Ariel Meilich is the co-founder and former CEO of Decentraland, a virtual world platform built on the Ethereum blockchain that allows users to create, experience, and monetize content and applications. 
Early Life & Education
Ari Meilich is an Argentinian developer who initially enrolled at the University of Buenos Aires. However, he later transferred to City University of New York - Hunter College where he graduated with a Bachelor of Science (BSc.) in Neuroscience from 2010 to 2013. 
Ari Meilich started his career in August 2010 as the Research Assistant for Mood and Anxiety Program at Mount Sinai Hospital. From June to August 2011, he did Neuroscience research at Brown University. He joined New York University in August 2011 where he conducted Neuroscience & Neuroeconomics research and contributed to the Nature Neuroscience review paper, The Neuroscience of Race (2012). 
Ari Meilich co-founded Decentraland alongside Esteban Ordano in May 2017. Meilich served as the CEO and Project Lead for Decentraland until April 2020 when he stepped back into a part-time Advisory role at the organization. 
Decentraland is a decentralized virtual reality platform powered by the Ethereum blockchain where users can buy and sell digital real estate while exploring, interacting, and playing games within the virtual world. Decentraland was launched following a $24 million initial coin offering (ICO) conducted in August 2017. The virtual world launched its closed beta in 2019 and opened to the public in February 2020. 
Decentraland uses two tokens: MANA and LAND. MANA is an ERC-20 token that must be burned to acquire non-fungible ERC-721 LAND tokens. MANA is the native currency of Decentraland and it can also be used to pay for a range of avatars, wearables, names, and more on the Decentraland marketplace.
On how Decentraland started out, Ari stated:
"Decentraland was the weekend project of a group of friends. It remained a hobby for about two years until we turned it into a venture. Around then, VR headsets were gaining adoption, and the appearance of a user-owned virtual world seemed inevitable."
Big Time Studios
Ari Meilich co-founded Big Time Studios, a gaming company in April 2020 alongside the game designer Thor Alexander. The main agenda behind the setup of the firm is to allow video game studios to use cryptocurrencies and NFT technologies. 
"When we started Big Time Studios in early 2020, we recognized the friction between players and web3 games and sought to fix that. We began by recruiting a team of gaming veterans and built a platform tailor-made to our first game, Big Time" - Ari Meilich. 
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