I have read about, invested in or traded countless coins for companies that have very thin use cases for blockchain. Most of that has just been financial speculation. There are very few use cases that I think blockchain solves immediately in the next 5 years, they include:
- Identity Verification (Civic)
- Shipping Logistics and Supply Chain (ShipChain)
After reading this great Medium post by Lee Cocking, I would add gaming to the list.
First, in the Venn diagram of life I think its safe to say that gamers have a likelihood of being crypto-enthusiasts and vice versa. Gamers are already used to user actions like paying for virtual goods, micro-transactions, free to play, tipping in Twitch and countless other digital tit-for-tat actions. Therefore having a faster, more secure method of exchanging value between each seems to indicate they would be early adopters.
Most platforms already have their own in-game currencies or plug into other platforms for in-game purchases (App Stores for example).
What isn’t easily done is taking the existing virtual items that you have done work for (gamed) – think Proof-of-Work in mining terms – and being able to use those items in other real-world scenarios.
Example: I want to use my Fortnite victory dance to pay for a cup of coffee at Starbucks. Nobody has contemplated this but it is something that could be managed by blockchain technology, as long as the Fortnite virtual good was deemed authentic (not counterfeited) and Starbucks decided they had a method of accepting payment. What is more realistic is this:
OPSkins and DMarket both have marketplaces for virtual goods, and it looks like they are also experimenting with blockchain tech to validate and ensure the legitimacy of goods. OPSkins executives started a separate business leveraging blockchain tech called WAX to tackle this problem.
With the virtual goods gaming business being projected at $50B it is no surprise that solutions that create fraud-free frictionless buying and selling will be welcome. Combine this with the new ERC721 token protocol, which allows for the creation of non-fungible tokens (ie, unique, like a trading card or a one of a kind virtual good), this is a tipping point time for services in this space. So much good writing on blockchain online, I love linking to people who use good analogies to explain blockchain better than me – read this one (” The Anatomy of ERC721“).
WAX, in particular, seems like a leader in this space. They are veterans of the virtual goods marketplaces and seem dedicated to harnessing the power of what blockchain technology delivers (transparency, reduction of fraud, the immutable ledger of a transaction), and leveraging it to create a marketplace that is more trustworthy.
What Other Types Of Gaming Can BlockChain Be Used For?
I think blockchain also has a lot of real-world opportunities for gambling. I first tested this out (err..I mean a friend tested this out and told me), in a bracket for the World Cup called The Crypto World Cup.
As part of the competition, there was a “ticket” that was created that was saved onto the blockchain ledger – this ticket was your tournament prediction, and like a bitcoin transaction was immutable and unchangeable. The tournament had a buy-in, but there was also a marketplace to trade “tickets”, which gained or lost value based on how the tournament played out. An interesting model.
The most compelling aspect to the integration of cryptocurrencies into gaming and virtual goods is the most obvious one – eventually, it could be traded for cash. This really is the holy grail – imagine you racked up millions of points in your favorite game and that could actually be traded out for real money. This is the natural extension of the already red-hot E-Sports League ecosystem.