Game-fi and Crypto Gaming - A Quick Overview

Crypto gaming has seen a big boom in popularity over the past year alongside the growing interests in DeFi and demand for NFTs (non-fungible tokens). 

For a long time, gaming has been a ‘centralised’ activity where the owners of each game would control the in-game data and collectibles. It was only after the development of dApps (decentralised applications) on the Ethereum blockchain that games could be built to play and earn rewards in a ‘decentralised’ way. 

Let’s put this into some context: in most video games there will be items or collectibles such as a battle sword or wearable armour that are purchased and used within the game. In crypto games, the items are normally in NFT form and these are owned on the blockchain. They are not locked to the game but to the player and owner, and can be used across different games. This is what makes it ‘decentralised’. Where all the data is stored on digital ledgers, the buying and selling of in-game assets happens on the blockchain for real-world money (normally USD). 

NFTs are associated with being digital items such as photos or pieces of artwork, music and audio files or in this case, collectible items in virtual games. Essentially though, NFTs are unique units of data stored on digital ledgers and use blockchain technology to give them an unchangeable public proof of ownership.

How do they work? 

Crypto games are made using complete, or partial blockchain technology. Developers can build the entire game on a blockchain, where every interaction in the game is recorded on the blockchain ledger. Or alternatively, use blockchain in-game through NFTs as a currency or asset. 

The games are built with a similar structure to other dapps (decentralised applications), following the same basics. Crypto games use smart contracts and blockchain technology to “write and decide” how the game will be played and maintained through a protocol. Some games even have their own governance tokens. 

Perhaps inspired by the DeFi ecosystem, crypto games have also evolved into what we call GameFi. GameFi is the play-to-earn model where users are directly involved in the governance of the game. This model promotes a player-owned economy and users unite to have a virtual voice in the industry. The basis of the games themselves is also quite simple: actively playing the game will earn players more assets and maintain the game.

The turning point for crypto gaming is that there is “real-world” money to be made. This can be through the market value of an NFT or players can generate an income through play, depending on the game itself. For NFTs, because they are bought and sold on the blockchain the value can always be exchanged back into fiat currency, most commonly USD.

Why has it become popular? 

Over the last five years, gaming in general has exponentially increased in popularity. Now that there are thousands of games available at our fingertips, almost anyone, of any age could find one suited to their interests. 

Maybe it is because of the explosion in technology that the gaming community is now more resourced, or perhaps it is the uprising of the young tech generation that is uniting the crypto and Defi world to gaming. It's exciting to enter an alternate reality and experience things that cannot be seen in nature. As humans we are always eager to invent and to innovate the latest technology. 

DeFi gaming is still very new and quite niche, even to cryptocurrency communities, yet the growing interest in it will only become greater in DeFi space. The bonus with cryptocurrency gaming is that you can become more than a singer-user player who bought a game. 

What games are there?  

There are now so many games to choose from, and this too is the case in crypto gaming. Here just few examples.

The game CryptoKitties pioneered this revolution in 2017 by allowing users to buy, sell, and create different kinds of virtual kittens in the form of NFTs, which turn each virtual kitten into a unique, collectible digital asset. The rarer the kitten, the higher the value it holds (the most expensive Cryptokitten was sold for $172,000).

Axie Infinity was one of the first major crypto games to see popularity in this space. It is a Pokemon-style game where players battle with Axie monsters for special redeemable tokens. Now, Axie infinity is the most popular by market capitalization reaching a revenue of $364m in August 2021. 

And the games don’t stop there… The concept of blockchain gaming can also extend into metaverses, like Decentraland or Sandbox - whole digital worlds around your game. In these places players can create governance, team up and even create a currency for value exchange. NFTs can be minted and even DAOs can be created, all within this digital game world. 

You can take a look to the top blockchain games here.

Can I use with my gaming tokens? 

Yes. Currently the only gaming token compatible with the is MANA. The MANA token can be deposited in as a collateral to borrow DAI and can be multiplied via the Multiply functionality. MANA is the ERC-20 token of Decentraland, which is a 3D decentralised virtual reality platform built with 90,601 parcels of LAND in NFT form. In this virtual world, players are encouraged to create objects to sell, along with buying and selling land parcels and collectibles to build a shared reality. The MANA token is exchanged through USD or other cryptocurrencies to buy the portions of LAND that are used within the game, and also to pay for in-game goods and services. 

If you’re ready to connect your MANA to the click here and search for “Decentraland”. 

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December 3, 2021

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