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In the past year, intangible tokens, or NFTs, are gaining ground as the digital art market explodes and developers experiment with different usage scenarios. Data from NonFungible shows that there were 58,400 NFT sales and a volume of $ 12.7 million in the last 30 days.

During the same period, MANA, the token behind the blockchain-based virtual world Decentraland, totaled $ 636,000 in NFT transactions. The virtual reality platform is built on the Ethereum blockchain and provides a digital landscape where players can explore, interact with other players and purchase land plots along with other items.

The sector is dominated by crypto collectibles and games such as Cryptopunks, Sorare, Art Blocks and Axie Infinity. These collectible NFTs range from professional soccer players’ virtual cards to crypto art and crypto pets.

MANA / USDT 4-hour chart (Binance). Source: TradingView

During the first weeks of 2021, MANA increased by 68%. In addition, positive news from real-world authors entering the industry has made the current rally a bit more intense. For example, the creator of Rick and Morty auctioned some of his digital artworks on Tuesdays.

In the past 30 days, MANA traded $ 368 million in transparent volume, according to data from Nomics, and this represents an increase of 257% from the previous month.

Recently, the average value and number of transactions in the Decentraland market has fallen to about 20 per day and 70% of sales are land and virtual properties.

Decentralized and daily transaction history in the market. Source: NonFungible.com

Intangible LAND tokens represent someone’s ownership of land parcels. These tokens contain data such as the coordinates for the land and virtual properties. In the past four months, the largest transaction was worth nearly $ 150,000.

It is worth noting that MANA tokens are used to purchase in-game goods and services and are also used to pay the fees generated by LAND transactions.

Decentraland is run by a decentralized, autonomous organization, and all changes to the code are made through a collection of smart contacts. The MANA token allows holders to vote on policy updates, land auctions and grants for new developments.

An interesting feature is that you don’t need any downloads to participate in this virtual world, as the platform is web-based.

New features attract new users

Decentraland has evolved in recent months to implement interactive applications, including payments and peer-to-peer communication.

A non-state, transparent and verifiable virtual casino is also being built in Decentraland. In this space, players can use MANA tokens or Dai stablecoins, and another unique feature is that there are no Ethereum gas fees as the transactions take place on a second tier through the Matic network. Although limited games are available, poker and more complex games are being developed.

A voice chat feature was added on December 17, 2020. This allows users to interact with each other as they scroll through the virtual world, and it replicates the kind of social interaction gamers have come to expect from major platforms such as PlayStation and Xbox.

Decentraland launched its LAND API version 2.0 on January 20, and this upgrade was aimed at improving access to metadata in the marketplace. The update has added endpoints that provide more digestible information for construction tools that require data on LAND lots and estates.

Finally, NFT art exhibitions are emerging in the MANA ecosystem, and given the popularity of NFT art, the new feature could draw new participants to the platform. The platform too hosted a few live music events featuring real-world performers, a smart move given that outdoor events such as concerts have come to a halt during the COVID-19 pandemic.

While much has been made, some essential features have yet to be implemented. These include a mobile version of the platform, micropayments infrastructure and integration with virtual reality platforms.

MANA Twitter user activity versus price (USD). Source: The tie

Data from The Tie, an alternative social analytics platform, shows that the recent price spike was preceded by increased social network activity. So, for those betting on MANA token valuation, it is worth following the activity data from social networks.

Decentraland has added a handful of new features to improve the user experience and support the growing NFT collectibles and digital real estate industry. The new features in development also look very promising, but overall it is still in a very early adoption phase, so participants should do their own research when considering investing in MANA.

The views and opinions expressed here are solely those of the author and do not necessarily reflect Cointelegraph’s opinion. Every investment and every trade move carries risks. You should do your own research when making a decision.