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Decentraland – how to shop in the virtual world

Many describe Decentraland as a mixture of Second Life and Minecraft. The first virtual world based on blockchain has a lot of both – and yet is unique. Read on to find out what Decentraland offers its users and for whom it’s worth setting up shop there

On the Decentraland platform, users can buy plots of land in the form of NFT tokens, design them and make them usable for themselves and others. In return, they pay with the native cryptocurrency MANA. Possible digital land development includes everything from static 3D scenery to interactive offerings such as casinos, art galleries and events.

Democratic metaverse

Decentraland has many features that are also found in virtual worlds such as Second Life and the computer game Minecraft. One key difference: through the Decentralised Autonomous Organization (DAO), the community democratically sets its own rules via voting rights. “Basically, Decentraland is a metaverse that distributes ownership,” says U.S. computer scientist Louis Rosenberg. “The goal is a virtual world that is not owned by a central body. Its users own and shape it – including all the rules.”

“Decentraland is a virtual world that its users own and shape – including all the rules.”

US VR/AR expert and CEO of CEO of Unanimous AI

Anyone can get in for free

The Decentraland inventors developed the virtual world for users who want to realize alternative life models or do business here. Anyone who just wants to look around the metaverse can do so for free.

For access one needs:

  • a desktop PC or laptop
  • ideally Google Chrome or Mozilla Firefox as browser
  • a good internet connection
  • an avatar

Logging in via mobile devices is currently not yet possible, but is to come.

Explore the world as an avatar

Size, gender, skin color, clothing and accessories of the avatar can be selected with a few clicks. Then there’s a short tutorial and you’re already standing in the crowd of digital identities on Genesis Plaza, the entrance to Decentraland. From here, it’s off to explore. However, guests cannot access many features of the virtual world. That’s why it’s worth it for anyone who wants to visit Decentraland regularly to have an account. The account also offers an integrated wallet for MANA and the digital assets purchased with it.

How Decentraland is organized

Those who arrive at the Decentraland home page will find five main navigation points:

  1. MARKETPLACE: In the marketplace, players can buy and sell Digital Assets – LAND, clothing items and names for the avatar. Third-party NFTs are also available here for Ether.
  2. BUILDER: The Builder is the creative tool. Users can use it to create simple sceneries and mini-games on Decentraland properties.
  3. DOCS: The Decentraland documentation contains all important information – clearly summarized in FAQs.
  4. EVENTS: Here you can find a daily updated overview of the worldwide events: Art events, music festivals, all imaginable theme parties and more.
  5. DAO: In the DAO, community members vote on the rules for life in Decentraland – from dates of future LAND auctions to the introduction of new “wearables”, the design features for Decentraland avatars.
  6. BLOG: The blog features breaking news and guest posts from users about everything happening in Decentraland.
Portrait Louis Rosenberg

In principle, Decentraland is a metaverse that distributes ownership

US computer scientist Louis Rosenberg

MANA: cryptocurrency with inflation protection

MANA is an ERC20 cryptocurrency token and the money of Decentraland. Users use it to buy LAND tokens, wearables, names and services. At the same time, each MANA token gives them voting rights to influence the future development of Decentraland. Each purchase of LAND “burns” MANA. This so-called “coin burn” makes the currency tokens withdrawn from circulation inaccessible forever. Main advantage: the price of a crypto asset can be controlled and extreme inflation or deflation can be prevented.

LAND: The Decentraland Real Estate NFT

Unlike previous virtual worlds, Decentraland allows players to buy anything that is not a street or public space: in the form of LAND. LAND is an NFT token and represents land as digital property on the blockchain. Space is just as limited in the metaverse as it is in the real world: there are 90,601 LAND parcels. Each is 16 by 16 meters in size. Depending on location and use, there are upper limits on building height.

Land prices shoot through the roof

The natural scarcity makes owning LAND potentially attractive. Facebook’s announcement that it will be “meta” in the future also spurs fantasies. This is causing land prices to shoot through the roof. In addition, in the Metaverse, location also determines prices: The Canadian investment company recently paid the equivalent of 2.5 million dollars for 550 square meters of virtual building land. The LAND in the heart of Decentraland’s Fashion District is to be the site of future digital fashion shows. The purchase is the largest real estate transaction in the metaverse to date.

Real customers in the virtual world

The appeal of Decentraland as a new market is obvious. More and more companies are discovering the metaverse. They are counting on the fact that their customers do not want to do without products and services from the real world, even in the virtual world. For example, many providers in Decentraland now specialize in designing clothing for avatars according to customer wishes. Metaverse architects make sure LAND looks good. Galleries display works in their virtual spaces and offer them at an NFT art auction.

Decentraland hosts first Metaverse office

Metaverse concepts aren’t just of high interest to businesses. Government institutions are also discovering virtual worlds. Barbados recently announced it would open a digital embassy in Decentraland. This makes the Caribbean state the first nation to declare a sovereign country in the metaverse. Now they are looking for suitable plots of land for the construction project. In the future, users will be able to apply for e-visas as avatars in the digital diplomatic mission. Whether these will be valid for physical travel to the Caribbean or only allow access to Metaverse land is not yet known.

Decentralization vs. loss of control

For VR/AR expert Louis Rosenberg, the decentralized organization of the Decentraland-Metaverse is a very positive development. After all, his biggest concern is a metaverse controlled by a single entity. “Such a metaverse would allow the operator to influence all aspects of our lives: how we socialize, store, learn, practice our professions. That level of control would be dangerous.” However, the expert also sees a considerable risk that this is exactly what will happen. The hope remains that users will continue to care about their sovereignty.

Latest developments in Decentraland

FAQ – Frequently Asked Questions

What is Decentraland?

Decentraland is a decentralized 3D virtual reality platform. It consists of 90,601 LAND plots that users can buy and design with the native cryptocurrency MANA. Experts expect Decentraland to play an important role as a metaverse project in the coming years.

Who lives in Decentraland?

As a platform, Decentraland offers almost limitless opportunities to create, implement business models, entertain and be entertained. Artists and musicians offer their self-created NFTs. Other users buy LAND to stage mini-games on it. Companies and brands serve customer needs virtually.

Do I need MANA in Decentraland and where can I buy it?

You can look around even without MANA. Basically, however, Decentraland is designed for users to spend, earn and burn MANA. You can buy MANA on about 100 exchanges worldwide. Like all currency rates, the exchange rate is subject to daily fluctuations.

Sabine Melichar

Editor | MBA University of Cologne / San Diego State University.
Main focus: Tokenization | Enterprise Digitization | Vocational Education | Society

Sabine Melichar

Redakteurin | MBA Universität Köln / San Diego State University
Schwerpunkte: Tokenisierung | Digitalisierung von Unternehmen | Berufsbildung | Gesellschaft