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How Blockchain Technology Is Transforming Microtransactions and Revitalizing the Gaming Industry

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Microtransactions are a staple of many modern games, to the point many have just accepted them. However, new models are emerging, thanks to blockchain technology, that stand to disrupt the norm. Play-to-earn games are growing in popularity, and new services are lowering the cost of entry. These innovations are set to become the catalyst to create a true vision of the coming metaverse.

A new play-to-earn structure

Modern video games are rife with microtransactions. Whether simple things like costumes or accessories, or more elaborate offerings like characters and weapons, these in-game purchases have largely divided the gaming community. When done right, they can offer new content at a fair price, but when abused, they lead to “loot crates” and a general “pay-to-win” mentality. This creates artificial pay barriers to success for those who can’t simply throw money at a game they’ve already bought. Furthermore, any money sunk into a specific title is lost entirely when the player moves on.

However, with the rise of blockchain gaming and NFTs, this is all changing. A new gaming model is emerging based around real asset ownership and a new “play-to-earn” structure. A prime example is Axie Infinity, a play-to-earn NFT-based online game which has galvanized user interest worldwide, becoming the No. 1 decentralized app (dapp) in the Ethereum ecosystem.

Built on top of the existing blockchain systems, this new revolution is being called “GameFi.” GameFi encompasses the ideals that gamers shouldn’t just throw money away on in-game content, but instead invest their resources into assets that can appreciate in value and be resold on secondary markets.

NFT technology makes this possible, and the underlying blockchains also provide the means for gamers to earn currencies that have real world value. This has led to a new, all-digital economy, one that not only rewards users for their engagement, but offers financial services that make gaming a potentially lucrative avenue for generating income.

A new type of paywall

Of course, it often takes money to make money. Many of these games, while offering real avenues for value creation, also have some form of “buy-in” price, an initial payment for either an in-game NFT item or tokens, crucial to the play-to-earn mechanism. Unfortunately, not all newcomers to this space have deep pockets to get involved, leading to a similar situation as the “pay-to-win” model. For example, one of the more popular products is Axie Infinity. This Pokemon-style game has players battling their “Axies” for a chance to win actual rewards. However, to begin, users need at least three of these virtual creatures. Unfortunately, they aren’t cheap, as each one costs a current minimum of $70 on the Axie marketplace, resulting in a grand total of $210 for newcomers to get started. This isn’t accessible to a great many who would like to get involved.

Fortunately, there are innovative approaches being developed to foster greater involvement. For example, new gaming guilds, such as Yield Guild Games, in the Philippines, loan assets like Axies to new gamers in exchange for a cut of their profits. This means those with lesser means can get involved immediately, and those with more means can earn a passive income. This is a great example of the ways that this new virtual economy can benefit players at multiple levels, and inclusivity is going to be essential for building what is becoming known as the metaverse.

Blockchain gaming and the metaverse

If you aren’t familiar, the metaverse is basically the name for the collection of digital services and worlds that are becoming increasingly interconnected and interoperable. While an ambitious vision, currently many traditional platforms struggle to offer true compatibility, meaning various grafted-on solutions must be leveraged.

Fortunately, blockchain makes this issue far more trivial. NFTs and other decentralized assets can be transferred seamlessly across multiple platforms as long as they connect to a blockchain. Furthermore, the digital currencies being used stand to become ubiquitous forms of virtual cash that can plausibly be used on virtually any future service. This then stands to build a fully functioning economy that essentially lives in cyberspace, revolutionizing the way gamers interact with their favorite titles, each other, and the larger economy.

To that end, this new ecosystem stands to have very real benefits to users worldwide. The ability to earn income, and explore an immense world of entertainment will all come from one, admittedly vast, access point. This will undo many existing paradigms for how value is created and transferred, but the basic infrastructure is being built right now.

There’s still work to do

As both empowering and lucrative as this may sound, there is definitely still work to be done. For one, developers must still balance things like the types of items that are available for purchase, how they may enhance the experience for players, and how they interact with other games and markets. If unchecked, there could still be a pay-to-win issue present, as blockchain doesn’t fundamentally affect this.

What could address this is making it so that certain items are only equipable after reaching certain levels, or other qualifications. For example, metadata baked into an NFT could define an item of clothing or a weapon as usable only when the owner has met specific progression requirements. This means gamers would still be free to buy and trade any item, but a newcomer with deep pockets couldn’t just purchase their way up the ranks. This is just one example, but highlights that this is not an insurmountable issue at all.

Another possible stumbling block is the fact that many existing blockchains simply aren’t ready for the type of transaction volume that the proposed system would require. Gamers aren’t going to want to wait around for transfers to complete over several minutes or more. Transfers need to be resolved on-chain in seconds.

This of course could be mitigated by choosing the correct underlying network to build upon. For example, the Polygon Network acts as a second-layer solution for Ethereum and offers incredibly cheap transactions that take only seconds to complete. This is why Polygon has five times more gaming and NFT dapps than any other chain outside of Ethereum and is already working with a majority of today’s blockchain-based web 3.0 games and NFT platforms, such as Decentraland, OpenSea and The Sandbox.

Ultimately, it is clear that not only are gamers expecting a new model, but also that blockchain and NFT-powered gaming offers such a model. Progress has been a bit slow, but more and more developers are beginning to take note, and it won’t be long before the first “killer app” is released. Companies that fail to act soon may find themselves playing catch up before they even know it.



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Matrixport’s EVM multi-chain “DeFi Connector” Cactus Custody integrates with MetaMask Institutional » CryptoNinjas

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Cactus Custody, a qualified institutional custodian solution powered by Matrixport, today announced that it is the first MetaMask Institutional (MMI) integrated custodian able to support MMI’s multi-chain capabilities and all EVM compatible chains.

This feature called “DeFi Connector” offered by Cactus Custody enables institutional clients seamless and secure connection with decentralized finance (DeFi) protocols via MMI.

The successful upgrade, enables multi-chain connectivity access across all Ethereum Virtual Machine (EVM) compatible chains, sidechains, and layer-2s, including but not limited to Ethereum, Binance Smart Chain, Polygon, Smart Bitcoin Cash, Avalanche, Fantom, Arbitrum, HECO, Harmony One and Celo, etc.

“Our offering concurrently delivers the highest level of security and usability to institutions seeking to tap into the vast opportunities within DeFi. We are fully committed to enabling multi-chain capabilities that provide even broader access to DeFi, whilst adhering to world-class standards of security and compliance.”
Cynthia Wu, Head of Sales and Business Development, Matrixport

Cactus Cutody’s dashboard provides features that allow for the hassle-free day-to-day management of crypto-assets.

Cactus Custody

  • Cactus Custody seeks to bring increased security, transparency, and efficiency to the crypto market. DeFi Connector offers audit trails to meet any regulatory requirements and allows for decentralized app (DApp) interactions and wallet transactions on MMI to be traceable in the custody system.
  • DeFi Connector also implements enterprise-grade controls and role-based approval process during the interaction with DeFi, as well as secure smart contract addresses whose private keys are safeguarded in a Hardware Secure Module (HSM) by a qualified custodian.

“EVM chain support is one of the most important institutional needs. With our latest custodial account multichain feature, Cactus Custody not only supports multiple EVM chains but also allows institutions to freely bridge digital assets across these networks. This is a profound DeFi offering for institutions.”
– Johann Bornman, Product Lead for MMI



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Apple stock jumps after CEO reveals it’s investing in the Metaverse

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Apple’s stock price jumped in after hours trading after CEO Tim Cook said during the company’s Q1 2022 earnings call that he sees considerable potential in the Metaverse space.

When asked on Jan. 27 during the call about Apple’s opportunities within the Metaverse, Cook responded “we see a lot of potential in this space and are investing accordingly.”

“We’re always exploring new and emerging technologies and I’ve spoken at length about how it’s very interesting to us right now.”

The Metaverse is an interoperable virtual universe created in part by users, offering socialization, gaming and even live concerts. Although it can be accessed with a browser, the experience is better with virtual reality (VR) or augmented reality (AR).

APPL had dropped about 3% to $159.22 during regular trading hours, but has since jumped up 8% to $167.23 in after hours trading. The Metaverse was just one of the topics discussed on the call.

Appleinsider reported that in the Jan. 27 call, Cook pointed out that Apple (APPL) already has a bevy of 14,000 apps on its App Store that have been designed using the AR developer platform ARKit. Apps designed using ARKit could help users gain access to the Metaverse.

Whereas Meta has leaned toward using the Oculus headset to immerse users into the Metaverse, Apple is placing its bets so far on AR technology. An Apple headset was scheduled for release in 2022, but Bloomberg reported on Jan. 14 that it may be delayed due to hardware and software challenges.

Despite Cook’s embrace of the Metaverse, the headset in development is believed to be focused on gaming, communication, and content consumption. So far, the largest company in the world by market cap is lagging behind other tech leaders like Meta and Microsoft, both of which are moving forward with public plans to develop in the Metaverse.

Related: Meta poaches staff from Microsoft and Apple for metaverse plans

Microsoft recently purchased Activision Blizzard for $69B with the intention of expanding Metaverse gaming.