Decentraland is one of the oldest blockchain games still available and likely the first true stab at the metaverse. Founded by Esteban Ordano and Ariel Meilich in 2015, Decentraland eventually held an Initial Coin Offering (ICO) in 2017 which raised a stagger 86,206 Eth, around $359 million at the time of writing this, but still $26 million at the time of the ICO.
The Ethereum-based game has a large network of digital land in the form of NFTs (LAND) as well as its own token (MANA). Although the playerbase has ebbed and flowed, the game’s own token shot to prominence and embedded itself in the top 50 coins towards the end of October as the metaverse trended. Not to mention, land plots have started selling for millions of dollars.
Decentraland is an impressive project and part of the earliest legacy of both blockchain gaming and the metaverse, but much of what attracts me to the game is the way in which it is run. Sat at the top of the list is that Decentraland is run by a Decentralized Autonomous Organization (DAO), which essentially gave the management of the project back to the players. It is now overseen by the nonprofit, Decentraland Foundation.
Now, both Decentraland Foundation and the DAO have joined the Blender Development Fund as a patron.
Blender is a free and open-source 3D modeling tool and has been a staple of the gaming industry for decades. In 2020, the software was downloaded 14 million times and it has an insurmountable pool of education for it, both in written content and video.
The Blender Development Fund provides grants and subsidies to developers using Blender and aids the gaming space. Other patrons include the likes of Google, Apple, and Microsoft, as well as a host of game-oriented organizations.
Decentraland is the first crypto project to become a patron of the Blender Development Fund, but given Blender’s inevitable centrality to the creation of the metaverse, the first of many.