​Facebook and Microsoft aren’t the only ones creating a metaverse — here are five popular coins looking to create digital worlds​


Meta’s (formerly Facebook) Mark Zuckerberg says he wants to build the metaverse, as does Microsoft’s Satya Nadella. While Big Tech may have popularized the term recently, the web3 community has actually been working towards this for a long time now. The relationship between cryptocurrency and the metaverse is undeniable. Non-fungible tokens (NFTs) are the future of ownership deeds, while cryptocurrencies will help build the networks of the future.

For instance, while announcing Meta’s plans for the future metaverse last month, Zuckerberg said that the digital avatars people will use in this virtual space will be NFTs. You might be using Cryptopunks and Bored Apes on video calls today, but these will someday be replaced by realistic virtual avatars of our own selves. Microsoft, on the other hand, wants to power the metaverse for enterprises, through platforms like Dynamics 365 and more.

But while Big Tech companies might be gung-ho about the metaverse, smaller yet interesting projects have already begun. And these are available on popular crypto exchanges like
WazirX, Binance, Coinbase and more.

Here are some of the top coins and metaverse projects you should be following.

The Sandbox

Token: SAND


Hong Kong-based gaming firm Animoca Brands has been at work for over four years building The Sandbox. Now, the company’s metaverse game The Sandbox is finally set to go live on November 29 this year. It allows users to explore a virtual game world and monetize their activities in that world through a play-to-earn model.

The Sandbox is powered by the SAND token, which is what players earn for playing the game. You have to complete quests in order to earn more of these tokens, and you can also spend them to acquire land and other in-game items. At the time of writing, the SAND token was priced at $5.59.

The SAND token’s price briefly jumped by a whopping 260% on November 23, ahead of the game’s metaverse expansion. According to Coinmarketcap, the SAND token was the 41st largest cryptocurrency by market capitalization, hitting almost $5 billion in terms of overall market capitalization. Its price has appreciated by 75% over the past seven day period and by over 23% in 24 hours.

The November 23 jump came shortly after footwear giant Adidas
mentioned building an “adiVerse” using The Sandbox project. The SAND token may not have the same level of liquidity as some other projects yet, but it is available on popular crypto exchanges like
WazirX.

The company’s play-to-earn event, Sandbox Alpha is set to begin on November 29 and will allow a select group of players to earn 1000 SAND tokens. Sandbox Alpha will also include 18 new experiences and three NFTs to grab. The NFTs include a longsword, a dragon and a medieval gate.

Pros: SAND token can have many uses in the game, SAND could become a governance token in the long run

Cons: Other projects like The Sandbox exist so competition is tough

Decentraland

Token: MANA

Like The Sandbox, Decentraland is also a virtual world that is powered by cryptocurrencies and NFTs. Here, you earn the MANA token for spending time in Decentraland’s virtual world, while LAND again is the NFT.

Users buy and sell digital real estate in the game and there are already
users in South Korea who are making long term plans for the real estate they own in the game. The MANA token was priced at around $4 at the time of writing.

While the SAND token is 41st on the list of most valuable crypto’s, Decentraland’s MANA stands at number 29 with a market capitalization of over $7 billion. Its value has risen by almost 20% over the last seven day period and just about 3% over the past 24 hours. The MANA token can be bought on exchanges like
WazirX.

In October, Decentraland added native support for Polygon’s Matic network, which allows users to make transactions using the META token at much lower fees. The platform also supports Wallet Connect, which is an open protocol that allows Dapps to connect to mobile wallets through QR codes. It also announced a Metaverse Festival featuring EDM artist Deadmau5 last month.

Pros: MANA token can be used for other purposes, LAND can be auctioned as NFTs


Cons
: Users cannot interact with each other yet, the game’s terrain remains more or less the same

Gala Games

Token: GALA



Unlike MANA, BLOK, SAND and others, the GALA token doesn’t power one game. Instead, it is the cryptocurrency introduced by Gala Games, a company that aims to make many blockchain-based games.

Gala Games was founded in 2016 by Eric Schiermeyer, who was the co-founder Zynga, one of the most successful gaming companies ever. It has five games at the moment, which run either on the Mac and Windows platforms, or through web browsers. The company also allows users to buy a license and operate their own node on the Gala network.

The GALA token was listed on Binance on September 13 and has been growing in value steadily since then. Its price stood at around $0.68 at the time of writing, but given that the company will be making more games, it could increase substantially in future. The GALA token can be bought on exchanges like
WazirX.

The company claims to be the only project in the blockchain gaming space that hasn’t taken money from venture capitalists yet. Instead, it tried to fund the development of its games by selling licenses for its nodes. The sixth game, called Betwixt, was announced on November 24 and the company says its development is funded by the money that it acquired from selling nodes.

Pros: Multiple games means more chances of success, Eric Schiermeyer has a rich history in gaming


Cons
: One of its games might become more popular than all others, making the time spent on others less fruitful later

Star Atlas

Token: ATLASLike many other metaverse projects, Star Atlas is also a blockchain-based game that is building its own metaverse. It’s built on the Solana blockchain, and hence benefits from the network’s high throughput in terms of transactions.

Star Atlas is a massively multiplayer online role playing game (MMORPG), meaning its world is as expansive as popular games MMORPGs like World of Warcraft etc. It’s built on the Unreal Engine 5’s Nanite platform, which gives it pretty good graphics too, something that games like Decentraland, The Sandbox and others have been lacking.

The Atlas token was priced at $0.15 at the time of writing, making this a good time to jump in. The ATLAS token is also listed on Coinbase at the moment, though it will surely be more widely available once the project picks up.

While the ATLAS token is Star Atlas’ utility token and what players will be rewarded with, the game will also have a governance token called POLIS. This means that POLIS holders will actually have a say in the game’s future developments. The POLIS token is set to come at a later date and could be a big difference maker for Star Atlas in future.

Pros: Great graphics could attract more gamers easily, Solana can support high transaction throughput, only AAA-class metaverse game on the horizon right now

Cons: Great graphics also means it will have higher hardware requirements than simpler games, and hence create barriers to entry

Bloktopia


Token: BLOK

All metaverse projects are expected to adopt virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR) sometime in future, but Bloktopia is already on it. It’s the only VR metaverse being built right now, and includes a virtual skyscraper which has 21 levels. Why 21? To honour the 21 million Bitcoins that will ever be in circulation, as detailed in the Bitcoin whitepaper.

Those who own the Bloktopia token, predictably called the BLOK, will be called Bloktopians. “For the first time ever, users will have access to crypto information and immersive content all in one place. Bloktopians will be able to earn revenue through real estate ownership, advertising revenue, play games, build networks and much more,” the company says on its website.

On November 22, founder Paddy Carroll told Cointelegraph that the company is building floors one and six right now, along with the auditorium, and wants to have a working beta up by March 2022. It’s built on the Polygon platform and is available on crypto exchanges like OKex and KuCoin.

Pros: Already being built for virtual reality, one of the founders worked on PlayStation VR, great graphics

Cons: Yet to launch, VR would also mean entry barriers are high and hence usage might be low

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