bought using MANA tokens. LAND is perhaps the most unique aspect of Decentraland.
Unlike other games, users who own LAND (parcels of digital real estate) have creative freedom to work and develop those properties, as well as buy, hold, or exchange them at will. The ownership is then documented into the Ethereum blockchain as proof, which includes the content is published on that land, its coordinates, and so on. Each LAND parcel is 16-meter by 16-meter and encompasses the landscape aside from common spaces such as roads and plazas, which are developer-owned.
We'll start to explore more now as to how a few pixels of LAND can prove to be valuable when used the right way. It has created a secondary marketplace within Decentraland, where LAND owners can buy and sell the property as one would in real life as an investment. Its location matters, as the prices derive from community interest. For example, LAND that's located on major crossroads within the world, or those that are placed near busy districts tend to be worth more.
How Can LAND Be Of Value In Decentraland?
LAND could be a highly appreciative asset, as its quantity is made scarce – just 90,000 parcels – as in the real world where space is finite. Just like in the real world too, the value of the land isn't purely based on how large or where it's been built, but also on how the owner chooses to develop that land that makes it worthwhile. Decentraland really lets you play around with this concept in more than a few ways, all of which are handled by the game's smart contracts.
This layer consists of entries that contain details like what objects are placed on that LAND, textures, sounds, as well as scripts that control how all those things come together, and how users can interact with them. In Decentraland, you can use your LAND to build, for example:
Art galleries, where the LAND (parcel) owner can showcase or trade their NFT art collection, or other types of NFT collectibles like memorabilia and merchandise.
Casinos, where players from across Decentraland can visit to play games or bet on matches to win (or lose MANA tokens).
Malls or shops, where players can sell entire NFT goods such as trading cards, in-game items, collectibles, or even consider selling services to other players, such as offering your 3D makeover skills so that other players can call you up to renovate their virtual homes in Decentraland.
Games, where LAND owners can build game sites and playgrounds, such as hosting minigames or other such entertainment like arcades, a digital funfair, or an amusement park for those bigger parcels. Aside from that, you could turn your virtual land into a large park or sporting ground.
Music venues, where LAND owners can offer up their parcels to be built into dedicated spaces that'll host virtual music festivals and concerts.
Business, where parcels of LAND can be turned into a business park, and users can meet digitally to discuss ideas. There's even a Crypto Valley, a digitalized version of Silicon Valley, where you can pitch to potential investors, and there's some talk of hosting virtual advertisements on certain LAND, thus opening up the opportunities to monetization even more.
What Are Decentraland's MANA Cryptocurrency Tokens?
MANA, as we've hinted at before in our Decentraland Review, is the main cryptocurrency of the Decentraland network. Its tokens are used as a medium of exchange, such as buying and selling a parcel of LAND, in-game items or services, and so on. The first LAND tokens were distributed with the first auction of LAND back in 2017, which represented the first in-game land that was sold to the public. This was following a token sale in August 2017 that raised them 86,260 ETH.
It was valued at $25-million at the time. As for MANA's tokenomics, it's inflationary. This is set by a slowly declining inflation rate, which is set to 8.00% in the first year, before decreasing to 6.06% by year five, and down further to 4.65% by year ten. As of writing this Decentraland review, there are 2,194,184,827 MANA in total supply (based on the inflation rate right now), of which 1,690,689,645 MANA are in circulation. Currently, the ERC-20 MANA is worth around $0.662344.
Thus, this gives Decentraland's MANA cryptocurrencies a unicorn market cap of $1,119,818,630, making it the 65th-most valuable token on the market. Looking back historically, the price of MANA has skyrocketed significantly since everyone went mad for NFTs in late 2020. From its all-time lows of $0.007883 back in October 2017, today's prices mark a gargantuan 8,300% leap in value. But with the recent market correction in April 2021, we're still 60% down from its all-time highs of $1.63.
Future Roadmap Updates, And Conclusion
So then, do they have more things in the pipeline? Indeed, our Decentraland review has come across a detailed roadmap mapping out their future. For the most part, we can expect more content to be added into the metaverse, such as improving the graphical fidelity or allowing users to use pre-fab items in the world builder. We can expect to see more refinements to the in-world trading, the addition of better cinematics, the ability to create guilds or groups, VR support, and more.
Finishing off, we can say that we're quite impressed with the rate of progress that they've been able to accomplish as of this Decentraland review. It continues to gain in popularity, as more users are keen to see what this new NFT-everything sort of gaming feels like. Honestly, we really do feel that this is an excellent working showpiece of where games will evolve next. Imagine being able to live your dream life, and stretching beyond your heart's content and wildest imaginations.
That is what Decentraland is, opening up the closed garden and limited capabilities of many games today, and empowering the community to create the game for themselves. Decentraland then is like a blank canvas, where you can create anywhere from your dream home, to an entire online business. You can enjoy countless community-created games, roam around large open worlds, and have tonnes of fun. Decentraland truly is an awesome display of what blockchains can do.
- Ease of Use
- Project Values
- Tokenomics Model
- Long Term Sustainability
- Vibrant secondary economics, where users can buy and sell countless varieties of NFT goods or services.
- A lot of economic potential aside from in-game trading and marketplaces, such as advertising, opening up virtual businesses, and so on.
- Open-world metaverse encourages players to explore and interact without any boundaries.
- LAND is a potentially valuable item, as its economics are deflationary, with only a finite and scarce parcel of land available.
- Parcels of LAND can be developed and worked on in numerous ways, such as transforming it into fantasy land, business, public venue, etc.
- Plenty of engagement through the regular release of events such as quests and contests, as well as more content to be added in the future.
- In-game mechanics are still limited to what you can create, and can't easily let you create intricate minigames or applications.