How does Simeta work?
The Decentraland protocol is comprised of three layers:
- 1.Consensus layer: Track land ownership and its content.
- 2.Land content layer: Download assets using a decentralized distribution system.
- 3.Real-time layer: Enable users’ world viewers to connect to each other.
Land ownership is established at the consensus layer, where land content is referenced through a hash of the file’s content. From this reference, the content can be downloaded from BitTorrent or IPFS. The downloaded file contains a description of objects, textures, sounds, and other elements needed to render the scene. It also contains the URL of a rendezvous server to coordinate connections between P2P users that are exploring the tile simultaneously. The figure below shows a diagram of the steps the Decentraland clients execute to provide the experience of a shared virtual world in a decentralized way.
Simeta will use a Binance smart contract to maintain a ledger of ownership for land parcels in the virtual world. We call these non-fungible digital assets LAND: each LAND has unique (x, y) coordinates, an owner, and a reference to the content description file, which encodes what the landowner wants to serve there. Decentraland clients will connect to the Ethereum network to fetch updates to the state of the LAND smart contract. LAND is bought by burning SMT, a fungible BEP20 token of fixed supply. This token serves as a proxy for the cost of claiming a new parcel. The LAND contract uses a burn function to destroy SMT and create a new entry in the LAND registry. New parcels need to be adjacent to a non-empty parcel.
Content Distribution Layer
Simeta uses a decentralized storage system to distribute the content needed to render the world. For each parcel that needs to be rendered, a reference to a file with the description of the parcel’s content is retrieved from the smart contract. The current solution uses the battle-tested BitTorrent and Kademlia DHT networks by storing a magnet link for each parcel. However, the Inter-Planetary File System (IPFS)11 provides a compelling alternative as its technology matures. This decentralized distribution system allows Simeta to work without the need for any centralized server infrastructure. This allows the world to exist as long as it has users distributing content, shifting the cost of running the system to the same actors that benefit from it. It also provides Simeta with strong censorship resistance, eliminating the power of a central authority to change the rules or prevent users from participating.
Clients will communicate with each other by establishing peer-to-peer connections with the help of servers hosted by landowners or third parties. Without a centralized server, peer-to-peer connections are needed to provide social interactions between users, as well as applications that the landowner wants to run inside the parcel. The social experience of users in Simeta will include avatars, the positioning of other users, voice chat, messaging, and interaction with the virtual environment.