Bootstrapping the creation of a public virtual world

Ari Meilich
Jun 14, 2017 · 3 min read
A public virtual world should be ruled by open standards

Over the past decade, giant proprietary platforms have emerged where hundreds of millions of users gather to interact with each other, share content, or play games. Their network effects have made for a very fertile ground for online communities and gaming companies. However, each of these platforms has perpetually remained an appendage of the owner of the network. In every case, some central organization has acted as a gatekeeper as well as a taxman, controlling the network and its content, and extracting a significant amount of revenue from content creators. We believe users should own and capture the value of the content they create. This is why we built Decentraland.

Decentraland began in 2015 as an experiment in blockchain technology. Initially, it was simply a proof-of-work algorithm that allocated pixels to users in a trustless manner. The following iteration turned Decentraland into a traversable 3D world that you could explore through a web or VR client. A few months from now, Decentraland will be the open standard for a fully-fledged virtual world, or Metaverse.

In Decentraland you can buy and develop parcels of land on which to build anything from static 3D scenes to dynamic applications. This way, you can host other users on your land and determine how they interact with each other and the environment — and since the land is yours, you get to keep the value that you create for other users.

Art creation is the simplest use case within Decentraland.

Bootstrapping the Decentraland network

However, for all this to happen at scale we have to get past the predicament that afflicts every nascent network: the fact that no developer will create content in the absence of users, and no user will spend time in a platform devoid of content, the so-called “chicken and egg” problem. Traditionally, raising venture money and spending it on marketing has been the way to solve the problem. But nowadays crypto tokens offer a better way.

Issuing our own token will allow us to incentivize content creators, developers, and users alike through bounty programs, artist grants, and a team to help us execute the vision. As stakeholders of the network, all participants are aligned to grow the network, thereby creating a virtuous cycle where content draws new users and users draw new content creators.

We are thankful to the community, early contributors, and backers for their work to make a decentralized virtual world happen.

Next Steps

The Decentraland token sale will take place on 17/08/2017. Learn more by reading the Decentraland White Paper.

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Note: This article has been amended. We’ve transitioned the token sale start date to August 17th to ensure complete compliance with recent regulatory announcements. Learn more in our announcement.


A blockchain-based virtual reality world.

 by the author.

Ari Meilich

Written by


A blockchain-based virtual reality world.

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