Decentraland followed up its initial coin offering (ICO) of MANA tokens in August 2017 with a virtual land auction on December 15, 2017. Decentraland is a virtual reality (VR) universe based on the Ethereum blockchain that allows users to buy land and create a unique VR experience for themselves, their friends and possibly their customers or clients as well.
Individuals purchased almost 155 million MANA, which can now be spent in the auction for 90,000 parcels of land within “Genesis City.” On January 3, 2018, 34,358 parcels of land had been auctioned for approximately 125.4 million MANA, with an average price of 3,649 MANA per parcel. One MANA is worth about $0.1576 at this time, putting the average parcel price at about $575. The parcels are limited in number so may increase in value over time.
What Decentraland Offers Virtual Landowners
Decentraland guarantees users control of their 360-degree worlds and mentions the creation of virtual neighborhoods, objects, resorts, concerts and gatherings such as parties, classes, and meetings as possible uses of the platform. Voice and text chat are offered, and Project Lead Ariel Meilich says, “Over time we will implement scripting to allow for games and more dynamic applications.”
At this time, Decentraland’s online land editor lets users make content for their space and soon the web client will allow them to publish their content and make it available to visitors. Eventually, virtual landowners will be able to allow advertisers to purchase ads in their space or rent the plot to others for cryptocurrency if they choose.
The company does not plan to restrict how users interact or create, but it will allow people to use content filters and decide whether they want to see material that Decentraland’s curators label as violent, pornographic or otherwise potentially offensive.
In this new VR universe, “The ownership of items is cryptographically established on a smart contract, which prevents anyone from stealing or altering users’ property,” Meilich says. She points out that this setup has some advantages over the centralized VR worlds offered by big, mainstream industry players like Facebook and Microsoft; “a centralized platform can very easily print more in-game currency, revoke item ownership or even delete users,” she explains.
Other Players in Blockchain VR
Decentraland is not the only company exploring how the blockchain can bring VR to the public in innovative ways. Ceek VR empowers artists to issue and sell tokens that their fans can buy in order to attend VR concerts or other events. It’s been used by Katie Perry, U2, and Lady Gaga.
Vibehub lets users buy and sell VR experiences and content with VIBE tokens. The Cappasity platform leverages blockchain technology to allow people to create, rent and sell VR, Augmented Reality (AR) and 3D content with ARTokens.