When I first heard of Decentraland (supported by the MANA token), I thought the person telling me about it and everyone involved in the project to be outright ridiculous. In the simplest terms, the project is literally creating virtual real estate on the blockchain. Over time, however, it slowly grew on me. Seeing Steven Spielberg’s “Ready Player One” not long after and I began to think “OK, maybe they’re just brilliant devs who took a few too many drugs.” A few more days go by and I recall a trip last year to Riot Games in Los Angeles, creator of League of Legends, and remember the fervent employees there who not only worked on the Google-esque corporate campus, but would play on their own product for hours on end after work in the campus’ PC방. It started to click a little bit more each day: VR emergence, Video Game/Crypto adoption correlation, escapism (or is it?), blockchain mania…Virtual. Real. Estate. Why the hell not? Nowadays, it registers more as brilliant sans drugs. So I looked into it further…specifically how Decentraland virtual real estate markets compare to actual real estate markets across the U.S. as show below. (Note that Decentraland is sold in parcels “virtually” measuring 1076 SQF thus all prices are in $/SQF taken at the MANA market rate of ~$0.11 as of the time of this byt3):
If you have to do a double take that’s O.K. but yes…the going rate for a piece of virtual land compares with that of real-world U.S. states and actually edges out more than half of them! (It would rank 24th as a “state” in terms of $/SQF). With that being said, the average $/SQF in Decentraland ($45 as of the time of this byt3) is still a bit under the average across all U.S. States ($59 in 2016Q1) according to the Lincoln Institute of Land Policy and doesn’t hold a candle to a state like Hawaii ($412/SQF!). Furthermore, the development purposes and methods between these types of estates could not vary anymore drastically. One type requires hammer and nail, the other some pretty savvy coders. The possibilities are interesting to think about since there are not many other projects going after this niche (saving the whales with blockchain is obviously numero uno at the moment) and with how far virtual reality has come, we can expect to see some pretty imaginative developments and the governance that follows. Stay tuned with Dig3st to see how certain parcels of Decentraland are selling at market rates comparable to that of Las Vegas.