Although the Decentraland community is as friendly as a smurf village, and trading LAND can usually be done in good faith, even this community has its jokey smurfs and gargamels. Over-the-counter-trading isn't necessarily 100% safe. This is especially the case if LAND-traders don't know their counterparty well enough to trust them. This issue is getting more important as bigger deals are made, and serious value is transferred in LAND-trading deals. The first clowns trying to sell LAND they didn't own already popped up in the community. A team of coders has started DCLescrow to make LAND trading safer. We interviewed the spokesman of the team, who can be reached under the tag DCLEscrow#9720 (Discord).
Hi, can you tell us something about the DCL Escrow service?
DCL Escrow aims to remove the "trust" factor between parties by creating a digital handshake smart contract for off-market Decentraland transactions taking place on chat rooms, dms, and elsewhere.
Why did you start this project?
We are working on a lot of different Decentraland dApps, scenes, content, etc including DCL Escrow. With DCL Escrow, we saw a ton of off-market activity in the chat rooms and realized there was a need for a trustless LAND transfer network outside of the Marketplace.
Can you explain how the escrow works to a non-techy person like me?
Sure thing. The flow goes like this: Someone wants to sell their parcel or multiple parcels at once in an off market transaction. They open up DCL Escrow platform and select which parcels they would like to include in the escrow. They set a price for the entire transaction and submit it to the Ethereum blockchain. A unique escrow ID is created and the seller can send that to his counterparty (for example in a direct chat message or e-mail). When someone visits this unique ID on the DCL Escrow platform, they can see the price for the entire transaction and all the parcels included. The interested person click accepts and boom, the platform transfers the LAND tokens to them from the seller and simultaneously transfers MANA from them to the seller.
What measures did you take to ensure the safety of the system?
We mirrored our smart contract off the Decentraland Marketplace contract which obviously works well with the LAND and MANA contracts. One major addition is that our contract checks to make sure the addresses being used can hold LAND & MANA tokens accordingly. Additionally, we utilized the Open Zeppelin Solidity libraries for checking ownership of tokens. We also developed our smart contract to NOT take control of your MANA or LAND tokens giving you complete control over both. In case of a platform error, you would still be able to transact your tokens elsewhere without fear of losing them indefinitely.
Why should people use the escrow?
There have been scammers popping up in the Discord chatroom recently, that are trying to conduct off-market transactions and being very shady. 97% of the community is trustworthy and keeps their word. However, once the Decentraland platform is open to the public, there will become a greater need for a trustless platform to handle these off market transactions. Also, people can group multiple parcels (different from estates) into one escrow. Think of it as a portfolio of parcels not connected that you would like to sell at once.
Is there anything else you want to share?
We are working on an in-world location for managing these types of transactions within Genesis City. We are discussing a heads-up display and/or avatar token where you can quickly pull up the escrow platform in VR and manage transactions. There's a lot of potential for where this app can go and we are excited to grow along side the DCL community and platform!