Decentraland: Embracing the Metaverse – A Complete Exploration

If Mark Zuckerburg had his way, the world would be convinced that his upcoming Metaverse is the be-all and end-all when it comes to a digital playground for consumers to experience. This, though, is far from true. We already have multiple meta universes out there to choose from and it’s unlikely that Mark’s Metaverse will bring them all together under one umbrella. Those with an interest in the Metaverse should check out what has come before. The Mac Daddy of all metaverses is Decentraland. The longest-running and most popular digital playground built on the back of cryptocurrency has a lot to offer. Let’s go on a journey and see how this two-year-old online community has grown and developed over the years. Let’s get into it!

Decentraland – What Is It and How Does It Work?

Launched officially to the public in 2020, this online playground has its own currency and a finite space which makes it very exciting indeed. NFT has become a negative buzzword in popular culture, but projects like Decentraland may help change people’s minds about what’s possible.

Everything is built off Ethereum and the in-world currency in use is known as Mana. Property blocks, land plots, digital assets, wearables, and games all have value within Decentraland and real-world money can be used to purchase Mana and in turn, purchase items within the digital world. All users are encouraged to link their crypto wallet to their free account although it is optional. You can explore this playground for free if desired and any PC with either a Chrome or Firefox browser can jump into Decentraland within minutes.

The first noticeable thing you’ll see after creating your Avatar is the sheer size of the world. A massive community has helped to shape a huge and creative digital space with plenty for newcomers to see and do. You’re free to explore at your leisure and see how this large community has built a virtual world to escape into.

decentraland create avatar

Screenshot from Decentraland site

VR Immersion – The Best Way To Explore Decentraland

Being accessible through a web browser makes it also very easy to pop on your headset of choice for a more immersive experience. Originally designed for flatscreens, developers have made great efforts and quality of life improvements to take full advantage of VR potential and although still a little rough around the edges, exploring Decentraland inside of your Quest 2 or your PCVR is truly an amazing experience. Seeing art, museums, shopfronts, and live events while wearing a headset is the best way to play. It’s still a VR camera view experience rather than a fully interactive one but still very fun to block out the outside world and experience Decentraland with no distractions.

Mana – How Does Money Work In Decentraland?

decentraland mana

Screenshot from Decentraland site

As mentioned, the virtual world is built on cryptocurrency, specifically Ethereum. Linking your crypto wallet allows you to explore everything on offer with ease. Mana is the currency of choice and it holds value just as any normal currency or cryptocurrency would. There are shop fronts, games, treasure hunts, events, museums, casinos, art galleries, and much much more that may or may not convince you to part with your mana. NFTS in the shape of assets, 3D models, and wearables are all items people buy and can be traded, swapped, or sold from one player to another.

It very much works like the real world except for the fact that all goods on sale are digital. You can earn Mana or wearables by taking part in games and events and once owned, you can choose to sell them on if you wish to. Everything has value if someone wishes to buy it so earning money inside Decentraland is a viable pursuit you might consider.

Digital Land – How Property Investment Exists Online

The beauty of Decentraland is that it is currently a finite plot of digital space. There are small squares or tokens of land and there is a limit. If you buy a plot in Decentraland then that is yours. It’s an NFT that nobody can steal or reproduce and thus holds value. If a shopfront wants to expand and you happen to own a plot next to them, then you may be approached to sell at a higher price than you paid. Location is key too and different plots have more or less value based on where they are. The XX plaza is the busiest space in Decentraland so any plots near there are worth a lot more than others.

Just like the property market in the real world, Decentraland property is susceptible to inflation and market growth. The more popular Decentraland becomes, the higher the prices of properties gets. People buy plots or tokens in Decentraland as mere investments with the hope to sell on after a few years and bank a large slice of profit. It’s truly remarkable how the crypto economy within this digital playground has all the nuance and fluctuations in value that are present in the real world too. For those savvy enough, Decentraland is a great investment and a clever way to pull in some extra income. Let’s find out some great ways to make some extra money…..

Mo Mana! – How to Make Money in Decentraland

There are plenty of ways to earn some Mana AKA cold hard cash within Decentraland. We’ve already hinted at a few above but let us get a little more in-depth and share with you the very best ways to pick up some extra income without leaving your chair!

Property Trading

Already mentioned, but buying up space within Decentraland and selling it for profit is a no-brainer. Plot prices have consistently risen in value since 2020. One small plot of land can go for as much as 6,900 Mana which in today’s market is worth around $5,900 in real money. That is about triple the price it cost at launch which is rather impressive when you consider the recent plummet in cryptocurrency value this year. Buying land in Decentraland is not just for building on or creating, it can be an incredible long-term investment with no signs of decline in value. If you’ve got the money to spare, jumping in at any point should see you getting a return on your investment. Mana and Ethereum are strong and even the recent blip will prove to be temporary so there’s never been a better time to jump on the crypto bandwagon.

3D Modelling

If you have the skills then making creations or assets is a very viable little earner for creative souls. Designing 3d models that others might purchase comes down to talent and a little advertising but can net people a tidy little income if done right. Everything has value and as long as you market yourself well, you should find interested buyers for your creations. There is a low-level cost for creating a 3D model which is actually a positive. This means a lot less spamming of junk and creations in general only coming from talented people willing to make an effort. If successful, you may be approached by retailers to make some professional designs and from there, the possibilities are endless.

Trading Wearables

Clothing is what makes your Avatar stand out from everyone else. Having unique accessories or one-of-a-kind threads may make you the envy of those you meet within the digital space. This adds value to everything you do as you can trade or sell your wearables to other users. Whether you’ve bought, earned, or designed your own, there is a market there to be exploited.

The easiest way to make money is to put in the work. There are plenty of events, treasure hunts, and competitions within the world for you to earn wearables. Some of these, especially those given at live events are highly sought after by those with deep pockets. Add to that official retailer like Adidas and GAP getting into the digital market and you could be buying and selling digital trainers rather than real ones!

two avatars dancing in Decentraland Genesis Plaza

Photo from Wikimedia Commons

Selling Art

If you have some property and can create a shopfront, you can sell your own digital work. Art galleries are incredibly popular in Decentraland and lots of talented artists are sharing their works online for the community to see. Whether it’s a charge per visit set up or if you sell the NFTs attached to your work, you can make a tidy profit from having a digital shopfront. So let your artist out and share your works with the world. It just might make you rich!

Work A Job Online

Decentraland is such a massive playground with so many events and storefronts that it needs real people to help out. Entry-level jobs include hosting events, working in casinos, and offering basic customer support for other users. Just like in the real world, salaries vary but the more skilled mid-entry jobs like advanced customer support offer higher pay for more hours of work. It’s very possible to earn a liveable wage just from sitting at your computer. If you love the metaverse and could see yourself spending hours each day online then why not get paid for it.

Decentraland Frequently Asked Questions

What is the purpose of Decentraland?

Decentraland is a social space or playground for users to create, play, and share content with each other. It has an economy built off the Bitcoin blockchain and people are free to explore, buy, sell, chat, play games and do so much more within Decentraland

How does Decentraland make money?

There are many ways that Decentraland and its users can make money. Firstly, there is a finite amount of land within the game so users can buy and sell their plots. Gambling/casino games are another source of income. Jobs within the virtual space like hosting and IT are also good sources of income. Creating digital assets or art is yet another way to earn some money all within the confines of Decentraland.

How to buy land in Decentraland?

Land is divided into lots or parcels. Parcels can be different sizes and the value of each lot is also based on its location. Just like in the real world, real estate is all about location location location! The average price of a parcel as of March 2022 was 6,900 Mana which at the time, worked out to be just under $6,000 in real money. The value of Mana just like all Bitcoin-based products can fluctuate wildly.

Who is behind Decentraland?

Decentraland was co-founded and developed back in 2015 by a pair of Argentinian entrepreneurs. Esteban Ordano and Ari Meilich launched Decentraland in 2017 and finally opened it to the public in 2020. The Mana currency is based on Ethereum and since going public, the management of the blockchain is handled by the non-profit Decentraland foundation

Is Mana worth investing in?

When it launched in 2017, a parcel of land was worth around $20 and Mana on its own was worth around $0.02. By April of 2021, with the popularity of NFTs soaring and huge interest from large global brands, the price of a parcel shot to anywhere between $6,000 to $100,000 and MANA as a currency was worth around $5.79. Cryptocurrencies in general can be quite volatile but investing early has made many MANA or property owners in Decentraland Millionaires. Something worth giving a second look if the buy-in price is affordable to you.

Does Mana have a future?

Yes. Ethereum is one of the more stable cryptocurrencies on the market to date and even after the crash in mid-year 2022, Etherium is coming back strong. Not advising anyone to gamble with money outside of what they can reasonably afford to potentially lose.

How much does land cost in Decentraland?

Again prices vary based on the size of parcels and location within the virtual landscape. Some companies want to buy up large blocks of land and might offer above the odds to buy you out of your parcel. Currently, a parcel close to Genesis Plaza (The center of the map) is being offered for sale at 498,000 Mana. To put into real-world figures, that’s around 8.5 Million dollars. Now whether they manage to sell at that price remains to be seen but it shows how big the range in property prices can be.

Is Decentraland free to play?

Yes, you can sign up for free and it’s open to the public. All you need is a working browser. You can link your crypto wallet to your account if you wish to make purchases. However, this is still optional.

What is the Decentraland marketplace?

The Genesis plaza is at the center of the map and contains most of the more lively commercial spaces to interact with. As money is based on the Ethereum blockchain, you can buy, sell or trade digital goods within Decentraland and the marketplace.

What is virtual real estate?

It’s exactly as it sounds. The parcels of land take up real space within Decentraland and there is a finite amount of space. This means there is a real competitive market for buying and selling plots of land within Decentraland. Working similarly to the real world, plots closest to the center generally sell for higher prices.

Overall – Thought On The Future of The MetaVerse

Decentraland is here to stay. It’s built on a stable cryptocurrency and has already proven its staying power over the last couple of years. The massive community and decentralized economy has led to it becoming a large creative space for like-minded people to explore, create and share together. The range of visuals on offer just from a simple playthrough is breathtaking and even if you’re not looking to invest or spend any money, it’s a fun place just to hang out!

The social aspect is strong and in all my hours of play, I never had any negative altercations with anyone online. There is a real sense of community when you speak with others and a lot to see and be proud of. Just taking part in this world gives the user a small sense of belonging and it’s clear that this may scratch an itch for those who don’t enjoy meeting or communicating in the real world.

Mark Zuckerburg who have us all believing that the Metaverse has yet to come but he’s wrong. Even with all his billions, I don’t believe he’ll be able to create are more well-liked, creative digital space for people to enjoy. I’ve already said it but Decentraland is the mac daddy of digital playgrounds and it will be hard to beat. In fact, Mark’s Metaverse may be way down the pecking order. We already have other digital universes to explore other than Decentraland. These include:

All of these digital playgrounds are well established although possibly not as large or successful as Decentraland but still very successful. If you’re looking to get in at a lower price where the property is concerned, then you should take a look at each of these alternatives. Their value hasn’t skyrocketed like Decentraland’s but only time will tell. Getting in early before prices shoot up is key for long-term investments and perhaps there’s a goldmine waiting to be collected. Fortune favors the bold as one Matt Damon might say!

So whether you’re a flatscreener or a headset wearer, it’s clear that the future holds bright for VR, NFTs, and cryptocurrencies. Take some time to check Decentraland out with your VR headset if possible and see if you like it. What’s the worst that could happen?

If you think other social VR platforms might tickle your fancy, then check our guide for VrChat here.

paul farrelly
Paul Farrelly

Paul Farrelly is a renowned content creator who has made a name for himself in the realm of Virtual Reality and video games. With a deep-rooted passion for gaming since his early days of sitting crossed-legged, engrossed in Super Mario on the NES, Paul’s love for the medium has remained unwavering throughout the years.

Combining his passion for gaming with his dream job of writing, Paul has honed his skills as a prolific reviewer, content creator, and copy writer, contributing to numerous publications. From the nostalgic era of the N64 to the cutting-edge advancements of VR technology, Paul possesses extensive firsthand experience and eagerly shares his thoughts and insights.

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