A smartphone with Facebook’s logo is seen in front of displayed Facebook’s new rebrand logo Meta in this illustration taken October 28, 2021.
Dado Ruvic | Reuters
Mana, a little-known cryptocurrency used for buying and selling virtual land, saw its price spike over the weekend amid excitement over Facebook’s rebrand.
The price of mana hit an all-time high of $4.16 on Saturday evening, according to CoinMarketCap data, up 400% from where it was trading shortly after Facebook announced it was changing its name to Meta. It has fallen since, having last changed hands at around $3.16.
Facebook’s rebrand was aimed at shifting the embattled social media company’s focus toward the “metaverse,” a kind of shared virtual reality in which multiple users can interact with each other and digital objects.
Launched in 2017, mana is the native digital token of Decentraland, a self-proclaimed metaverse platform where users can buy and sell virtual properties. Ownership of the land is purchased through nonfungible tokens, a type of digital asset meant to track who owns what. It runs on Ethereum, the blockchain network behind ether, the world’s second-largest digital currency.
Vijay Ayyar, head of Asia-Pacific at cryptocurrency exchange Luno, said mana and other metaverse-focused cryptocurrencies were rallying on the back of Facebook’s rebrand, which is being seen as a sign of growing acceptance of the metaverse trend.
“I read it as an interpretation of a vote of confidence amongst both speculators and investors that this concept of a metaverse is now taking a serious turn in terms of reaching mainstream consciousness and — soon — adoption,” Ayyar said.
Other cryptocurrencies, including the tokens of blockchain-based games Axie Infinity and The Sandbox, have also seen solid gains the past few days.
Investors are looking to smaller alternative cryptocurrencies, or “altcoins,” as interest in bitcoin has begun to peter out after the world’s largest digital coin hit a record high of nearly $67,000 last month, according to Luno’s Ayyar.
“Typically, once Bitcoin crosses an all-time high, we see money flow into other altcoins,” he said.
Last week, shiba inu — a “meme token” challenging dogecoin — rallied sharply amid speculation over whether Robinhood could add the coin to its trading platform. It now ranks ahead of dogecoin, with a market capitalization of more than $39.6 billion. So far, Robinhood hasn’t actually said publicly whether it will support shiba inu.