It's Lonely in the Metaverse: Decentraland’s 38 Daily Active Users in a $1.3B Ecosystem
What’s going on in the metaverse these days, you might ask. Looking at two of the biggest companies with over $1 billion valuations, the answer is surprising: Not much, or at least not enough to bring users back every day. According to data from DappRadar, the Ethereum-based virtual world Decentraland had 38 active users in the past 24 hours, while competitor The Sandbox boasted 522 active users in that same time.
An active user, according to DappRadar, is defined as a unique wallet address’ interaction with the platform’s smart contract. For example, logging onto The Sandbox or Decentraland to make a purchase with SAND or MANA, each platform’s respective native utility token, is counted as an “active use.”
This means that DappRadar’s compilation of daily active users doesn’t account for people who log in and mosey around a metaverse platform or drop in briefly for an event, such as a virtual fashion week. It also likely means that these spaces are not where people are making transactions such as buying non-fungible tokens (NFT).
A developer might defend the low daily stats with the familiar phrase, “don’t hate the player, hate the game;” but it seems it’s not just one quiet day for the two metaverse platforms.
The largest number of daily users ever on Decentraland was 675, according to DappRadar. For The Sandbox, that number was larger at about 4,503.
Sam Hamilton, Creative Director at Decentraland, told CoinDesk that while they report 8,000 users on average per day, this accounts for any individual who passively interacts with the metaverse. He noted that while they saw peak attendees in March, the number of “tourists and spectators” has since cooled down.
Despite low user metrics, Decentraland and The Sandbox have high valuations. According to data from Messari, Decentraland and The Sandbox both have market caps of around $1.3 billion each. While the play-to-earn game Axie Infinity has a $1.16 billion market cap, its nearly 22,000 daily users reported on DappRadar suggest that open-ended metaverses that don't provide incentives to stay, such as gaming or trading, may not see regular returning users at this point.
Although the metaverse may be enough of a buzzword for companies to rebrand their names around its concept, mass adoption will likely still take a while.
Sasha Fleyshman, portfolio manager at digital asset investment firm Arca, told CoinDesk that metaverse platforms will be much more valuable to users when they actually operate as intended.
“Anyone telling you that there's a metaverse today that has worked is lying through their teeth,” said Fleyshman.
Beverage company Snapple’s pop-up bodega in Decentraland last August sparked questions about mainstream use cases for promotional content in the metaverse. In July, skater Tony Hawk announced his virtual skatepark paired with an avatar collection in The Sandbox, which aims to bring fans from his $1.4 billion “Tony Hawk Pro Skater” video game to a new, more interactive platform. Set to run from October 19 to 23, the turnout of virtual skaters may be larger than the users purchasing Hawk’s NFTs in SAND.
“In my opinion, we're leaning towards a lack of product-market fit on that side … irrespective of their valuation,” said Fleyshman.
Read More: How Do You Value Metaverse Projects? We Tried. Here’s What We Found