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Decentraland’s MANA has surged 80% in the last 24 hours to a market capitalization of more than $2 billion.
The jump in the virtual world’s token to $1.26 at last check was apparently spurred by Facebook’s announcement Thursday it is changing its corporate name to Meta to signal an increasing focus on the metaverse.
Or as CEO Mark Zuckerberg, speaking at a conference on augmented reality, put it, his company will now be “metaverse first, not Facebook first.”
“MANA’s leading position in the metaverse ecosystem will likely be solidified further by Facebook’s move to rebrand and focus on building its own extension to the digital world,” said Denis Vinokourov, head of research at Synergia Capital.
“Tokenized gaming has really taken off as a trend in the last few weeks and Decentraland is by far the most established of the bunch,” said Mati Greenspan, CEO of Quantum Economics.
Nearly every asset within Index Coop’s Metaverse Index (MVI), an index that tracks crypto assets and protocols building out the virtual world, is up on the day. Sandbox (SAND), which is a virtual world where players can monetize their virtual experiences, is up 31%, according to the MVI. The play-to-earn game and virtual world, Axie Infinity’s token, AXS, has also surged 17% in the last 24 hours.
Facebook’s commitment to building out the metaverse, evidenced by its plans to hire 10,000 European Union-based staff, is a signal to the market that there is incredible value to be unlocked, said Mason Nystrom, a senior analyst at Messari.
Vinokourov is still bullish on Decentraland’s MANA, now valued at $2.4 billion. “This market cap is far from extreme, given the sector growth potential,” he said.
Virtual worlds like Decentraland and Sandbox have stark differences to Facebook’s Meta vision for the metaverse, according to Nystrom.
Nystrom explains that he expects Meta to build “moats” around the metaverse, creating digital walled gardens, so that the holding company and its family of networks (for example, Facebook) have the ability to make money off it. Digital worlds like Sandbox and Decentraland, by contrast, will allow developers and gamers to make money for themselves.
“Essentially it’s the difference between a closed (Meta) and open (crypto) metaverse,’’ he explained.
Investors will likely want access to both avenues because how the metaverse will unfold is largely unknown, said Nystrom.