> Blog > Understanding the Decentraland Metaverse

Published October 27, 2022

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With so much hype recently around the evolving landscape of digital environments, there’s no better way to understand what a metaverse is than by exploring one of the earliest pioneers in the metaverse space: Decentraland.

In general, the metaverse is the next generation of the internet: Web 3.0. Think of it as a shared space enclosed in a single immersive virtual world where users can interact with each other using avatars.

This virtual world is supported by user generated content, such as the development of applications and the creation of digital collectibles in the form of non-fungible tokens (NFTs). Thanks to the power of blockchain technology, the metaverse is also decentralized.

Enter the Decentraland metaverse: one of the first metaverse platforms to hit mainstream popularity back in 2017. Decentraland began as a virtual world developed by an Argentinian development team. In 2021 the platform broke into mainstream society as major brands purchased land on Decentraland.

What is Decentraland?

Decentraland is a platform for content creators looking for a new artistic medium, businesses searching for new income streams and individuals on the hunt for new sources of entertainment. Is Decentraland a metaverse? Yes, Decentraland fits all the characteristics of a metaverse! The Ethereum-based Decentraland platform can be visited without having to create an account.

Because of this, it’s easy to buy Decentraland digital real estate in the form of land parcels on either an NFT trading platform like OpenSea or directly through the Decentraland Marketplace.

What Can You Create With Decentraland?

Once users have a plot of land, there are a wide variety of ways to use it. Software developers can create applications for use on Decentraland and use its scripting language to build applications, games, gambling, and dynamic 3D environments.  Users will be attracted to high-traffic locations, where they can congregate in “neighborhoods” with similar interests.
Parcels of land in these high traffic areas can display advertisements on digital billboards.

Another unique aspect of branding in the metaverse is that companies and individuals can utilize their parcels to create shared experiences, further engaging customers and friends through an entirely new medium.

Decentraland users are able to create, share, and collect their own unique digital assets on the blockchain. Decentraland wearables are a great example of these collectibles. Wearables are items like clothes and accessories that can be obtained to customize their avatars. By minting wearables and then selling them as NFTs, Decentraland provides content producers a new creative outlet to make money.

The rise of Decentraland could give traditional social media platforms cause for concern, as communities from online forums and chat rooms migrate to this digital metaverse. The Covid-19 pandemic has expedited this process, as people look for more immersive ways to connect with others online.

How Does Decentraland Work?

plugging MANA tokens into a blockchain protocol

The Decentraland metaverse was the first to provide a working proof of concept for a metaverse and made it accessible to the public.

Decentraland uses an ERC-20 token called MANA to let users pay for virtual goods and services, as well as generate non-fungible ERC-721 LAND tokens.

Decentraland allows users to purchase land from the MANA marketplace, which is only accessible once the user connects their ERC-20-compatible wallet. Its number of virtual land parcels available is capped, which could create virtual scarcity as more plots are purchased.

The Sandbox vs. Decentraland

There are several notable distinctions between Decentraland and its closest competitor, The Sandbox. The Sandbox requires an account to use, whereas Decentraland can be accessed online with just a digital wallet.

The founders of Decentraland stepped away from the project, choosing to serve as consultants. In contrast, developers of The Sandbox have been active participants in the process for almost a decade.

The Decentraland metaverse has 90,601 parcels of land. In addition to individual parcels, land is grouped into estates, districts and plazas. Estates are groupings of multiple parcels, while districts contain parcels with similar themes. Plazas are community owned parcels that are untradable. Over 20 major entities have already invested in Decentraland, including Samsung, Polygon and the government of South Korea. Grayscale also established a 20 million MANA token trust.

By contrast, The Sandbox has over 160,000 virtual plots of land. The Sandbox has attracted collaboration on various projects with Snoop Dogg, Skybound Entertainment, Big Fan and Ubisoft. The Sandbox has also backed its ecosystem with a $93 million dollar investment.

Metaverse Roadmaps

Person walking down a blockchain pathway

Another distinguishing aspect between The Sandbox and Decentraland lies in their respective roadmaps. Decentraland doesn’t have a specific roadmap in place. Instead, the development team makes decisions when they think there is value in doing so.

Decentraland hopes to attract creators, brands and celebrities to their metaverse and allow them to host NFT drops and place advertisements before the end of 2022. There is also a proposal to make Decentraland interoperable with at least four other metaverse worlds.

The Sandbox’s roadmap is a bit more defined. The platform is aiming to allow anyone to build 3D games for free, enabling seamless contribution from creators to the metaverse. Additionally, The Sandbox wants to disrupt how players play, earn, govern, and create in the virtual world.

Exploring Decentraland with FTT DAO

With a better understanding of Decentraland, feel free to hop into its metaverse and explore all that virtual reality has to offer! While it’s still in its infancy, there are plenty of opportunities within Decentraland to experience what Web 3.0 might bring to the future.

Check out the FTT DAO blog for more crypto educational resources, and be sure to follow FTT DAO on Twitter and subscribe to the FTT DAO YouTube channel to keep up with the latest developments in the blockchain space.

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