With the legalization of betting activities taking place in many latitudes and the pandemic prompting users to turn to online gaming to entertain themselves during confinements, it seems that the industry as a whole is enjoying some strong tailwinds lately.
Nowadays, multiple sports betting apps for real money are available and the rise of cryptocurrencies and blockchain technology has facilitated the launch of online casinos and gaming platforms that can use this technology to increase their credibility and lure users who are seeking to be rewarded for their participation.
Can the blockchain change the entire online gaming industry for good? In the following article, we describe a few ways in which this technology can be implemented in gaming while also providing a brief list of the most popular crypto-based gaming projects for the year.
How can the blockchain be used in gaming?
#1 – To reward users
In the past, all the rewards obtained from users for their interaction and advances in a given game were unique to that platform and could only be exchanged with other gamers.
Nowadays, the launch of gaming crypto tokens and their listing in centralized exchanges have allowed gamers to exchange the rewards they obtain in a given game for other cryptocurrencies and even for fiat money.
This increases the appeal of playing and getting better at the game as rewards are now considered real money and users can be compensated – even to the extent of making a living out of it – for the time they invest in this activity.
#2 – To increase transparency
Gaming companies are by nature centralized entities that process and settle transactions for users who participate in their platforms. This role often creates doubts about the transparency of their operations since there is an inherent conflict of interest.
On this particular front, the implementation of blockchain technology can dissipate these concerns as these networks are decentralized by nature. Transactions are validated by third parties with no relationship with the central organization and, through the use of smart contracts, everybody with a little programming knowledge can see how the game is designed and how users are rewarded.
#3 – To strengthen ownership
The launch of non-fungible tokens (NFTs) has opened the door for a whole new way to treat in-game equipment and gear as now these items can be minted within the blockchain to create a certificate of ownership that can only be transferred with the consent of the user.
In the past, it was common to see gamers’ accounts being hacked. This led to the loss of these hard-earned items. Now, by investing a tiny bit to mint these items within the blockchain, it would be impossible to steal these items without having to violate the integrity of the chain as a whole – an accomplishment that is quite hard to pull off.
Moreover, the fact that ownership can be verified easily facilitates transactions within the ecosystem as a smart contract can be set up to make sure that both parties receive what they are entitled to as part of a regular sale.
The most popular crypto gaming projects of 2021
Axie Infinity (AXS)
Axie Infinity is one of the most popular gaming cryptocurrencies and perhaps the most successful if one considers that its market capitalization is the largest in this particular segment – currently standing at $7.6 billion.
This token powers a game that consists of breeding Tamagotchi-like creatures called Axies. These axes are non-fungible tokens (NFT) that take the form of a virtual pet.
AXS tokens are used to make transactions within the game including finding a suitable partner for one’s Axie and enhancing their battle abilities. Recent data from the platform shows that Axie Inifinity has around 1.85 million daily active users (DAUs).
Decentraland is a blockchain-based metaverse in which users can create experiences and monetize them by using the token. The game is powered by one of the strongest blockchains of the ecosystem – Ethereum – and has the potential to disrupt this up-and-coming segment of the technological space.
Since the platform is blockchain-based, rewards are distributed using smart contracts and this promotes fairness and transparency for developers who spend their time working on building the best experiences for gamers.
Moreover, gamers can also earn rewards by interacting with these experiences and this creates an organic ecosystem that seems set to explode in the future.
From all perspectives, the blockchain does seem to be a perfect match for the up-and-coming sports betting and iGaming segment of the industry. It brings multiple benefits and little downside as long as the project’s design is robust enough to protect the network from being hacked.