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Decentraland: NFTs and MANA to build the Metaverse

November 10, 2021

6 min

Decentraland: NFTs and MANA to build the Metaverse

Decentraland is a metaverse based on the Ethereum and Polygon blockchain and its cryptocurrency is MANA, an ERC20 token.

Decentraland: a Metaverse built with NFT and MANA

How Decentraland was created

Decentraland is one of the first metaverses on blockchain, born in 2017 out of Esteban Ordano and Ari Meilich’s minds.

Even before populating the metaverse, the team distributed the MANA token on some centralised exchanges and completed a sale of LAND. This move was very bold, as it would have been an empty investment in case of failure. Fortunately, it turned out to be a great advantage in terms of accelerating the growth of the project once it was public.

The dimension of metaverses and NFTs then gained more popularity with the social distancing imposed during the 2020s.

In addition, just after the start of this historical phase, Decentraland hosted the Coinfest Conference, an annual event that normally takes place in various parts of the world. In March 2020, unfortunately, the creators of the conference had to cancel the events in Europe and North America, and later those in Africa.

So Decentraland stepped in, with an innovative solution: hosting the series in its Covid-free world, thus increasing its popularity.

Decentraland was born on Ethereum, but in October 2021 a “bridge” was created linking Decentraland to Polygon, allowing any type of transaction to be performed on this Layer 2 of Ethereum.

The link was made because of the high cost of transactions on Ethereum, which in a Metaverse based on smart contracts and NFTs reach very high volumes, thus discouraging content creation.

Decentraland’s Map

The world of Decentraland is made up of countless pixels of land, forming a vast and colourful map.

The heart of the map is Genesis Plaza, the square you land on when you first enter Decentraland. From this plaza, 8 roads lead to 8 squares, forming the distinctive skeleton of the Decentraland world.

You can view the most up-to-date version of the Map at this link, and you will immediately realise its enormity.

mappa di decentraland

Each tiny land unit is an NFT called a LAND, so it is a unique, non-fungible token that corresponds to a unique piece of the map.

The union of several LANDs forms an ESTATE, which is always an NFT.

DISTRICTs, on the other hand, are the union of LANDs and ESTATES of a single community with a common purpose. There are “districts” dedicated to gaming, education, or specific cultures and subcultures, such as Dragon City, a beautiful virtual China Town.

On the Decentraland Marketplace, you can buy LANDs marked in blue, which you can customise and possibly resell for a potential profit.

How do I enter Decentraland?

It’s very easy, all you need is a desktop browser and an internet connection.

From this website, you can choose to log in as a guest or connect your cryptocurrency wallet, and then create an avatar.

In two steps, you’re already in Genesis Plaza, where a tutorial guided by a flying robot will start.

Unfortunately, there is currently no mobile version or desktop application, and this is the main flaw. This limits the performance of the platform and does not make it compatible with existing virtual reality technologies, so the experience cannot be immersive.

However, the team promises news on this, and the Marketplace is available on mobile.


What can I do on Decentraland?

Decentraland is the perfect environment especially for NFT and video game creators, but any kind of artist or expert can appear at an event on Decentraland and stage their show.

As a player, you can use the experiences created by others, visit locations, galleries, and participate in events. In the Marketplace, you can buy not only LAND, but also items to customise your avatar.

In the Galleries you can even talk to the artist via voice chat; events on the other hand can be live streaming conventions, NFT or development competitions, concerts or DJ sets, or even parties.

Decentraland even hosts installations by Atari, a company that has also arrived on The Sandbox and is active in the NFT world.

Thanks to another partnership, the one with Samsung, you can store your NFTs from Decentraland and MANA in Samsung’s blockchain wallet.

Content generation on Decentraland is intended more for businesses, as LANDs are very expensive.

The cost of LAND is decided by the market, and being a very scarce commodity they tend to cost a lot. The issuing of new LAND to decrease its scarcity is a decision for the governance of the project.

MANA: the governance token

MANA is the currency that drives Decentraland’s internal economy and allows you to participate in the governance of the project. So if you have MANAs you can propose initiatives and changes to the protocol, or vote for other people’s proposals.

Governance is handled by a DAO, which is a decentralised autonomous organisation built with Aragon technology. This means that there are smart contracts programmed to regulate and process proposals and votes.

Participants have to block their MANA tokens, which become wMANA, i.e. Wrapped Mana no longer expendable. Or they can register their LAND and SUMMER. The use of these ‘assets’ takes place via the Dapp Agora and serves to obtain voting rights.

Decentraland also has a Security Advisory Board (SAB) that oversees the security of the DAO’s smart contracts, reviews governance proposals and responds to bug reports.

The SAB consists of five members who are voted on by the community and has the ability to delay or reject governance proposals that could harm the project.

Due to its strong decentralisation, and being an NFT-based Metaverse, Decentraland is one step into the future.