There are layers to cryptocurrency. Services, products, even nascent legal systems can be built on top of and within blockchains. For example, a whole range of cryptocurrency types are built on Ethereum and its blockchain, including something that combines services, products, and legal system — in fact, it’s a whole virtual world.
That’s the idea behind LAND, a non-fungible token (NFT) that’s the basis of the “land” in Decentraland, a virtual game world built on cryptocurrency. To get LAND you need MANA, the cryptocurrency of Decentraland — and quite literally the coin of the realm. Except this realm is governed by…well not by any one person exactly. After all, it’s Decentraland, not Centraland.
What is Decentraland (MANA)?
MANA is the currency that is used in Decentraland . Decentraland is made up of LAND, non-fungible digital plots of virtual space (or land) that make up the game. The developers of Decentraland created a fixed amount of land, encouraging users to “develop” what they have and thereby creating a market for the currency used to transact with it, MANA. Also, because LAND is a type of NFT, any individual parcel can not be replicated or duplicated. LAND first went up for sale in December, 2017 and since January the land has been owned by “participants” in Decentraland.
LAND isn’t the only asset available within the Decentraland universe — one can also buy virtual goods using MANA in the Decentraland Marketplace. These include “wearables” like virtual clothing as well as names that are unique within Decentraland.
As of late September 2021 the price of MANA was around 70 cents.
Like many cryptocurrencies, the value of MANA is quite volatile, with the price changing substantially over time. Anticipating and dealing with the rapid and extreme change in prices is one of the basics of investing in crypto.
According to CoinMarketCap , MANA is the 78th most valuable cryptocurrency with a “market cap” or total value of just under $1.2 billion. Like many cryptocurrencies, MANA shot up in price earlier this year, jumping from 25 cents to just over a dollar in less than a month starting in late February. It fell and rose again, getting as high as $1.57 in early May.
History of Decentraland
The Decentraland white paper — the official founding document of the cryptocurrency that explains its purpose and the technical specifications for it — was published in early 2017, several months before the virtual universe and its MANA cryptocurrency came into being.
The main idea behind Decentraland is that thanks to the proliferation of cell phones and computers, many people are in a kind of “virtual world” most of the time anyway. Decentraland positions itself as a 3D as opposed to 2D interface.
True to the ethos of cryptocurrency that animates everything from how Bitcoin mining works to the skepticism around some crypto regulations, let alone crypto taxes, another animating concept behind Decentraland was that as opposed to other virtual worlds — think Second Life, World of Warcraft, Fortnite — there would be no central authority in charge of it.
The group behind the white paper got started in 2015 and started working on a 2D grid that they referred to as Decentraland’s “Stone Age”. Another prototype was the “Bronze Age” and the public launch would be its “Iron Age”. Soon after the white paper, Decentraland was able to raise over $20 million in an initial coin offering.
A total of 2.8 billion MANA tokens have been in circulation since September 2017. There’s a maximum total supply of about 2.2 billion MANA coins; this, combined with the fixed amount of LAND tokens, is designed to avoid runaway or unpredictable devaluation of the assets within Decentraland, as can be an issue with other “currencies” like airline miles, for example. Instead of devaluation through inflation, there’s actually been some increased valuation of MANA through deflation.
How Does the MANA Coin Work?
The MANA coin works as a token on the Ethereum blockchain. This means that the Decentraland token MANA requires Ethereum and its token, Ether, to be purchased and exchanged.
To do this, the first step is connecting your crypto wallet holding Ether to the Decentralized marketplace . Once you exchange Ether for MANA, you can then use MANA to purchase items within Decentraland, including parcels of land.
How and Where to Buy MANA Crypto
There are a few different ways to buy MANA — both of which will be familiar to anyone who’s looked into investing in most other types of crypto.
On a central exchange, you can swap your fiat currency like U.S. dollars for a crypto coin, which is then stored using a crypto wallet. The following exchanges offer MANA:
You could also purchase MANA by purchasing Ether tokens through brokers or exchanges and then swapping for MANA. It’s possible to buy MANA in this way from:
Decentraland has created an entire virtual world where participants can use the cryptocurrency MANA to buy parcels of LAND, an NFT that represents actual land in that world. One can also use MANA to buy and sell goods and services within Decentraland — like virtual clothing — on the Decentraland marketplace.
For investors looking to trade crypto, SoFi Invest® offers a range of cryptocurrencies including Ethereum, Bitcoin, Litecoin, Cardano, Dogecoin, and more.
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