For an industry starved of end-users, few apples look juicier to the blockchain world than gaming. The global gaming market is forecast to generate over $159 billion in revenue in 2020, and at a recent two-day digital conference the Blockchain Gaming Alliance made it clear that its members are aiming to take a bite.
There are an estimated 2.7 billion gamers worldwide, or around a third of the global population. In terms of mainstream adoption, that puts gaming in a similar tier as breathing oxygen and drinking water.
If just a fraction of those gamers were to welcome blockchain technology into their lives… well let’s just say that the crypto industry has long been yearning for such levels of penetration among the general populace.
Fortunately, blockchain features an array of compelling use cases to lure gamers into its fold, and the technology brings a whole new range of possibilities to the medium.
The Blockchain Game Alliance was formed to be the siren’s song which would promote the benefits of blockchain technology to the gaming industry at large. The BGA encourages the adoption of decentralized gaming, nonfungible tokens, and even elements of decentralized finance by highlighting new ways to create, publish, play, and build strong communities around games.
BGA members represent all aspects of the gaming and blockchain industries, and the organization holds regular presentations and workshops. It is also dedicated to promoting diversity and encouraging more women to become part of the blockchain gaming industry.
The most recent event, split into two parts across Nov. 4 and 11, was the BGA Game Demo Day, allowing members the opportunity to display their latest developments and upcoming offerings.
And so it was that I spent the past two dark, rainy, autumn Wednesday evenings glued to my screen, scribbling down notes and finding myself impressed by the future augured in blockchain-based gaming.
But first, a disclaimer. As there were so many games shown across the two parts of the event, I have tried to focus on games that haven’t previously been featured here on Cointelegraph.
That said, this article will be analyzing an incredibly diverse range of blockchain-enabled games, including cutting-edge virtual and augmented reality experiences, open-world roleplaying titles, classic tabletop trading card battlers, and even a text-based multi-user dungeon, or MUD, which is a nigh-forgotten game format that has been around since the 1990s.
Is the slow and meaningless trudge of everyday existence getting you down? Well why not swap that for the shiny new virtual reality of Somnium Space?
Perhaps the most visually impressive demo of the event, Somnium Space is an open and persistent 3D universe, allowing users to create and interact with almost anything they so desire.
Accessible using either a VR headset or standard web browser, the demo featured an NFT art gallery in which users purchase the art directly from the game universe.
Or perhaps you prefer your reality augmented? In which case, maybe Reality Clash is more your thing?
Available now on the iOS and Google Play stores, this AR shooter places your avatar in an online battlefield called ‘The Sim’, where your real-world movement translate into action in-game.
Reality Clash is all about the guns, which are NFTs that can be built, upgraded and sold to other players. However, I doubt even a gun that sports a high, blockchain-verifiable kill rate and headshot ratio can’t turn my clumsy fingers into those of a master marksman.
There were several casual and arcade games demoed across the two evenings (or mornings depending where in the world you were).
Gala Games’ Town Star is a farm-building sim playable on mobile or via browser. It features weekly competitions with cash prizes for players who can grow and sell the most of a specified type of crop. It also features crypto inventory items which can be collected and built into bots to automate certain tasks.
Mib Trek, meanwhile, takes you on a scavenger hunt through various marble-based universes in search of “genesis” marbles. These are hidden in different Ethereum (ETH) wallets, which you can unlock after solving clues found in-game.
Mib Trek’s gameplay is of the “match three” variety, but various missions reward different marble types. These must be collected and fused into compound types in order to create the crystals which will lead you to the genesis marbles.
Another mining-inspired game, Mines of Dalarnia, demoed a bunch of new user-requested features, including more complex tokenomics. This Dig Dug-like mining game requires players to explore mines looking for minerals with which to upgrade their equipment giving them access to yet more mines.
All in-game elements are represented by crypto tokens, and the mining theme felt especially apt for a blockchain game.
Fans of trading card battles were not to be disappointed, as there were two on show during the event.
Dark Country has mashed together thematic elements of the American Wild West and dark occult rituals to create a unique, gothic ambiance. Skill must be used to build up an impressive deck of cards with which to battle, and the gameplay will be familiar to anyone who has played competitive tabletop card games.
Dark Country’s battle structure sees distinct phases of battle as more powerful cards can only be played in later stages, meaning long-term strategy is key to success.
Another trading card game I saw, which I’m sure will delight many, was Doctor Who: Worlds Apart. This fully licensed game features a cast of characters from the entire 57-year history of the Doctor Who saga.
The artwork for each character has been hand-drawn and subsequently approved by the BBC in an attempt to make the cards into real collectible items. Sadly, players will have to wait a year before they are able to play the game, although a card presale is set to be held in December.
Massively multiplayer roleplaying games, or MMORPGs, were well represented at the event.
Ember Sword is an isometric world in which resource collection, crafting, trading and buffing skills all lead to some advanced monster slashing.
Unlike many blockchain games, Ember Sword is defiantly not pay-to-play and as such, quest items are not held on-chain. However, you can collect and trade cosmetic collectible NFTs, and even buy a plot of land on which to build and earn revenue.
The Enjin platform briefly showed another isometric RPG called Lost Relics, although this was mainly to demonstrate the ability to use certain NFTs in multiple games through the Enjin multiverse.
Wavelings is a third person MMORPG set in a dystopian sci-fi universe. However the demo shown was still in very early stages, with open testing not being planned until Q4 2021.
The Six Dragons is an open world fantasy RPG fully backed by blockchain tech. It has innovative touches such as allowing the holder of a rare item-recipe to provide crafting services for the other players — for a fee of course.
It will soon be arriving on the Playstation platform, making it the first blockchain game to launch on a major console.
Despite the diversity of this crowd, there were some games that really stood apart.
Soccer Manager Elite, in case you hadn’t already guessed, is a decentralized soccer management simulation.
Managers can choose team tactics and lineups, and players can also buy shares in the various clubs and players. This gives them voting rights on decisions such as who to hire as manager and making the clubs essentially act as miniature decentralized autonomous organizations.
Second Legion presented what it described as ‘Rare Boards’. These are digital art pieces with standalone playable games layered over the artwork. The first game is a darts simulator layered over an NFT featuring artwork from renowned crypto-artist, Alotta Money.
And finally… Waterdeep is a text-based online adventure game, which has been live since 1997. It has recently integrated an ERC-20 governance token called Duma, allowing users to vote on new rule suggestions for the game.
It also has integrated bots which can read and interact with smart contracts on the blockchain directly from within the game itself. It really is astonishing to see what many would consider a relic, at least in gaming terms, interacting with blockchain technology to implement new features.
And that was all that one viewer could take in! Thankfully, anybody wishing to watch BGA’s Game Demo Day for themselves can still do so, as the streams for both Part One and Part Two are available on YouTube.
With so many interesting, challenging and unique games both available now and on the horizon, blockchain gaming is really starting to find its feet.
We’ll be taking a closer look at some of these games and others in the blockchain space in the near future!
Binance Coin reaches 37% of Ethereum’s market cap: 3 reasons why BNB is soaring
Binance Coin (BNB), the native cryptocurrency of Binance Smart Chain, has been rallying after seeing an uptick in transaction volume.
Binance Coin, the native cryptocurrency of Binance Smart Chain, has been surging with a massive uptick in transaction volume.
Binance Coin (BNB), the native cryptocurrency of Binance Smart Chain and top digital asset exchange Binance, is starting to close in on Ethereum (ETH) in market capitalization.
As of April 12, BNB is valued at $87 billion at the price of just under $600. The valuation of Ethereum is hovering at around $246 billion, which is 2.8 fold larger than that of Binance Coin.
— Joe Grech (@JoeBGrech) April 12, 2021
The technical momentum of BNB has been so strong that it briefly surpassed the volume of the BTC/USDT pair on Binance.
This trend is significant because USDT is the biggest stablecoin in the global market and the BTC/USDT pair is one of the most liquid trading pairs in crypto.
Why is Binance Coin surging so hard?
Binance Coin has been rising due to the three key reasons: an overall uptick in the popularity of Binance Smart Chain, strong technical momentum, and the gap between BSC and Ethereum projects.
Binance Smart Chain transaction volume. Source: BSCScan.io
In recent weeks, the transaction volume on Binance Smart Chain has tripled the volume of the Ethereum blockchain.
Particularly in Southeast Asia, the usage of Binance Smart Chain has been rising, according to Coin98, the biggest venture capital firm in Vietnam that is building a DeFi ecosystem targeted at Asia.
Considering that the price of BNB was much lower than Ethereum until late March, this discrepancy between BNB and ETH likely made BNB a compelling trade.
There is also a big gap in valuations between the Ethereum DeFi ecosystem and Binance Smart Chain, which has been fueling a large portion of the demand for BSC projects.
This has caused the value of BNB to rapidly rise over the past two weeks while ETH has been relatively stable at just over $2,000.
A journalist who covers crypto in China known as “Wu Blockchain” explained:
“BNB broke through an astonishing $600, but Ethereum’s Fees fell to its lowest point in a month. Although the transaction volume of BSC is 3x that of Ethereum, the two are not in a competitive relationship. The top 10 addresses of BNB hold more than 88%, and Eth is 20%. The future of Ethereum depends on the upgrade of EIP-1559 and 2.0. The only two things Binance needs to worry about are the government suppression and hackers.”
Traders foresee BNB to undergo a more explosive rally in the foreseeable future if it breaks out against Bitcoin.
Kaleo, a pseudonymous cryptocurrency trader, said:
“$BNB breaking above this level on the $BTC pair could lead to the type of explosive momentum needed to actually close in on $1,000.”BSC/BTC 1-day price chart (Binance). Source: TradingView.com, KaleoWill the capital rotate back into Ethereum?
However, Kelvin Koh, the managing partner at Spartan Group, one of the largest DeFi-focused funds in Asia, said that for now, he expects the capital to rotate back into Ethereum as BSC projects near the valuation of ETH equivalents.
He emphasized that there is a huge valuation gap between BSC and ETH projects. This gap could be making BSC projects compelling to the market. He said:
“BSC is having its own DeFi summer….so much alpha to be discovered in BSC ($XVS, $CAKE). If you are wondering why Ethereum DeFi coins are lacklustre, its because of the huge valuation gap that still exists between the BSC coins and ETH equivalents. Until this gap closes, money isn’t rotating back to ETH DeFi coins.”
Our Man in Shanghai: Scandal as $45M of stolen government funds lost using 100X leverage
A blockchain security company’s future is in doubt after its CMO allegedly lost $45M betting on Bitcoin; Chinese netizens turn the other cheek to Peter Thiel’s warnings, and more
The Chief Marketing Officer a blockchain security company has been charged with embezzlement; Peter Thiel calls Bitcoin a ‘weapon’ of China (but no one cares), and CZ’s net worth rises to $1.9 billion.
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Blockchain security company Beosin has been the focus of a major scandal after its Chief Marketing Officer Gao Ziyang was taken into custody and charged with embezzlement of state-owned assets. He is alleged to have been using government funds to unsuccessfully short BTC, resulting in a massive liquidation of over 300 million renminbi, or $45 million dollars.
Beosin, also known as Lianan Tech, had a working relationship with Chinese authorities and was helping them investigate fraudulent fundraising schemes. After the seizure of funds back in 2020, Beosin was tasked with storing and selling the assets, to be later returned to the state treasury. Instead of selling the assets, CMO Gao Ziyang allegedly opened a short position in late August, hoping to increase the size of the positions for personal gain. At the time, BTC was trading around $12,000.
Authorities say that records obtained from OKEx show the position began using 10x leverage, before increasing to 100x, and eventually ended up in liquidation. They began to ask about the whereabouts of the funds, before finally realizing that the assets were no longer in the wallet. Online, people have marveled at the age of Gao Ziyang, who was described as in his twenties. The future of Beosin, which was once regarded as a credible blockchain security company in China, is now in serious doubt.
Peter Thiel’s Bitcoin claims ignored
On Wednesday, PayPal co-founder and venture capitalist, Peter Thiel warned that the Chinese government may be using Bitcoin as a “financial weapon” to undermine the stability of the U.S. Dollar. The reaction was quite muted, as only 30 comments responded to the story on Sina Finance, a social media account with over 23 million followers. One of the top comments simply pointed out that “Bitcoin wasn’t invented by China” while another comment simply stated “Impossible”.
On Thursday, Binance founder Zhao Changpeng, better known as CZ, appeared as #1664 on Forbes’s annual billionaire list. His net worth is now listed at $1.9 billion, an increase of $700 million from the last list in 2020.
Nanjing Ribensi bought by US company
US Company Future FinTech announced earlier this week that they had agreed to a deal to acquire China-based mining company Nanjing Ribensi Electronic Technology Co. Nanjing Ribensi operates a mining farm that can handle up to 30,000 Bitcoin mining machines. The deal was worth approximately $9.1 million dollars and stipulates that the mining company must generate no less than approximately $2.3 million dollars in 2021.
Blockchain standards accelerated
China’s National Development and Reform Commission called for the accelerated implementation of blockchain standards in a new plan released on April 1. The plan was jointly issued by 28 government departments and also included technologies such as cloud computing, IoT, and big data.
This weekly roundup of news from Mainland China, Taiwan, and Hong Kong attempts to curate the industry’s most important news, including influential projects, changes in the regulatory landscape, and enterprise blockchain integrations.
CoinMarketCap removes South Korea crypto exchanges from Bitcoin price tracker
The crypto analytics provider also removed South Korean exchanges from the price calculations of cryptocurrencies in 2018 “due to the extreme divergence in prices.”
“If the prices on South Korean exchanges stabilize, then we will add the data back in, but that hasn’t happened yet,” said a CoinMarketCap spokesperson.
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Crypto price trackin website CoinMarketCap has removed many South Korean exchanges from its calculations for the price of Bitcoin as the coin dipped under $58,000 again.
As of today, CoinMarketCap’s Bitcoin price tracker shows no data from major South Korean crypto exchanges including Upbit, Bithumb, Coinone, and Korbit. The website uses data from many exchanges to estimate the average price for cryptocurrencies. At the time of publication, the price of Bitcoin (BTC) is $57,721, having fallen more than 2% this morning.
Speaking to Cointelegraph, CoinMarketCap content manager Molly Jane Zuckerman said the removal was due to the premium observed on crypto exchanges based in South Korea. The crypto analytics provider estimates the BTC price to be roughly 6% higher than that on other exchanges.
“If the prices on South Korean exchanges stabilize, then we will add the data back in, but that hasn’t happened yet,” said Zuckerman.
The last time the price tracking website took similar action was in 2018, when CoinMarketCap announced it had “excluded some South Korean exchanges in price calculations due to the extreme divergence in prices from the rest of the world and limited arbitrage opportunity.”
During roughly the same time three years ago, the price of XRP was falling significantly after reaching an all-time high of $2.96 on Jan. 2. However, the token is looking bullish today, having briefly surpassed $1.00 for the first time since 2018 after it rose more than 20% in the last 24 hours. The price has since fallen to $0.9694 at the time of publication.
CoinMarketCap said only its Bitcoin price index was affected today, given the large volume of the crypto asset on South Korean exchanges. Last month, the volume of transactions in the South Korean digital currency market — driven in part by the price of BTC reaching an all-time — briefly exceeded the daily average transaction amount of the country’s stock market.
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