The metaverse isn’t necessarily a new concept; for years now, you could throw on a virtual reality headset, or just sit in front of the computer and hop into virtual worlds. Now, as the metaverse becomes not only a tool for interaction but also a tool for work or other forms of entertainment, there is a renewed interest in this industry. Especially interesting to investors are metaverse cryptos — digital currencies tied to decentralized blockchain metaverses where users have the final say in matters. As stigmatized tech giants like Facebook (NASDAQ:FB) seek to dominate the industry, these metaverse cryptos are seen as a way to subvert their efforts and still push the industry toward new things.
In the metaverse, you can go anywhere and be or do anything you want. This virtual world seeks to bridge the gap between the internet and the third dimension, making everything you do seem that much more real. Facebook sees this, and it is looking to be the largest force in the burgeoning new frontier for digital communication. Its rebrand to Meta comes with a peek into the company’s coming metaverse.
Metaverse bulls find excitement in such a huge company pursuing a product in this niche industry. But, there are plenty of people who don’t want this controversial corporation’s hands in something that users laud for the freedoms it offers. Within a Facebook metaverse, one is still subjected to Facebook’s rules and Facebook’s algorithms. Many would rather have their own rules and their own freedoms of expression.
With decentralized metaverses on the blockchain, users can have just that. Users can govern themselves, and they can even utilize a decentralized digital currency to drive their digital economy; often, they can translate this to real-life gains as well. Here are three metaverse cryptos that are considered some of the most cutting-edge in this space:
- Decentraland (CCC:MANA-USD)
- Sandbox (CCC:SAND-USD)
- Enjin Coin (CCC:ENJ-USD)
Metaverse Coins to Buy: Decentraland
Decentraland is the current poster child of metaverse cryptos. The network offers one of the most popular virtual realms for those who want to blend blockchain and digital socialization together. Its MANA token then fuels an entirely community-driven virtual economy, which actually leads to real-world passive income.
Users make an avatar and have full access to do most anything they want. One can play games, go to a virtual casino, or just hang out and chat. Most recently, the network began hosting large virtual music festivals, beginning with Metaverse Festival. The multi-day music event saw real performances throughout the metaverse by a number of musicians, including headliner Deadmau5.
There are plenty of opportunities for users to earn and spend with Decentraland. The network deals in land parcels similar to actual real estate; users can lay claim to specific plots of charted land in the metaverse and develop it how they wish. They can also sell these plots if desired. Outside of land arbitrage, developers have plenty of opportunities to earn through the Decentraland marketplace; there, one can offer non-fungible cosmetic goods up in exchange for MANA.
Decentraland holds an edge over Facebook and other tech giants looking to capitalize on the metaverse in that it’s already an established virtual community. It originally launched in 2015, before turning 3D in 2017 and slowly building outward. Its steady growth on structure and in capital via early investors is helping to secure some notable cosigns. Recently, auction house Sotheby’s bought a parcel of land and recreated its New York City headquarters.
Sandbox’s SAND Brings Big Institutional Investments to the Metaverse
If Decentraland is the Bitcoin (CCC:BTC-USD) of blockchain metaverses, Sandbox is the Ethereum (CCC:ETH-USD). The two networks are neck-and-neck in the race to capture dominance in the metaverse industry. Like Decentraland, Sandbox is its own virtual universe in which developers can build games, sell items and use the platform to build relationships and get entertainment.
Just like Decentraland, users of Sandbox get the best experience by buying and developing land. This land can be turned to whatever one wants, and plots are owned by both individual users and companies alike. Also like Decentraland, the existence of a marketplace makes generating real income with SAND a possibility.
The Sandbox map, a cartesian graph plotting areas of land and their owners, shows off who the largest landowners are. It also shows off some of the network’s biggest partners, many of whom are landowners themselves, like video game developer Atari (OTCMKTS:PONGF).
Sandbox holds a slew of sponsors across different areas of pop culture who help to push fans toward the platform. In addition to Atari, Sandbox spotlights TV and film franchises Walking Dead and The Smurfs as well as musicians Snoop Dogg and Deadmau5 as sponsors. By leveraging these sponsors, Sandbox can begin to edge itself past Decentraland in popularity.
Most appealing for SAND bulls is not just the front-facing sponsorship deals it has inked; a huge recent investment in the network is lifting optimism. Japanese holdings firm SoftBank (OTCMKTS:SFTBY) is investing $93 million in the network. With this rush of capital, it could definitely expedite development enough to overtake Decentraland as the largest metaverse network. Currently, Decentraland’s MANA holds $4.5 billion in market capitalization, while SAND holds $2.4 billion.
Metaverse Coins to Buy: Enjin Coin
Enjin Coin could very well be the most versatile of the three metaverse cryptos here. It is not a metaverse in the traditional sense; rather, it blends blockchain gaming and the metaverse into a unique hybrid product.
The Enjin network is the same as Decentraland or Sandbox. There are no plots of land, and there’s no walking around as a virtual avatar. Rather, Enjin is a gaming platform where users enter different gaming spaces and interact with one another through play. The network offers a variety of different games, all revolving around building out collections of non-fungible tokens (NFTs) and using them to beat other players. This might remind one of Axie Infinity (CCC:AXS-USD), the turn-based dueling game in which users breed NFT creatures to train and explore with. However, with a host of different offerings, rather than one game type, there are more options for users.
Enjin is picking up serious steam in the metaverse space in recent days. Much of that is tied to its Efinity (CCC:EFI-USD) metaverse fund. Efinity is an NFT creation platform close to the Enjin main network. With its new $100 million investment into the Efinity chain, it is hoping to push its technology further into the space. Following the same ideology as blockchain bulls, Enjin thinks the future of the metaverse is decentralized, a stark contrast to what Facebook presents.
Investors are taking interest in Enjin because it bridges both blockchain gaming and the metaverse, but it is worth looking into even more so because its future is fluid. As a gaming and NFT platform, the content of the network is what users make of it. The investment is just one step in a major development of Enjin’s metaverse. With its already robust offerings, its large amount of capital, and a fervent community base who make lots of suggestions and provide insight for further development, Enjin has a chance to offer a seriously great metaverse product.
On the date of publication, Brenden Rearick did not have (either directly or indirectly) any positions in the securities mentioned in this article. The opinions expressed in this article are those of the writer, subject to the InvestorPlace.com Publishing Guidelines.