People are buying little dots on the screen for an average price of $12,000, with one of the biggest sale occurring today as an estate (pictured in red) was sold for 1.3 million MANA, worth $100,000.
Businessmen have sprung up, flipping land. Capitalism in action as ethereum’s token economy is now close to entering virtual reality.
“My name is Matty and I have been flipping land on Decentraland since the last seven to eight months. I have flipped hundreds of lands and have been following the marketplace for months.”
So says an investor in what currently looks like just dots, dots that a whale is apparently scooping up left and centre. Matty says:
“He continues to accumulate MANA every single day. If you look at his wallet you will notice that every day he will accumulate anywhere between 300,000 to 1 million MANA every day…
He has also come in and purchased every land under 15,000 MANA.”
We do not know if it is the same whale that bought an estate for about as much as a real house, but while now the dots might look like nothing, the vision is grand.
Each dot is virtual land in a city that runs on ethereum and IPFS. Ethereum for the land ownership part, IPFS for all the visuals and content storage.
The virtual reality part will launch perhaps by the end of the year or sometime in early 2019, with much of it nearly finished.
At that point, you’ll be able to put on a VR headset and walk around a new world where ethermons fight Cryptokitties or race each other on crypto cars.
Madness? We have not quite begun. They have districts, which are fairly big open spaces. Each district is different, with one or two allowing anyone to build what they want.
Most districts have a plan and a vision to entice holders to vote for them as these open spaces are community driven projects.
There’s a proposal by the Decentraland team, for example, to build the Crypto Valley, which they describe as:
“A virtual Crypto Valley to break up the geographic constraints and provide free access to anyone in the world. It is a large area dedicated to Crypto projects, either existing or upcoming ones.
Projects can build up their own shop based on their project type, for example a skyscraper or a department store, etc. The valley will become the place for projects to access to capital, networking, hiring and partnerships.”
Then there’s Hacker City, which is led by Dan Kelly, founder of NonFungible, a site that provides market discovery and analysis tools for many Non-Fungible Tokens (NFTs). That too passed, with their aim being to build a virtual hackers gathering of sorts, or as they describe it:
“Hacker City exists to serve the software developers of the world. To provide a fun place to write code collaboratively, work on bleeding edge development and toolsets, or simply to conceptualize or socialize with other hackers.
Virtual Reality enables opportunities for remote or collaborative work to once again become more personal and engaging.”
There were proposals for one district to be r/biz for “a place where NEETS can get together and discuss how much money they are losing,” but that didn’t pass.
Some of the others that passed are far too varied. There’s a Music hub, sports zone, engineering park, chill zone, and so on.
Much of the development will be driven by the Decentraland team which raised 68,205 eth in an ICO that sold out in about five minutes in August 2017. Yet this project appears to be fully decentralized with a significant community driven focus.
The land itself is an ethereum token or NFT. That is then linked to IPFS, where all the graphics are contained, with an individual seemingly able to fully copy clone this if they wish as there appears to be no central point of control.
The whitepaper says: “Land ownership is established at the consensus layer, where land content is referenced through a hash of the file’s content. From this reference the content can be downloaded from BitTorrent or IPFS.
The downloaded file contains a description of objects, textures, sounds, and other elements needed to render the scene. It also contains the URL of a rendezvous server to coordinate connections between P2P users that are exploring the tile simultaneously.”
IPFS can be slow, so there are some scene limitations, with Kelly telling Trustnodes Decentraland “is building up IPFS infrastructure to support more throughput.”
There’s a small demo that can give some indication of what Decentraland would be like. Kelly says: “You can use the developer SDK and walk around in VR on individual development parcels. Nothing is connected together yet though, can’t visit anyone elses parcels yet.”
They are “pretty close to finished beta,” but that may be just where it all begins as all this land, both in private areas that are bought or flipped as well as in the somewhat public districts, needs to be built upon.
“Many districts are interested in taking on developers (content or code) to help build out the districts. Their best bet to get involved is to reach out to the district leaders or simply in the district discord channel and ask,” Kelly says.
We wondered what the incentives are for anyone to build on Decentraland. Kelly says: “In the case of the two districts I am leader for, we have reserved 30% share in the (future) corporation for development of the district.
Again, every district is different. I have reserved corporate voting shares, some other districts have perks within the district, some have revenue sharing/profit sharing, some (like mine) have shares reserved (voting and revenue) to ‘pay’ for work to be done.”
Advertising might be one of the biggest revenue source, but for now all this building is more for fun. It is all natively digital, so many token business models can be incorporated, from simply selling whatever unique token design or product, to perhaps asking for an entry ticket.
The skills needed to participate in a meaningful way, according to Kelly, are “3d modeling, programming (typescript), content creation/creative writing, graphic design, web development.”
The rest can buy land in the hope someone else will want it more later on, or can build a virtual reality business on it, with the city merging virtual reality with cryptos and blockchain tech.
One can imagine in the future, where worldwide internet connectivity makes a physical working space somewhat archaic, that things like a Trustnodes office would be on cities like Decentraland.
There would be our newsfeed flashing through the windows, maybe crowds would gather. Perhaps there would be a gym next door with VR mimicking our physical movement. Or maybe we would go on a run around the city, while physically running around our comfy house.
On our way perhaps we’ll go past the speaker’s corner, or the hardfork cafe, with two cars racing somewhere by a crowd gathered to watch two individuals having a match.
Maybe there’s a conference going on, with Vitalik Buterin presenting. The guy or girl next to us introduces themselves. Your first time here? – we ask.
A global village, a visual chatroom, where kids gather to play the games that now make adults envious they could not enjoy at their age, with businessmen across the globe holding business somewhere, with a street artist now on a global street, with visual artists finally able once again to make meaningful art.
A complete fiction, or the world of tomorrow? A silly dream, or more just convenient business? Kids stuff or the future world of everyone? That, we may know soon enough.