Inside Decentraland, where users can’t drink but they can buy blunts

One Decentraland DJ told Protos: 'We take shots or drink beer. I play reggae so we talk about blunts or bong hits, just bullshit.'

What’s billed as the first ever Ethereum-powered music and arts festival will be held this weekend inside virtual world Decentraland. 

TO THE MOON is a collaboration between NFT collectives Illumino and BEAR NFT, while marketplace KnownOrigin is offering up its slice of the Decentraland metaverse as the venue.

This Sunday, beginning at 8pm UTC, Decentraland users (and their avatars) can watch live musical performances from artists Win and Woo, Autograf, SNBRN, Ookay, and Dr. Fresch.

Decentralanders can also access a special selection of NFTs curated specially for the event.

KnownOrigin’s Decentraland HQ was deserted when we visited.

Virtual worlds bought with digital cash

Launched in 2017, Decentraland is crypto’s Second Life. Users experience the virtual world through a customizable avatar. 

The platform does store and cryptographically verify game data using the Ethereum blockchain but the universe itself is hosted on community-run servers.

  • Decentraland users can play user-created mini-games, mine materials to craft items, and gamble crypto at a casino staffed by Pepes.
  • With the project’s native ERC-20 token MANA, businesses and individuals can buy NFTs representing virtual real estate and in-game items.
  • Users can vicariously attend virtual NFT-powered art galleries and events hosted in the virtual lots.
Decentraland has fallen 65% from its all-time high in late April.

NBC reported in March as many as 10,000 people were logging on to Decentraland. However, when Protos visited it took a while to find someone to talk to.

In fact, only 790 unique wallet addresses interacted with Decentraland’s smart contracts in the past 30 days, according to DappRadar. Another portal showed around 220 users active at press time.

Still, we managed to find two users hanging out in the “WonderMine,” where players gather materials to kit their characters with NFT wearables.

This reporter’s avatar was slightly underdressed for the interview.

StoneyEye and NightTerror (respectively based in Moscow and Long Beach City) told Protos they met at a recent Decentraland NFT event.

NightTerror (who said they’re fairly new to Decentraland) said the world is fairly quiet most of the time but gets “pretty packed” during events.

StoneyEye is a DJ in both the real and virtual worlds and has played sets to Decentraland crowds.

They told Protos 250 people attended their last set — at least that’s how many claimed Proof-of-Attendance, a blockchain badge that can be collected at certain crypto events.

StoneyEye explained that people dance and talk. “We take shots or drink beer. I play reggae so we talk about blunts or bong hits, just bullshit.”

StoneyEye clarified that although bars exist in Decentraland, avatars can’t currently drink. However, you can go to Franky’s Tavern to buy a blunt for your virtual self.

Decentraland users want money

For now, day-to-day Decentraland activities are limited to mining, playing games, and exploring NFT galleries.

Still, an economy has emerged around Decentraland, mostly in the form of real estate.

Decentraland sells space on its map in 16×16 meter parcels which buyers can combine into larger plots on which to build structures.

According to NFT Stats, 72 virtual lots have sold on OpenSea in the last seven days at an average price of $9,700.

One Decentraland DJ told Protos: 'We take shots or drink beer. I play reggae so we talk about blunts or bong hits, just bullshit.'
Harajuku-inspired Metajuku Mall, where you can buy virtual clothes and such.

[Read more: Jay-Z avenges Reasonable Doubt with Sotheby’s NFT auction]

In June, digital real estate developers Republic Realm made history by spending nearly $1 million on a 16,000m lot, which they turned into a virtual shopping mall.

As for whether virtual music festivals in Decentraland could take off, DJ NightTerror said: “It’s hard to say.”

“For now most people are here to make money.”

Decentraland played host to the Dragon Boat Festival last month.

Check out Decentraland’s event calendar for more information.

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