In the past year, nonfungible tokens, or NFTs, have been gaining ground as the digital art market explodes and developers experiment with a variety of use cases. Data from NonFungible shows that over the past 30 days, there were 58,400 NFT sales and $12.7 million worth of volume.
In the same time period, MANA, the token behind the blockchain-based virtual world Decentraland, totaled $636,000 in NFT trades. The virtual reality platform is built on the Ethereum blockchain and provides a digital landscape where players can explore, interact with other players and purchase land plots along with other items.
The sector is dominated by crypto collectibles and games like Cryptopunks, Sorare, Art Blocks and Axie Infinity. These collectible NFTs range from virtual cards of professional soccer players to crypto art and crypto pets.
During the first weeks of 2021, MANA rallied by 68%. In addition to this, some positive news of real-world authors entering the industry have put some heft behind the current rally. For example, the creator of Rick and Morty auctioned off some of his digital artwork on Tuesday.
In the past 30 days, MANA traded $368 million in transparent volume, according to data from Nomics, and this represents a 257% increase from the previous month.
Recently, the average value and number of trades in the Decentraland marketplace have declined to about 20 per day and 70% of the sales are land and virtual properties.
Nonfungible LAND tokens represent an individual's ownership of land parcels. These tokens contain data like the coordinates for the land and virtual properties. Over the past four months, the largest transaction was worth nearly $150,000.
It is worth noting that MANA tokens are used to purchase in-game goods and services and are also used to settle the fees generated by LAND transactions.
A decentralized autonomous organization governs Decentraland, and all changes to the code are enacted through a collection of smart contacts. The MANA token allows holders to vote on policy updates, land auctions, and subsidies for new developments.
An interesting feature is that joining this virtual world does not require downloads, as the platform is web-based.
New features attract new users
In the past few months, Decentraland has evolved to implement interactive applications, including payments and peer-to-peer communication.
A noncustodial, transparent, auditable Virtual Casino is also being built in Decentraland. In this space, players can use either MANA tokens or Dai stablecoins, and another unique feature is that there are no Ethereum gas fees, as the transactions take place on a second layer via the Matic network. Although limited games are available, poker and more complex games are being developed.
On Dec. 17, 2020, a voice chat feature was added. This allows users to interact with each other while scrolling through the virtual world, and it replicates the type of social interaction that gamers are used to from major platforms like PlayStation and Xbox.
Decentraland launched its LAND API version 2.0 on Jan. 20, and this upgrade focused on improving marketplace metadata access. The update added endpoints that return more digestible information for those building tools that need data about LAND parcels and estates.
Lastly, NFT art exhibitions have been gaining track in the MANA ecosystem, and given the popularity of NFT art, the new feature could draw new participants to the platform. The platform also hosted a few live music events with real-world artists, a clever move considering outdoor events like concerts have come to a halt during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Although much has been created, some critical features have yet to be implemented. These include a mobile version of the platform, micro-payments infrastructure and integration with virtual reality platforms.
Data from The Tie, an alternative social analytics platform, shows that the recent price spike was preceded by increased social network activity. Thus, for those betting on MANA token appreciation, it is worthwhile to monitor social network activity data.
Decentraland has added a handful of new features to improve the user's experience and support the growing NFT collectibles and digital real estate sector. The new features under development also look promising, but overall, it is still in a very early adoption stage, so participants should do their own research when considering whether to invest in MANA.
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