What is Decentraland?
Decentraland is a virtual reality platform that uses the Ethereum blockchain to store information about virtual land ownership and content. Its platform-native token, MANA, can be used to buy empty land parcels on which users can build content vertically, including the addition of DApps and other services for which they can be paid. As a project meant for students, artists and gamers, the eventual goal of Decentraland is to create a fully-interactive 3D world, complete with VR support and customization of the world’s laws of physics, with verification of all content kept live and on the blockchain.
History of Decentraland
Decentraland was founded by Ari Meilich and Estaban Ordano, who had previous experience developing the Streamium and Bitcore projects. The project first got started as early as 2015 when a bitcoin-like Proof of Work algorithm was used to allocate “land” based on a pixel-formed grid to participating miners. In August 2017, the platform-native MANA token was distributed to purchasers during a contribution period, which allows users to claim parcels of digital land and communicate with one another. By the end of the year, claims to land within the Decentraland VR environment began, with plans to begin implementing a multi-user environment and advanced features in 2018. MANA has been traded on cryptocurrency exchanges ever since the finale of Decentraland’s contribution period, and the token has already enjoyed an immense amount of success during the short time it has been in existence.
How Decentraland Works
Users buy “land” on the virtual reality platform using MANA, with each empty, purchasable land tile representing a space of 10m x 10m. Users can build upwards without limit on their purchased space. Transactions for land purchases are validated using Ethereum smart contracts, as well as data hashes representing content within the virtual world. Decentraland simply provides the platform for a VR space which participants can build upon and add value to, all of which cannot be regulated by a centralized authority and is overseen by the community.
Decentraland and MANA represent a departure from most cryptocurrency platforms in that it is built for gaming and its token is the currency for purchases within the game. It offers the following benefits as a platform:
Public virtual world. In contrast from most similar VR-type environments that are controlled by a particular vendor or publisher, rules are created by the users and can be changed based on consensus.
User owned and controlled content. In Decentraland, each participating user has full control over the land they own and can keep all proceeds generated from services they offer to other users.
Unforgeable ownership record. Because the Ethereum blockchain is immutable, all records of ownership cannot be altered or tampered with by outside forces.
Ethereum-based token. As an ERC20-compliant token, MANA enjoys all the benefits of using the Ethereum network to process its transactions, including fast transaction speeds and robust security.
DApp-friendly environment. Some of the potential uses of DApps within Decentraland include casinos, live music performances, workshops, shopping, and anything which can be imagined for integration into a VR setting.