Welcome to the Brave New World of Decentraland!
If you have been paying any attention to the cryptocraze happening at the moment, you no doubt have realized that the blockchain has moved past just being a platform for cryptocurrency transactions.
The tech community has found a myriad of possible uses for blockchain.
The founders of Decentraland have seen the future of what can be possible by using the blockchain infrastructure. They created a virtual reality platform using the Ethereum blockchain to support a metaverse of the people and by the people.
They believe that the crypto market has evolved.
To scale this economy, there needs to be a low cost, direct way to make payments between content creators and users. They created Decentraland to act as a decentralized market to facilitate a new way for ecommerce to operate.In this way, their crypto, MANA, is not just a currency to trade, but the land within the metaverse also acts as currency. Creating a system where land is scarce and MANA can be used to pay for goods and services means that they are forging a virtual economy rather than just a tradable commodity.
What is Decentraland?
While drawing inevitable comparisons to Second Life, (a sort of VR social network complete with your unique avatar) and the Sims, Decentraland aims to enable a shared virtual world based on a peer to peer network.
Within this platform a user can create many varieties of content and applications, either for fun or for profit. The entire world consists of plots of land for sale through MANA, where this content is published.
This land is permanently owned by the community and through a blockchain based ledger, the landowner can control what content is created on it. This content can be anything from a 3D virtual house to a casino, gym, store or anything within the users imagination.
Unlike Second Life and social networks like Facebook, the platform is totally decentralized. There is no single authority to decide on what kind of content is created, enact rules on the use of the software, or, how it can be monetized. Nor does any exchange of currency have to go through this authority for a fee.
In other words, a Libertarian paradise!
The people behind Decentraland come from various backgrounds but have the same vision about where blockchain can potentially go.
The major players in the organization are Technical Lead Esteban Ordano, co founder of Zeppelin Solutions. That group created Streamium, the first app that implemented payment channels.The project lead and face of the company is J. Phoenix, the founder of Understanding Data, a big-data company whose product helps power data engineering services for tech companies. He is basically the data man, as he has had a lot of success in analyzing data for lots of tech companies.
How Does Decentraland Work?
As previously mentioned, the Decentraland platform runs on the Ethereum blockchain.
But, what exactly does that mean?
Well, for one, unlike the Bitcoin blockchain which only handles transactions, Ethereum’s blockchain can handle transactions and store programming logic.
In addition, you can execute smart contracts with Ethereum’s blockchain.
A smart contract is created on the blockchain in which a ledger of ownership of a land parcel is maintained.
Within that ledger are the coordinates (x,y) of the parcel, as well as a reference to the contract description file. In other words, something like a deed with reference to what you are doing with the parcel.
Any application or content that a user builds upon that parcel will connect to the Ethereum network for updates to the land and the contract.
Since the platform works with a peer to peer connection, there is no need for a big, expensive central server. For now a Bittorrent network stores the link for each parcel, eventually to be replaced with the Inter-Planetary File System.This puts the world within the users’ hands and enables a censorship resistant environment free from a central authority to regulate what happens within it.
What Can You Do In Decentraland?
This is where things get interesting and is why users are calling Decentraland the fun crypto.
Once you have your land, paid for with MANA, you are free to build whatever you like on it. What you do with it depends on what your intention is.
If you are looking for a social network to interact with others in a virtual world, then you may just want to build a gameroom, as an example, where friends can come and hang out with you. With the peer to peer connection, you can voice chat with whoever shows up on your land.
For those with a more entrepreneurial spirit, you may want to build a business on your land. What kind of business? Well, anything that you may find in the real world would be a good business idea. A casino, a store, a bar with live music. There is no limit to what you can do.
You can offer your services for a fee. If you are a 3D artist, you could make a studio where others come for you to build them bespoke items that they want to use within Decentraland.
If you are just looking for a passive way to make money from cryptocurrency, you could even just buy up a parcel to sit on while you wait for the neighborhood to develop and then sell it at a tidy profit. If you can imagine a virtual Las Vegas building up around your plot, you can see the possibilities for investment without needing to actually interact within the virtual world. Scarcity of land supply makes this a possibility.
The land is also adjacent, so plots are all sold contiguously. This helps neighborhoods to form which, when the plots are developed, will make it easy for people to find interesting content and also, potentially, sell their goods and services.
Who is Decentraland For?
In the words of the creators, it is for gamers, artists, students and online communities.
But, it shouldn’t be seen through such a limited prism.
Sure, gamers will love Decentraland. They can have a Minecraft like experience by building within the metaverse. Or, they can find places within that world where they can enter and have just about any kind of gaming experience they are looking for.
Same goes for artists that want to set up a virtual gallery in an up and coming neighborhood where they can sell their artwork, whether virtual or actual.
Students can find libraries within this world or attend lectures.
Beyond all that, entrepreneurs can find a very business friendly environment to make money. Either by investing in land or MANA, or by setting up a business.
The barrier to entry for many businesses within Decentraland is very low. For the meantime, at least. Anybody with a business idea that seems out of reach in the real world may want to consider buying a plot of land to develop.
Content marketers could also have a field day in Decentraland. Within this virtual world they may find the perfect avenue to build a brand.
And of course, investors that are looking for a different kind of cryptocurrency to get behind. Forward thinkers will see the possibilities here that may go over many crypto traders’ head.
What Is the Future of Decentraland?
The future of VR in general is very bright. Currently there are roughly 60 million people worldwide who play virtual reality games. And among those people, there are many who are already making money in some of those games, through mining, ecommerce and more.
As VR technology gets better, and by using the blockchain, the team behind Decentraland believe that more and more people will be making virtual reality an indispensable part of their daily lives.
By being among the first to create a virtual reality metaverse completely owned by its users, they are strategically positioned to leverage their position to being the principle platform for people to engage. They envision limitless possibilities in community building, commerce, and content creation.Virtual reality technology still needs to catch up with this vision. Within the next few years, however, Decentraland could be a dominant player in not only the virtual reality sphere, but in social media. Possibly even pushing aside a giant like Facebook.
Decentraland is very intriguing, both from an investing standpoint and as a possible next generation of social network.
As an investor, getting in on the ground floor of something so different compared to other cryptocurrencies, makes for a very interesting opportunity.
As an entrepreneur, the ability to scale a business from the ground up is very tempting.
And as somebody who uses social media for a good portion of the day, the possibility to use virtual technology to connect with others just seems like a lot of fun.
This is unlike any currency out there as its value is really in what the users perceive it to be. In other words, it may take a while for this thing to really come into its own and an economy to really develop.
What’s most exciting about Decentraland is it could herald what the future of the internet looks like.
And that might be worth quite a bit more than just a dollar figure.