NFT boom and platform upgrades back Decentraland’s (MANA) 100% rally

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In the past year, non-fungible tokens (NFT) have gained ground as the digital art market exploded and developers experimented with a variety of use cases. Data from NonFungible shows 58,400 NFT sales and a volume of $ 12.7 million in the past 30 days.

During the same period, MANA, the mark behind the blockchain-based virtual world Decentraland, totaled NFT trades totaling $ 636,000. The virtual reality platform is based on the Ethereum blockchain and offers a digital landscape in which players can explore other players, interact with them and buy land along with other items.

The sector is dominated by crypto collectibles and games like Cryptopunks, Sorare, Art Blocks, and Axie Infinity. These collectable NFTs range from virtual cards used by professional soccer players to crypto art and crypto pets.

MANA / USDT 4-hour chart (Binance). Source: TradingView

In the first few weeks of 2021, MANA grew by 68%. Additionally, some positive news from real world writers entering the industry has got the current rally going. For example, the creator of Rick and Morty will auction some of his digital artwork on January 19th.

According to Nomics, MANA Token has traded a transparent volume of USD 368 million in the past 30 days. This corresponds to an increase of 257% compared to the previous month.

Recently, the average value and number of stores on the Decentraland market has dropped to around 20 per day and 70% of sales are land and virtual real estate.

Daily transaction history from Decentraland Marketplace. Source: NonFungible.com

Non-fungible LAND tokens represent a person’s ownership of land parcels. These tokens contain data such as the coordinates for the country and the virtual properties. In the past four months, the largest transaction was worth nearly $ 150,000.

It’s worth noting that MANA tokens are used to purchase goods and services in-game and to pay for fees generated by LAND transactions.

A decentralized autonomous organization governs Decentraland (DAO), and all changes to the code are made through a collection of intelligent contacts. With the MANA token, holders can vote on policy updates, land auctions and subsidies for new developments.

An interesting feature is that no downloads are required to join this virtual world 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 non-custodial, transparent and verifiable virtual casino is also being built in Decentraland. In this area, players can use either MANA tokens or DAI stablecoin. Another unique feature is that there are no Ethereum gas fees as the transactions take place on a second level via the Matic network. Although limited games are available, poker and more complex games are being developed.

A voice chat function was added on December 17th, 2020. This allows users to interact with each other as they scroll through the virtual world, recreating the kind of social interaction gamers are used to on major platforms like PlayStation and Xbox.

Decentraland released its LAND API version 2.0 on January 20th. This upgrade focused on improving access to market metadata. The update added endpoints that return more digestible information for the creation tools that need data on LAND parcels and estates.

After all, NFT (Non-Fungible Token) art exhibits have gained prominence in the MANA ecosystem. Given the popularity of NFT art, the new feature could attract new participants to the platform. The platform also hosted some live music events with real world artists. This is a smart move considering that outdoor events like concerts have stalled during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Although a lot has been created, some important features still need to be implemented. This includes a mobile version of the platform, a micro-payment infrastructure and integration into virtual reality platforms.

MANA Twitter User Activity vs. Price (USD). Source: TheTie

Data from TheTIE, an alternative social analytics platform, shows that the recent price hike was preceded by increased activity on social networks. For those who rely on the appreciation of MANA tokens, it is therefore worth monitoring the activity data of social networks.

Decentraland has added a handful of new features to improve the user experience and support the growing NFT collector and digital real estate sector. The new features under development also look promising, but are still in the very early stages of implementation, so participants should do their own research if they are considering investing in MANA.

The views and opinions expressed are those of the author only and do not necessarily reflect the views of Cointelegraph. Every investment and trading step is associated with risks. You should do your own research when making a decision.