Decentraland (MANA) Use Case

Decentraland (MANA) Use Case
Use Cases
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Decentraland is an Ethereum based project that operates as a 3d virtual world platform, in which stakeholders play, build and trade within a blockchain-based virtual world that benefits them, the platform, and the platform’s native token, MANA.

This ambitious project started its development in 2015 by Argentianan developers Ari Meilich and Esteban Ordano and was finalized after a $26million ICO in February 2020. The virtual platform functions on the ERC-20 Token standard and allows users to purchase NFTs or LAND within the crypto space for its native token MANA.

This virtual land is essentially an NFT that occupies a space with the digital landscape of the map that users can explore, develop, build upon, or trade. These MANA and LAND Parcels operate as a means of stakeholding and allowing for interactions with Decentralands governance protocols.

While many literal miles of virtual land remain unoccupied, some of the lands have grown in value due to many of the same reasons that physical real estate fluctuates in value. In this article, we will explore the use case of the MANA token, its community, and its speculative future.

What is Decentraland?

Decentraland is an Ethereum-based project that operates as a 3d virtual world platform, in which stakeholders play, build and trade within a blockchain-based virtual world that benefits them, the platform, and the platform’s native token, MANA.

This ambitious project started its development in 2015 by Argentianan developers Ari Meilich and Esteban Ordano and was finalized after a $26million ICO in February 2020. The virtual platform functions on the ERC-20 Token standard and allows users to purchase NFTs or LAND within the crypto space for its native token MANA.

This virtual land is essentially an NFT that occupies a space with the digital landscape of the map that users can explore, develop, build upon, or trade. These MANA and LAND Parcels operate as a means of stakeholding and allowing for interactions with Decentralands governance protocols.

While many literal miles of virtual land remains unoccupied, some of the lands have grown in value due to many of the same reasons that physical real estate fluctuates in value. In this article, we will explore the use case of the MANA token, its community, and its speculative future.

Decentraland MANA Use Case: Advertising

One of the key use cases for Decentralands MANA is its use in advertising and the development of brands.  Certain areas or ‘LAND Parcels’ of Decentraland receive more traffic in the form of users interacting nearby, playing games, watching sporting events, or shopping. These areas, much like in real-world real estate, develop value by this high degree of virtual ‘footfall’ and as such become an attractive opportunity for some digital advertising.

These key areas allow for both direct Billboard-based NFT advertising or more ‘ambient advertising’ through artwork or music, all of which can be purchased and traded via the MANA token. While much of the digital landscape of Decenetraland remains empty, some areas have come to light up with advertisements for all manner of NFTs, ads for art galleries, music releases, and other crypto-related products.

For example the popular beer brewery Miller Lite is setting up its own virtual bar in Decentraland, allowing partons to watch the Superbowl and their own exclusive Miller Lite halftime ad. Other alcohol companies have begun to move further into virtual spaces like Decentraland for advertising, promoting their own brand-related NFTs and spirits-related NFT marketplaces.

All of this increased advertising and the development of brands hold the potential to increases the value of one’s LAND and the overall crypto-economic stopping power of MANA.

Decentraland MANA Use Case: NFTs and Collectables

NFTs or Non-Fungible Tokens are integral to the overall business model of Decentraland and its use case for the growth of its MANA token. For example, many users seem to enjoy the experience of visiting, developing, or curating ‘NFT Art Galleries,’ in which MANA can be used to buy and sell collectible NFTs. Users walk about and explore the 3d environment much like a real art gallery, talking to one another, enjoying the atmosphere, and perhaps even conversing with the curator.

Galleries such as Async, makersplace, and even the real world London art gallery Sotheby’s have opened their own virtual gallery, all of which use MANA as the primary means of conducting business. These new virtual models of NFT art exhibition and trade can borrow off the reputational value of long-standing galleries and the new cutting-edge digital marketplace, adding a trendsetting nature to both the platform and the MANA token.

Decentraland MANA Use Case: Governance 

MANA like many tokens that operate off the ERC-20 framework functions as of means of governance on the blockchain and this creates an interesting use case for the token. Essentially the ownership of the MANA token functions as the means of validating decisions and authenticating votes made through the platforms DAO, or Decentralised Autonomous Organisation.

In essence owners of MANA tokens or by extension ‘LAND Parcels,’ prove their status as a stakeholder in the blockchain platform. As a stakeholder in a decentralized blockchain, users now have a say in the governance of the platform. In the case of Decentralands DAO, stakeholders can now vote on various matters that affect the crypto ecosystem.

For example, the whitelisting of wearable avatar NFTs, the members of Decentralands Security Council, the addition or alteration of servers, and certain rules found on the platform.

This level of control and decentralized authority derived from the stakeholders is for many a key element of the attraction towards blockchain-based projects, theoretically giving the users a big impact on the value of MANA itself. 

In recent years however this decentralized system is increasingly being influenced by the actions of large-scale stakeholders or ‘Whales’ who have been flocking to altcoins. Whale stakeholders often run the risk of changing the nature of tokenage based DAO governance by the sheer scale of their influence and MANA has been undergoing some strains against factors such as this amongst the platform.

Concerning Decentraland

Decentraland models itself as a mixture of a game, virtual reality, and crypto-business space. But many have pointed out that the actual ‘game’ component of the platform is underperforming. In 2020 PC Gamer’s Luke Winkie pointed out that the game was impeded by glitchiness and went on to state that the game was ‘‘a Randian fever dream with Rollblox textures.’’

Both game reviewers and players alike have criticized a litany of problems, such as its slow loading times, outdated graphics, debatable player counts, and lack of VR headset integration. This type of bad press can affect both the platform and the value of the MANA token.

Other critics have pointed to negative elements within the community, that due to the nature of blockchain technology are proving difficult to remove, such as NFTs have unfortunately been minted on the platform containing racist sentiments.

It is important to mention that many digital communities contain reactionary and racist elements that do not reflect the broader user base or the views of the developers. The community did try to ban the name ‘Hitler’ on the platform, but sadly the vote did not pass the DAO and therefore could not be enacted via its smart contract protocols. 

These problems may be considered temporary in nature or perhaps simply the growing pains of the early parts of a developing project, but they are regardless concerns that affect the health of the project, the community, and the value of the platform’s MANA.

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