Decentraland is a virtual world that is using the Ethereum Blockchain to sell plots of virtual reality real estate. They’re selling an initial offering of the currency they call ‘MANA’, from August 8 to August 16, 2017, and they’ll have up to 2 million plots of virtual land that will be sold for 1000 MANA. They hope to create a virtual city with different thematic districts that will help with content discovery.


The blockchain contract will contain a Bitorrent link or IPFS hash that contains the content for each virtual plot of land. They have a Unity plug-in, but are also planning on using A-Frame and other WebVR technologies to create their virtual city. They’ll be using using other blockchain technologies like district0x for secondary markets for reselling land, Aragon for distributed governance, uPort for self-sovereign identity, Ethereum Name Service for human readable names. More specific architectural details are described in their Decentraland Whitepaper.

I had a chance to catch up with co-founders Ari Meilich and Esteban Ordano in San Francisco to talk about how Decentraland is using blockchain technologies to manage their virtual world, and why it’s important to create artificial scarcity to help with the discovery of virtual worlds.

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  • Foreign Devil

    I guess they want to replicate Second Life for VR. .. however they have stiff competition with Sansar and High Fidelity. I’ve never heard of “Decentraland”.

    • Xilence

      Similarly, I’ve heard of Sansar and Decentraland but I’ve never heard of High Fidelity.

      EDIT: I must also explain the appeal: it can’t be censored or taken down, so that’s why it’s so important. I’m buying in day one.

  • Sebastian Williamson Vega

    Isn’t second life dying already… and social VR is dead. So why make VR social worlds

    • 0x

      Social VR is dead? No offense but that made me laugh. We have barely dipped our toes in the pond.

      I don’t agree that you need to create artificial scarcity to create value. That would suggest there is no value to anything in the digital world unless you artificially limit the quantity. Well, as someone who distributes my creative work online, available for free to all but with optional ways to financially support, I can tell you that even though people could just freely copy that data, people still support me financially. It’s not the number of copies available online which determine the value of my work. If that were the case it would be worthless and I would have never made a cent. People see value in supporting my work because then I will make more of it. So yes, it has to do with scarcity, but not arbitrarily defined artificial scarcity.

      Everything that is unique is scarce by nature. Human expression, creativity, human effort, work, passion, personality, individuality, etc etc, are all valuable because they cannot simply be replicated with a line of code or a copy-paste. No matter how many times you duplicate something it will never be new again. No matter how cool your algorithms are they will never replace inspired human creativity… and few things can rival what a group of driven, passionate people can accomplish together.

      Also, the digital world already deals with various forms of scarcity. It is not disconnected from matter, you know. We still need to power our computers and pay for internet connections and whatnot.

      This is not intended as criticism or an attack on the people behind this system, I’m actually curious to see where it goes. Just sharing some thoughts.

      • Sebastian Williamson Vega

        I’ve played vitural worlds before. i thought it was the future like you. But the things is that Social VR isn’t unique yet. If you give people a tool and you say draw something, they would eventually get bored. Same thing with Social VR. I can literally do the same thing with facebook. Or GTA online. Want to play football multiplayer. No promblem. Fifa multiplayer. You know how many social worlds were created. 1000s of them. But most of them is dead. Social VR is a real life sim. Plus isn’t Social VR the same thing as Social worlds?

        • Xilence

          These are social worlds though, it’s the same appeal as Second Life but better due to the massive immersion upgrade.

      • Xilence

        The reason for scarcity is because it is a blockchain based network with NO OWNER. This is the system they chose for it to operate independently on. Ownership is decided this way and no one will spam down ownership, creating value to what is offered.