With the Metaverse and Web 3.0 leading the charge into the new era of internet technology, we’re seeing the rise of several projects dedicated to enhancing this space. Decentraland is an immersive VR project designed to leverage the interest and architecture of the Metaverse, providing users with unique online gaming and lifestyle experience.
So, what is Decentraland? Most people only heard of it in 2017, when the project was still in its infancy. However, now, with a full working metaverse and plans for expansion and enhancement, Decentraland is a dominant force in the world of Metaverse gaming. It competes with other industry giants like ‘The Sandbox.’
This post unpacks everything you need to know about Decentraland and how it works. We’ll look at the native MANA token and the state of VR gaming in the coming future.
Where to Buy Decentraland MANA
This section is our top picks of where and how to buy the Decentraland MANA Crypto token. We chose these based on our experience of using them and considered fees, security, payment options and reputation.
- Uphold: Great Exchange for Newbies & Advanced Users
- Binance: Largest Crypto Exchange with Low Fees
- Coinbase: Highly Regarded and Easy to Use for Beginners
- Kraken: Highly Regarded and Easy to Use for Beginners
Visit The Top Pick
Uphold: Great For Buying & Selling Multiple Cryptos
Uphold is a comprehensive digital financial services platform catering to a worldwide audience, operating in over 184 countries and supporting over 200 traditional and cryptocurrency assets as well as commodities. Through seamless foreign exchange and cross-border remittance solutions, Uphold has facilitated over US$4 billion in transactions since its inception in 2015.
As a multi-asset platform, Uphold offers a distinct "Anything-to-Anything" trading experience, allowing users to effortlessly exchange between various asset classes. With integrated payment solutions, Uphold paves the way for universal access to financial services.
Founded on a robust framework of proprietary technologies and e-money applications, Uphold is dedicated to promoting a future where individuals and businesses globally can benefit from secure, transparent, equitable, and cost-effective financial services.
- 50+ Cryptocurrencies
- Easy to Use - Single Click Trading
- iOS & Android App
- Transparent Fees
- Well Regulated
- No Volume Discounts
Binance: Largest Crypto Exchange
Binance is the biggest cryptocurrency exchange in terms of daily trade volumes. Cryptocurrency investors can enjoy full access to trade over 600 crypto assets, including big movers like Bitcoin, Ethereum, and most of the top cryptos. With a minimum deposit of $10, investors can instantly start investing their crypto of choice.
Besides its large inventory of crypto assets, Binance also offers the lowest trade fees in the market. Binance charges 0.1% on all trades, and there’s an option for this figure to be further discounted by 25% for investors who hold Binance Coin – the exchange’s native token.
Funding your Binance account is seamless and straightforward. The exchange supports several deposit channels, including bank wire transfers, peer-to-peer (P2P) payments, credit/debit cards, and payment processors.
However, unlike eToro – deposits are not always free. For instance, Binance charges customers a standard fee of up to 4.50% on all crypto purchases made with debit/credit cards. Crypto deposits, on the other hand, are free.
This popular crypto exchange features a detailed learning curve and advanced trading tools, making it more suited for well-experienced traders and not beginners.
In terms of security, Binance offers the best security integrations. This broker features two-factor authentication (2FA), whitelisting, and advanced data encryption to protect customer funds and data. Also, Binance utilizes cold storage to store a vast majority of its funds, and the exchange also operates an insurance fund that protects customers in the event of an attack.
- Lowest trading fees in the market
- High liquidity on most cryptos
- Advanced trading tools
- Large crypto inventory
- Wide range of deposit channels
- Not beginner-friendly
Coinbase: Simple & Easy for Beginners
Coinbase is another great alternative best suited for newbie investors keen to learn how to buy this crypto. This platform is known for its reputation and simplified trading features.
The US-based platform allows investors to purchase, trade, and stake over 10,000 supported blockchain-based assets. To begin investing, investors must first register an account, which takes around 10 minutes. Coinbase allows users to invest a minimum investment of $2, which is one of the lowest prices in the crypto industry.
This exchange also integrates seamless deposit channels, like wire transfer, crypto deposits, debit/credit card, and e-wallet solutions, as well as fiat currencies like USD, GBP, and EUR available for cash out. Coinbase charges a standard fee of up to 3.99% for all debit card crypto purchases. However, investors enjoy 4% cash back bonuses whenever a Coinbase debit card is used to purchase crypto assets.
In terms of trading fees, users are charged between 0.5% and 4.5%, depending on the selected payment method, type of cryptocurrency, and total transaction amount.
One of the standout features that distinguishes Coinbase from other brokers is its versatility in terms of services and products offered to retail and institutional investors, ranging from exchange-based wallet and cashback visa cards, staking passive income, and asset hubs.
For security, the US-based exchange integrates 2FA verification as an added security layer to investors’ usernames and passwords, crime insurance that secures digital assets from theft and fraud, and many more. Coinbase is also licensed and regulated by top financial agencies like the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), Financial Conduct Authority (FCA), New York State Department of Financial Services (NYSDFS), and Financial Crimes and Enforcement Network (FinCEN),
- Simplifies trading tools, perfect for beginners
- Wide selection of crypto assets
- Lowest minimum deposit in the industry
- Offers Coinbase debit card with 4% cashback bonuses
- High fees (and usually, a complex and unclear fee structure)
Kraken: A Leading & Well Regarded Exchange
Kraken is one of the longest established exchanges with an excellent reputation for security and integrity.
Started back in 2011 they have built a great reputation among traders and beginners alike and offer high liquidity and lots of different cryptocurrency listings.
Kraken is trusted by some of the largest institutions and traders around the world and can handle high volume trading with ease.
They have lots of coin pairs to trade and also offer withdrawals back to fiat in your currency of choice.
We have no hesitation in recommending Kraken for your trading needs.
- High Liquidity
- Great Reputation
- Well Established
- Easy to Use
- Fiat Options
- The KYC process can take a little while
What is Decentraland?
Decentraland is like many other similar decentralized metaverses. The Sandbox and Decentraland probably have the biggest reputations in the space, and they’re popular with influencers, rappers, and celebrities looking to involve themselves in web 3.0.
Decentraland is a blockchain-based metaverse operating on the Ethereum Network. The dev team aimed to produce a virtual world supporting the creation, hosting, development, and sale of virtual real estate and digital assets.
Decentraland allows users to purchase virtual real estate and develop it within the Decentraland metaverse. Owners of digital real estate can rent out their land to developers and receive passive income or use it to build other businesses or residences. There are several ways users can monetize their assets in Decentraland.
Ari Meilich and Esteban Ordano are the blockchain and smart contract experts responsible for the Decentraland concept. The duo launched the mainnet in 2020 before stepping back into an advisory role to allow the Decentraland Foundation and its decentralized autonomous organization (DAO) to lead the way forward for Decentraland.
Decentraland operates by allowing users to interact with LAND NFTs on its platform. There are over 90,000 ‘parcels’ of LAND available for purchase. LAND owners can create and develop their LAND into anything they want.
They provide real estate utility to businesses, brands, and companies and act as a vehicle for app and game development, creative 3D scenes, gambling services, or anything you can think of. As mentioned, LAND is capped at 90,000 parcels, with each parcel measuring 33 feet x 33 feet. There is a cap on the footprint of the land, but none on the height of the structure one can build on it.
Understanding the Decentraland Map
A district is a collection of LAND parcels in Decentraland. A district is a community sharing a similar theme with other owners of digital land in the district. For instance, the district could have a tropical paradise or fantasy theme.
MANA powers Decentraland. This ERC-20 token allows users to purchase digital assets within the Decentraland metaverse. The MANA token in Decentraland is the currency used in purchasing LAND in Decentraland.
However, MANA holders also get voting rights in the platform DAO governance issue affecting the Decentraland Metaverse. The more MANA the user, holds, the bigger their weight in the governance process.
Decentraland operates on a three-layer protocol similar to other metaverse blockchain projects. The three layers include the ‘consensus layer,’ ‘land content layer,’ and ‘real-time layer.’ The consensus layer governs the smart contracts surrounding LAND ownership in real-time.
The land content layer renders the content on Decentraland, and the real-time layer provides the peer-to-peer connection required for user interactions.
A Brief History of Decentraland
Decentraland launched in February 2020. It implemented the DAO shortly afterward, with all further development since launch being decentralized. Upon launch, Decentraland used three native tokens for various functions in its Metaverse.
The MANA token is an ERC-20 token functioning as the central currency of Decentraland. The two ERC-721 tokens are LAND and Estate. Estate is a token representing a collection of LAND parcels. All LAND and Estate tokens are issued as NFTs. Therefore, they’re unique digital assets with a record on the Ethereum blockchain.
If you’re familiar with virtual metaverses, you’ll find Decentraland has a familiar look and feel as you experience it in avatar form. You use your avatar to navigate your user experience on the platform and visit the different virtual worlds.
There are several things avatars can do. You can buy art, gamble in casinos, trade with other users, or attend Decentraland University.
The Decentraland ICO in August 2017 was one of the biggest recorded at its time. The ICO raised a staggering $24 million in just 35-seconds after its launch. More than 10,000 investors signed up for the ICO, with only 7,000 managing to secure a part in it.
The ICO involved the sale of MANA in 1,000 unit blocks for $24 each. At launch, users must pay 1,000 MANA for each LAND parcel. ERC-20 tokens, like MANA, is, are fungible tokens and fully interchangeable with each other. As a result, it forms the backbone of the currency used throughout Decentraland in everyday tasks, such as buying LAND and other digital NFT assets.
However, ERC-721 tokens are used in LAND and Estate. They are non-fungible due to the individual traits of each. Since these tokens are not interchangeable, like MANA, they cannot function as currency in the Decentraland metaverse.
Instead, ERC-721 tokens suit use in NFT functions, such as creating in-game items like wearables, avatars, and unique LAND parcels.
LAND on Decentraland
Three smart contracts in the Decentraland metaverse govern LAND, MANA, and Estate. The MANAtoken contract, LANDregistry contract, and EstateRegistry contract are the three smart contracts in question. It’s interesting to note that private keys for MANAtoken contracts are destroyed by its founding team, meaning there is no possibility of making changes to this contract.
MANA pays for all LAND parcels in the Decentraland metaverse. When users purchase parcels of LAND, they form ‘Estates.’ MANA also acts as the native currency traded in the Decentraland marketplace. Users can use MANA to pay for wearables like shoes, glasses, hats, and handbags.
Each wearable is an NFT, making it unique, with the ownership recorded on the blockchain. LAND owners can do whatever they want with it and develop whatever they please. Or, they can rent it out to receive income. It’s like owning a digital representation of real-life real estate. Anything you can do with real estate in the real world, you can do the same in Decentraland with LAND and Estates.
Several blockchain companies like MakerDAO, Rarible, and SuperRare have significant LAND portfolios in Decentraland. They use this virtual reals estate for galleries and offices. Decentraland has also hosted virtual conferences and big brand product launches.
What are the Key Features of Decentraland?
Decentraland aims to create a decentralized economy based on a free market model. It intends to achieve this by implementing immutable blockchain technology in a virtual world. There are several things Decentraland users need to be aware of when accessing the platform.
After securing a parcel of LAND, you earn the right to be a ‘builder.’ You have the option of adding environments or scenes to your LAND. There are no coding skills required for developing your LAND. Decentraland offers a suite of user-friendly tools and pre-built scenes to build your virtual property.
The open-source code of Decentraland lets users benefit from developers contributing to the project. As a result, new users don’t have to worry about coding issues. There are thousands of scenes to choose from when developing your virtual real estate on Decentraland. You can access scenes like forests and villas to build on your LAND.
When you start your Decentraland experience, you do so as an avatar. You have the option of fully customizing your avatar to your requirements. Users can access thousands of outfits and spend MANA to personalize their avatar to their liking.
Each avatar comes with a Decentraland passport connecting to their Ethereum-compatible wallet. Users store their MANA in their wallets for in-game purchases.
The Decentraland marketplace offers users a palace where they can purchase in-game items as NFTs’. Users can buy wearables to upgrade their avatar, LAND parcels to grow their virtual real estate empire or trade with other users on the platform.
The Decentraland marketplace allows users that don’t want to put any development work into the Metaverse a shortcut. They can spend their MANA tokens to purchase necessary items without going through the development process.
Decentraland – Decentralized Autonomous Organization (DAO)
Shortly after its launch, Decentraland, the dev team behind the project, handed over control of the Decentraland metaverse to Decentraland users via a Decentralized Autonomous Organization (DAO). This move reinforces Decentraland’s free market economy model, giving the users the power to make changes on the platform, not the dev team.
The Decentraland DAO owns the smart contracts and digital assets comprising the Decentraland framework. These smart contracts are the LAND, Estates, Wearables, Content Servers, and Marketplace smart contracts.
The DAO also has a sizeable holding of MANA tokens, with 222 million vested over ten years. This structure allows the DAO to remain truly autonomous. It also provides a vehicle to subsidize various projects and operations throughout the Decentraland metaverse.
Most developed virtual metaverses are at a point where they are centralized and controlled by the development team. Decentraland has a different approach. Its decentralized model is completely user-controlled and governed through its MANA token holders and the Decentraland DAO.
Aragon provided the tech behind the Decentraland DAO. Holders of LAND, Estate, and MANA have voting rights. They can choose to execute governance on proposals to make changes to the Decentraland metaverse.
Each MANA token gives the holder one vote, and each LAND or Estate provides the holder with 2,000 votes. So, the more tokens the user holds, the greater their weight in the governance proceedings. Some users suggest this also creates a loophole where bad actors could collect more votes than others through monopolizing certain sections of the Decentraland metaverse.
Getting Started with Decentraland
You don’t need to spend any money to start your Decentraland experience. You access this web-based platform directly through your browser.
When you set up your free account on the platform, the system AI asks you to connect your wallet to your account so you can use it to fund activities in the Decentraland Metaverse.
You don’t have to have a wallet or connect one to experience Decentraland. However, if you intend to stick around, it’s worth opening and connecting a MetaMask wallet to your account.
MANA MetaMask and Avatars
After you register for the site, you have the option of connecting your wallet to the platform. We recommend downloading and installing the MetaMask wallet for Decentraland transactions.
Important Note: Make sure you are on the correct Metamask website as they are lots of scams around. Never click a link from email or messages on social media platforms. The correct URL is https://metamask.io
After connecting your wallet, click the ‘Play’ button, and you’re ready to rock. The first step in your Decentraland experience is building your avatar. It’s a simple action, and several options are available to personalize your avatar to your liking.
After setting up your avatar and agreeing to the terms and conditions, you start your tenure in Decentral and at Gemini Plaza. An introductory bot named Alice will guide you and explain what you need to do to start.
If you’re using a computer keyboard, you’ll find the control setup familiar, with WASD controls for moving, the mouse for the camera angles, and space to jump. Users can switch between the first and third-person views by pressing V on their keyboard. The controls are basic and easy to use without any experience needed.
How to Buy MANA on Uphold
Looking to buy MANA? Get started on Uphold within minutes:
Step 1: Sign Up to Uphold
Visit Uphold and hit the "Signup" button at the top right of the website.
Once the account is created, Uphold requires that users enter their personal information, including legal name and date of birth, as shown on their government documents. They’ll also need to enter their home address information and verify their phone number to finalize the process. This is a basic verification process
Step 2: Fund Your Account
Uphold offers fee-free deposits to its customers. They can deposit funds into their Uphold wallet using cryptocurrencies, debit cards, bank wire transfers, and crypto deposits. New users need additional verification to use the debit card or wire transfer options.
In the sidebar, click the "Linked Accounts" link and choose to add a card or a bank.
Enter your card or bank details.
Step 3: Buy Your Chosen Crypto
Now search for your chosen crypto to purchase, you can choose a currency to pay with, the amount and the crypto you wish to purchase.
After selecting the trading pair, click on the “preview trade” option and it will show you the trade and fees, finally click "confirm trade" to make the purchase.
Decentraland is one of the biggest talking points of Web 3.0 adoption. It’s a virtual metaverse where people can escape reality and achieve what they only thought possible in video games. With VR adoption continuing to skyrocket, we expect more users to flock to Decentraland for their Metaverse experience.
Decentraland is a unique project in the blockchain ecosystem, setting the benchmark for similar metaverse experiences, including 3D/VR systems or dApps. However, its user-owned model means that the users have total control over the platform’s direction, and we can’t wait to see what it holds in the future.