To say that the world is getting insanely digitalized on an exponential rate is to say the least. We have been witnessing amazing innovations in the world of technology, particularly the technology that deals with Virtual Reality, Artificial Intelligence and Augmented reality. At least we are familiar with some Virtual Reality platforms like Oculus Rift. You will not be wrong to infer that the virtual world is fast merging with the real world to create a hybrid world. More so, the technology of blockchain is not left out of the advances we have been witnessing in this era. If I many ask, have you ever been rewarded in cryptocurrency for using any Virtual Reality platform like Oculus Rift? Have you ever thought about the possibility of merging the technology of blockchain and immersive Virtual Reality in a single platform? Well, think no further, I present to you Decentraland.
OVERVIEW OF DECENTRALAND
Decentraland is a decentralized Ethereum-based platform created by the duo of Ari Meilich and Esteban Ordano with the purpose of bridging the gap between blockchain and immersive Virtual Reality. In other words, it is created to bring blockchain technology into the virtual world which will allow individuals to monetize virtual estates (digital version of real estate) and to claim ownership of virtual properties. Just look at it as a "decentralized land". As a matter of fact, Decentraland is the worlds's first Virtual Reality platform that confers absolute right on the user over their virtual properties. It might interest you to know that a digital map of the real world is already represented in Virtual Reality by Decentraland and you can buy part of the assets of this virtual world.
The best part of this is; every asset bought is saved immutably in Ethereum blockchain. There is also no limitation or restriction to which assets a user can buy - you can buy any piece of land in any virtual location and you can build your own virtual world.
As part of the measures to make Decentraland very decentralized, every transaction made within the platform is done on "public blockchain". This means that the virtual worlds you create within the platform are actually public and you can access them from anywhere in the world without the restriction of time and space. This has ruled off the possibility of any centralized authority controlling the allocation of assets within the ecosystem - the users are absolutely responsible for their assets.
Asides acquiring of virtual lands and estates, you can monetize your digital assets and transact with them with other users to earn cryptocurrencies. More so, you can receive the payment of services made in the real world through the monetized virtual assets - this is where the merger of the real world and virtual world comes into play.
The internal ecosystem of Decentraland is powered by an Erc-20 token; MANA, which is currently trading on various major exchange platforms like Bittrex, Binance etc. Your influence within the ecosystem is dependent on the amount of MANA you have and all transactions within the platform are done with MANA. More so, your MANA grants you access into the full features and services provided by Decentraland ecosystem. I have bought some MANA (as seen in the image on the right) to have my own stakes in the platform and to have access into the unique features offered by Decentraland.
UNIQUE FEATURES OF DECENTRALAND
There are many features I have observed in Decentraland that has made it to stand out among the crowd, we'll look at them here.
- 1: Ease of creativity: Decentraland incorporates an interface that makes it easy for users to create any 3D item of their choice. Also, there are some easy-to-understand templates you can leverage on to make your constructions. You don't need to be a design guru to use the platform, at the click of a button (the "start building" button), you can easily work your way around the platform.
2: Reward for creativity: The Decentraland platform has a "land content layer" and a "real-time layer" that enables users store and host their 3D constructions and can transact with them through peer-to-peer protocol in real time.
3: "Build Reminder" button: Sometimes, a user can be too busy with other activities in the real world that they might forget they have something to build in Decentraland, but hey! Decentraland has incorporated a reminder button which you can set to remind you when you need to build something. Even when you are not currently logged into the platform, the reminder will be sent to your email address. This is one of the reasons Decentraland has earned a place in the StateOfTheDApps favorite DApps.
GETTING STARTED WITH DECENTRALAND
I'm sure you are already piqued to know how to get started with Decentraland. The steps are easy, just go to Decentraland portal and sign up with your email address. You will follow the easy-to-understand on-screen instructions to create your account. You can then proceed to purchase some MANA to get full access into the ecosystem.
After following the above steps, you can start with the construction of your first virtual structure - trust me, it will be so much fun. When monetizing any content, the price is determined by the creator and not by any centralized pricing scheme. The price can also be subject to negotiations by the parties involved (the buyer and the seller, not by the system). I'm sure you want to see a video of what Decentraland represents, here's one for you.
CONCLUSION AND REVIEWER'S COMMENT
First of all, I will give a very big kudos to Decentraland for their attempts to merge the real world and the virtual world and also for their initiative to reward people for using Virtual Reality platform. I will also give them a thumbs-up for the simplicity they have integrated into their platform, really, anyone can have access to their services. However, in my opinion, it will be good if Decentraland can bring their services to mobile platforms by creating mobile Apps. This will enable users to access their virtual properties on-the-go through their mobile devices, I believe this will lead to more adoption of Decentraland. On the overall, I give Decentraland a 4/5 rating.
Disclaimer: The content of this article is not meant to serve as financial advice, please do your own research.