Decentraland: The Virtual World Where Users are in Control

Decentraland is a virtual social world built on the Ethereum blockchain that is owned and governed by its users.

Wed Mar 09 2022

3 Minutes

intro-decentraland

At a glance

Feature Detail
Network Ethereum
Opened February 2020
Access Web browser, desktop client (beta)
Hardware Compatibility Oculus, Snap (coming soon)
Currency $MANA
Land 90,601 parcels

Introduction

Decentraland is a virtual social world built on the Ethereum blockchain that is owned and governed by its users. Established in 2017 with an ICO and followed by land sales, Decentraland is considered one of the ‘old guard’ of the metaverse virtual worlds.

Holders of Decentraland’s native token, $MANA, as well as owners of its land are granted the ability to submit and vote on proposals that determine the virtual world’s development. Decentraland is known primarily for events, art, and music. It hosted the first Metaverse Festival of music in October of 2021 and held Metaverse Fashion Week in March 2022.

Land

There are approximately 90,000 parcels of land in Decentraland and, unless the community votes otherwise, no more will be made available. In auctions held in 2017 and 2018, land parcels sold for as little as $20. In 2021 prices skyrocketed, helped in part by record purchases by investors. Land owners use their property to build structures, games, storefronts, NFT art galleries and more. They can also host events like concerts, meet-ups, and conferences.

Currency

$MANA is the native currency of Decentraland used to purchase land, wearables, names and art in its ecosystem. Land NFTs exist solely on the Ethereum network, while wearables are supported on both Ethereum and Polygon. $MANA can also be used during live events to purchase goods and merchandise.

Geography

At the center of Decentraland is Genesis Plaza. When entering Decentraland, users spawn in a staging area, amongst each other, surrounded by boards of live events where they can jump in. Alternatively, new users can enter Decentraland by jumping off a diving board into a whirlpool which teleports them to the Genesis Plaza headquarters. From there they are free to roam wherever they please.

Decentraland is divided into 39 districts and features a number of plazas, each with their own unique themes, such as Soho Plaza (street art), Vegas (gambling), Fashion Street (shopping), and more.

Recent highlights

Sotheby's, the world’s oldest auction house, built a replica of their London Galleries in Decentraland’s Voltaire Arts District. Noteworthy lots auctioned in the space include Cryptopunk #7523, artworks from Derrick Adams, celebrating the 25th anniversary of Jay-Z’s ‘Reasonable Doubt’ and Robert Alice's intelligent NFT (iNFT), Alethea.

Metaverse Festival, October 2021

Metaverse Festival took place in the Festival Land District in October 2021, hosting globally-recognized acts such as Deadmau5, Paris Hilton, and Nina Nesbitt. Coca-Cola made its foray into the metaverse with an event held in Decentraland in August 2021. The brand auctioned an NFT, which raised over half a million dollars for Special Olympics International. A giant Coke can was constructed inside Decentraland to celebrate, with a DJ and revelers in attendance.

Behind the scenes

Decentraland is supported by the Decentraland Foundation, a non-profit organization that holds intellectual property and reports on third party activities. The world itself is owned and governed by the community through a decentralized autonomous organization, or DAO. Users who own land or hold $MANA token can submit and vote on proposals to make changes or additions to the world.

Further reading

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