What Is Decentraland? | A Beginner’s Guide

With Facebook’s entry into the metaverse, many of us have been wondering what the metaverse is all about. Once you look around a little more, you’ll likely come across different metaverse worlds such as Decentraland. After exploring Decentraland myself, I thought it would be a good idea to explain what exactly Decentraland is.

What Is Decentraland?

There are several metaverse worlds worth exploring, however, one of the most popular metaverses is Decentraland. 

Decentraland is a decentralized, 3-dimensional virtual reality universe built on the Ethereum blockchain. You are able to participate in various activities, play games, buy and build lots of LAND, and earn currency known as MANA, which can be exchanged for other currencies which have real-world value.

Metaverses like Decentraland are an iteration of the internet as we know it today. It’s a mix of virtual and augmented reality. You can think of it as a VR game, but it’s slowly evolving into much more with trade and various events happening inside the metaverse.

Decentraland started as just a pixelated grid that provided pixels to users who could gain access to it with the use of a proof of work algorithm. Then it slowly evolved into the 3-dimensional virtual world it is today. You may explore this virtual space like you would a real one. It is the first fully decentralized virtual world. Decentralized worlds like this aim to give control to the user and enable them to create the world they want to see. 

From policies to aesthetics, you can have a say in all of it. There aren’t any big shots pulling all the strings. That is the future of the decentralized web. 

How Do You Access Decentraland?

If you don’t visit the Metaverse often, you may be curious to know how to access a virtual world such as Decentraland. Accessing Decentraland is pretty easy, but there are a few things you should know.

To access Decentraland, you simply go to the Decentraland website and create an account, or you can roam around with your personal avatar using only a guest account. To take advantage of everything Decentraland offers, however, you’ll want to create a proper account, for that you will need a web3 wallet.

Furthermore, you will need to access Decentraland using a desktop computer since Decentraland is not yet accessible through mobile devices. It’s best to use Chrome or Firefox web browser when visiting this metaverse. 

  1. Explore with a Guest Account

Without connecting your wallet to your account, you won’t get full access and your avatar will only be available on the device you logged on with. You also won’t be able to create a name for yourself, or participate in events, or receive rewards. 

The guest account is good for those of you who aren’t that invested yet and want to simply check things out. You will get to see how things work before you decide to dive in. Decentraland is very user-friendly, so you’ll likely find that it is rather easy to catch on to things and then you can make the decision to create an account using your web3 wallet..

  1. Explore using a Digital Wallet Account

Digital wallets are integral to your account in Decentraland. They contain all your information and also your digital assets which are stored in the form of NFTs. For the best experience, you’re going to need to have a crypto-wallet such as Metamask installed on your computer. 

If you are thinking of consistently interacting with the Decentraland platform and if you want to earn an income, you should consider creating a digital wallet account. You’re also going to need some cryptocurrency to start with in order to participate in trades and different activities which are offered in Decentraland, but that’s optional.

What Can You Do In Decentraland?

Since Decentraland is a virtual universe, you can do the things that you would do in real life, plus more.

In Decentraland you can socialize with other users, explore the space, as well as play games and create your own games which can then be monetized. Additionally, you are able to participate in events, buy and sell LAND, create “a scene”, plus trade and earn in-game assets which can be traded on various marketplaces for real currency.

Decentraland aims to make everything decentralized and give power to the people. So ultimately you get to decide what you want to do. The entire space, including the scenes you create, the land you buy, and the transactions you make, all contribute to the Decentraland economy.

Decentraland even has its own DAO or Decentralized Autonomous Organization. The DAO owns most of the contracts and assets that lay the foundation of this metaverse. 

By becoming a part of this organization, you can take partial control of policies and determine how the world of Decentraland behaves. As a member of the DAO, you can vote on policy updates that will affect the entire Decentraland community.

Obviously, there’s a lot you can do in this virtual world. The more time you spend in Decentraland, the more opportunities will arise. Learning to navigate a VR world such as Decentraland is just like anything else. It takes time, consistency, and a little bit of patience.

Exploring a virtual world like Decentraland can be a daunting thought at first, however, once you experience the space, you will realize the true potential of this virtual world and what it holds for its users.

What Is LAND?

LAND in Decentraland is spaces of land stored as an ERC-721 NFT on the Ethereum blockchain, measuring 16m x 16m, or 52ft x 52ft, meaning that each lot is unique and can’t be replicated. LAND can be used to build 3D spaces and applications, which can be traded as an NFT. Its characteristics are defined by the LANDregistry contract

You can think of Decentraland as a large space made up of individual parcels of virtual LAND. You are able to buy LAND and build assets on top of them, similar to real land. Once you are the owner of LAND, you can use it to build digital environments and customize them, as well as make applications, games, and hold events, which can all be monetized.

You can even merge LANDS that are next to each other to create estates. LAND in Decentraland is the next big opportunity as some companies have already bought and created virtual offices in these spaces. Decentraland is already hosting different conferences and events on these lots of land. This means you can attend events in the metaverse no matter where you live in the world.

Along with lots of LAND in this virtual world comes currency. Decentraland uses its’ own cryptocurrency known as MANA.

What is MANA?

MANA is an ERC-20 token (fungible asset) used as the official currency in Decentraland. Since it’s an ERC-20 token, you can interchange them with other ERC-20 tokens making them identical to each other, similar to Bitcoin. You can buy LAND with your MANA. You can also buy wearables or clothes for your avatar, add accessories, customize your space, play games, and build experiences. MANA is defined by the MANAtoken contract and it behaves according to this smart contract.

Every transaction you have with your MANA is recorded on the Ethereum blockchain. So it acts as a registry for all the LAND you have acquired and for all the transactions you’ve made with MANA. Using your MANA, you can also buy the right to be in the DAO and vote for policies as well as future developments in Decentraland.

MANA’s value in the real world has spiked due to the announcement that Facebook is now called Meta, further cementing the idea and realization of the metaverse in the macro.

Final thoughts on Decentraland

It seems as though the metaverse is the future we are heading towards. Life in Decentraland and the metaverse is likely the lens our lives will be lived through soon enough. There’s already a growing community in Decentraland, and you can only expect that it will grow even greater. 

With so much opportunity to create, play, and earn an income in this virtual world, there’s no doubt in my mind that Decentraland will continue to be a leader amongst the numerous metaverse worlds.

So if you haven’t already, check out Decentraland and start getting acquainted with living in a virtual universe.

About Alex Gomez

Alex is a professional writer based in the U.S. focused on the blockchain industry. With years of experience, he contributes to some of the most recognized publications such as Yahoo, ONE37pm, and others. He previously worked for Gary Vaynerchuk as his NFT editor before going all-in on Cyber Scrilla.

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