Adoption is a word you’ll hear on an almost daily basis in the crypto space. It can though mean different things to different people. For some, it’s all about just getting more people into buying crypto and thus pushing the prices up. For them, adoption means nothing more than higher profits.
To those of us who aren’t solely focussed on enriching ourselves, it’s a broader term. We want to see crypto continue to take bigger and bigger chunks out of the traditional financial system. We want to see it loosen the grip that fiat currencies and banks have over our everyday lives. To us, crypto is more than just an asset class: it’s a medium of exchange that we can use on our own terms.
There has been no shortage of headlines over the last few years about businesses waking up and smelling the crypto. An increasing number of stores and companies now accept payment for goods and services in BTC and other cryptos, allowing us more financial freedom than ever before. But all the hype around being able to buy your morning latte using crypto (back when we were able to do that sort of thing) has hidden another important area of adoption from view.
We’re spending more of our lives online, especially as lockdowns drag on. Many of us are spending some of that time playing games online too and it’s here that crypto adoption finds another frontier. Blockchain-based games are taking off in popularity and they’re using crypto to power their in-game ecosystems. Transactions made within these games are going to play an increasingly major role in driving adoption of crypto forward in a whole other direction.
What is a Blockchain game?
There are two main features to blockchain games. We’ve already covered the first: the integration of cryptocurrency for in-game payments and/or the use of non-fungible tokens (NFTs) within the games themselves. NFTs allow gamers to own unique assets within games that can be traded with other players or transferred across platforms. A good example would be a rare weapon in Fortnite.
Then there’s the nature of blockchain itself: an incorruptible database which can store information about who owns which items and what they are worth. This would enable them to be traded safely, with buyers having confidence that their items are genuine and sellers have a record of the sale being finalised. Smart contracts can be used to make the whole process seamless and entirely transparent.
There are also consequences for game data too. By using blockchain, players’ progress can be tracked and cheating made all-but impossible. The days of nefarious gamers hacking extra skills or unlocking higher levels could be numbered.
Blockchain is opening up a whole new world of possibilities for gamers. Not only is it allowing them to immerse themselves even more in the games they play, but it is also giving many the opportunity to monetise their hobby. Great players can earn tangible rewards for their skills, while those with an artistic leaning can design and sell desirable, collectable in-game items. The potential is vast and the game devs are only just getting started.
The Best Blockchain Games
As you can imagine, the blockchain gaming space is growing fast, with new titles coming out all the time as demand increases. As with regular gaming, there are good, bad and indifferent blockchain games, catering to all sorts of tastes. But we’re not interested in those. We’re concerned with the titles that are setting the pace for the rest of the sector and laying early claim to classic status.
So, here in no particular order are ten of the blockchain games we’re most excited about. It’s a tough job playing a whole heap of games to find the best ones, but someone’s gotta do it.
1. The Sandbox
This virtual world platform has been around since 2012 as a regular iOS, Android and Windows game, but pivoted towards blockchain when bought by Animoca Brands in 2018. The game is all about the creativity of its users and the content they generate all contributes to the ever-expanding Sandbox multiverse.
The Sandbox takes its lead from games like Minecraft and Roblox, but seeks to concentrate power and ownership in the hands of its users rather than the developers. It uses NFTs to enable users to own their creations and reward them for building and maintaining the game’s ecosystem.
Users can create in-game objects through the VoxEdit function and then sell them in the Sandbox’s online marketplace. The game makes use of three separate tokens to allow them to do this. SAND is an ERC-20 token and the main in-game currency which functions as ‘the basis for all of the ecosystem’s transactions and interactions.’
LAND consists of NFTs representing digital real estate which can be bought to develop as the player chooses. If the LAND is developed successfully it can be rented out or sold at a profit.
Finally, there are ASSETS: these are player-created ERC-1155 tokens that can also be traded in the marketplace and represent the content generated by the users.
SAND tokens are available on a number of exchanges. If you want to buy LAND then you’ll first need to load up on SAND and buy through one of the presales that take place on the game platform itself. ASSETS can also be bought here.
2. The Six Dragons
The Enjin platform is fast becoming a hub for blockchain game developers, as it builds ‘a product ecosystem that will help humanity create advanced virtual economies through the power of blockchain technology.’
It offers a platform on which to build blockchain games and mint the tokens that power them, while also offering wallet and marketplace services too. Its native Enjin Coin (ENJ) is an ERC-20 token that backs the in-game assets issued by games on the platform, thus allowing them to be freely traded.
One of the most exciting games on the Enjin platform has to be The Six Dragons, a fantasy-themed open-world RPG in which players can ‘explore endless lands, farm for valuable materials, craft more than 300 unique items, trade items with other players and improve their arsenal using powerful enchants.’
As with The Sandbox, the emphasis here is all on the user. The game prides itself on being shaped and run by its players and thus truly decentralised in the best blockchain tradition. The fantasy genre is a pretty well-worn one in both traditional and blockchain gaming, but The Six Dragons looks amazing and gives players plenty of scope to explore the game’s world while acquiring and trading a wide variety of items.
The ability to design and craft items to then use or sell has to be earned, thus rewarding players who participate in the game and help grow its ecosystem. For users wanting to buy Enjin Coin to use in the game, Binance is once again the best bet, though other exchanges do support it.
3. Axie Infinity
A recent Coin Telegraph article put it nicely when it stated that blockchain games have more in common with crypto investing than more mainstream games like Call of Duty. This is particularly true of Axie Infinity, a game that takes its lead from Pokémon and Crypto Kitties. Here players buy and breed cute little creatures called Axies while battling other players in PvP mode, or the game’s AI in PvE.
Players need to buy a minimum of three Axies to get started, with the cheapest starting from 0.0421 ETH (around $75). This means a pretty hefty initial investment, but time and effort spent on the game can net you a return, as winning battles earns you Small Love Potions (SLPs). These are the game’s utility tokens and can then be used to breed more Axies, which can then be sold to other players. The higher an Axie’s breed count, the more expensive it becomes.
SLPs can be traded on Uniswap, enabling dedicated players to earn from their endeavours. Axie Infinity also has a governance token in the form of Axie Infinity Shards (AXS). These can be staked, used to buy NFTs in the game’s marketplace and give holders a say in how the network is run. AXS can also be traded on Uniswap and, of course, Binance.
The graphics and gameplay of Axie Infinity aren’t for everyone, but all crypto fans must applaud the news that some players have even been able to earn a living from playing. A fine example of blockchain working for the little guy.