Last week, an NFT founder tweeted that the metaverse company Decentraland only had 30 daily active users, despite its $1.2 billion market valuation. After a cryptocurrency news outlet reported the numbers, this week Decentraland hastily corrected on its blog that its metaverse actually has 8,000 daily active users. For reference, $1.2 billion is roughly one-eighth of a Bethesda.
The data for the first claims of 30 daily users came from DappRadar, an app store that tracks NFT transactions. Decentraland refuted the numbers in a blog post, stating that they actually had 8,000 whole daily active users. Wow. Incredible. I think Kotaku has gotten twice as many retweets on a single tweet than Decentraland has active users?
If you read further in the blog (or I will so that you don’t have to), you’ll see that there’s some funky math going on here. “You might at first divide 56,697, the number of September’s MAU by 30 and come back with the number 1,866,” wrote Decentraland, acknowledging that is far from the 8,000 that they claim. “A large number of Decentraland’s users are repeat visitors, they are the Decentraland community and spend time on the platform on a regular basis.”
So they’re not actually counting unique visitors. Decentraland has 1,866 unique visitors a day. This is so sad that I don’t even know that I have the heart to snark about it. Haha, just kidding. That’s a bad number and they should feel bad. But feeling bad requires some self awareness, which the blog post seems to lack. “When discussing the number of DAU or MAU in Decentraland, it’s worth keeping in mind that Decentraland is not a company and that it doesn’t view users as a product by which to measure success,” wrote Decentraland.
“Decentraland is a DAO and the only open source, Web3 metaverse platform that is owned and governed by its community.” (Kotaku reached out to Decentraland to ask what kind of metrics it uses to measure the platform’s success, but did not receive a response by the time of publication.)
Um… okay? I guess that would be plausible if Decentraland didn’t have a market cap of over a billion dollars. It feels like a good opportunity to remind folks once again that the crypto world is filled with scams, and not even Meta can really get the metaverse to take off even with its massive war chests filled with money.
Nevertheless, the not-company seems optimistic. Maybe overly so. “Decentraland’s goal is to be a fun and entertaining platform with a thriving community that educates and onboards people to the philosophies and tech of Web3 while empowering Creators in the hope that, when the masses realize why decentralization is important, a viable option will be available and the next iteration of the internet won’t be monopolized by a handful of corporations.”
I don’t think Decentraland will be an alternative to anything while only two thousand unique visitors are engaging with the platform per day. But hey, maybe I’ll be proven wrong by these forward-thinking revolutionaries.
Imagine being able to jump from one concert to another in a matter of seconds, or go from your native land to any country in the world without having to catch an exhausting flight, or attend all your meetings from your home but in your office. These are only a few use-cases to name that the metaverse promises.
What Is The Metaverse?
The metaverse is a shared online space, combining physical, augmented, and virtual reality, and it is set to reshape the world by becoming an integral part of our day-to-day lives in the next 10 to 15 years. The metaverse sits at the crossroads of Web3.0, blockchain, and virtual and augmented reality. Once people around the world get familiarized with these concepts, the metaverse industry will grow at an exponential rate.
As of now, the world is functioning on Web2.0, where the only thing an individual can own wholly is a domain name. As we move into the realm of Web3.0, individuals can own a multitude of things in the form of digital assets. Anything an individual can create, buy, or sell on Web3.0 can be solely owned by that individual with digital rights of ownership. Blockchain technology and NFTs make this possible.
Blockchain technology, cryptocurrency, and NFTs serve as the foundation of the metaverse, a decentralized virtual world where there is no one group of people will have majority ownership of the internet.
Metaverse Market Analysis
Use cases for the building blocks of the metaverse — NFTs, cryptocurrencies, VR and AR — were once only limited to the gaming and entertainment industries. As these technologies mature, the metaverse will transform more than just the gaming and entertainment industries.
According to a report by Brandessence Market Research, the global metaverse market was valued at $209.77 billion in 2021 and is expected to grow to $716.5 billion by 2027 at a compound annual growth rate of 22.7%. A report published by Global Industry Analysts, Inc. pointed out that current efforts in building the metaverse are structured in a way to promote the peaceful coexistence of stakeholders, irrespective of their size.
This will serve as the key to the metaverse being decentralized and would speed up the development of Web3.0. The metaverse is aimed at bringing a wide range of industrial sectors including entertainment, finance, travel, and gaming industries into an immersive digital ecosystem where cryptocurrencies and NFTs are invaluable assets.
Key Trends and Major Players In The Industry
There is a fair amount of abstraction as to how businesses across the world will be operating on the metaverse, however, some corporate sectors have already started working on innovative solutions to become a part of the virtual revolution. Meta Platforms, Inc. (NASDAQ:FB) developed and published Horizon Worlds, a virtual world where users can explore, play, and create new worlds. Alphabet Inc.
(NASDAQ:GOOG) is actively funding the development of Web3.0 and the metaverse. Microsoft Corporation (NASDAQ:MSFT) announced Azure Digital Twins which will allow users to create a digital representation of real-world entities and run simulations on them, allowing businesses to gauge feasibility in cost-effective ways.
Giant tech companies such as Meta Platforms, Inc. (NASDAQ:FB), Microsoft Corporation (NASDAQ:MSFT), and Alphabet Inc. (NASDAQ:GOOG) are pouring in billion-dollar investments to catapult the metaverse industry into a trillion-dollar industry. However, there have been some notable efforts and contributions to the building of the metaverse in the past, before it became a buzzword.
Linden Lab is widely known for creating Second Life, an online multiplayer game. Second Life was launched in 2003 and offered users the ability to create an avatar for themselves and lead a “second life” in an online virtual world. The platform allowed users to interact with places, objects, and other avatars. Users of the platform are called “residents”.
Residents can explore the world, meet other “residents”, socialize, participate in both individual and group activities, build, create, shop, and trade virtual property and services with one another. Second Life has its own digital currency, the Linden Dollar, which users can buy with real money. The game rose to popularity over the decade and gained over one million users in 2013. As of 2021, the platform has more than 900,000 active users.
Another prominent and ambitious company in the virtual space is video-game maker Pixowl, which designed and developed the popular non-linear mobile game, The Sandbox. The players of the game explore resources such as water, soil, and sand, among others, and work on building their own virtual worlds. Players make progress through the game by performing tasks such as using water and dirt to make mud or making a battery from scratch.
The Sandbox was acquired by Chinese video game company Animoca Brands, in August 2018, which worked on adding blockchain functionality to the game. The blockchain version of The Sandbox enabled users to monetize their intellectual property in the game. In the third quarter of 2019, Animoca raised over $2.5 million to fund the development of the blockchain version of The Sandbox. The platform has its own digital currency, SAND, which is used to transact over the network.
To find the 13 most ambitious metaverse companies in the world, we looked at various metaverse market reports that highlighted the major players in the industry. We look at the vision statements of each company to determine what it aspires to bring to the metaverse. We examined each company’s product portfolios, earnings reports, analyst comments, and hedge fund sentiment. We also looked at each company’s metaverse projects and gave weight to the competitive advantage that the company has over others….To be continued