Meta’s biggest opponent: it is the forerunner of the Metaverse (2)

Within 4 days, the market cap soared from $1.6 billion to $7 billion.

Shenyi Bureau is a compiling team under 36氪, focusing on technology, business, workplace, life and other fields, focusing on introducing foreign new technologies, new ideas, and new trends.

Editor’s note: To say what was the hottest word in the technology circle last year, many people may think of “Metaverse”.Of course, the fire is thanks to Facebook (Meta). However, the term was not invented by Meta, and Meta was not an early entrant. One of the earliest entrants came from Argentina. Under the Metaverse Troubled by Meta, the number of users of this virtual world has increased by 3300% in the past year, and the market value once reached a peak of 12 billion US dollars. It could prove to be the most potent challenger to Meta’s long-term ambitions. This article will explore Decentraland, the forerunner of the Metaverse. The article comes from the compilation, the length is related, we publish it in five parts, this is the second part.

Meta's biggest opponent: it is the forerunner of the Metaverse (2)

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Meta’s biggest opponent: it is the forerunner of the Metaverse (1)

Origin: Builders of the World

As the name suggests, the Palermo Hollywood district of Buenos Aires is known for its television studios and production operations. But it also plays a leading role in some of cryptocurrency’s biggest products.

In 2011, Manuel Araoz was a computer science student at ITBA (Institute of Technology of Buenos Aires). The university is known as the “MIT of Argentina”. While taking a cryptography course, he found Satoshi Nakamoto’s white paper on Bitcoin. Argentina’s economic turmoil and rapid currency devaluation over the past two decades have given Satoshi Nakamoto’s words palpable power. Araoz was stunned. As reported in a blog post discussing Decentraland, he noted:

This paper looks interesting. But when I shared it with professors, they dismissed it as nonsense. I think this technology can change the world.

Araoz began to try to carve his own scratches in this new field (Editor’s note: Jobs said that he would carve scratches on the universe, which generally means “changing the world”), and launched “Proof of Existence” (POE), The self-proclaimed “first-ever non-financial blockchain application”. The POE acts as a notary, and by adding an encrypted “digest” to the blockchain and timestamping it, anyone can “prove” the existence of the document. As the site itself notes, it’s “the first online service that lets you publicly prove that you have certain information without revealing data or information about yourself.”

Araoz also joined BitPay, a bitcoin payments business at the time. As technical lead, his responsibilities included opening a branch in Buenos Aires. He chose a two-story house in Palermo Hollywood (Editor’s Note: He continued to rent it after leaving BitPay, and the place became known as the Voltaire House).

Voltaire House

Meta's biggest opponent: it is the forerunner of the Metaverse (2)

Pink is the Hollywood district of Palermo, Buenos Aires, Argentina, where the House of Voltaire is located

BitPay engineers, friends from ITBA, and other early cryptocurrency fans, the Voltaire House building quickly became a gathering place for deep thinkers. In preparing the material for this article, I spoke with several former residents and visitors there, including Esteban Ordano, one of the founders of Decentraland. He recalls part of what makes this place special:

Everyone works from home, and during lunch, we often have in-depth exchanges on technology, science, and politics. It was a beautiful experience, a place to speak up and learn together.

Meta's biggest opponent: it is the forerunner of the Metaverse (2)


More than just philosophical ideas, this group of “Voltaires” seeks to put ideas into action. The occupants of this hacking home have produced some of the most interesting early experiments in cryptocurrency and infrastructure that has stood the test of time. include:

  • OpenZeppelin . After the DAO hack, Araoz co-founded OpenZeppelin, a smart contract auditing firm. It has now become the standard in the field, endorsed by the Ethereum Foundation, Brave, Coinbase, Compound, and more.
  • Streamium . Although no longer active, Streamium is an ambitious attempt by Araoz and Ordano to be a web3 competitor to Periscope. The streamers on their platform are paid via Bitcoin micropayments.
  • Nomic Labs . Nomic is the developer of Hardhat, and Hardhat is an Ethereum development environment, which is used by teams such as Aave, Sushi, Uniswap, Celo, and Aragon. The company was founded by Franco Zeoli and Patricio Palladino.
  • Muun . This self-hosted Bitcoin wallet uses the Lightning Network, which seems to be appreciated for its ease of use and smooth design. Muun was founded by Dario Sneidermanis (the core developer of Decentraland).
  • Big Time Games . Big Time Games is a multiplayer RPG running on a blockchain platform (although not yet officially launched). Users can buy virtual “spaces” like land plots. The founder is Ari Meilich, one of the founders of Decentraland.

Even before they even considered their most successful creations, the Voltaire gang had a lot of influence.

New World

In 2015, residents of Voltaire House paid for an HTC Vive. VR equipment allowed them to see the potential of spatial experience. Ordano calls it a moment of awakening:

When I first encountered an immersive VR experience, it was like when I first heard about blockchain. I think we’ve only touched the tip of the iceberg in terms of possibilities.

Together with Manuel Araoz, Ari Meilich and Yemel Jardi, Ordano began to discuss the possibility of creating a new type of blockchain environment. Their early conversations had the whimsical, philosophical vibe of Voltaire. In our conversation, Ordano described it this way:

Our original thought was: “How can we build a transparent, blockchain-powered simulated world?” It was just a thought experiment, and basically impractical, but “The owner of a 3D space can decide where to live in that universe. What’s in that place” started to make sense.

Like many others of his generation, Ordano grew up playing massively multiplayer online role-playing games (MMORPGs).In particular, he was inspired to start coding after being exposed to Argentum Online, the free and open source version of Ultima Online for the Argentine market. These experiences came into play when he and his colleagues considered the possibility of building virtual worlds. Ordano noted that they were also “greatly inspired” by Second Life, a virtual world developed by Linden Lab.

Over the next two years, the idea of ​​the four of them slowly took shape, according to Ordano, repeatedly returning to the idea of ​​building “a completely transparent ‘game’/experience, something open source and community-governed.” superior. A new type of virtual world, a decentralized continent.

He admits that only a “madman” would take up such a challenge. Developing a 3D MMORPG is also extremely difficult in the best of circumstances. But you want to do it on the browser, and it must be open source, with a peer-to-peer server architecture, and using an immature blockchain ecosystem? This is crazy. When asked what was the biggest misconception about his creation, Ordano sent me this meme image:

Meta's biggest opponent: it is the forerunner of the Metaverse (2)

Source: Esteban Ordano

Their team was undeterred. Beginning in 2016, the team began developing the Bronze Age version of “Decentraland,” which is essentially a 3D world divided into pieces of land.

Meta's biggest opponent: it is the forerunner of the Metaverse (2)


In March 2017, they deployed Bronze Age on a testnet, an alternative blockchain for testing. Time to recommend to the rest of the world.

Millions of dollars and MANA tokens

A few months after the team launched the test, they released a white paper outlining the vision. While there are no explicit details in it, the white paper says to build a traversable, community-governed world featuring an on-chain economy. The kingdom’s territory is divided into parcels of land, with details stored on a “blockchain-based ledger.” These NFTs (the term wasn’t popular at the time of the white paper) can be acquired through Decentraland’s unique token “MANA”. In this virtual world, users can buy and sell goods and experiences. Expected use cases include advertising (such as virtual billboards), social interactions, and digital collections. It’s worth noting that OpenSea hadn’t even launched when Decentraland’s white paper was released, and even CryptoKitties hadn’t made a splash.

On August 17, 2017, Decentraland opened its ICO, hoping to raise 86,206 ether, or $26 million. In less than 35 seconds, the open quota was sold out. While this fueled the development of Decentraland with 2,000 buy orders, many were left out in the cold, frustrated with the big deals snapping up too many shares. An organization called “” raised more than a thousand people and ended up with nearly 21% of the quota.

In this crowdsale, a group of people got a lot of real estate — sources estimate that they currently own about 0.3% of the land in Decentraland. I talked to the people who manage the land for them. According to their recollections, Araoz’s involvement piqued their interest, and Araoz was known to be an “OG” (Original gangster) figure given his reputation at OpenZeppelin. In addition to the impressive team, there was a great deal of vision for the project. “Their vision is very broad and ambitious, and with Araoz on board, I believe they can do it,” the source said.

Max Mersch of Fabric Ventures feels similarly. He was the first “external” investor in Decentraland other than family and friends. In 2017, after seeing their presentation, he was impressed by the core team of the project:

At the time, the team consisted of Ari Meilich, Esteban Ordano, and Manuel Araoz… a group of Argentine workaholics, crypto veterans, who mostly worked, code and live together at Voltaire House. day to day. They were born for it – back then, cryptocurrencies and the Metaverse were far from as hyped as they are today.

open the door

Those lucky enough to buy land in an ICO can’t use it to do much yet. As a practical virtual edition, the world is still in the alpha stage of construction. Meanwhile, in 2018, Decentraland launched a software development kit (SDK) that developers can use to create virtual “scenes” that can then be deployed on plots. Around the same time, the “LAND Marketplace” for platform transactions was launched. As of the end of 2019, the marketplace has processed $16.6 million in MANA transactions. Today, the marketplace offers a wider variety of NFTs, including “Wearables” and “Names” for digital avatars.

In January 2020, Decentraland finally opened its world doors to the public, kicking off a new world with a massive treasure hunt offering opportunities to win CryptoKitties, Axies, and tokens.

Users are starting to flock to the platform, and while the performance and vitality of the world is not that great, the total monthly active users (MAU) is still relatively low. At the beginning of 2021, the MAU of Decentraland was around 20,000 people, and with the arrival of the cryptocurrency fever, this number began to increase. By the end of the first quarter, MAU had more than doubled to over 50,000. In the spring of that year, the number hovered between 60,000 and 80,000.By the fall, MAU began to grow further, reaching 140,000.

Then, something happened.

Meta effect

At Facebook’s Connect conference, Mark Zuckerberg started his talk by reviewing the history of online expression. When entering this thread of the keynote speech, he said:

The platforms and media of the future will be more immersive—become an embodied Internet where you are in the experience, not just watching it. We call it the Metaverse.

The grapevine has been confirmed. The company that was originally called Facebook bet all on the Metaverse and even changed its name.

Once the Metaverse of science fiction, the promise and potential profits of this virtual world suddenly became reality after Zuckerberg’s announcement. The real world has noticed, too. In the two months after the word was announced, it was reported that 12,000 articles mentioned the Metaverse, 30 times the number of the previous year, and related products were suddenly inundated with users and funds.

Within a month, Decentraland’s MAU nearly tripled. The price of MANA almost walked out of a vertical line, rising from $0.75 to $3.56 before closing at $5.50.

Meta's biggest opponent: it is the forerunner of the Metaverse (2)

Source: CoinMarketCap

Within 4 days, Decentraland’s fully diluted market capitalization soared from $1.6 billion to over $7 billion, taking the equivalent of a long weekend from 1-800-FLOWERS to the size of The New York Times. After the surge, MANA and other tokens have fallen back, but they are still several times higher than before Meta’s announcement.

This surge also brings to light some of the woes facing Decentraland. As we’ll discuss later, the stability and maturity of this product has not met expectations for a project of this size. This criticism is justified from one point of view, but unfair from another point of view. Yes, this project is indeed one of the hottest projects in the crypto circle right now, but the market is fueling the growth and pushing it forward for several years. It may take some time to digest this new requirement.Current head Agustin Ferreira noted that Decentraland is “still a proof-of-concept in many ways,” while CTO Agustin Mendez explained how tricky this swarming can be:

I often think “word of the year” is probably the Metaverse. Confirmations from Meta’s new direction and new name have definitely raised awareness for this type of project… The version of Decentraland hosted on in December saw a 33x increase in monthly users year-over-year . Getting server and decentralized node performance to keep up with scale can be challenging.

While not without its flaws, Decentraland is already a fascinating and moving place.

Posted by:CoinYuppie,Reprinted with attribution to:
Coinyuppie is an open information publishing platform, all information provided is not related to the views and positions of coinyuppie, and does not constitute any investment and financial advice. Users are expected to carefully screen and prevent risks.

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