Decentraland (MANA): Where Land Ownership and Gaming Intersect

Joseph Kennedy
| Editor:
April 3, 2024
10 min read

Do you dream ofbuying a land parcelandbuilding a project or a house? You might not afford it now, but you have another option–virtual land! Decentraland launched in beta in 2017 and has gained considerable popularity as concepts like the metaverse andinteractive virtual spaceconstruction found their way into the consumer mainstream. It is therefore no wonder that crypto communities (like are showing a big interest in gaming and other opportunities within the metaverse.

Below, we"ve prepared a comprehensive guide to Decentraland, its economy, and the native token MANA, while taking a look at its future roadmap and what lies ahead.

Before we start, let's get to know who the masterminds behind it are.

Who Made It?

Decentraland coincided its launch in beta mode with MANA's Initial Coin Offering (ICO) in October 2017. That said, its history dates back a little further.

ArgentinianAri Meilich and Esteban Ordano, project lead and tech lead, respectively, initially created the project in 2015. It started as a simplepixelated gridthat allocated individual pixels to users through a basicProof-of-Work (PoW) algorithm.

The project hit its first development milestone,Stone Age, in June 2015. This was a significant part ofthe Decentraland roadmap that represents each version of the game's visual experience and map. Then, it went through aBronze agebefore evolving into a more immersive, three-dimensional world two years later when it officially launched. Next came theIron Age, which followed Decentraland's construction on the Ethereum platform.

That saw Decentraland switch to aProof-of-Stake (PoS) model and accomplished numerous ambitious objectives. These include P2P network development for deeper user interaction, a micropayment system as a core feature, and the land management interface where users and artists can create in-browser experiences and games for visitors.

Meilich had worked with his colleague Ordano at Stremium and Bitcore. Ordano also worked at Bitpay as a software engineer before founding Smart Contract Solutions in the early 2010s.

The project's marked ascent and recent growth proved thesynergies between its founders" tech expertise, resulting in the popular Decentraland.

Pretty impressive! Let's start exploring what all these milestones created in Decentraland.

Getting Started: What Is It?

In simple terms, Decentraland is a decentralized andthree-dimensional (3D) virtual reality platformthat runs on the Ethereum blockchain. This 3D world starts withland ownership, which opens up a new dimension forgaming and investment.

Decentraland lets you create, experience, and monetize the content you create, including any games and collectibles that you invest in. That's why the founders intended that you and other users own this virtual space.

Land Ownership

In this virtual world, you're able to buy, sell, and build digital real estate using the90,601 separate land parcelsavailable, each representing a uniquenon-fungible token (NFT). Decentraland also stores land parcels in an Ethereumsmart contract, including your information as the owner. It also stores the unique virtual world coordinates and location that identify each plot.

Decentraland categorizes each parcel as an in-game NFT, which is scarce, unique, and boasts inherent and tangible value. If you buy two or more adjacent plots, you create anestate.

When you buy land, you'll receive all its associated information andfull ownership. That way, you gain the relevant permissions to edit content, build, and authorize future sales.

Decentraland offers a wide game variety, with many games adopting the so-called play-to-earn model. That transformed a social platform into a vibrant and bustling economy.

You can use theATLAS toolto navigate Decentraland's geography and themed districts and identify the best locations for real estate development.

Once you own land, you can modify and monetize it asrentable or offer play-to-earn games. That's the other fun part in Decentraland. Let's take a look at the games you can play.

Games to Play

Central to the Decentraland's appeal is its play-to-earn gaming model, which enables its vibrant community to develop games you can access and play.

What's more, you don't need to install anything to access the platform's various games. You only need MetaMask or a similarERC-20 compatible and browser-integrated wallet. You simply access yourwallet as a browser extension and download it. That paves the way to aone-click easy entryto Decentraland's virtual game universe.

Let's go down the game lane and check afew popular gamesin Decentraland.


It's the platform's most popular play-to-earnmonster-catching role-playinggame. You can even buy Ethermon NFTs to compete with other players here, which creates an increasingly immersive and thrilling dimension.


In the game, you can buy acollectible dragon egg NFT. Once the dragon hatches, you can leverage it to engage in the broader gaming realm tocomplete quests.

Tominoya Casino

Decentraland is also the leading crypto metaverse foronline casinogames. For example, Decentral Games created a virtual hub called the Tominoya Casino.


Legendary game developers, Atari, invested in ametaverse estateat Decentraland to host a huge classic game selection.

Before we delve a little deeper into Decentraland and its gaming model, you should take a closer look at its immense possibilities and potential limitations.

What Are Decentraland's Possibilities and Limitations?

Virtually Unlimited Possibilities

Decentraland's capacity fordeveloping 3D environments and avatarspresents innovative opportunities for you tomonetize your skillson its platform. You're also free to roam around the Decentraland metaverse and navigate its locations using the ATLAS tool. The tool also enables you to teleport to different destinations as you explore ways to craft yourunique online experience.

Your avatar is the passport to the Decentraland metaverse, which includes everything from virtual clubs and NFT art displays to interactive games, shopping centers, and hubs for social interaction. You're effectively teleporting to a virtual realm and living in it while sitting at home.

You also get the chance toown everything you purchaseand invest in the community's growing NFT offerings through the platform"smarketplace.

That said, you should pay attention to some platform and virtual land sale model limitations.

Land Limitations

An individual land tile measures 16 square meters without limits on the floor area ratio or how much you can build upwards. When building a project, your only consideration is thecorporeal limitationson your buildings" ground and base size.

Critics suggest the land sales and developments indicate abackward commercial modelas if it's selling a symbol of potential value before creating any actual or tangible value.

In June, for example, Reuters reported a Decentraland virtual plot sale worth 1,295,000 MANA, equivalent to $4,366,740 at the time. The bare land eventually boasted a shopping center.

Everything's great so far, and it seems a prosperous investment. The Reuters reporters claimed, though, the center didn't have any customers when they visited the location shortly after the acquisition. That's an issue if you're a seasoned and logical investor.

Another hurdle is theprice premiummost in-demand land plots command. That creates significant restrictions and barriers to entry unless you're lucky enough to afford them. The Decentraland map has a fixed amount of 90,601plots of land, all of which have been sold, and many of which can be found for resale on the Marketplace.

Thedevelopment programis another bottleneck since it'scomplex and time-consuming, restricting investment. We'll wait and see if the team manages to deliver on its promise to improve this incrementally over time.

How to Get Started: What Do You Need?

The first thing you need is awalletthat successfully works through a web browser, with MetaMask and Atomic Wallet offering two viable options.

Pause…Which Decentralized Wallet Should You Use?

A wallet is central to a positive and secure Decentraland experience. It serves as your account and enables you to connect to the metaverse from any device. That differs from local data storage or a centralized wallet, enabling you to receive daily rewards and quests or participate in real-time events.

You can store MANA in anyERC-20 compatiblewallet (readthis Atomic guide for more information about ERC-20), although we recommend favoring non-custodial wallets. These wallets offer youcomplete control over your private keysand allow you to encrypt these on any device you choose versus storing them on a centralized exchange.

Atomic Wallet is an ERC-20 compatible wallet available online and ideal for Decentraland players. It allows you to transfer, store, and exchange up to 500 separate crypto tokens, including MANA. You also can access it seamlessly from multiple devices with basic password information.

Atomic Wallet also is a non-custodial wallet, which means you'll retain complete control over your private keys at all times. You canencryptthese directly on your advice, negating the need to store data centrally and ensuring 100% control over transaction authorization.

Overall, this is an excellent choice for players, providing security and accessibility in equal measure.

…Resume Game

If you select MetaMask, you'll have to open your browser and log into your associated account. Then, selectExtensionsfrom the drop-down menu in the browser's top right-hand corner. Many wallets will require a 12-word seed phrase for security and a password to secure regular access.

You can then access Decentraland directly through your browser, creating a password for your account and virtual identity.

Claim Your Name

On your first visit, you'll have a guided tour through the platform to create aPassport and an Avatarwhile getting an initial choice to enter as a guest. You can claim abasic avatar and identityforfree. If you want to claim a permanent and unique avatar name, you'll have to pay a nominal fee.

Now, you"ve completed your Claim a Name stage.

Where Next?

You can click-through theExploringicon on your screen's top right-hand corner and get a beginner"stutorial to develop basic skillslike walking, jumping, and even chewing gum at the same time!

Then, you can leave the tutorial through the portal arch and immerse yourself in the Decentraland metaverse and determine your precise involvement level. How you proceed depends on what you intend to do.

If you want to navigate the virtual world and seek out existing games, you can teleport to various areas by pressingCon your keyboard. Other options on your keyboard's bottom bar help you perform quests, build, and seek available games. You can walk or use theJump Inicons before identifying the games you might enjoy.

Build Your Game

Ok, we hear you ask, but how can you build games on Decentraland?

Your first step is toinvestin land. You'll need to determine how many items you"d like to incorporate, scalability, and decide how many parcels you'll need to buy.

Once you figure these out, you'll have toselect your scene's size, which you construct using the accessible and easy-to-use Builder Tool. Choose from the following4 options:

  1. Mini (1x1): 16x16m - up to 20 items
  2. Standard (2x2): 32x32m - up to 80 items
  3. Big (2x3): 32x48m - up to 120 items
  4. Custom: up to 32 land parcels

Once you"ve purchased your land, the next step is to indulge your creative side and develop your game. Advanced users with TypeScript or similar language coding knowledge should take the time tolearn and use Decentraland's Software Development Kit(SDK).

This advanced software helps you import 3D models into the platform for more complex and immersive games. It also supports advanced coding, animations, and several gamified applications.

We"d recommend that you familiarize yourself with the platform and browse the existing games before developing your own. You'll find a diverse selection of games available, some more popular than others.

The website offerslearning material to help youmake an informed investment and involvement decision. These include a blog resource, detailed documentation for scene developers (here), and The Decentraland University's Course: Building Virtual Reality Scenes in Decentraland (here).

How Much Does It Cost to Play Decentraland?

Decentraland isfree. That said, you'll have topayto get aunique avatar and land parcels. If you seek exclusive avatar items outside the basic range, you'll pay more than hundreds of dollars per item.

One land parcelmight also cost youmore than $10,000in the current market condition. You get to offset these costs, though, through play-to-earn games and the ability to monetize content while earning NFTs.

You'll need to balance the total participation cost with your intended activity and any potential returns before making an informed decision.

Now that we"re talking about money, let's get to the meaty part: how you can earn some!

Earn Money in Decentraland

Let's rewind a little and check what Decentraland's currency is.

What Is MANA?

MANA is afungible token with ERC-20 capability. That means you can purchase and trade it on licensed crypto exchanges, likeBinance, and stack it on decentralized exchanges (DEXs), like Uniswap.

MANA launched in October 2017 at anominal value of around $0.01062 per token. Its value remained relatively flat over the next three years or so, reaching $0.08374 on January 1st, 2021.

This year, the trend and rising demand for high-value NFTs sent Decentraland's value soaring, reaching an initial peak of $1.5678 on May 6th. MANA hit anall-time high of$5.4792 on November 25th.

How Do the Tokenomics Work?

A Decentraland original objective is to create an open economy where you have complete ownership of its associated apps and assets. Currently, the transactional MANA token underpins Decentraland's wider economy.

In turn, the Decentraland Autonomous Organisation (DAO), a fully decentralized and autonomous entity, administers and distributes the tokens. The DAO issues a finite MANA token supply, which now stands at2.6 billion coins.

You can make money in these 3 ways.

1. Land Appreciation and Auction

The game's real estate lots are among Decentraland's NFTs, which means they boastgenuine scarcity and a tangible store of value. You also make money by creating estates that are very expensive in the current marketplace, sometimes selling for thousands of dollars.

You'll also benefit from land's price appreciation. Consider how land auctions showed that Decentraland's parcels appreciated with time.

Land auctions are the most popular way for you to buy land. The first Decentraland land auction took place between December 2017 and January 2018, during which it sold 34,356 parcels for a staggering 161 million MANA. Their total value topped $30 million, despite ending up with 9,331 unsold parcels at the auction's close.

Participants in Decentraland Agora, the community's voting platform, elected to host a second auction in December 2018 to offer the unsold land parcels for sale.

The remaining parcels generated a total of 109.5 million MANA and an average parcel price of 11,738 MANA, highlighting the token's value appreciation compared to the previous auction.

Decentraland also uses the so-calledDutch auction method, marketing parcels at an initially high price. It then lowers the price incrementally at a predetermined rate over time, while auction participants complete a purchase once an asset reaches a price they accept.

Since Dutch auctions don't include bidding and bidding wars price remain manageable and fair.

2. Collectibles, Avatars, and Associated NFTs

In Decentraland, your MANA tokens help you fundin-game purchases, including avatars, accessories, collectibles, and associated NFTs. Collectibles also create a central role in the Decentraland economy, creating another income stream.

Once you buy a collectible, you'll receive itscontract and all data relevantto this asset to your wallet. That way, no one has the opportunity ever to mint it.

Some popular and scarce collectibles in the Costume category available in Decentraland include:

Bumble Bee:It holds anepicrarity since only 1000 bumble bees are available for purchase.

Frankie:This item is oflegendaryrarity and boasts a scarce supply of just 100 Frankies.

Bride of Frankie:This Costume collectible has amythicrarity, with a maximum and finite supply of just 10.

Skeleton:This Costume collectible also boasts amythicrarity, and you'll find just 10 available in Decentraland.

3. Complete Quests

From an economic perspective, you also have the opportunity tocomplete quests to earn NFTs. You can create quests for other community members to undertake, with one or more NFTs available upon completion.

That's another fascinating string to Decentraland's bow, and while these NFTs typically have a low value, they may appreciate over time.

Can You Mine MANA?

Decentraland built its initial iteration on Bitcoin's classic PoW model before transitioning to the so-calledProof-of-Concept protocol. That facilitated the land ownership tracking system across the Decentraland metaverse. It also enabledmining certain NFT-represented wearables, bought and sold in the marketplace.

That said, mining MANA is impossible since Decentraland formally built the metaverse on the Ethereum blockchain, a PoW blockchain transitioning to a PoS model. Mining MANA is unlikely to happen anytime soon.

Earlier this year, Decentraland introduced its initial step to reach a layer 2 solution for payments and transactions, enabling users to shift their MANA tokens from Ethereum over to Polygon. An entire PoS validator network secures Polygon and represents a significant development for the blockchain.

Are the Game and Network Secure?

Most third-generation cryptocurrency projects areinherently secure, and Decentraland is no exception. Currently, Decentraland leveragesTypeScript codingfor creating scenes in the ledger, known as metaverse2.

This protocol also secures the system where the community hosts its VR ecosystem to support its fast-growing member count. It alsotracks and recordseach land purchase you make andalldigital assets and secures your parcel ownership inreal-time. You also benefit from an additional security layer from Ethereum.

Decentraland boasts a close-knit active participant community that regularly tests the network for bugs and critical risk points. They immediately report any suspicious malfunctions they uncover.

The wallet you use also plays a role in your overall security. Check out our guide on crypto securityhere.

The Future, Roadmap, and Game's Ambitions

Decentraland's primary objective is to create a completely open and decentralized digital economy. It also aims to change the dynamics between users and social network operators.

More specifically, its broad ambition is to transform these networks into three-dimensional and fully immersive realms. There, you can travel and interact freely while creating rewarding and profitable virtual identities that mirror the corporeal world.

Future roadmap developments will focus on theplatform's world map. That'll feature and bookmark locations and trending lands and offer you the opportunity to teleport instantly to your favorite locations inGenesis City.

Decentraland will combine this with a faster and more seamlessnative world explorer, enabling advanced mobile gameplay and helping promote the community among a larger, global user base.

Increasing Decentraland's reach and achieving global penetrationremains the next frontier for developers. They also target creating more immersive content and opportunities to earn NFTs as you complete quests and challenges.

These moves are necessary, especially with rival metaverses, likeAxie Infinity and Portals, offering viable alternatives to Decentraland in the current marketplace. That's an interesting space to watch and one that'll see incredible growth and innovation in the months and years to come.

Final Thoughts

Decentraland's a gateway to avirtual realmyou and other users get to create. It allows you to buy land, accessories, collectibles, and other NFTs that store value since they"re unique. The founders" objective is to transfer ownership to users, meaning you have control over this virtual world and how it develops.

That said, you'll have to spendMANA, the ERC-20 compatible fungible Decentraland token, to earn some. The realm depends onland and NFT as value storesand game quests to earn MANA. You can trade your earnings on licensed exchanges or stake your MANA on decentralized exchanges.

Any investment has its potential possibilities and risks, and Decentraland isn't any different. Only time will tell which metaverses are fit for long-term growth and which ones won't be able to withstand the competitive heat.

Decentraland FAQ

At this stage, we'll bridge all knowledge gaps as we answer your most frequently asked questions.

What devices can I play on?

Mobile gameplay isn't currently possible, though that'll change as part of Decentraland's roadmap in the near term. That said, you can run Decentraland from multiple computers, but remember to install your digital wallet on each device.Atomic Wallet is a great option giving you full control over your private keys and being ERC-20 compatible.

What exactly can I buy with MANA?

MANA"sprimaryuse is to buyunique avatars and land. That said, Decentraland offers NFTs, collectibles, wearable assets, other goods and services available in the metaverse for you to buy withMANA.

Wearables you say–how can I get them?

You can access basic wearables and accessories for free in youravatar editor. On theDecentraland Marketplace, you can also mine and purchase special and exclusive options. Your third option is toearn somewhen participating in selected events and quests.

What is an estate?

An estate refers totwo or more adjacent land parcelsbelonging to the same owner. High-profile users, like Atari, have made similar investments that cost thousands in the current marketplace. That said, an estate can be ahighly valuable NFT and enables you to build larger and more complex scenes.

Who verifies transactions?

It's the Ethereum landsmart contract that registers any changes to a parcel's state, like a change in the associated contents or an ownership transfer following a sale. TheEthereum blockchain recordsthese changes in real-time as network participants verify the records as part of the Proof-of-Stake model.


Decentraland Website

Access the ultimate source of information onDecentraland's official website.

Decentraland Block Explorer

Explore Decentraland"sEthereum blockchain.

Decentraland Blog

Check all the latest news onDecentraland's blog.

Decentraland Twitter

Follow@decentraland on Twitter, for its latest updates.

Decentraland Discord

Interact with other players onDecentraland's Discord server.

Decentraland Reddit

Discuss Decentraland and its metaverse with other members onr/decentraland.

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