Tech

Somnium Space, Blockchain, Metamask, Coinbase and OpenSea: How it all works

Okay so you find Somnium Space really fascinating. You’ve heard and read many good stories, watched videos and talked to the friendly Somnium community on Discord. And you’re ready to join and purchase a piece of virtual land.

There’s one thing that is keeping you a bit back and that is that you’re not entirely sure what to do next. You’ve heard about OpenSea, Blockchain, Metamask, crypto currency, Ether, Cubes and more. It all sounds a bit overwhelming. How are these things connected and what is it you should do?

Don’t worry, in this article we’ll give you a thorough walkthrough so that you’ll be a PRO and can join with confidence and be full of excitement that you’ll soon immerse yourself in this parallel world called Somnium Space.

First, have a look at the illustration below. You see a bank and logos for Coinbase, Metamask, Somnium Space and OpenSea. And in the middle of it all some connected blocks.

Let’s go over the various elements and how they are connected.

Blockchain

The blockchain is a key component that ties a lot of things together. It’s a technology that essentially implements a decentralized digital ledger of transactions. As opposed to centralized ledgers like those used by banks. This may not make things much clearer for you, but think of it this way: Instead of one entity (like a bank) keeping track of your balance and transactions, the blockchain (ledger) is maintained by many entities (computer nodes in a network), but nobody owns it. It is very secure. And all exchanges of value (transactions) are based on crypto currency.

This very short explanation may raise a lot of new questions, but it is beyond the scope of this article to explain the technology and its applications in detail. But one thing is important to understand. Once an exchange of value (transaction) has happened and has been recorded on the blockchain, it is undisputable. No one one can challenge it.

We will come back to why this is so important in connection to Somnium Space, which is ‘built on top of the blockchain’.

Metamask

Metamask is going to be your friend. Crypto currency is kept in so called ‘Wallets’. Wallets are essentially blockchain addresses. If someone sends you something by mail, they write an address on the envelope. Similarly, if someone sends you crypto currency, they send it to your Wallet address. These addresses are public (just like your home address is – unless you are protected under some government program). Now, Metamask is a browser plugin that implements Wallet functionality for you right from your browser. And both Somnium Space and OpenSea can connect to it.

Connect to it? Isn’t that dangerous? No, it isn’t. But let’s first talk a bit why Somnium Space and OpenSea need to connect to your Wallet.

I explained that Wallets are blockchain addresses to which (and from which) one can send crypto currency. But wait, there is more! The Ethereum blockchain (which is used by both OpenSea and Somnium Space), has room for other types of transactions. It can store transactions related to so-called crypto tokens (as long as these tokens follow a specific standard). And now the really interesting thing: A crypto token can represent essentially anything. To cut a longer story short, all 5000 land parcels in Somnium Space are represented by a unique crypto token (these are also referred to as Non-Fungible Tokens or NFT’s).

If you want to get hold of a land parcel you purchase a crypto token (representing that parcel) with crypto currency (in your Wallet) so that the crypto token (that land parcel) is transferred to your Wallet. The transaction is settled via the marketplace called OpenSea (Somnium Space put all their land parcels/tokens on sale on this marketplace).

Once Somnium Space detects that one of their land parcels (crypto tokens) is in your connected Wallet (you give Somnium permission to this), the parcel is yours to use, build on, etc.

Starts to make sense doesn’t it?

Somnium Space

This is our beloved Virtual Reality world. As explained, Somnium Space connects to your Wallet and can detect what Somnium Space related crypto tokens you own. This way Somnium will know exactly what you own in Somnium Space and will grant you all the associated rights (to build, etc.).

Back to the question whether it is dangerous to allow Somnium Space and OpenSea to connect to your wallet. No it isn’t. Outgoing transactions can only be authorized by you. On OpenSea, for instance, a purchase will only go through if you explicitly authorize it.

OpenSea

OpenSea is an NFT marketplace. Many blockchain based companies place their assets (crypto tokens) on sale via this platform. Well, anyone can do it, including you. Many (digital or crypto) artists ‘tokenize’ their art and put it on sale directly on OpenSea or other marketplace.

Why doesn’t Somnium Space sell their land parcels themselves you may wonder? It is a good question and a fundamental feature of Somnium. By tokenizing their parcels (which means they’re now registered on the blockchain), they live outside of the Somnium platform itself. It’s a segregation of platform and asset (e.g. land) ownership that gives you, the owner of the assets, the confidence that your ownership is secure and undisputed, independent of Somnium Space (the company and platform). Simply put, Somnium Space is not your bank. It doesn’t keep your records. Those are on the blockchain.

All great, but how do I get started?

Have another look at the illustration and the numbers. I’ll explain how you can get up and running in no time:

Install the Metamask plugin in your browser. It’s available for Android, IOS and Chrome for Desktop.

Somnium Space member Chris Bell shows you exactly how to do this and setup your first Wallet in this video.
Coinbase is a digital currency exchange on which you can exchange your fiat currency for crypto currency. Coinbase is not the only one, but I’ve been using it for some time with no problems. Now, do your own due diligence when it comes to choosing the proper exchange. I neither recommend nor not recommend any particular platform.

You want to exchange your fiat currency for Ether. This is the primary crypto currency that you can use for transactions, although Somnium Space CUBES and DAI can also be used for certain land parcels and other assets.
Somnium Space, our beloved Virtual Reality world. You should install the client/launcher, fire it up and let it update itself. Create a New Account.



Once you have created an account you can connect it to your previously created Metamask wallet.

OpenSea is the NFT marketplace where you can buy Somnium Space land parcels and other assets.

You do not have to create an account. Just connect to your Metamask wallet and you are all set.

Again, refer to this video from Chris Bell to learn more.
It is obvious that you cannot purchase any assets without any crypto currency in your Metamask wallet. So what you will need to do is:

a) Exchange fiat currency for Ether on Coinbase
b) Send Ether from Coinbase to your Metamask Wallet

This may be a bit scary if you have never done that before. But I have sent crypto currency hundreds of times between many different Wallet addresses and never experienced any issues.

It is very important that you use the proper address however. Just like the mail won’t arrive at its proper destination if you do not write the correct address, your crypto currency won’t arrive either if you do not specify the proper Wallet address. And remember: There is no ‘return to sender’ when it comes to crypto currency transactions.

Once again, Chris Bell explains it very well.

What else?

Somnium Space is putting new land parcels on the market. You can read all about that here: WEEK BY WEEK: Secondary Land Offering (SLO)

Note however, that you can always purchase parcels from other users as well (the so-called secondary market). This is also done via OpenSea. Just go to the Somnium Space VR marketplace.

Disclaimer

Just for the record, in this article I am neither recommending nor not recommending you to enter the world of crypto currency and make purchases.

I have shared some personal experiences, but you always need to do your own due diligence and make your own decisions when it comes to how and where to use your money. But I am sure that’s clear.

But when all is said and done, it is awesome to own virtual land in Somnium and be able to unleash your creativity.

Welcome to Somnium, new land owner!

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