Updated: Sep 23, 2021
This is what it is like to enter Decentraland, a virtual-reality platform built on the Ethereum blockchain, also known as a “metaverse”, where virtual shops sell digital collectables and tokens. The disorientating “down the rabbit hole” feeling of diving in is all too similar to what you feel when you first hear of developers’ efforts to “decentralise” everything you do online. A growing number of them are seeking to rebuild both the financial system and the internet economy using blockchains—databases distributed over many computers and kept secure by cryptography. The ultimate goal is to replace intermediaries like global banks and tech platforms with software built on top of networks that direct the value they generate back to the users who own and run them.