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What is Decentraland?

Decentraland is a decentralized virtual reality platform running on the Ethereum blockchain. Within the Decentraland platform, users can create, experience and monetize content and applications.

It lets you buy 3D virtual spaces called LAND with an Ethereum smart contract. On your own LAND you can do whatever you want, you can build a static 3D scene, interactive applications or games. You can charge entrance fees for your LAND or make it accessible to friends. Common practice is to keep it publicly accessible.

You play the game mainly on a PC or MAC with the Chrome, Firefox or Brave browser. With a digital wallet, you can buy and store items there. The character you walk around with, your avatar, can wear all kinds of wearables, clothes and accessories. For these, you will have to pay MANA. You have unique items, free items and everything in between. Unique ones are extremely expensive and then they get gradually cheaper. You give yourself a name and start your adventure.

The history of Decentraland

The original white paper (explaining how a coin works) was written by Esteban Ordano, Ariel Meilich, Yemel Jardi, and Manuel Araoz. Their vision: create a decentralised player-owned world, where the players themselves are paid for their efforts to make the world a nicer place. Unlike the centralized big players like Facebook and Google, who mainly benefit themselves from the efforts of others.

In 2015, work on Decentraland began. The Stone Age had begun. Initially, it was a proof of concept, displaying digital estate on an infinite 2d landscape. Each pixel was registered property.

In 2016, the Bronze Age began. This was a virtual 3D world divided into cubes of land. The owner used a modified Bitcoin blockchain to prove ownership. They also used a Distributed Hash Table and Bittorrent, you had to be pretty tech savvy at the time.

In 2017, the Iron Age began, the era we are currently still in. This is the real deal, where it has all become much less technical and accessible. With a few button presses, you can buy items, design your own things and put them on your land or sell them. It is also much more interactive and well playable. Their P2P network provides a real social experience through their communication layer in a world created by players.

Decentraland's use cases

  1. Applications. The Decetraland scripting language can be used to develop applications and games. You can also use it to create dynamic 3d scenes or play well-known gambling games, such as poker or roulette.One can think of creating objects, loading texts, enabling movements, coding user interaction, sounds, payments, external phone calls, and so on.

  2. Context. Users in Decentraland come together around shared interests. Those who own property next to a busy piece of land get more visitors.

  3. Advertising. Brands are allowed to advertise with billboards near high-traffic zones. They are even allowed to sell their own brands, e.g. Nike shoes as wearables.

  4. Digital collectibles. Users can publish, distribute and sell rare digital possessions on the blockchain. So you can create and sell these things yourself.

  5. Social. People who are in chat groups or other social media can import their community into Decentraland.

  6. Other use cases. Almost anything is possible in Decentraland that can also be done in the real world. Education, therapy, virtual tourism, anything goes. Supply and demand. If you offer something and there is a market for it.

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Extra information about Decentraland (MANA)


There are all kinds of themes in Decentraland, such as the Wild West, house parties, film, et cetera. This is interesting if, for instance, you have a business in an industry that wants to advertise or offer content in these worlds. Users can walk into their favourite atmosphere.

Identity of Decentraland

Your Avatar is linked to your LAND. Your public keys are used to let users verify that they have permission from the owner to use something. Thus, you can only enter LAND if the owner has made it open to you. Ethereum Name Service, for example, can enable this.

How does Decentraland's economy work?


In the Iron Age, two digital assets were introduced: LAND, a non-fungible (unique, non-replaceable) token into which the virtual world is divided, and MANA, an ERC-20 token (Ethereum) that is burnt (taken out of circulation) when you buy LAND with it and with which you can also buy items to use in the virtual world.

LAND is important to host applications on, define your identity with and value your estate based on the popularity of your location, just like in the real world.

LAND can be bought for 1,000 MANA. But if your location is popular, you can resell your LAND for a much higher price. LAND that you have to buy from a user is usually much more expensive.

Promote the network

To give them a jumpstart, developers and content creators are rewarded. They can start a shop and The Foundation of Decentraland will hold competitions to create games, applications, experiences and art for your shop. New users who make things for the network will also receive a benefit from the network, allowing them to participate in the economy directly until they attract enough users to stand on their own two feet.

The Decentraland marketplace

This is where you manage, buy and sell on-chain (on the blockchain) assets. You can buy LAND, wearables and unique names here. Later, you can sell them again if necessary. You can also give possessions to another user. Also, you can explore the folder to see who owns what, what wearables there are and which usernames are already gone or still available. You can also make descriptions of your LAND public here and give other users permission to do things on your LAND. If you want, you can also liquidate your account and all your assets here.

You'll need a wallet, preferred are MetaMask or Ledger. You can also buy things there now on the Polygon network, but no LAND, for that you still need Ethereum.

The Atlas View gives you a bird's eye view of the map. You can zoom in here and see who all the LAND belongs to. You can also see what's for sale here. If you have enough MANA you can also buy directly here. If not you can even take out a mortgage!

The Marketplace View shows all the items you can buy. You can sort it all by price and type. If you really want a piece of land that is not for sale, you can also bid on it.

LAND Manager in Decentraland

Here you can give your LAND and Estates (several pieces of LAND together) a name and a public description. You can merge LAND into an Estate and vice versa. Transferring your LAND is possible here and you can also grant permissions here to other users to edit what you own.

You can put your LAND up for sale here, change its name or transfer it to another wallet address.

The DAO (decentralised autonomous organisation) handles all purchases and sales and all smart contracts across the platform. Any changes to the game or otherwise are settled by voting for or against a proposal. To vote, you must be in possession of MANA, LAND or NAMES. Critical proposals need time to grow, such as by talking about them on forums, Discord, Twitter, et cetera.

Decentraland game play

If you want to play the game, you don't initially need a wallet and MANA. You can log in as a guest and walk around. It takes some getting used to three-dimensional movement, but you learn that quickly. You also get a help avatar that tells you what you can do and how to do something.

You walk around and see what people have made, you can chat with whoever you bump into, and you can pick a world you find interesting to walk around in.

Things get more interesting when you go on a quest and can earn MANA by searching for certain items, for example. If you like adventures, that might be for you.

Developers of Decentraland

If you want to start making all kinds of things yourself for Decentraland, you can take a crash course in SDK (Software Development Kit) 101, made with TypeScript (JavaScript plus "types"). Usually these things are put together in such a way that it is very intuitive, so that people with no programming experience can do it. In this case, it involves drag and drop and then making your own customisations. For example, you can transform a standard rider from the SDK into a cowboy.

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