This week, someone spent more than $100,000 USD worth of Ethereum’s associated cryptocurrency, ether (ETH), on a token pegged to a virtual racecar in the F1 Delta Time game. And as of today, more than 1,000 ether have been locked up in the forthcoming Cheeze Wizards battle royale.
The takeaway? With the cryptoeconomy turning bullish again after the space’s 2018 downturn, people are spending their cryptocurrency once more, and a growing number of them are doing so in the fledgling arena of blockchain gaming.
After CryptoKitties exploded onto the scene in 2017, a wave of builders and users were awakened to the possibilities of blockchain-based games. Amid last year’s bearish trends, dapp usage dropped across the board, and a few gamers and gamblers migrated from Ethereum dapps to EOS dapps.
Ethereum Scaling Efforts Going Well
Ethereum seems to be firmly back in the fore, however, with Cheeze Wizards, F1 Delta Time, and other such games on the rise. Some analysts had wondered if Ethereum was in trouble in not scaling fast enough to meet demand after CryptoKitties caused acute congestion on the blockchain back in 2017.
But that concern hasn’t borne out, at least not yet. Ethereum has maintained a considerable network effect in being home to the cryptoeconomy’s largest development community, one of the largest cryptocurrencies per market capitalization, and growing optimism that the ETH 2.0 scaling efforts are going to work and are progressing well.
As for Cheeze Wizards, it’s been developed by CryptoKitties creators Dapper Labs and was announced last week. More than 4,000 cheesy fighters — each one represented by a separate non-fungible token on Ethereum — have been purchased with ether so far.
The game will be in the vein of a battle royale, so its players will duel their wizards against one another for a chance to move higher in the competition and win prizes. The game’s final battle will net the winner over 600 ether, so the stakes certainly aren’t trivial.
As Dapper Labs communications director Bryce Bladon suggested in comments to CoinDesk, the experience will be a bit like a rock-paper-scissors tournament but on cryptocurrency steroids. Bladon said:
“The winner gets a portion of the losing wizard’s power […] Using rock-paper-scissors logic, a winner is picked for each of the five spells cast.”
Turning to F1 Delta Time, it’s been developed by Animoca Brands, which has licensed the game’s rights from the operators of the Formula 1 racing league. The game made headlines this week after an unknown user won an auction for the game’s inaugural virtual racecar, paying a sum of ether worth more than $100,000 to do so.
While the car’s in-game performance stats are elite, it’s baffled onlookers that someone would pay so much for something like a token in a racecar game. Of course, it could be a collector or speculator at work who’s hoping to flip the token for a higher prize in the future.
On the flip side, others have alleged that there’s no way to currently know whether that was a valid buyer or, say, someone working on the game who’s trying to raise attention around it.
A Growing Sector
Whatever’s the case, it’s clear that blockchain gaming is still in its earliest days. But infrastructure in the sector is growing all the while.
Back in March, tokenized gaming play Enjin Coin announced it had entered a partnership with smartphone manufacturing giant Samsung Electronics. Accordingly, Samsung’s new flagship smartphone, the Galaxy S10, supports in its cryptocurrency wallet Enjin’s own Ethereum-based token standard, ERC-1555.
Being able to store and trade tokenized game pieces straight from a smartphone is likely only the start to a larger blockchain gaming future. Samsung may be first movers in that regard, but its competitors may follow suit going forward.