Decentraland Is a Wager on a Future That Might Not Arrive

When I think about Decentraland (CCC:MANA-USD), I cannot help but recall an extremely disturbing — albeit tragic — story that came out many, many years ago about a married British couple who saw their union annulled by the country’s High Court.

Decentraland logo displayed on smartphone screen, teal background behind the phone
Source: shutterstock.com/Piotr Swat

An overreach by the government? Not quite. You see, the couple were long-lost siblings, fraternal twins separated at birth and adopted into separate families. Shocking doesn’t even begin to describe this unfortunate situation.

Now, what does this have to do with Decentraland, you might wonder? In my opinion, quite a lot. For instance, if this couple, after discovering the truth, came to me for advice, I’d be very clear: you’ve got to end the relationship right quick. It’s heart-wrenching but there are certain lines that cannot be crossed. I believe most people will offer similar advice.

Well, I feel the same about wagering heavily on Decentraland. There’s nothing wrong with throwing a few bucks earmarked for speculation into MANA, just like there’s nothing wrong complimenting your sibling(s) on their weight-loss regimen. But when you’re talking about serious money, it’s a similar yikes effect I would have if someone confessed the aforementioned taboo sentiment.

The problem is, a surprising number of people are losing their common-sense inhibitions regarding Decentraland and similar investments. As you probably know, MANA is tied to a virtual real estate network. A component of the metaverse (or the next generation in connectivity), investment groups are forking over millions of dollars for stakes in popular virtual networks.

Proponents might argue that they’re buying real estate. Yes, but it’s digital real estate. It’s not actual real estate. But that’s where the story gets complicated.

The Progressive Allure of Decentraland

If you need to know anything about mores, defined as the “essential or characteristic customs and conventions of a community,” it’s that they change over time. As you’ve undoubtedly witnessed with your own eyes, mores have changed quite a bit in recent years.

Among the biggest developments is the validation of all expressions of human relational and identity-based behaviors. About a decade ago, it was totally fine to ask a person with a unisex name whether they were male or female. Today, society understands that gender is not necessarily binary and therefore, we politely ask about preferred pronouns.

Naturally, the gender identity concept requires a transitional period for tradition-steeped individuals to acclimate to. But eventually, society will progress to a point where pronoun preference is normal. But then, the sibling issue seems to be a fine line, but is it really?

Remember that not too long ago, society wrestled with the definition of marriage. Today, many if not most people won’t even blink an eye regarding marriages that cover the full spectrum of identity.

So, it is very possible that in the future, the metaverse will be mainstreamed. A million bucks for virtual real estate? That might be a bargain. Or how about touring dream homes in Decentraland with your real estate agent with a panda bear avatar? To me, it sounds bonkers but that could be the new normal.

Bear in mind that I’m not equating Decentraland with inappropriate relationships. Rather, the point is about drawing the line. Progressives brought many positives to the table, such as full-spectrum inclusivity. But you can’t, say, legally marry your goldfish.

In parallel, the blockchain also brought positives, such as decentralized financial protocols. But will economic mores change where people compete to buy virtual property en masse? It’s extremely debatable.

But Really, Come On!

While taboo circumstances have occurred throughout history, such incidences are very rare overall. And I just don’t see them as being normalized ever. I have similar reservations about the sustained viability of Decentraland and other virtual real-estate-centric cryptocurrency investments.

Mainly, the metaverse concept is bizarre for arguably a majority of the global population as of this writing. For instance, 84% of business executives prefer face-to-face meetings. It’s no surprise. You can read people better in addition to establishing substantive working relationships.

And it’s this obvious risk factor that threatens the speculative boom of Decentraland. Why engage through the metaverse when you can meet someone in person? Sure, the metaverse has its uses and benefits but nothing beats being there in real life.

Admittedly, a market exists for virtual real estate — I don’t think anybody will argue against that. But how big is this demand truly? In my view, MANA has far exceeded its fundamental value, which is why prospective buyers should think very carefully before making a decision.

As for me, I speculated on MANA years ago. But I’m contemplating trimming my exposure. The speculation is more than I can comfortably handle.

On the date of publication, Josh Enomoto held a long position in MANA. The opinions expressed in this article are those of the writer, subject to the InvestorPlace.com Publishing Guidelines.

A former senior business analyst for Sony Electronics, Josh Enomoto has helped broker major contracts with Fortune Global 500 companies. Over the past several years, he has delivered unique, critical insights for the investment markets, as well as various other industries including legal, construction management, and healthcare.


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