What Is Decentraland (MANA)?
Decentraland (MANA) defines itself as a virtual reality platform powered by the Ethereum blockchain that allows users to create, experience, and monetize content and applications.
In this virtual world, users purchase plots of land that they can later navigate, build upon and monetize.
Decentraland was launched following a $24 million initial coin offering (ICO) that was conducted in 2017. The virtual world launched its closed beta in 2019 and opened to the public in February 2020. Since then, users have created a wide range of experiences on their parcels of LAND, including interactive games, sprawling 3D scenes and a variety of other interactive experiences.
Decentraland uses two tokens: MANA and LAND. MANA is an ERC-20 token that must be burned to acquire non-fungible ERC-721 LAND tokens. MANA tokens can also be used to pay for a range of avatars, wearables, names, and more on the Decentraland marketplace.
Who Are the Founders of Decentraland?
Decentraland was co-founded by Ariel Meilich and Esteban Ordano — both of whom have stepped down from major positions at the project, but still work alongside Decentraland as advisors.
Ariel Meilich previously held the role of project lead at Decentraland between 2017 and 2020, and is a serial entrepreneur that has founded several other startups, including an online translation agency and a CRM platform. He also worked as an analyst at Charles River Ventures, a prominent Silicon Valley venture fund.
On the other hand, Esteban Ordano is Decentraland’s former tech lead and has a long and varied history in the cryptocurrency space working as a software engineer at BitPay, Inc., an advisor to Matic Network and briefly operated his own smart contract development firm known as Smart Contract Solutions.
Esteban is also credited with co-founding Zeppelin Solutions, an established blockchain technology infrastructure company.
Although Ariel and Estaban are no longer leading the project, the development of Decentraland is still ongoing, with efforts being directed by the recently established Decentraland Foundation.
What Makes Decentraland Unique?
Decentraland is built for content creators, businesses and individuals that are looking for a new artistic medium, business opportunity, or source of entertainment.
In total, the Decentraland gameworld — termed the “Metaverse” — is divided into 90,601 individual parcels of LAND, each of which is represented by an ERC-721 non-fungible token. Each LAND is exactly 16m x 16m (256 square meters) and can be found at a particular coordinate in the Metaverse.
Though LAND holders are free to develop their plot into whatever they choose, much of the Metaverse is broadly divided into several districts, each of which has a different size and theme. These districts were generated through individual crowdsales for MANA tokens, and parcels of LAND in these districts cannot be traded.
As of January 2021, the cyberpunk-themed Aetheria is the largest district — comprising a total of 8,008 LAND.
Decentraland is also one of the growing number of projects to use a decentralized autonomous organization (DAO) structure for governance decisions. As a result, MANA toker holders are in control of how the Decentraland world behaves, by proposing and voting on policy updates, the specifics of upcoming LAND auctions and the types of content that are allowed with the Metaverse.
Besides being a creative outlet, many Decentraland users currently monetize their LAND through leasing, advertising and paid experiences. Likewise, other users generate an income by creating and selling items on the Decentraland marketplace for MANA tokens.
How Many Decentraland (MANA) Coins Are There in Circulation?
As of January 2021, just north of 1.49 billion MANA tokens were in circulation. This is equivalent to around 68% of the current total supply of 2.19 billion MANA.
The original total supply was set at 2.8 billion MANA, but has been reduced as more than 600 million MANA have been burned as a result of LAND auctions.
There is also a range of further burn mechanisms in place to further reduce the circulating supply of MANA, including a 2.5% MANA burn on Decentraland marketplace transactions.
MANA was originally designed to inflate at 8 percent in the first year, decreasing gradually over time to reduce the rate of inflation. But inflation is currently disabled. As per the Decentraland glossary, there are no plans to initiate this inflation “until necessary”.
In total, 40% of the MANA supply was sold during the 2017 initial coin offering (ICO). In addition, 20% was reserved to incentivize the community, 20% went to the development team and other early contributors, and the remaining 20% was held by Decentraland. Project lead tokens are no longer vested.
How Is the Decentraland Network Secured?
MANA is an ERC-20 token. This means it is based on the Ethereum blockchain.
Ethereum is secured by a massive decentralized network of miners, which work together with thousands of nodes to ensure the Ethereum blockchain—and hence the MANA tokens—is protected against attacks.
As one of the most battle-tested blockchains in current usage, Ethereum is currently the most popular network for crypto tokens that don’t have their own native blockchain.
Where Can You Buy Decentraland (MANA)?
The MANA token currently benefits from excellent liquidity and can be purchased, traded or sold on around 100 different exchange platforms. As of January 2021, Binance, OKEx and Coinbase Pro are among the most liquid exchanges for MANA tokens. A full list of available markets can be found in the “Markets” section.