Metaverse technology has been one of the most significant talking points in the tech world since late 2020. The technology is expected to utilize the blockchain to reshape our social experience with virtual realities, enabling higher levels of communication, and human interaction, while maintaining decentralization and data security.
Two major projects at the heart of metaverse technology are Decentraland (MANA) and Sandbox (SAND); amid the metaverse hype, both projects have stood out, experiencing exponential growth due to their unique features. As a result, many industry experts consider them leaders in metaverse technology; if you have been active in crypto spaces within the past year, you’d be well familiar with the names “Decentraland (MANA)” and Sandbox (SAND).” So, you may wonder how these two projects differ, comparing the unique features that classify them as top-tier projects.
This article carefully analyzes both projects, placing them side-by-side, providing you with all the necessary information, helping you see if one is better than the other.
What is Decentraland?
Decentraland is attributed as the pioneer of metaverse projects, focused on creating a virtual world with human communities on the blockchain. Decentraland users can purchase and develop plots of land like it is done in real life. These developed lands can be used for massive virtuality, including building games, art galleries, concerts, and even a wedding was hosted via Decentraland’s metaverse.
Decentraland was built and developed on the Ethereum network; hence, all lands and other assets on the metaverse are regarded as Non-fungible tokens with the ERC-721 standard. The project started in 2017 when the first set of LAND tokens was auctioned in the game; each LAND token represents ownership of virtual land parcels in the metaverse. To get a “LAND,” users must burn the metaverse’s native currency (MANA).
Like the real world, all land owners can profit from anything developed on their property, whether games, DeFi applications, NFT galleries, etc. As its name depicts – Decentraland is fully decentralized; hence, no central entity can gain control over any piece of land or anything developed on it. They are all preserved via smart contracts that only allow access following approval from the land owner.
What is The Sandbox?
The Sandbox is an NFT game that allows players to build a virtual world by getting land and developing a whole new virtual experience, allowing creators to develop several real-world experiences on a metaverse. Initially, The Sandbox was a mobile game developed to rival a popular simulation game, Minecraft; however, as it became more popular, they soon created a desktop version and entirely switched to a blockchain-based game.
The Sandbox’s metaverse allows LAND owners to monetize their property, as these NFT LANDs can be developed to taste with different applications like games, meeting spaces, NFTs, etc. All these are done to reward creators and players for their creative insights in a play-to-earn ecosystem.
SAND is the utility token of the Sandbox, an ERC-20 token built on the Ethereum network. It is used to pay for all transactions within The Sandbox metaverse; hence, to buy LANDs, develop them with applications, and carry out transactions on the metaverse, you must have SAND tokens.
Comparing Decentraland and The Sandbox
From the above definition of both metaverses, it may be pretty difficult to distinguish one from the other; after all, they both involve NFT LANDs, virtual real-estate development, monetization, and incentives for the creator economy. Nevertheless, both metaverses have unique features that set them apart.
Similarities of Both Metaverses
Decentraland and The Sandbox share numerous similarities, a few of which will be highlighted here.
Both metaverses have a limited LAND supply; this induced scarcity creates value for both metaverses.
Both metaverses allow user-generated content to be developed on their lands; these include, but are not limited to: games, digital art, virtual buildings, etc.
Both metaverses allow LAND owners to monetize their in-world assets by selling these virtual properties to receive MANA or SAND, which can be traded for other crypto assets or fiat currency.
Both metaverses are built on the Ethereum Network; MANA and SAND tokens are ERC-20 tokens, while LANDs and other assets are ERC-721 (NFT) tokens.
Both metaverses have marketplaces to trade in-game assets using MANA or SAND, respectively.
Differences between both metaverses
Aims: Decentraland started as a metaverse that aims to replicate events in the real world via the blockchain, allowing users to live their everyday lives and carry out their usual day-to-day activities, albeit in a virtual world. The Sandbox started as a simulation game that allows people to simulate their real-life experiences in a game; however, The Sandbox has frequently updated its roadmap to be more than just a game, but a fully virtual world that rewards creators’ efforts.
LANDs: Although both metaverses have a limited supply of LANDs, Decentraland has a scarcer supply of LANDs with only 90,601 parcels, while The Sandbox has a supply of 166,464. Also, LANDs on Decentraland can only be purchased on its native marketplace, while lands on The Sandbox can either be purchased from its marketplace or other marketplaces like OpenSea.
As a result of their relative scarcity, LANDs on Decentraland are much more expensive than The Sandbox; currently, the cheapest LAND on Decentraland costs 3487 MANA (~$3200), while the cheapest LAND on The Sandbox costs 1.6 ETH (~$1,900).
Decentralization and Decision-Making: Both metaverses slightly differ in their levels of decentralization. Decentraland is fully decentralized with a joint governing DAO in charge of all decision-making in the metaverse. All MANA and LAND holders can simply visit the governance website to create new proposals or vote on existing ones; hence, the community fully determines the future of the metaverse. The downside of this “optimal” decentralization is that decision-making could take a long time; hence, Decentraland has no clear roadmap; instead, it needs to reach consensus votes on a proposal for each new decision.
Conversely, The Sandbox is only partially decentralized. Users are allowed to generate content and fully own them without permission, and many of the crucial development decisions are made by the Sandbox Team; however, in the coming weeks, the Sandbox DAO is expected to launch, allowing holders to suggest changes towards the future of the ecosystem. The level of centralization here could be a turn-off to some people; however, the smaller team of stakeholders has facilitated quick decisions, allowing The Sandbox to have a clear and more exciting roadmap. By the time the Sandbox DAO launches, they will meet a comprehensive roadmap that will only need modifications and not fresh proposals; hence, The Sandbox may experience faster progress than Decentraland.
Unique Features of Decentraland
Mortgages: Decentraland allowed LAND mortgages, just as it happens in real life. This was done to provide players more access to land at cheap rates. Metaverse participants were only required to pay a 10% down payment of the LAND’s value, giving the buyer to spread payments until the amount is entirely paid.
However, all LANDs in Decentraland have been purchased, so this feature is no longer active.
Scenes: A scene in the Decentraland metaverse is an experience built on LAND parcel(s). Each scene contains unique items and features that cannot be moved to another scene; however, players can freely walk from one scene to another.
To create your scene, you must own/rent a LAND, upon which you can build the scene using the Decentraland SDK and other graphical editing tools. Using these, you can design to taste; however, you need some coding and design knowledge.
However, if you don’t want to use any of these, you may use the “Builder” – a simple visual editing tool that allows you to create a scene without facing the complexities of the SDK or advanced graphic editors.
Wearables on Polygon Chain: Wearables on Decentraland, i.e., the clothing items, accessories, and body features that make a Decentraland avatar, are minted on Ethereum’s sidechain (Polygon), enabling sales, transfers, and minting without requiring users to pay gas fees. This flexibility facilitates a better experience on the metaverse.
Unique Features of The Sandbox
Staking: Owning a LAND in The Sandbox allows you to stake $SAND tokens to earn passive income and rewards (GEMs and CATALYSTs)
Game Maker: The Sandbox has a tool that allows all users to design games for The Sandbox’s metaverse. As long as you own/rent a LAND, you can develop a game with this tool and host games on your land (to earn income). The game maker is a straightforward tool and requires no experience in game design or coding – allowing everyone easy access to metaverse development.
Designers on The Sandbox own exclusive copyrights to each game designed.
ASSETs: ASSETs on The Sandbox are NFT add-ons that improve the experience of Metaverse participants (particularly in gaming). These ASSETs could be non-playable characters (NPCs) in a game, equipment, weapons, wearables, arts, etc. All of these help to improve the virtual experience on The Sandbox.
ASSETs are provided in the Game Maker; however, users can create new ASSETs via The Sandbox’s VoxEdit software. These ASSETs are tokenized as ERC-1155 tokens in the metaverse but are changed to ERC-721 tokens when they hit The Sandbox’s marketplace.
GEMs and CATALYSTs: GEMs and CATALYSTs are ERC-20 tokens that can be burnt to boost your ASSET’s value. GEMs are burnt to increase the attributes of your ASSET, while CATALYSTs are used to induce scarcity to your asset.
With more attributes, your ASSET becomes more useful (and valuable in the metaverse). Similarly, with more catalysts, your ASSET will be rarer – increasing its value. As mentioned earlier, these GEMs and CATALYSTs are earned via staking.
Comparing Both Metaverses’ Unique Features
1. Decentraland’s “scenes” show that the metaverse is highly efficient in creating any real-life scenario that can be virtualized (which is why it could host a wedding). However, The Sandbox is concentrated chiefly on gaming experiences, owing largely to the fact that the metaverse was morphed from a game.
2. Both metaverses have unique features that allow users to create and build customized experiences. Placing them side by side, we can see that Decentraland allows more sophisticated building via its SDK while permitting no-code options via its simple “Builder” tool. On the other hand, The Sandbox’s game maker doesn’t give much room for sophisticated designs.
3. Because they are minted on Polygon chain, wearables on Decentraland are cheaper than those in The Sandbox (where the wearables are also ASSETs).
Pros and Cons of Decentraland
An industry pioneer with the greatest number of users.
Slow DAO decision-making; hence, no clear roadmap
Lacks default “fun content,” unlike The Sandbox, which appeals greatly to the gaming audience.
Pros and Cons of The Sandbox
A clear, detailed roadmap that everyone looks forward to.
Appeals greatly to the gaming audience
A bit streamlined to gaming.
Centric on Gaming
Number of LAND parcels
90,601 LAND parcels that can be developed into Estates,
Districts, and Plazas
166,464 LAND parcels that can be developed into Estates
Cost of LAND
LAND, GAME, ASSET
Decentraland SDK, Graphical Editing tool, Builder tool,
Mortgages, Wearables on Polygon Chain (for zero gas fees)
Game maker, VoxEdit software, Staking, GEMs, and CATALYSTs
Which is Better? Decntraland or The Sandbox?
Being a more recent development, The Sandbox edges Decentraland in functionality and ease of access. Also, the Sandbox is more engaging and entertaining; however, it is somewhat concentrated on gaming. Hence, if you prefer a metaverse that allows you to experience a broader range of virtual realities, Decentraland is your best bet.
Also, Decentraland’s SDK allows users to build more sophisticated experiences within the metaverse; hence, the aesthetic view beats The Sandbox’s. On the other hand, The Sandbox allows ease of access to its metaverse via multiple options, as well as LANDs on global marketplaces like OpenSea; this isn’t the case with Decentraland, which has streamlined access.
Hence, judging both metaverses on functionality, The Sandbox comes out on top; however, if we consider other variables like metaverse range and sophistication, Decentraland edges out The Sandbox.
We hope you have gained valuable insights into the top metaverse projects in the crypto ecosystem. Kindly note that you can send, receive, and swap MANA or SAND tokens via the CCTIP wallet. Simply download the wallet in one click, and you can get to use your tokens with our unique tipping and airdrop functions; learn more.
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