is the controversy over the number of users justified?

A recent article widely shared in the crypto space questioned the number of active users of Metaverse projects like Decentraland or The Sandbox. The figures in the article are disputed by companies, but the fact remains that the virtual world is still very empty at the moment.

Decentraland responds quickly with official numbers

Our colleagues at CoinDesk published an incriminating article about the metaverse this weekend, arguing that two major projects, Decentraland and The Sandbox, have insignificant active user numbers. Which has sparked outrage among affected communities who have been trying to clear things up in recent days.

The article uses data from dAppRadar to identify 38 active users on Decentraland. That is, the number of wallet addresses that interact with the project’s smart contract. But according to Decentraland, the data is incorrect because only certain transactions are taken into account.

Since the publication of this article, these numbers have been hotly debated, both by fans of Decentraland or The Sandbox and by the company itself.

Decentraland’s Twitter account gives the number of monthly active users (56,697) and the number of users interacting with various smart contracts on a daily basis: 1,074. According to data from Decentraland, there were an average of 7,039 unique visitors per day in the first week of October 2022.

The project also recalled that in September 161 events had been organized by the community and 148 proposals had been made within the DAO. The DCL Metrics site confirms these figures, with 7,039 unique visitors per day for a week.

According to Decentraland, the Coindesk article contains erroneous data that has not been properly verified by the newspaper. The metaverse clarified on Twitter that Coindesk’s calculation method skews the result: “Some sites only count one type of transaction and count them as unique users, which is inaccurate.”

Launched in 2015, Decentraland is a virtual world where players can buy various items, attend concerts or gamble in casinos. As for The Sandbox, it is a metaverse dedicated to video games where players can create their own platform. These are the most famous metaverses, which is why these figures are striking.

Two calculation methods

The CoinDesk article reports that The Sandbox, on the other hand, only has 522 daily active users. Cryptoast recalls that in July the creator of the Metaverse, Sébastien Borget, estimated that there were between 20,000 and 30,000 unique users per day during certain special events. However, this number should be viewed in retrospect, firstly because it concerns special occasions and secondly because it dates from July.

Regardless, the numbers announced by the platforms are much higher than those presented by Coindesk, which relied on data from DappRadar in the article. The difference is explained by the method used: DappRadar considers only users who use their crypto wallet and the platform’s smart contracts as active users.

Specifically, the site only counts users who have bought or paid for NFTs on the platform with their cryptocurrency. So this approach doesn’t take into account people who connect to the metaverse without buying.

But even if the Coindesk article uses contentious data, the observation remains the same: there are very few users in the metaverse. Even with the highest traffic numbers, the metaverse is still completely empty compared to other social networks.

As a reminder, Facebook, in total decline, is used every day by 26.9 million people in France. Decentraland is worth over $1 billion and, like The Sandbox, both areas have attracted high-profile investors.

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