Virtual Competition is Getting Very Real The Sandbox, Decentraland, and RFOX VALT all share the vision for a metaverse utopia founded well before Facebook decided to rebrand. Until recently, the pioneers in the metaverse space had a difficult time explaining their vision to the masses. Those with the foresight in determining where technology would carry us have been drafting, building, and expanding their dream for years. COVID meant we had an accelerated path to broader and more mainstream digital adoption. Still, it took Facebook’s rebranding to Meta and Mark Zuckerburg to discuss how huge the possibilities are for the metaverse before the penny dropped for many. Metaverses The Sandbox, Decentraland, and RFOX VALT have been crafting and executing their visions long before Facebook brought the concept to mainstream attention. Read more metaverse comparisons on Hackernoon: Video Games, NFTs, and Hamburgers from The Metaverse Multiple organizations have been working hard combining elements of gaming and blockchain with their Unique Selling Propositions (USPs) to create a significant shift in how we interact and connect. Today, we’ll look at the metaverse space’s “Big 3” to identify how they genuinely stand out in a crowded, rapidly expanding industry. What is The Sandbox? is a metaverse and gaming ecosystem based on Ethereum that allows users to build, share, experience, and monetize in-world assets and gaming experiences. The Sandbox The Sandbox initially began as a mobile game in 2012 by game developer , which Animoca brands later acquired for $4.8 million. Pixowl The Sandbox aims to disrupt the traditional gaming market in which platforms own and control user-generated content, limiting the rights of creators and gamers. Players in The Sandbox have complete control over their in-world creations. Users obtain ownership of their designs in the form of non-fungible tokens (NFTs), which allows the number of items and their ownership history to be tracked and verified as one-of-a-kind. The community determines the worth of each NFT. Under the ownership of Animoca Brands, the team’s vision is to provide a profoundly immersive metaverse in which games and virtual worlds will be created collaboratively and without a centralized authority. The Sandbox has three main components: The VoxEdit NFT builder for creating what they call ASSETs A marketplace for buying and selling ASSETs The game maker tool for creating and sharing interactive games These components allow players to create voxel worlds and game experiences and the ability to trade, store safely, and monetize their creations via blockchain. Creators thereby benefit from their creations and fundamentally change how in-game digital assets are understood. Earning money happens in many different ways inside The Sandbox. After creating ASSETS with VoxEdit, you can sell them as NFTs on The Sandbox Marketplace. For example, ASSETS such as avatars, animals, or cars sell for a wide range of prices ranging from less than 10 to thousands of SAND. $SAND Similarly, The Sandbox Game Maker can create and monetize user-built games, and gamers can earn rewards as a player inside other users’ games. It’s also possible to profit from LAND by renting it out to other players or increasing its value by populating it with NFTs. A LAND is a digital piece of real estate that players can buy to create interactive digital experiences! How fun is that? The Sandbox pays Ethereum gas fees on behalf of players, enhancing the user experience. Furthermore, The Sandbox Foundation receives 50% of the SAND token transaction volume, which it uses to support the ecosystem by funding grants and promoting the platform. The Sandbox is one of the top metaverse companies attempting to alter the dynamic between gamers, artists, and creators. The Sandbox and its pioneers are paving the way for a new gaming market in which players own the fruits of their digital labor and receive compensation for the significant value they generate in The Sandbox. Pros: 10+ years in operation Established user base Impressive roster of investors and partners Aggressive expansion and growth Cons: No VR offering SAND token price has already risen over 9,000% from its all-time low Current SAND Market Cap: 2.2 Billion USD Fully Diluted: 7.4 Billion USD Token Price as of November 12, 2021: 2.67 USD All-time High: 3.37 USD Token Supply: 3 Billion What is Decentraland? is a virtual reality platform powered by Ethereum. You can buy plots of land in this virtual world that you can later traverse, build on, and monetize. There is no limit to what you can accomplish. It is the world’s first digital platform that its users entirely own. Decentraland Decentraland’s metaverse, like most other virtual worlds, is accessed via an avatar, with which you can explore an ever-expanding map of digital destinations. Digital tokens are required to participate in activities such as purchasing digital art at the Crypto Valley Art Gallery, trading with fellow metaverse avatars in Bartertown, and studying at Decentraland University. However, Decentraland’s tokens aim to be valuable and transferable in the real world. Ethereum connects Decentraland’s economy, technology, norms, and philosophy, making the digital world as much an experiment in a digital, decentralized utopia as it is a game designed for entertainment. Decentraland, unlike other virtual worlds, is not governed by a centralized entity. Decentraland is instead governed by , LAND, and Estate holders via the Decentraland DAO. $MANA MANA is the cryptocurrency token used by Decentraland. It’s an ERC20 token that can buy LAND plots and pay for in-game assets and services. When you purchase LAND, Decentraland burns the MANA you used to buy it. MANA is available on cryptocurrency exchanges such as Gemini and Coinbase, but LAND is only available through the Decentraland Marketplace. Estate tokens are generated only by merging LAND parcels. Once you own a plot of LAND, you can do whatever you want with it. You can make houses, buildings, and games. But why stop there? You can also develop LAND-based services based on tourism, education, job centers, and so on. Pros: Established player in the metaverse space Investor backing from Digital Currency Group, Kenetic Capital, FBG Capital, CoinFund, and Hashed More than 10,000 users Partnered with Coca-Cola, Paris Hilton, and ConsenSys Cons: Not built with VR, but have announced intent to integrate MANA token price has already risen over 33,000% from its all-time low Current $MANA Market Cap: 3.5 Billion USD Fully Diluted: 5.78 Billion USD Token Price as of November 12, 2021: 3.10 USD All-time High: 4.11 USD Token Supply: 2.195 Billion RFOX VALT: How does this metaverse differ from Decentraland and The Sandbox? , a virtual retail reality, is an interactive and fully immersive shopping experience that blends gaming elements to form a unique metaverse. The RFOX team began using VR from the onset and will also offer an app version. Expect to see AI and AR integrations and digital items distributed through blockchain smart contracts and NFTs. RFOX VALT The RFOX VALT is the newest and possibly the most ambitious of all three projects and has a truly unique selling proposition in its heavy focus on the retail and e-commerce angle. That said, it’s still heavily focused on gaming, gaming elements, and entertainment such as esports tournaments, concerts, live performances, and even exhibitions and rides. The RFOX VALT's defining point of differentiation is that it ticks all the boxes for being a metaverse and does so by combining VR and being blockchain agnostic. The RFOX VALT is multi-chain and can boast true interoperability. is the universal currency for settling transactions within the RFOX VALT metaverse. RFOX tokens can be exchanged for all virtual assets and items within the RFOX VALT. No matter the initial or final payout currency set by retailers and promoters, all VALT metaverse transactions will route through RFOX token. $RFOX Furthermore, RFOX token fuels the entire RFOX ecosystem and serves as the official currency. It’s used for trading fees, liquidity pool development, and the creation of NFTs, among other things. RFOX will handle more payment settlements across more chains thanks to a single log-in system, additional payment provider integrations, and additional wallet integrations. RFOX token is now trading on major cryptocurrency exchanges such as Uniswap, KuCoin, Liquid, Bittrex, CoinSpot, Loopring, Gate.io, and the team’s own DeFi portal, . Plus, RFOX intertwines with $VFOX, which rewards its holders with 1% of all transactional volume inside the VALT, in proportion to the number of tokens held. RFOX Finance Merchants will earn RFOX tokens from sales at first but will have the option to automate settlement back into their local fiat currencies. Furthermore, users who make purchases through the RFOX VALT will receive up to an 8% cashback reward in the future. Merchants and users will navigate the RFOX VALT using a virtual avatar. When a customer enters a shopfront, they are greeted by a merchant avatar controlled by another end-user. In the future, the RFOX VALT will provide a variety of commercial, recreational and employment opportunities. The RFOX VALT is unique in that it creates a central point for virtual world economies. The team expects to have an MVP version of the RFOX VALT available within the next three months. However, they are working on basic web versions that will be available much sooner to allow SHOP owners to get in early and set up their SHOPs and collections. A SHOP is a user-owned digital space within the RFOX VALT. A SHOP owner dashboard will be released in December, allowing all SHOP owners to configure their digital storefront. Each SHOP owner has the option of selecting from a wide range of colors, textures, and even design and display concepts. Anything beyond what is provided as standard will be built at the owner’s expense, which provides freedom and creativity for users to design. In addition, each SHOP is an NFT that’s transferrable as a shell or an entire business, including IP and inventory. You can own a virtual SHOP in RFOX VALT by participating in the for these assets, the first of which concluded in September. By owning a SHOP, you can access an infinite number of opportunities within one of the 120 virtual properties that comprise the RFOX VALT. auctions The world is becoming more aware of the metaverse, as evidenced by recent developments such as FB’s name change and the increased number of companies focusing on the space. In an increasingly competitive metaverse industry, a strong development team will be one of the most important factors defining RFOX VALT’s success. Pros: No legacy build issues to contend with Building with state-of-the-art technology and high-quality user interfaces Experienced team with a solid track record A complete ecosystem as RFOX is a venture builder that owns more of the pieces Market Cap is very small compared to others, especially considering what they will offer Cons: Not yet released Unproven = higher risk Current RFOX Market Cap: 175 Million USD Fully Diluted: 255 Million USD Token Price as of November 12, 2021: 0.13 USD All-time High: 0.37 USD Token Supply: 1.988 Billion The Rise of the Metaverse Empire More and more metaverses are now in development, and this theme will only continue as it gains mainstream consciousness. The Sandbox continues to reign in this realm as the developers have been in business since 2006 and have over such as The Smurfs, Care Bears, Atari, CryptoKitties, and Shaun the Sheep. They also welcomed new who acquired LAND in The Sandbox’s metaverse, including crypto projects such as Nifty Gateway, Gemini, and renowned Silicon Valley-based VCs and investment partners. 60 partnerships partners While Decentraland is another strong contender, its community is rapidly expanding, reaching numerous milestones last year. Decentraland had as of March 2021. Other brands like plan to launch NFTs in Decentraland. Decentraland has also evolved into a meeting place, not just for social gatherings but also for business gatherings. For example, has held meetings in Decentraland. 10,000 active users Coca-Cola ConsenSys RFOX VALT shows immense promise by providing more adoption and real-world adoption possibilities through VR and AR technology and the AI technology that’s so crucial in the digital economy market. The resulting metaverse is a shared virtual realm where people can do “absolutely anything,” from gaming to trading goods. Creativity is at the heart of every metaverse, and it’s the users that power them all. *Disclaimer: At the time of writing, the author held ETH, RFOX, SAND, VFOX, and other digital assets.