Cryptocurrencies have long been compared to tokens the imaginary money used in many video games. Decentraland (MANA) is an altcoin that takes gamification to the next level by backing a cryptocurrency with an interactive 3D world.
Decentraland is described is as a “public virtual world should be ruled by open standards, shielded from the agenda of any central organization.” That sounds like the virtual reality worlds that have long been a stock plot device in science fiction stories, comic books, TV shows, and movies.
Classic examples of such worlds were seen in The Matrix, Total Recall, The Prisoner, Archer, and the novels of William Gibson. Decentraland is apparently an attempt to make Gibson’s concept of cyberspace a reality.
Ethereum meets Virtual Reality
Decentraland appears to be a multiplayer game similar to Sim City that is accessible by the blockchain. The difference is that the game can be seen through 360-degree 3D virtual reality.
Mana is an ERC20 or Ethereum-based to buy “land” in Decentraland. Users will apparently get the chance to sell products or service to other Decentraland participants. What the services or goods is not revealed at Decentraland’s website.
A major hope at Decentraland is to create permanent blockchain-based records of ownership. That would presumably create market for products or land in Decentraland.
Digital Real Estate at Decentraland
“Decentraland began as a proof of concept for allocating ownership of digital real estate to users on a blockchain,” the Decentraland white paper boasts.
Long-term results of this might be speculation in virtual land, speculation in virtual futures, and markets for characters or weapons. Obviously, the value of real estate in Decentraland is impossible to determine.
One has to wonder when the first bubble in virtual real estate will occur. Given human nature it is only a matter of time before a Decentraland real estate bubble develops.
Property in Decentraland will apparently be sold in the form of tiles. The titles are apparently a unit of measure for digital real estate.
A Functioning Virtual Economy
A long term goal is to create a functioning virtual economy at Decentraland. The hope is that real people will exchange real money for Mana in order to participate in the virtual economy.
The virtual economy will generate revenue by creating markets for apps, content, content curation, advertising, digital collectibles, social media, and other products. It might sound incredible now but people are paying big money on such things already.
An anonymous person told The Sun he spent £15,000 ($19,845) on Game of Thrones Conquest. The money reportedly came from his wedding fund, the game addiction, not surprisingly ruined the man’s wedding plans.
The potential market for games is huge, Fortnite was grossing $1.92 million a day on iPhone apps in the United States in April 2018, Statista calculated. That was one game on one phone operating system in one country.
The Next Step in Virtual Reality
If Decentraland can rake in just a 10th of that it would be a huge money maker. Such success is why there is so much interest in Decentraland, just one popular game like Fortnite can turn into a cash cow.
An obvious hope is that all the people who grew up playing massive multiplayer online games (MMOGs) will graduate to Decentraland. The idea is that virtual worlds are the next logical step in digital entertainment.
People hope to get in on the ground floor of the next step in digital entertainment. An obvious hope is to attract legions of artists, gamers, designers, and others who will sell products through Decentraland’s app store.
Is MANA Worth anything in the real World?
Despite its virtual roots, the MANA cryptocurrency has a little value here in the real world.
MANA achieved a Coin Price of 11.9¢ on July 18, 2018. That led to a Market Capitalization of $124.967 million and a 24-Hour Market Volume of $15.549 million on the same day.
A lot of people are interested in MANA and Decentraland. There was a Circulating Supply of $1.05 billion MANA coins and a total supply of 2.644-billion MANA on the same day.
MANA is an ERC20 cryptocurrency so it can easily be converted into Ethereum. It is also part of Bancor’s liquidity network. That ensures liquidity or value for MANA, which makes it worth some money.
That makes MANA an interesting speculative investment. My suggestion is to stay away from MANA until Decentraland proves it can actually build a virtual world. Until that virtual world is constructed and is making money, Decentraland is nothing but an intriguing concept.
Decentraland is a blockchain platform to watch because it has an idea that might be a moneymaker someday. Until then investors should pay close attention because Decentraland might be the future of virtual reality.