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Author Image Robbie King

Robbie King

Nov 8 2022

The Sandbox Vs Decentraland

The Sandbox and Decentraland logos with letters V and S in between them.
Categories: Metaverse, Metaverse real estate.
The winner of The Sandbox vs Decentraland face-off iiiiiis: neither.
Sorry. Might as well get that out of the way.
They both offer different things to different people. Both are immersive, virtual 3D worlds that enable the creation of experiences within the world, i.e. anything a video game engine could create. Both are decentralized. Both are built on Ethereum with ERC-20 tokens powering their economy. Both give users full ownership over what they create and let users monetize the experiences they create. Both let users trade any assets they create as NFTs. Both allow users to purchase virtual land. And both have big names investing in them.
If you would like to know a little more about them, namely how they got started, then this blog on
metaverse platforms
should help. Otherwise, read on for a rundown of every major difference you’ll want to consider if you’re battling with the epic Sandbox or Decentraland debate. To kick things off, let’s first consider that…


The Sandbox is a little easier to build in

The VoxEdit tool is very user-friendly and doesn’t require any coding skills to build impressive looking 3D worlds.
In Decentraland, if you don’t want to code, then you’ll find you’re more limited than in The Sandbox. Plus, the Decentraland builder – a Unity engine integration - has a bit more of a learning curve: you’ll need to watch a few tutorials. However…

You can import any 3D model into Decentraland

Build something in popular 3D programs like Maya, Cinema 4D, Blender, etc. and you can place it in Decentraland. You will of course have to ensure the polygon count isn’t too big so that it’s not too much for Decentraland’s rendering capabilities. But if you want more granular control over how your digital assets look, then Decentraland is the one.
This is why you’ll see a wider variety of design styles in Decentraland. In The Sandbox, you’ll have to make do with the cartoony, blocky style you’re given.


The Sandbox has a little more land for sale

There are 90,601 plots in Decentraland, most of which are tradable parcels and a few of which are reserved for communal areas. These communal areas are things like Plazas and the roads connecting different areas of Decentraland.
In The Sandbox, there are 166,464 LAND parcels. 16,704 LANDs (around 10%) are held in reserve for hosting events. And 25,920 LANDs (16%) are withheld for distributing to people as a reward. People like partners, gamers, creators, etc.
Both these figures could, in theory, change if Decentraland’s DAO or The Sandbox’s DAO/ team says so. But it won’t happen easily. Either way, VerseProp will be the first to inform you.


Regarding tokens

The Sandbox uses four main tokens. They are:
    SAND (ERC-20): the fungible, in-world currency and governance token for users to stake and earn rewards
    LAND (ERC-721): representing each NFT land parcel
    ASSET (ERC-115): for NFT content created by users
    GAMES (ERC-115: for NFT games created by users
There are also GEM and CATALYST tokens but these are specifically used for creating ASSETs and making them more valuable.
Here’s
a little more info on them.
Decentraland has three tokens. They are
    MANA (ERC-20): the fungible, in-world currency and governance token (more on governance below)
    LAND (ERC-721): representing each NFT land parcel
    WEAR (ERC-721): the NFT token for wearables and articles

The price of both MANA and SAND shot up when Facebook rebranded itself to Meta. And they will no doubt move accordingly should there be big moves in the Metaverse.
As for maximum supply, SAND has 3 billion in total. With MANA, the original total supply was set at 2.8 billion - although the current supply number will be several hundred million lower on account of the MANA tokens that get burnt every time LAND is purchased in Decentraland.


Decentraland is a bit more decentralized and has a proper DAO

DAO stands for decentralized autonomous organization. And for blockchain purists, this is an important ingredient in The Sandbox vs Decentraland debate. The DAO is essentially a hive mind. Everyone who owns MANA or LAND has the opportunity to vote as part of the DAO and influence the direction that Decentraland takes. Typical voting topics are things like fee structure and building new land.
The Sandbox is decentralized in that it’s on a blockchain and you own what you create. Holders of SAND also have a few voting rights, so in some ways, there is some form of a DAO at play. However, since the big name developers that build on The Sandbox hold significant power, there is some degree of centralization.


Decentraland doesn’t support mobile devices

And neither does The Sandbox since we’re not counting the original 2D mobile game here. However, The Sandbox does have plans for a mobile version.


Decentraland’s transaction fees are cheaper

Decentraland’s is 2.5% on MANA transactions. Meanwhile, The Sandbox’s is 5% on all SAND transactions.


There’s lots of VC money behind both, but…

Decentraland has a little more backing from big institutions like the South Korean government as well as Samsung and FBG Capital. This is thanks to Decentraland being around as a metaverse for longer. The extra years have given them more time to build relationships.
However, The Sandbox has more partners and arguably more impressive partners. It’s got financial giants like SoftBank, a Japanese investment management conglomerate. But then it’s also got “cool” partners like Adidas, Snoop Dogg, The Walking Dead, Deadmau5, and many more.


The Sandbox has more of a gaming focus

Hardly surprising since its original incarnation was a 2D mobile game. The Sandbox makes it easy for games to be created, meaning there are many more gaming experiences on offer. Their ultimate goal is to have 5000 games on The Sandbox by the end of 2023.


In Decentraland, plots are adjacent. In The Sandbox, plots are somewhat isolated.

This means that in Decentraland you can walk freely from one plot of LAND to the other. Just like you would in the real world. In The Sandbox, movement isn’t quite as free. You’ll move to the edge of the LAND and then have the ability to jump to adjacent LAND, appearing at a point set by the LAND owner.


The Sandbox has quite the roadmap

The advantage of not having such a strong DAO influence is that The Sandbox can boldly plan its future. The Sandbox is planning all sorts of things. These include:
    In-game jobs for people to work as they would in the real world
    Expanding onto Xbox and Playstation consoles

And of course the aforementioned introduction of a mobile version.
Decentraland has far fewer plans for its future. Due to its DAO, making such plans aren’t as easy. That said, there are plans afoot to make Decentraland interoperable with other metaverses. So that’s one big plan that could make a huge difference.


The Sandbox will be a little greener and more scalable

Both platforms are taking advantage of Polygon, a scaling solution that helps to reduce the costs of transactions and improve transaction speed on the blockchain – this reduces gas fees.
Polygon provides a side-chain solution to Decentraland. This is a network that sits alongside Ethereum, processing the transactions in a similar way but with cheaper gas fees and less energy consumption. This has already made transactions faster and cheaper.
The Sandbox is going one better and has done a complete smart contract migration to Polygon. This move will result in less energy consumption. It’s part of The Sandbox’s aims to reduce its carbon footprint and is coupled with them purchasing carbon credits and planting trees.


You can enter Decentraland without a wallet

Albeit with limited access. You can explore the world and customize your avatar. But the magic of in-game rewards and participating in events won’t be an option. With The Sandbox, it’s no wallet, no play.


With Decentraland you can use a wider variety of wallets

Right now The Sandbox supports just MetaMask, Bitski, and Venly. With Decentraland you can connect using many different ERC-20 wallets that integrate to your web browser.


About the graphics

Some say that The Sandbox has better graphics. The overall look and feel is certainly more cohesive thanks to adherence to its native builder tool. But in reality, the graphics are just different. If you like blocky and cartoony, go for The Sandbox. If you want something more varied and a little more realistic, choose Decentraland. It’s all a matter of taste.


Market cap

And by that we’re referring to MANA and SAND’s total value. For many, this can be the clincher in The Sandbox vs Decentraland debate. Thanks to its first-mover advantage, Decentraland had the edge. For some time MANA’s market cap was a few hundred million more than SAND. But at the time of writing this, their market caps were similar. Thanks to the current bear market, both these prices were down from highs that were previously more than triple their current value. For an accurate idea of their market cap,
CoinMarketCap is the best place to look
.


Financial clout and overall utility of the digital land

Many looking to invest in either platform will want to treat this like any other piece of commercial real estate. So it makes sense that both platforms let users rent their virtual land out - a procedure that
VerseProp can advise on
and assist with as part of its marketplace offering.
Both platforms look as though they will be equally effective at providing virtual office space too, with serious moves being made by big companies across
different industries
. And
both
of the platforms appear equally
capable of placing ads
and generating revenue for their landowners.
It could be said that Decentraland has a greater ability for creating a wider variety of commercial use cases. For example, it has far more casinos than The Sandbox. This is surprising given The Sandbox’s gaming lean.
Decentraland also boasts more art galleries, although The Sandbox is certainly
making inroads
in that department too. Decentrland’s ability to import any 3D model has no doubt influenced this broad range of experiences by giving creators more visual freedom than The Sandbox’s cool but “one look fits all” builder.
The Sandbox’s
and
Decentraland’s
average land prices, starting from around the time The Sandbox’s alpha version was launched, have a similar-ish trend. There is a sharp dip from Decentraland around the launch of The Sandbox’s alpha version in November 2021, but the two have had similar trends this year.
The Sandbox does have the edge in terms of percentage gains in 2022 though. And when you consider the potential mapped out by The Sandbox roadmap, it could be a more rewarding long term bet.

Ok but seriously, which is better, Sandbox or Decentraland?

The Sandbox vs Decentraland debate may well be in a stalemate forever. There really is no way of answering this. Except through the lens of different users. If you’re into gaming, then The Sandbox is unquestionably superior. It started out as a game!
If you’re 100% hell-bent on your metaverse being as decentralized as possible then Decentraland should be your platform, at least for now. Clue’s in the name.
There’s also the argument that Decentraland is more geared towards socializing and community building. But you could just as easily say that The Sandbox facilitates communities and socializing via its gaming focus. Anyway, if you’re allergic to games but looking to socialize then Decentraland is probably better.
From an investment point of view, MANA could be seen as safer since it’s been around for longer. However, The Sandbox is only just getting started. It’s got loads of untapped potential AND has a pretty impressive roadmap.
Also, due to its slightly more impressive list of partnerships, The Sandbox looks like it has a little more mainstream commercial potential. With everyone from musicians to fashion brands getting involved, the price of SAND could skyrocket should it become a household name.
Still, all this untapped potential is another way of saying that The Sandbox is an unproven commodity. The Sandbox hasn’t been tested like Decentraland has and only entered its alpha version in November 2021.
So ask yourself, would you prefer to invest in a more established metaverse that prioritizes decentralization? Or would you prefer to speculate more and buy into a metaverse that’s making big, bold plans?
The fact of the matter is that both of them still have a long way to go. Both will have to truly figure out the VR game and both will have to stand up to the threat of Meta.
So why not hold both? As the tide of the Metaverse rises, it should lift both The Sandbox’s and Decentraland’s boats in a similar fashion.


Final thoughts

From a
metaverse real estate
investing point of view, instead of asking “what is better? Sandbox or Decentraland?” with VerseProp, you can go one better. Instead of wondering, you can get a detailed overview of everything both worlds offer on the real estate front and quickly determine what is right for you.
It may not even be a case of Decentraland vs Sandbox. You could pick as many or as few virtual land parcels that meet your interest as you like across multiple metaverse platforms. Whether you’re just browsing or have concrete designs on what you want, VerseProp can help you by providing exclusive access to virtual land opportunities and giving you expert investment guidance that you won’t find anywhere else.
If you haven’t already, click below to sign up to our list and get front row seats on everything metaverse real estate has to offer.