Sandbox vs. Decentraland [2024]: Metaverses Come in Different Sizes

INVESTING - CRYPTOCURRENCY
Sandbox and Decentraland are two blockchain-based metaverse projects that enable you to play games, create experiences, and more.
Updated Sept. 26, 2023
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Metaverse virtual worlds like Sandbox and Decentraland allow you to use an avatar to create games, apps, and virtual goods. You can also own your own plot of land and engage in real estate projects. Each metaverse comes with its own number of land plots and form of currency.

For example, Sandbox has over 160,000 land plots, while Decentraland’s land plots are capped at about 90,000. The biggest virtual land sale in Sandbox took place in December 2021 and amounted to $4.3 million. In November 2021, a parcel of land in Decentraland sold for 618,000 mana, the equivalent of $2.4 million in the metaverse’s cryptocurrency.

But it’s not only the ability to trade virtual land and sit on it that makes metaverses interesting. Let’s explore how Sandbox versus Decentraland compare and which metaverse you should choose.

In this In this Sandbox versus Decentraland comparison

Sandbox vs. Decentraland

Sandbox and Decentraland are metaverses, a form of digital worlds built on blockchain technology. Both metaverses have similar themes that enable you to stake a claim to a virtual plot of land — or buy it from someone else — and develop it, providing a method of investing money in digital or crypto assets.

Sandbox Decentraland
Mission Build, own, and monetize gaming experiences in a virtual world Create, experience, and monetize content and applications in a virtual world
Number of land plots 166,464 90,601
Forms of real estate
  • Land
  • Estate
  • District
  • Land
  • Estate
Land markets
  • Sandbox LAND sales
  • OpenSea
  • Rarible
  • The Decentraland Marketplace
  • OpenSea
Tokens used sand (SAND) mana (MANA)
Accessibility
  • macOS
  • Windows
  • Android
  • Steam
  • Web browser (Chrome, Firefox)
  • Windows

How does Sandbox work?

Sandbox is a decentralized metaverse that offers a gaming ecosystem where you can create and monetize virtual assets and gaming experiences.


Sandbox began in 2012 as a mobile game that was created through partnership between Sébastian Borget and Arthur Madrid, founders of Pixowl, Inc., and game developer onimatrix.

The game’s roadmap shifted after it was acquired by game development company Animoca in 2018. Animoca created a 3D metaverse version of Sandbox based on blockchain technology. By December 2019, the first land plots were up for presale.

Note
Even though Sandbox has been around for more than a decade, it didn’t become a metaverse until after 2018.

What can you do in the Sandbox metaverse?

Inside the Sandbox metaverse, you can experience things such as shopping, playing games, and viewing art in the form of non-fungible tokens (NFTs). You can also monetize your Sandbox virtual real estate and create your own games, apps, and goods. You can also engage in several other business ventures.

Transactions in Sandbox use the in-game sand token (SAND). You can earn sand in several ways, including selling digital assets and playing games within the Sandbox metaverse. Once you earn sand, you can use it within this virtual reality or sell it on a cryptocurrency exchange such as Coinbase. A single sand token sells for $0.65 as of Oct 11, 2022.

How does Decentraland work?

Decentraland is a decentralized virtual world where you can buy virtual real estate and create experiences, products, and games.


Esteban Ordano and Ariel Meilich began developing Decentraland in 2015. The metaverse was launched in 2017 along with its mana (MANA) token. Decentraland states that it’s the first virtual world owned by its users. The founding team created a decentralized autonomous organization (DAO), which enables user participation in governing this metaverse.

What can you do in the Decentraland metaverse?

You can explore lands owned by other users when you join the Decentraland metaverse. You can also access virtual experiences and events. For example, Decentraland hosted a fashion week in March 2022.

This fashion week included runway events by clothing store Forever 21, fashion designer Philipp Plein, and cosmetics company Estée Lauder. The fashion week also hosted various artists, including Bob Sinclar, Nicki Nicole, and Blond:ish.

You can explore Decentraland free of charge, but participating in this metaverse’s economy requires having and using the mana token. You can earn mana by selling your digital assets, working for a company, or freelancing. You can also earn mana by playing games that reward you with items you can sell.

A single mana token can be sold on crypto exchanges such as Crypto.com for $0.71 as of September 19, 2022.

What both metaverses excel at

As two metaverses, Sandbox and Decentraland share several similarities.

Blockchain technology

The Sandbox and Decentraland metaverses are built on the ethereum blockchain. Both metaverses use ethereum to record digital asset ownership and execute smart contracts, a form of digital contracts used to validate agreements and exchange services. As a result, Sandbox and Decentraland are compatible with most crypto wallets, such as MetaMask.

Learning how to buy cryptocurrency that you can use on these platforms can be simple. Sandbox’s sand and Decentraland’s mana are found on many major cryptocurrency exchanges, including Crypto.com and Coinbase.

Tip
Check out our Crypto.com versus Coinbase comparison to learn how these two exchanges fare against each other.

Metaverse freedom

Sandbox and Decentraland enable you to buy, sell, and trade digital assets and virtual land. Both metaverses have limited numbers of land plots available.

This scarcity can add to their value in the virtual real estate market. You can also keep and develop your land plot to provide experiences, create games and apps, and display art.

Governing bodies

Both Sandbox and Decentraland use a decentralized autonomous organization (DAO) structure. A DAO is a self-governing body that enables participants in an organization to vote on changes within their organization.

Sandbox is developing its DAO and expects it to be operational before the end of 2022, while Decentraland’s DAO is already fully operational.


5 important differences between Sandbox and Decentraland

Understanding the core differences between Sandbox and Decentraland can help you decide on the metaverse that better fits your goals.

1. Mission

Sandbox states that its "mission is to build a gaming system where creators can craft, play, share, and trade without central control" while enjoying secure copyright ownership.

Decentraland’s stated mission is "to establish a network that allows its content creators to own and capture the full value of their contributions."

Winner: Tie, depending on your preference. Sandbox has a more specific mission based on the gaming aspect of the metaverse, making it potentially more fit for gamers. Decentraland’s mission is more general and expands beyond gaming with a focus on user-generated content and art.

2. Land plot number

Sandbox has 166,464 land plots. If you own more than one plot of land, you can merge them into estates. You can also create districts in collaboration with other land owners. The most affordable land plot on the Sandbox marketplace costs 1.33 ether (ETH), equivalent to about $1,282 as of oct 11, 2022.


Decentraland has a total of 90,601 land plots. If you own more than one plot of land, you can merge them into estates. You need at least 3,329 mana to purchase land on Decentraland, equivalent to about $2160 as of Oct 11, 2022.

Winner: Tie, depending on whether you’re a buyer or seller. Sandbox offers more land plots that are more affordable to buy. However, the land on Decentraland is more valuable, partly due to its scarcity, making it a better virtual asset to sell.

3. Gaming experience

Sandbox offers more robust gaming opportunities. The Sandbox metaverse was originally designed for gaming, making it a better play-to-earn platform. You may also prefer developing games in the Sandbox metaverse since it’s more aimed at gamers.

While you can develop games in Decentraland, game development is not the main focus of this metaverse. Instead, Decentraland focuses on creating art and wearables as an integral part of its economy.

Winner: Sandbox is built with gamers in mind. That’s why it can offer a better gaming experience.

4. Events

Sandbox’s roadmap shows that it plans to introduce virtual concerts in 2022. However, the Sandbox metaverse doesn’t currently offer access to many concerts or events.

Decentraland offers more access to special events and experiences as of September 2022. Deventraland hosted a fashion week in March 2022 that included several famous brands and artists. It regularly hosts concerts, art shows, and other events.


Winner: Decentraland hosts more events, concerts, and art shows than Sandbox, making it a more active metaverse for eventgoers.

5. Fees

Sandbox charges a fee of 5% sand. This fee goes to a foundation established by Sandbox to help fund artists, creators, and projects aimed at developing its virtual world.

On the other hand, when you use Decentraland’s marketplace, you pay a fee of 2.5% mana. This fee goes to the decentralized autonomous organization (DAO) that manages the Decentraland virtual world.

Winner: If you want to pay lower fees, Decentraland is the better choice. However, depending on the activities you want to engage in, paying the higher Sandbox fee might be worth it.

Which metaverse should you choose?

Choosing between Sandbox and Decentraland depends on the nature of your interest in metaverses.

Consider the following elements when making your choice:

  • What you can do: Pay attention to what each metaverse excels at. For gamers, the Sandbox may make more sense. For artists, Decentraland can offer a better place to create and sell your artwork. Look at what’s emphasized by each metaverse to determine what makes more sense for you.
  • Token value: You may be interested in monetizing your experience in the metaverse. Comparing Sandbox’s sand and Decentraland’s mana tokens’ values can help you decide where you may earn more money selling your tokens. As of Oct 11, 2022, sand sells for $0.78 while mana sells for $0.65.
  • Earning money: While you can earn money in both metaverses, Sandbox has a simple play-to-earn option that rewards you with sand tokens. Earning mana tokens by playing games on Decentraland requires you to earn rewards in the form of digital assets that you can then sell for mana.
  • Cost of the land: Buying land in either metaverse can be expensive. The cheapest plot costs over $1,750 in Sandbox and over $2,300 in Decentraland. With that in mind, Sandbox does offer more affordable land plots than Decentraland.

Carefully consider what matters most to you and what you hope to accomplish in the metaverse.

FAQs

Is Decentraland bigger than Sandbox?

In terms of available land plots, Decentraland is smaller than Sandbox. Decentraland has 90,601 plots, while Sandbox nearly doubles that amount with 166,464 land plots.

Where can I play Sandbox?

You can play Sandbox on most devices. You can join the Sandbox metaverse using mobile devices that use iOS and Android. You can also use a desktop or laptop computer running macOS or Windows. Sandbox is also available on devices that can run the gaming software Steam.

Where can I play Decentraland?

Decentraland is mainly available via web browsers. The two recommended browsers are Google Chrome and Firefox, but other browsers may be able to run the metaverse. The Decentraland metaverse also has a beta version you can download to access this metaverse without using a browser, but it’s only available for Windows devices.

Can you make money playing Decentraland?

Yes, you may be able to make money in Decentraland. However, it’s mostly through indirect means. For example, you can create virtual assets that you can sell to earn mana, then sell mana on a crypto exchange to get U.S. dollars.

Can you earn money on Sandbox?

Yes, you may be able to make money in Sandbox. However, any money you made would be in the form of sand crypto tokens. You can sell your sand token for U.S. dollars on several popular crypto exchanges.

Sandbox allows you to rent your land, make and sell digital goods, and create and monetize experiences. You can also use play-to-earn games and experiences to earn sand as you participate in the virtual world.

Bottom line

Deciding between Sandbox versus Decentraland ultimately depends on your own interests. Both metaverse platforms enable you to make games, create content, and develop digital land.

Keep in mind that the money you earn in Sandbox and Decentraland comes in the form of their native tokens. To translate any money you make into U.S. dollars, you need to transfer your tokens to a crypto wallet to sell them on a cryptocurrency exchange.

Joining a metaverse may not be the only way of benefiting from the growing popularity of this new technology. You can learn how to invest in metaverse stocks, which may translate to a profit in the future.

Keep in mind
All investments come with a level of risk, and new and speculative assets often have a considerably higher risk level than traditional investment assets.

Disclosure: The author owns several types of tokens mentioned in this article, including mana, sand, and ether.

FinanceBuzz is not an investment advisor. This content is for informational purposes only, you should not construe any such information as legal, tax, investment, financial, or other advice.

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Author Details

Miranda Marquit Miranda Marquit has covered personal finance for more than a decade and is a nationally-recognized financial expert and journalist, appearing on CNBC, NPR, Forbes, Yahoo! Finance, FOX Business, and numerous other outlets.

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