The Complete Beginners Guide to Fully Understanding Decentraland – What is it and How Does it Work?

What is Decentraland and how does it work?

Simply put, Decentraland is aiming to be a ‘virtual world owned by it’s users’.

So how exactly does this look?

Genesis City is Decentraland’s first world map and from a birds eye, 2D perspective, looks like this.

It might be extremely confusing but each little pixel represents 16 x 16m in the Metaverse and is referred to as a ‘parcel of land’ represented by the LAND token, tradeable on the blockchain.

You can build things on your land like the below examples and eventually visit them in VR!

You can explore these build previews on DCLPlazas Buidl Page or the Creator Contest Entries.

Decentraland over the last 6 months to a year has been in Beta Testing where we’ve had small community events to stress test the platform and report on any bugs that we find. it’s been great to see it evolve!

Explaining the Decentraland Layout and Map Colors

Let’s go back to the map for a minute so we can explain how all this works on a blockchain level and we’ll later look for investment or flipping opportunities.

The map below is ‘Genesis City’ and is the first attempt from Decentraland to create a thriving metaverse.

To explain what all the random colors mean, you’ll see this map when you go to Decentraland’s Atlas View.

The map is made up of Private Parcels that individual owners can buy, build on and sell. Here, you can monetize your land and basically do what ever you want with.

These are Grey, Light Blue and Red.

Grey represents lands that are not for sale

Light Blue are currently listed for sale and as you hover your mouse over them, you can see their asking price.

Red are owned by me and are picked up as mine when I log in with my Metamask account.

Apart from these privately owned parcels, there are big purple areas called ‘districts’.

These districts are community projects lead by a district leader to see it through. Districts are a large part of Decentraland and the only way to have officially bought in on these was during the first auction 2 years ago.

Each District has their own Discord Channel you can join and talk to about progress and what their builds might look like.

The Green Boxes are ‘Genesis Plaza’s’.

These Plaza’s are owned and managed by the Decentraland team and are where spawn points, events and games will be held in an effort to promote Decentraland. It is expected that these areas will have a good amount of traffic.

Lastly, we have the grey lines everywhere which are supposed to represent road networks.

How it All Began – Explaining LAND and MANA Token

Decentraland ICO

Decentraland first held their ICO for their MANA token back in August 2017 before crypto went crazy in late that year.

The token sale ended in minutes and raised almost $25M.

This was back when it wasn’t too difficult to raise money for ICO’s as people were throwing money everywhere.

Nonetheless, Decentraland had raised enough money and sold around 1Billion MANA Tokens. Now, they had to build out the metaverse.

Decentraland ILO, (First Land Auction)

In Q4 2017, Decentraland held their first Land Auction.

This part of Decentraland History is probably the most important part to fully understand, especially if you’re an investor.

Every land parcel, (all parcels excluding genesis plaza’s, roads and districts), were put up for sale with a minimum bid of 1,000 MANA.

So if I had 10,000 MANA I could log in to the land auction and effectively bid for 10 different lands. If someone else came and wanted that land they could bid 1,250 and they would have potential ownership on the land if they weren’t outbid by the end of the event.

At the end of the terraform event, all MANA spent on land was burnt removing them out of circulation! This amounted to a crazy 125M MANA, ($10 – $12M at the time).

34,358 Lands were sold, most at 1-2,000 MANA but many were sold for way more, especially near the centre of the plaza where some sold for nearly 600,000 MANA!

After 2 weeks, the auction ended and the first owners of decentraland land existed.

Later on Decentraland went on to hold another Land Auction to sell the rest of the 9,331 parcels. All 9,331 remaining parcels were purchased, amounting to a total of 109,521,854 MANA burned, or roughly $6.6 million USD.

Trading Commences in Private Chat and Marketplace

When the first auction finished, there were over 2,000 individual wallets that owned land.

9,331 lands were unsold, to be sold at a later date.

What followed was a huge market to buy and sell lands! Because Decentraland’s marketplace was still not launched, people were buying and selling these lands privately. It was fun, exciting and hella risky.

Eventually, Decentraland released their own Marketplace and we were able to track Land trades.

This graph from has been a great resource for tracking sales volume over the last 2 years. The below is just 1 years worth of sales.

Blue represent sales in MANA

Green bars are # of parcels sold.

People were selling $10s of thousands of Digital Land Daily! With some sales reaching $215,000 USD!

Larger Investors and Game Companies Get Involved

Some Larger investors like Barry Silbert and his DCG Group are proponents of Decentraland

You may have heard or seen him on TV representing the long term case for Bitcoin. Grayscale owns 1% of Bitcoin which is a LOT of money!

They’ve also set up a side fund to help kick start Decentraland development called Metaverse Ventures.

So if you have an idea you’d like to pitch, you can get in touch and see if you can receive assistance in seeing it through.

There’s also been some awesome game companies like ChainBreakers and BattleRacers that have committed to build their game experience in Decentraland! ChainBreakers had their Presale in MANA.

How Do You Get Started in Decentraland?

Decentraland for the most part of 2 years has been in development. They have been hard at work building multiple products so the project can one day realize complete Decentralization.

Decentraland Marketplace: A place to buy and sell land. You can view the overall map and browse Genesis City along with seeing which new parcels have been listed for sale!

Decentraland Agora Voting: Our Voting Medium. Questions get posed to the community and we vote here with MANA.

Decentraland SDK: If you want to start custom building on land parcels, you can start using Decentralands SDK.


Decentraland Builder: A cool drag and drop builder you can use to simply drag and drop epic builds. The recent competition showed us how awesome this could be! You don’t need a land to get started!

Decentraland Avatars: Get started with your Avatar. You need one before you can explore the world!

So depending on what you want to do, the above links will help you get started.

As an Investor: You can browse the marketplace, this blog tutorials, and start buying and selling land. Maybe you can even start building and deploying on your land using the Decentraland Builder or the SDK.

As an Explorer, Player: You have to start with creating an avatar. This will white list you to be invited to BETA. You can then simply ask for the admin on general channel in the discord link below to be White Listed so you can start exploring!

Joining the Community

The Decentraland Discord is where the community hangs out and discusses important topics. It’s also where people ask questions, post their lands for sale and generally build on networking with each other.

What to Expect in 2020 Decentraland?

2019 has been awesome for the growth of Decentraland. They’ve released a road map to give us an indication as to what to expect. We should see this be updated soon to represent 2020.

We should expect Audio/Video Streaming, VR Compatibility, Mobile and much more!

Decentraland continue to increase features and build the world along with what the community wants.

It’s going to be an exciting few years to see this project develop!

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