Decentraland is one of the oldest known metaverse projects that are still around today. Throughout the years it has been thoroughly scrutinized by many, talked about relentlessly on Youtube and Twitter, and discussed as a potential investment year. It was founded in 2015 by Ariel Meilich and Esteban Ordano. They feared that one day in humanity’s future a company or an organization will have a monopoly or sole ownership of the virtual reality that we will be a part of. So they came up with an idea for a decentralized version of this virtual reality and decided to build it on Ethereum. They describe Decentraland as “the first-ever virtual world owned by users.”
This is currently also just about the only big metaverse project that has a working product already.
In 2017, during the ICO boom, the team managed to raise 26 million dollars for the project’s development by selling their utility token $MANA for $0.024. Land parcels were sold in two auctions, both in 2018 for about $20 per parcel. The game went live in January 2020 after 4 years of development.
Throughout the years and especially in late 2021 and early 2022, major brands invested in Decentraland or bought land parcels in it. Grayscale, one of the largest cryptocurrency investment funds, holds 18.3 million MANA tokens as of mid-2022. Boson Protocol invested $704k to develop a virtual mall inside Decentraland. Other strong investors in Decentraland include Animoca Brands, Digital Currency Group, and CoinFund.
Some big names held their first metaverse auctions on the platform. These include Samsung, Adidas, Atari, PricewaterhouseCoopers and Miller Lite, and Sotheby’s. Music artists including Deadmau5 and Grimes held concerts inside Decentraland.
Land parcels can be bought on Opensea as well as their official marketplace where you can also buy names for your avatar and cosmetic upgrades..
Different communities and NFT projects have created their worlds inside Decentraland with in-game quests and play to earn minigames. That being said, there aren’t many regular active players that can be found inside the game compared to popular non-NFT-based MMORPGs. Activity only tends to spike up when there is a scheduled event. The game is playable only on desktop, no other devices are currently supported. The project is licensed under Apache 2.0. Decentraland has been the most popular metaverse so far.