OFAK (One of a Kind) Crypto: Decentraland

Many areas in crypto are saturated with coins attempting to solve the same problems. There are numerous privacy, supply-chain, social platform, energy, decentralized internet, and identity coins/tokens.

This is the third article in a continuing series focusing on crypto assets that are entirely unique.

Decentraland. The name itself invokes as much imagination as its mission. A year ago most would have scoffed at the idea of a virtual land sale, a real estate market in a digital city. Even today most would laugh at the idea. Yet the Genesis City Land Auction in December of 2017 raised $10m, and trading of virtual real estate continues to this day.

Key Points:

What is it?

“Decentraland is a virtual reality platform powered by the Ethereum blockchain. Users can create, experience, and monetize content and applications. Land in Decentraland is permanently owned by the community, giving them full control over their creations. Users claim ownership of virtual land on a blockchain-based ledger of parcels. Landowners control what content is published to their portion of land, which is identified by a set of cartesian coordinates (x,y). Contents can range from static 3D scenes to interactive systems such as games” ¹

Decentraland will use the Ethereum network to establish land ownership in the virtual world. The world will be divided into 100m² (about 1078 ft²) parcels, with a non-fungible digital asset for each plot of land. These assets recognize the designated owner of the parcel, and describe what its contents are. We call this digital asset, LAND.” ²

Strengths:

  • “Unlike other virtual worlds and social networks, Decentraland is not controlled by a centralized organization. There is no single agent with the power to modify the rules of the software, contents of land, economics of the currency, or prevent others from accessing the world.” ¹ While this is in the whitepaper, during an AMA they somewhat contradicted this statement.
  • Created a virtual city and sold 10 million dollars worth of land plots. Let that sink in. Plots varied in price based on location.
  • One of few coins that has the ability to tap into a massive gaming and virtual reality market. There are many “in game currency” coins, however these have common sense shortcomings. Decentraland is its own world, with its own currency built in. Imagine the reach this will have when its a finished product. No cryptocurrency knowledge or interest necessary. Just plug in and immerse yourself.
  • The team is extremely active and posts regularly updates. These updates usually include exciting pictures.
Not sure what this is, but still makes more sense to me than sharding.
  • Team has been around since September of 2017. So far they seem to have progressed the most in terms of their vision, especially when compared to everything in crypto.
  • Recently added to Binance. More volume, more exposure, and all good things eventually make their way to Binance.

Shortcomings:

  • One of the obvious issues of a decentralized world is content. Look at Chat Roulette. Its full of dicks and seems to be penis anarchy, but it is a centralized system with a report button. The Decentraland team also saw this as a clear problem and mentioned it in their whitepaper:

“The issue of filtering content for mature audiences (like pornography, violence, or gambling) is difficult to solve within a decentralized network. We expect a market to emerge here: with a reputation-based approach, users could select one or more providers of whitelists/blacklists that track the type of content being served on each parcel” ¹

  • During an AMA they responded to a question on opening a casino in Genesis City. Regulation in Decentraland doesn’t have such a nice ring to it. Pretty ironic as well.

“In principle the casino provider would have to be licensed and compliant. Otherwise we will be forced to block them on our web client, since casinos are regulated in many jurisdictions.”

  • Use of Decentraland is not idiot-proof. This is a problem for adoption. There is nothing in the whitepaper that covers how scenes will be created, ie. whether or not average Joe can build his own virtual house.

Future Developments:

  • The team is consistently posting updates on the project, however at this time there is no large release on the horizon. I will say its easy to understand what the ultimate goal of a completed Decentraland is, and that in itself is a huge future development.

Competitors, if any:

  • lol

Key Points from the Genesis City Land Auction AMA:

On what buying and owning land in Genesis City actually means:

“It means that a certain parcel on the land smart contract will have your ETH private key as the rightful owner. In order for you to actually buy it, you have to be the highest bidder at the end of the auction. Parcels in Genesis City are developed entirely by you. You can also hire someone in Ethlance (you can search for people with ‘Decentraland Scene Development’ as a skill) to do it for you. Conversely, parcels in the districts may be developed collectively or by the district leaders — YMMV on each district; we encourage you communicate with them beforehand.”

This response led to another question, that of the trust placed in district leaders:

“Are the risks associated with corrupt district leaders mitigated?”

“Initially, the only available approach, tech-wise, is mitigating third-party risk by using a multi-sig. But we’re collaborating with Aragon to be one of the first projects to implement their decentralized governance tech. Once we get there, most districts will become a DAO.”

How high can you build?

“We’re working on a height map, which will show the expected and encouraged height limits, and will be subject to discussion in the community. While prototyping, we run into some issues with the no height limit, such as excessive shade, slow performance, etc. We think this may be best addressed through public voting by all MANA holders. Ultimately, however, if you have a district you should be able to build what you please without respect to any limits, but in the public cities that may be an issue.”

On hardware required to run:

“We’re building it so that it can run on low-end hardware, correct; that’s why we chose low-poly for the aesthetics. We will set constraints in the editor (for an alpha, see editor.decentraland.org)”

Ending thoughts:

Decentraland is truly one of a kind. It has its fair share of problems, the largest being regulating a concept and vision named Decentraland. This can’t be understated. With that said, I’m looking forward to the worlds that will be built a year or many years from today. Maybe I’ll even see you there.

*If you are a Decentraland team member, please reach out to me as I have unanswered questions, most covering regulation and content creation.*

  1. https://decentraland.org/whitepaper.pdf (whitepaper)

2. https://blog.decentraland.org/building-a-land-economy-with-the-mana-token-ccb8d0d5e010

Disclaimer: I was not paid in anyway to write this.

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