Decentraland and Cryptovoxels: An Introduction to Digital Ownership

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Image Courtesy of Connie Digital / Decentraland

Blockchain-based virtual worlds like Decentraland and Cryptovoxels are the next frontier. They are the future, but also the present. They are a mash-up of social networking, gaming, commerce, and creativity. They are the meeting grounds of the Metaverse. They are important for you to understand, and this article will help.

User-Owned Virtual Worlds

So, what exactly are blockchain-based virtual worlds? Good question. Both Decentraland and Cryptovoxels are user-owned platforms (worlds) built using the Ethereum blockchain. Users own pieces of the world by purchasing scarce Land NFTs. Because the in-world land is represented by an NFT, this means each parcel is unique and ownership can be easily tracked.

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Land NFTs give their owners control over specific locations within the respective virtual world. Whether a single parcel of land in Cryptovoxels, or an estate in Decentraland, owning land allows you to build upon and monetize the three dimensional space. Just like the real world. 

Also, just like the real world, users can hang out with friends and enjoy cool experiences. These virtual worlds are home to many art galleries, nightclubs, conference areas, games and more. In fact, there are daily in-world events taking place across Decentraland and Cryptovoxels. Not to mention, these events are super easy to attend.

To access these worlds, all you need is a web browser (preferably Chrome, Brave or Firefox), and a crypto wallet like MetaMask installed. While you don’t need a wallet to jump directly into Cryptovoxels, if you wish to purchase land or wearables, you’ll need one. The wallet works like your personal account to keep your assets safe.

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Speaking of wearables, be sure to check out my article all about NFT Wearables. These are limited edition virtual clothing items for your in-world avatar. Again, just like the real world, users can dress their avatars with dope threads. Accessories like hats, sunglasses, and masks are available for added drip too.

Cryptovoxels even allows users to make their own NFT Wearable creations. These are voxelized items that fit the Minecraft-esque aesthetic of the platform. On the other hand, Decentraland has only opened up the ability to create virtual clothing to a small group of users. Currently, the ability to create Decentraland Wearables requires users to submit proposals that must be voted on and approved by the community.

In-World Cryptocurrency

Voting on proposals, changes and new developments requires users to hold Decentraland’s native cryptocurrency, MANA. MANA has several purposes and was originally issued during a 2017 ICO (initial coin offering). During the initial sale 40% of MANA was sold, 20% went to the founding team, 20% went to the community and partners, and 20% was retained by the Decentraland Foundation. According to CoinMarketcap, there is a total supply of just over 2.1 billion MANA.

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In addition to being used to vote and manage the Decentraland platform, MANA is also used for in-world transactions. Some games may require MANA to play, and some locations may require MANA to enter. Land, Wearables and avatar Names can also be purchased on the open market with MANA.

Unlike Decentraland, though, Cryptovoxels does not have an in-world cryptocurrency. Well, not any more. Once upon a time, Cryptovoxels used the COLR token to allow users to add different colors to their builds, but that was discontinued as of June 2020. COLR is no longer needed to access any of the in-world features.

If you’re interested in buying land in either Decentraland or Cryptovoxels, you can do so on the world’s largest NFT marketplace, OpenSea. There you can see what’s for sale, what’s been sold, and what’s up for auction. You can also acquire NFT Names and Wearables on OpenSea. Decentraland has its own dedicated marketplace site as well. Either works fine for buying and selling the various NFTs.

Joining The Metaverse

At this point you should have a better understanding of these blockchain-based virtual worlds. In effect, they are a fun introduction to digital ownership and an important evolution in the way we interact, engage and transact with each other.

If you’re considering participating, go for it! The best way to get involved is to jump-in and start exploring. The NFT community is generally helpful and willing to teach those wanting to learn.

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