BY CHRIS MORRIS (via Fortune)
Facebook’s well-publicized (and often mocked) rebranding elevated MANA, a cryptocurrency that most people have never heard of, into the spotlight, resulting in a three-day price spike of 462% over the weekend.
The crypto has since lost some ground and is currently trading at $3.13, according to Coinbase. That’s still a 306% increase over Oct. 27, the day before Facebook announced its rebranding.
MANA is the token for Decentraland, which describes itself as a metaverse platform that allows users to buy and sell virtual properties. The token runs on the Ethereum blockchain.
Decentraland itself provides a gamelike atmosphere in which people create virtual lands and others explore them and participate in social games. Visually, it’s not unlike Roblox or Second Life.
Using MANA, visitors can buy “property” or upgrade it to whatever environment they want. They can also buy and sell items to use in the virtual world, as well as list their properties for sale. (Prices range from 30,000 MANA to over 1 million.)
Facebook’s big bet on the metaverse has ignited interest in many companies that focus on that space. Decentraland operates a bit differently than Facebook is expected to in the virtual world, though, focusing on user-generated content that lets people make money for themselves, rather than walled gardens that could enrich corporations.
MANA’s not the only crypto to see a surge after Facebook changed its name. SAND, the token for Sandbox, another virtual world, jumped from 74¢ on Oct. 27 to more than $2 on Monday, a 176% increase. (At its peak this weekend, SAND was trading at $2.35, a 218% increase.)