Ever watched an episode of Black Mirror and felt like it hit too close to home? Well, although you don't need it, here is more proof that we are swiftly moving towards a world where our virtual lives could completely take over.
BBC reported on 'Decentraland' -- a virtual universe where users can create anything they imagine. Yes, as the website says, your imagination is literally your limit. Users can purchase land, build homes, start a business, shop with friends, go to nightclubs and underwater resorts in Decentraland; it's all just a click away.
The name 'Decentraland' brings out the essence of its idea: Total decentralisation. Some would call this a true democracy where users decide on everything, without the intervention of the government or any external authority.
Even the creators of the platform will not be able to control what happens once it is "completely decentralised". The developers will eventually withdraw from the universe, leaving it in the hands of the users.
This is what sets Decentraland apart from other platforms like Second Life and World of Warcraft that allow users to explore a VR-powered universe. The decision of whether the content has to be filtered out, in case of trolls and other hazards, will be taken by users themselves.
Plots worth thousands of dollars are being sold to users who are optimistic about the future of Decentraland, with the record price for a piece of land so far no less than USD 180,000. But you don't necessarily have to buy a plot of land in Decentraland to explore it.
Themed neighbourhoods like Festival Land, Vegas City and even a university are being developed for users to hang out virtually. VR headsets are also not a must for those who want to be a part of Decentraland.
Decentraland runs on real money spent by users in return for goods and services, which is converted into the world's own cryptocurrency 'Mana'. One Mana is equivalent to around 10 US dollars.
Esteban Ordano, the founder of Decentraland, says: "Right now we've got an economy of around a couple of tens of millions of dollars and we hope to expand this to billions at least".
A utopian democracy where citizens make rules for themselves -- it is the dream, isn't it? But whether this dream will live up to expectations, or come crashing down, is something only time will tell.