Learning About the Adjustment Reaction to News of a Potential SARS-CoV-2 Coronavirus Pandemic (and Why You Need to Prepare Now)

Novel Coronavirus SARS-CoV-2
This scanning electron microscope image shows SARS-CoV-2 (orange)—also known as 2019-nCoV, the virus that causes COVID-19—isolated from a patient in the U.S., emerging from the surface of cells (gray) cultured in the lab. Credit: NIAID-RML

It would appear that outbreaks of SARS-CoV-2 virus (and the disease it causes, COVID-19) are springing up in places far from its birthplace in Wuhan, China: in South Korea, Iran, and Italy, among many other nations, with the coronavirus infection showing up in dozens of people who cannot be easily linked to China.

The Washington Post newspaper reported yesterday, in story titled Coronavirus outbreak edges closer to pandemic (original, archived copy):

In South Korea, coronavirus cases quadrupled over two days, as 144 people linked to a religious sect tested positive. In Singapore, clusters of infection have been traced to two churches, a hotel business meeting, a health products shop and a construction site. In Iran, an outbreak has seeded new cases in Lebanon and Canada — a worrisome sign the disease could be spreading more widely than realized.

There are outbreaks. There are epidemics. And there are pandemics, where epidemics become rampant in multiple countries and continents simultaneously. The novel coronavirus that causes the disease named COVID-19 appears to be on the verge of that third, globe-shaking stage.

Amid an alarming surge in cases with no clear link to China, infectious disease experts believe the flu-like illness may soon be impossible to contain. The World Health Organization has not declared COVID-19 a pandemic and the most devastating effects, including more than 2,200 deaths, are still in China. But the language coming from the organization’s Geneva headquarters has turned more ominous in recent days as the challenge of containment grows more daunting.

“What we find is that this virus is going to be very difficult to contain,” said Jeffrey Shaman, an infectious disease researcher at Columbia University and co-author of the study posted Monday. “Personally, I don’t think we can do it.”

Harvard epidemiologist Marc Lipsitch estimates that 40 to 70 percent of the human population could potentially be infected by the virus if it becomes pandemic. Not all of those people would get sick, he noted. The estimated death rate from COVID-19 — roughly two out of 100 confirmed infections — may also drop over time as researchers get a better understanding of how widely the virus has spread.

That death rate, estimated at 2% of cases at present, is significantly higher than that posed by regular seasonal influenza, at 0.1%. While many people (especially the young) have only a mild response to this virus, the latest scientific research shows that approximately 20 percent of those who land up in hospital with COVID-19 are severe cases that often require intensive care. Those who are older, overweight, or have underlying health conditions such as asthma, heart disease or diabetes are more likely to have a severe or even deadly reaction to this virus.

Dr. Anthony Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) in the United States, explained in a recent CNN interview why we’re nearly at the brink of a global pandemic with the novel coronavirus outbreak:

Yesterday, the Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy (CIDRAP) at the University of Minnesota reported:

Today officials from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) warned that although the agency is taking historic measures to slow the introduction of COVID-19 into the United States, the country should prepare for the possibility of community spread, as seen in China and neighboring Asian countries.

“The day may come when we may need to implement such measures as seen in Asia,” Nancy Messonnier, MD, director of the CDC’s National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases, said in a press conference, referencing the closing of businesses, schools, and churches in multiple countries where transmission is now occurring within the community.

This is no longer a “what-if” scenario for us in North America, or an “over there on the other side of the world” problem that we can ignore. This potential pandemic is already wreaking unprecedented havoc in Chinese society, and that havoc is spreading to other countries now—South Korea, Japan, Hong Kong, Singapore, Iran, and Italy all have documented cases of human-to-human transmission.

In other words, you need to prepare yourself—emotionally, mentally, and physically— for a pandemic. The time to begin preparing is NOW.

Part of the mental and emotional preparation for a pandemic is understanding something that risk communication expert Dr. Peter Sandman refers to as an adjustment reaction:

When someone first learns about a new and potentially serious risk, the natural, healthy, and useful reaction is, in a sense, an over-reaction:

– You pause
– You become hyper-vigilant
– You personalize the risk
– You take extra precautions

These responses are signs of what psychiatrists call an adjustment reaction. They are part of the process of adjusting to the new risk. Here are the key characteristics of the adjustment reaction to crisis:

1. It is automatic
2. It comes early
3. It is temporary
4. It is a small over-reaction
5. It may need guidance
6. It serves as a rehearsal
7. It reduces the probability of later over-reaction

This is just a summary; I very strongly suggest you go over and read the whole thing yourself, it’s not too long and it is fascinating. Dr. Sandman goes on to say:

This is the teachable moment! Instead of criticizing or ridiculing people’s adjustment reactions to emerging crises, smart crisis communicators encourage the adjustment reactions, legitimize them, ally with them, and guide them.

It’s okay to tell people that they’re jumping the gun a little – that there is still time and you advise them to hold off on particular precautions until the risk gets closer, bigger, or clearer. It’s okay to recommend substitute precautions – precautions that are more useful or less burdensome or less likely to backfire than the ones they’re attracted to. It’s okay to remind them that nobody knows yet whether the situation will worsen or blow over, that they should try to stay poised to ramp up or ramp down their level of concern. That’s all part of guiding the adjustment reaction.

What isn’t okay is to suggest that people shouldn’t be worried yet, that they shouldn’t take any precautions or even think about what precautions they want to take until you give the word. It isn’t okay to tell people that their normal and useful impulse to rehearse is irrational or panicky. Healthy people are going to rehearse. They are going to imagine the worst before it happens and before we know for sure if it’s coming. They are going to take premature precautions. An adjustment reaction is a big improvement over being caught unawares. Don’t try to tell people not to have one. Help them have a good one.

In other words, an adjustment reaction is normal, it helps you to begin to take the risk of a pandemic seriously, and it gives you the kick-start you need in order to begin preparing for it.

At this point all the experts are now saying the same thing: that the Wuhan coronavirus will continue to spread worldwide. It cannot be contained, either within the city of Wuhan, the country of China, or the region of south-east Asia. The best that countries outside China can do at this point is to use case isolation and contact tracing to slow down the spread of the virus within their countries, and implement quarantines and social distancing policies to buy more time in order to prepare. As Dr. Amesh Adalja says above, “It is not a matter of if—it is a matter of when”.

Remember, there is no vaccine against the Wuhan coronavirus, and there is unlikely to be one for at least a year. Also, no one has any natural immunity to the 2019-nCoV virus. Scientists still don’t know what percentage of the people who catch this virus will develop only mild symptoms, and what percentage of infected people will land up in hospital. It has already been reported by Dr. Anthony Fauci of NIAID that approximately one in four people who are hospitalized so far have severe cases, requiring intensive care. No hospital system, anywhere in the world, has enough intensive care beds to deal with a surge of tens of thousands of serious 2019-nCoV cases, as we have already seen in Wuhan, China.

As I have written before, what this means for you, reading this now, is that you need to prepare yourself and your family for the possibility that you will need to stay in your homes for a period of several weeks, avoiding contact with as many other people as possible, as a wave of illness caused by the Wuhan coronavirus sweeps through your community, forcing schools, businesses, and public transportation and public gathering places like movie theatres and shopping malls to close (as we already seen in Wuhan and many other cities in China). The time to prepare for this is NOW.

That means that you need to prepare by stocking up on food and other supplies to last you at least two or three weeks. Start by reviewing the Personal Health Preparedness lists provided by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention here and the Pandemic Preparations list by Ready, an official website of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security.

You will need to have on hand:

  • At least two weeks of food and other supplies (toilet paper, first aid supplies, soap and hand sanitizer, garbage bags, etc.). There are already reports of panic buying in places such as Hong Kong, Singapore and Italy. You do not want to leave it to the last minute!
  • Refills of all your presecription medications, plus a stock of over-the-counter medicines (talk to your doctor and pharmacist about creating an emergency supply of your prescription medication).
  • Power sources (flashlights, extra batteries, car chargers and adapters for your mobile devices, etc.).

Other things that you should do:

  • Sign up for any local alerts from your city, state/province, or federal government (or know where to find the information on the Internet). Find out what plans your employer is making (and if they’re not making them now, they should be).
  • If you haven’t yet, get your seasonal flu shot. It can’t hurt, and it will help to figure out whether or not you do have 2019-nCoV if/when you do become sick. Many areas now give out the flu shot for free.
  • Train yourself NOT to touch your eyes, nose, and mouth! The SARS-CoV-2 virus can remain viable on hard surfaces anywhere from 2 hours to 9 days, and you can transfer the virus from your infected hands to your mouth, nose, and eyes by touching or rubbing them.
  • Watch the following video from the World Health Organization on how wash your hands! Yes, I know I have posted it before. You may think you already know how to wash your hands properly, but you might still learn something you didn’t know before. Proper hand hygiene will also help you avoid catching regular seasonal colds and influenza, so there’s a net benefit to society.

Good Sources of Information on SARS-CoV-2 and COVID-19

Here is my updated list of good, credible, authoritative resources to learn more about the Wuhan coronoavirus (formerly called 2019-nCoV and now officially called SARS-CoV-2; the disease the virus causes is now called COVID-19):

If you want a quick, up-to-date overview of the current situation, here are three good places to check:

Stay informed, get prepared, and stay healthy!

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Lab Gab: Strawberry Linden Talks with Linden Lab CEO Ebbe Altberg about Sansar and Second Life (and the Winners of the Second Life Name Changes Contest Are Announced!)

Ebbe Altberg and Strawberry Linden

Strawberry Linden has continued on with Lab Gab, a regular talk show on Second Life, hosting solo now that Xiola Linden (a.k.a. Jenn in Sansar) has left Linden Lab. Her guests today were Linden Lab CEO Ebbe Altberg, and Grumpity Linden, the Vice President of Product for Second Life, and she did a absolutely wonderful job as host, asking her guests many questions raised by Second Life’s customers.

Strawberry started off the conversation by asking Ebbe to talk about the current status of Sansar. He said (and this is a paraphrase I transcribed directly from the livestream video) that Linden Lab decided that they could no longer sponsor the project financially, so they are looking for a “Plan B”, and are having conversations with interested parties. There is as yet no deal to announce, however. Moving forward, Linden Lab will focus entirely on Second Life and the Tilia online payments business. He hopes that he can be more specific with details of a deal in a couple of weeks or so.


UPDATE 7:49 p.m.: If you are looking for an exact, verbatim transcript of Ebbe’s words (and an audio clip), Inara Pey has what you need. Thanks, Inara!


Ebbe said that in the process of rightsizing, Linden Lab lost a number of staff, but some “heavy-hitters” were transferred from the Sansar project to Second Life. He said Linden Lab is now in a very healthy financial position, but it was sad to let so many good people go, and they were doing everything they could to help them find new jobs. Out of respect for the people who were laid off, the company will not name the people who were let go, although the laid-off staff could let others know if they wanted to, themselves. (And although I did receive a list of the names of Linden Lab staff laid off in the most recent layoffs from a well-placed source, I will not be sharing it.)

Strawberry (bless her heart!) also asked Ebbe about the rumour that Philip Rosedale, Linden Lab’s founding CEO, was coming back to Linden Lab, and Ebbe said that that was not true. He and Philip do keep in touch regularly, though.

The rest of Lab Gab was about Second Life, and the conversation involved VP of Product Grumpity Linden. Work is proceeding on a large endeavour called Project Uplift, which involves moving much of Second Life’s infrastructure from server farms into the cloud (the hosting of sims, etc.), which Linden Lab expects to complete by the end of this year.

Development is underway on a companion mobile app for Second Life (not a 3D viewer) for chat, customer support for merchants, etc. The idea is to provide a tool for SL users to stay connected with their friends even if they are not on a desktop computer. They expect to have an alpha/beta user test at some point in the future, hopefully within a couple of months. The iOS Apple app will be released before the Android app.

Grumpity Linden’s
colourful avatar

The launch of Premium Plus accounts (essentially, super-premium user accounts with even more features and benefits) is “close”, according to Grumpity, but she would not commit to a release date yet. Premium Plus users will pay about US$20 less for the upcoming avatar name change feature than current Premium users. So, you might want to wait for Premium Plus accounts to launch before deciding to change your avatar name.

Grumpity also announced that the cost to transfer a buy-down or grandfathered sim will be cut in half, from US$600 to US$300. There are no other land price change announcements at this time.

Finally, Keira Linden, the Product Manager for the Name Change Project, made a special announcement. Over 2,400 submissions were received for the Second Life Name Changes contest. Eight last names were chosen as the contest winners, instead of just five as they had originally planned. Keira reported the winners here:

  • Conundrum
  • Dismantled
  • Huntsman
  • Littlepaws
  • Nova
  • Ravenhurst
  • Wumpkins
  • Yeetly

All the winners will be emailed, and they will get a free avatar name change when this feature becomes available. (Note that there will be a whole bunch of last names available to choose from at launch, not just these eight.)

There were many other topics discussed that I am not covering here, but you can watch this episode of Lab Gab on YouTube:

Somnium Space Version 2.0: A First Look

Early this morning, I was finally able to stroll around version 2.0 of the blockchain-based social VR platform, Somnium Space. The company has dropped a new, 1-1/2 minute trailer to promote the official launch of version 2.0:

I’m going to break down my first impressions into several sections.

Downloading Version 2.0

You can download the client from Steam or directly from their website. The installation process involves downloading and installing a small launcher program, which then downloads the full client, which is about 3.5GB in size.

As I reported yesterday, I encountered some problems downloading the full client from the Somnium Space servers. The server went down several times yesterday and last night, and had to be reset. Also, I was getting a download speed of only 1 MB per second on average:

I ran Speedtest to check my bandwidth while downloading the client, and as you can see, I had plenty of bandwidth to spare, so the problem lay with their servers, and not with my computer:

Several times the launcher program hung, and had to be restarted. I’m not sure if the problems were because so many people were trying to download the client on the first day, but it was rather annoying. I landed up spending from about noon yesterday until 3:00 a.m. this morning, off and on, trying to download version 2.0 of the client! Let’s hope that these were just opening day technical glitches.

Two Clients: VR and PC

Once completely downloaded, you use the launcher to start the program, which automatically checks for any software updates before taking you to the main screen. There are actually two clients: one VR (3D) and one flatscreen (PC/2D), and they are used for different purposes.

The flatscreen client is used to select your avatar and to build on land you have purchased (like Second Life, there is an extensive array of in-world building tools; see the video at the end of this blogpost).

The VR client is the main Somnium Space client, which you use to navigate the social VR platform. Somnium Space works with any PCVR headset (i.e. a VR headset that requires a higher-end computer with a good graphics card), including Oculus Rift and HTC Vive. It also works with Oculus Quest and Oculus Link.

Please note that there will not be a desktop (non-VR) client for Somnium Space until next week at the earliest. The company decided to focus on VR users first. If you don’t have PCVR, then you are out of luck at present.

The Version 2.0 Avatars

One of the biggest changes in version 2.0 of Somnium Space are the avatars, which are now complete, full-body avatars instead of the head-and-shoulders ones in version 2.0.

The starting set of default avatars is stylized and functional, but they are rather blocky-looking, and they are certainly not going to win any beauty contests.

You actually select your avatar using the flatscreen (2D) version of the client, instead of the VR (3D) version:

At present, you cannot change any aspect of these avatars, such as the hairstyle or colour, or the clothing. Artur Sychov, the CEO of Somnium Space, tells me that they are planning to release UnitySDK next week so that people can build their own custom avatars, so I am looking forward to seeing what people create!

A Wonderful Sense of Space

A “drone view” of Somnium Space at night; the glowing green borders indicate the boundaries of virtual land where nobody has built anything yet (picture courtesy of Artur Sychov, Somnium Space)

Somnium Space is among the first social VR platforms where you really do get a sense of the vast scale of the landscape. The platform is designed to be one contiguous landmass, instead of individual worlds. I have been told that there will be charge for teleporting (or perhaps, teleporting after watching an advertisement), to encourage users to walk around. And yes, you can hike all the way into the misty mountains you can see in the horizon!

The in-world camera tool on the user interface tablet isn’t functional yet, but I was able to take a few screenshots using SnagIt while in my Oculus Rift this morning. There is a pleasant central town that boasts a lighthouse, a seaside café, a shopping mall, a bowling alley, and a planetarium, among other attractions.

Dotted here and there on the gently undulating landscape outside this town are the first buildings, including some interesting and innovative constructions. The whole world has a sense of a festival being set up.

While the central town and the landscape remain in 3D, the user-built buildings load in stages as you approach them, in a sensible effort to lessen the load on the client.

Final Thoughts and Impressions

Artur Sychov and his team at Somnium Space are to be commended for pushing the envelope as to what is possible in a blockchain-based social VR platform.

While Decentraland and Cryptovoxels are currently more popular in terms of transaction volume on OpenSea, the former doesn’t support virtual reality at all, and the latter is restricted to voxel-based building. I suspect that once people begin to compare all three platforms feature-for-feature, they will begin to see the benefits of the more realistic-looking, more attractive in-world experience offered by Somnium Space, and they will choose to invest.

Opening-day glitches aside, this is an extremely promising start, and I look forward to seeing how Somnium Space develops over time!


If you want more information about Somnium Space, you can visit their website, or follow them on social media: Facebook, Instagram, Telegram, Twitter, and YouTube. You can also join their official Discord server.

A Step-by-Step Guide on How to Get Started in Decentraland (and Some Caveats for New Users)

So today, February 20th, 2020 was the day that Decentraland (DCL for short) opened the doors to the general public to its blockchain-based virtual world, and I wanted to provide some step-by-step instructions on how to get started, as well as talk about a few issues that I encountered, and give you my overall impressions. 

First, let’s talk about the issues. Then we’ll get to the instructions.

I am truly impressed at the amount of content already up and running in Decentraland. When I first set foot on the grid last July as part of the closed beta, there were still lots of empty spaces, but over time (and with some help from a couple of contests for content creators), that empty space has started to be filled with some interesting and innovative content, including many games and puzzles. It’s wonderful to see, and it does remind me of the early days of Second Life.

However, the problems I had getting set up today illustrate just how user unfriendly blockchain-based virtual worlds can be to crypto newbies. I, who know a bit more about crypto than the average user, was ready to tear my hair out in frustration at some points. Simply put, this is still way, waaay too complicated for the average, non-crypto users that Decentraland will need to appeal to and attract in order to be a lasting success. 

Let’s start with wallets. New users will need to set up a cryptocurrency wallet in order to use Decentraland, even if you do not want to purchase any in-world currency and just want to wander around. In my case, I took advantage of a limited-time offer late last year to get a free custom avatar name, which normally retails for 100 MANA, Decentraland’s in-world cryptocurrency (approximately US$6.00).

But the offer required me to set up a Trust wallet app on my iPhone, whereas when I signed into Decentraland on my Windows desktop computer, I used the MetaMask wallet I had set up as a plug-in on my Chrome web browser. This worked just fine during the closed beta, but on launch day I discovered to my dismay that my custom avatar name, as well as some custom avatar wearables I had won during platform testing, were stuck on my Trust wallet instead of my MetaMask wallet, and therefore inaccessible to me.

You would think that transferring my assets from one wallet to another would be straightforward. You would be wrong. I did not even know anything was wrong until I tried to log in on launch day, only to find a randomly-generated avatar appearance and a randomly-generated guest name associated with my account. Eventually, DCL support told me that my avatar user name and appearance were associated with a different wallet. 

Then followed another couple of hours of frustration, as I pored through the Trust wallet and MetaMask wallet documentation, trying in vain to figure out how to export assets from one and import them into another. Finally, a couple of kind souls on the official Decentraland Discord server led me to a website tool where I could enter my 12-word seed phrase from my Trust account to generate a private key that would allow me to import my wallet into MetaMask so I could access my avatar name and appearance when signed in Decentraland. 

Also, as a promotion to encourage new users to visit the platform, Decentraland is running a hunt for treasure chests filled with various prizes, including awards of MANA (the in-world currency, LAND (virtual land), and limited-edition avatar wearables. After finally getting my account set up properly, I went hunting.

Eventually, I found a treasure chest, and clicking on it, I was informed that I had won 10 MANA and a custom launch-day T-shirt for my avatar. Great! That was when I learned that I still needed to have a small amount of Ethereum (ETH) as a transaction “gas” fee in order to actually receive my prizes, separate from the MANA I already had in my wallet. I landed up forfeiting my prizes due to a lack of ETH, a concept that would be somewhat difficult to explain to a novice crypto user, to whom DCL would be their very first blockchain-based experience. 

Close, but no cigar: prizes I had to forfeit due to a lack of “gas”

Between the wallet follies and the lack of gas money, it was the kind of experience that would send most novice users screaming into the night. Your average virtual worlds consumer does not want to fuss with crypto wallets and transaction gas fees and seed phrases and private keys. They just want things to work. These are some serious obstacles to getting started that I definitely think need to be addressed at some future point. 

So, given these initial caveats, here are some instructions (courtesy of DCL evangelist Carl Fravel) on how to get started with Decentraland:


Getting Started in Decentraland (by Carl Fravel)

Decentraland and the Ethereum Blockchain

Decentraland’s land and economy are built on a blockchain, in particular, the “Ethereum” blockchain. This allows people to securely identify themselves, and, when desired, sign things securely, and conduct financial transactions, including in Decentraland. It also allows Decentraland to be permanent, not depending on any particular company’s destiny.   It also, when used properly, provides a high degree of security and user control.

To operate on the Ethereum blockchain, and for example to create a Decentraland account, you will need to have a suitable Ethereum “wallet” app. On the blockchain, you can have one or more “accounts”. A wallet app allows you to create and use your accounts. Think of the account as your bank account number, and your wallet as your debit card.

For Decentraland, the wallet app must be of a certain kind, that can work through a web browser. The recommended wallet for Decentraland is MetaMask. MetaMask is a browser extension. You can get MetaMask through the extensions catalog of your browser.

For example, to install MetaMask in Chrome:

  • Open Chrome
  • Be sure you are logged into your Chrome/Google account
  • Click on the little 3 dot menu in the upper right corner
  • Select “More tools” and then “Extensions”
  • Click on the 3-line menu in the upper left
  • At the bottom of the popup, select “Open Chrome Web Store”
  • Search the store for “MetaMask”
  • The MetaMask logo is an orange fox’s head
  • Install it.  It will show up among your Chrome extensions icons
  • You will need to set up your wallet and create your first Ethereum account.
  • Click on the extension if it hasn’t already opened, and carefully follow the instructions.
    • MetaMask setup: you’ll get a 12-word passphrase (keep that in a permanent, secret and safe place, it is like the key to your safe deposit box or your bank login).  Do not put your passphrase in the cloud unless you store it in a password-protected file, like a zip or Word file that has a password.
    • You will also create a regular password in MetaMask.  Keep that safe, too 
    • Then, once you have your first MetaMask wallet “account” and are signed into it, you can proceed to Decentraland setup

Getting a Decentraland Passport and Avatar

In Decentraland, you create a “Password” (which is your identity and account in Decentraland). You will use MetaMask to do so. On your first visit to the Decentraland world, you will be guided on their website to create a Passport and an Avatar.  

You will also be given an option to claim a permanent and unique avatar name (which requires paying a small fee using MetaMask — this fee was created to keep someone from freely grabbing all the possibly interesting names to hold for ransom).  You do not have to own a name to visit Decentraland, but eventually you may want to get one so that you don’t show up just as a guest.

  • In your MetaMask-equipped browser, go to https://decentraland.org/ 
  • Press the Start Exploring button in the top right
  • If this is your first visit to the Decentraland world, you will be guided to create a Passport and design your Avatar (you can change it later, so don’t worry too much about perfection initially). You must create or have a wallet account (MetaMask recommended) to serve as the passport ID for Decentraland. 
  • You will have the option to “Claim a Name” for your avatar.  For this you will need to get 100 Mana (Decentraland’s currency) and at least a small amount of Ethereum Ethers (ETH) into your MetaMask wallet account.  You can skip claiming a name for as long as you wish, and visit the world as an anonymous guest.
  • Once you have a MetaMask wallet, click the “Explore the World” button on the Decentraland page.
  • On your first visit you will enter a beginners tutorial, where you can learn basic skills like how to walk, jump and chew gum at the same time.
  • You will also be shown instructions on how to chat, use the minimap, etc. 
  • Once you leave the tutorial through the portal arch, you will really be “in the world”
  • If you press the Enter key, you can type into the Chat area in the lower left corner of your screen, to converse with others, or to enter Decentraland commands
  • One of the commands enables you to teleport to another place in Decentraland
  • For example to go to the main entrance to the Decentraland Conference Center, type into the chat area, very carefully and exactly the following, with the indicated space
    /goto 11,94

If you have problems, ask questions of an experienced friend, or join the Decentraland Discord chat server, available from the Decentraland website.

Claiming a Name and Participating in the Economy

Although you may wish to skip this part just to visit the world, eventually you may wish to pay the small fee to claim a personal identity name, or to buy land in Decentraland or accessories for your Avatar.

A full coverage of cryptocurrencies is way beyond the scope of this getting started guide, but here is the basic workflow 

  1. Overview:
    1. You go to an exchange and buy some ETH and MANA cryptocurrency
    2. You transfer that into your MetaMask Wallet
    3. You go to Decentrland, and use you MANA to Claim a Name, buy land, or buy accessories
    4. Purchases will consume a small amount of ETH as a transaction fee
  2. Go to an exchange like Coinbase https://coinbase.com  where you can set up an account, with your bank account or debit card and purchase Cryptocurrencies.
    1. Some exchanges, like Coinbase, allow you to use national currencies, like dollars, to buy certain cryptocurrencies
    2. Other exchanges, like Bittrex or Binance (there are many) allow you to bring in one cryptocurrency and change it to another, and will handle Decentraland Mana, but don’t work with national currencies
    3. ‘A few exchanges (like Coinbase Pro https://pro.coinbase.com ) allow you to bring in a national currency (like dollars) and use it to directly buy a wide range of cryptocurrencies, including Decentraland Mana
  3. A Example of recommended steps
    1. Sign up for Coinbase.com  (it will take some time and steps)
    2. That also gives you access to Coinbase Pro
    3. In Coinbase Pro, purchase a few dollars of Ethereum Ethers (ETH) and maybe $10-20 of Decentraland MANA
    4. Transfer those both the ETH and the MANA to your MetaMask Wallet
    5. Go to avatars.decentraland.com, and Claim a Name
      1. It costs 100 MANA  (when Mana is around $0.06, this would be about $6.00
      2. Ethereum transactions usually use a little bit of ETH to pay the Ethereum network “miners” (operators).  Most transactions seem to be around $0.50 to $1.00
    6. You can buy land and other accessories for Decentraland at:
      https://market.decentraland.org 

Other Resources for Learning


Thanks, Carl!

Again, I would counsel new users, especially those brand new to cryptocurrencies and blockchain, to take things a step at a time—and not to try and find treasure chests, because you won’t be able to claim your prizes unless you have purchased some ETH ahead of time!