Decentralized oracle network Chainlink has been on a tear in 2020 as the decentralized finance arena’s reach, and Chainlink’s reach into DeFi, have grown considerably.
Yet one less-known area where Chainlink is also aptly extending its reach lately is in the nascent blockchain gaming industry, in which the project’s price feeds and randomization tech are starting to really gain traction and show their potential.
Indeed, this summer the Chainlink team’s made it a growing focus to make inroads in the cryptoeconomy’s gaming sector, and they’ve done just that. Here’s how.
Time to Play
Non-fungible tokens, or NFTs, have exploded in popularity over the last two years. One area where these flexible but provably scarce tokens have garnered serious adoption is in gaming, namely the ownership of gaming assets.
Hitherto, NFTs in general have been static and on-chain. But since Chainlink’s decentralized oracles can make smart contracts “smarter” by providing them with off-chain data, Chainlink’s tech paves the way for gaming NFTs to become dynamic and tied to external factors, like a score during a sports game updated to a player’s NFT trading card.
For another example, imagine a game where players have to maintain a specific in-game performance level in order to keep control of a special gaming item. As the Chainlink team explained in a related primer post a few months ago:
“It’s not hard envisioning games where people compete over who can keep hold of the item the longest. Chainlink can be used to retrieve off-chain game performance data and feed it to the smart contract responsible for transferring ownership.”
Beyond being made dynamic, gaming NFTs can also greatly benefit from Chainlink’s bread and butter: price feeds. These gaming assets and the assets around them, like ETH, have exchange rates, and accurate rates are needed to power an effective in-game economies. That’s where Chainlink’s price feeds can offer a plug-and-go solution for projects.
Moreover, Chainlink’s additional gaming X factor is the Chainlink VRF solution, for “verifiable randomness function.” Traditional randomness solutions are imperfect and insecure for gaming projects in the cryptoeconomy, and that’s where Chainlink VRF comes in: it gives game developers the ability to ensure randomness on-chain when it comes to performance outcomes, asset mints, and more.
“Blockchain based games have the potential to expand the gaming market into the trillions, particularly by issuing economic rewards via input randomness,” the Chainlink team’s said.
Randomness is a core function of most blockchain gaming dApps. #ChainlinkVRF offers developers the unique capability of incorporating an on-chain source of randomness that can be verified as authentic by end-users. Check out the documentation to learn more https://t.co/0KMCuH46nm pic.twitter.com/B6nZ9URi11
— Chainlink (@chainlink) July 28, 2020
In this vein, lotteries are another area where Chainlink VRF can shine. For example, earlier this month the oracle project held the GameJam Hackathon in collaboration with the Colorado Lottery, with lotto + VRF innovations the event’s topic of focus.
Partner Projects Growing
Chainlink’s locked down more than a few partnerships in the NFT gaming sector to date, as the oracle project already powers, or is set to power, the following melds:
- Bullionix’s “coin flip” mechanism
- Human-readable name features in the War Riders MMO
- The BLOCKLORDS incentivization rewards system
- Enjin’s ENJ/ETH price feed
- Polyient Games’s rewards system
- Randomization in FaceGold
Since Chainlink is a middleware project, it’s able to serve the oracle needs of a variety of blockchain networks.
Of course, Ethereum is currently home to the vast majority of the cryptoeconomy’s gaming activity, but Chainlink is already well positioned to capitalize if/when gaming starts to pick up on other chains.
Indeed, Chainlink has agreements to serve a range of platforms, including Binance Smart Chain, NEAR Protocol, Blockhain Services Network, and WAX, and will thus benefit from growth and activity on these platforms. For example, just this week the WAX-based EarnBet casino embraced Chainlink’s data feeds and VRF solution. Expect more projects to follow suit from around the cryptoeconomy in the months ahead.