Blockchain technology has taken the world by storm. Bitcoin’s creation pioneered its first real-world application in 2008. Since then, the decentralised, transparent, secure, and immutable system of recording and storing transactions has spawned the invention of hundreds of cryptocurrencies.
It has also revolutionised countless industries, from healthcare and real estate to education and finance. Digital entertainment stakeholders in Hungary and across the world are recognising the benefit of blockchain in casino online gambling and multiplayer gaming.
Our expert author, Boross Ors, takes a closer look at what this means for the field going forward. View his profile here or keep reading to see how blockchain technology is already transforming the igaming landscape.
A Brief History of Blockchain Gaming
Most experts would agree that today’s iteration of blockchain games came about after Cryptokitties found overnight success in 2017. The game constituted one of the first mainstream “prototypes” and helped define the infrastructure for next-generation projects.
Cryptokitties involves breeding, buying, and selling digital cats represented as non-fungible tokens (NFTs) on Ethereum’s blockchain network. In 2018, one kitty sold for $140,000, and the game reached 3.2 million smart contract transactions. Its popularity has since attracted multi-million dollar investments to the industry.
The Early Days
Blockchain and cryptocurrency games have been around almost as long as Bitcoin itself. By 2013, there were already a few gambling platforms that operated via Bitcoin. Primedice, Seals With Clubs, BitVegas, and Gambit all offered games in which users could play and bet against one another. However, the no buy-in faucet model they adopted was ultimately unsustainable, and most of them tanked.
Other massive multiplayer online (MMO) titles, some with role-playing elements, suffered a similar fate. Dragon’s Tale, Island Forge, BitQuest, and Bitfantasy quickly fizzled out due to expensive fees, Bitcoin inaccessibility, and sluggish transaction times.
In 2017, Spells of Genesis, BitCrystals, and Nexium fared better than their predecessors. However, they never managed to gain mainstream traction and sustain momentum.
While successful in their own right, these early initiatives ultimately proved archaic and ineffectual by today’s standards. Still, through trial and error, they’ve contributed a great deal to streamline the development and application of blockchain technology. This isn’t only true for gaming and gambling, but a broader spectrum of industries, too.
Cryptocurrency vs Blockchain Games
All blockchain gaming platforms incorporate crypto assets to some extent. However, not all digital currency games utilise blockchain technology during play. Generally speaking, these are the most significant differences:
A Crypto Game:
- allows users to buy, sell, or trade in-game assets or credits with cryptocurrency
- doesn’t have its own blockchain
- uses the cryptocurrency’s blockchain network
- Cryptokitties is a perfect example
A Blockchain Game:
- also allows players to buy, sell, or trade in-game assets
- uses its own blockchain network and cryptocurrency
- records in-game activities on its blockchain
- Huntercoin is a perfect example
Despite their differences, the above terms are often used interchangeably. Ultimately, though, the correct classification of a game depends on the intended application of blockchain technology.
The Blockchain Boom
According to Statista, the gaming industry is worth just over $159 billion, a figure that’s expected to rise to $200 billion by 2023. Plus, the number of gamers worldwide is set to increase to 3 billion by the same year. That’s more than a third of the global population.
Despite this growth, the current trend of “pay to play” gaming, along with the oversaturation of substandard content, cybersecurity risks, and monopolisation, leave a lot to be desired.
In the online gambling arena, users often face high fees, slow transaction times, and potential exposure to the identity or monetary theft. Crypto casinos offer a solution to these problems.
They can ensure transparent, fair, secure, and convenient gameplay from start to finish. Investors quickly recognised the value of blockchain gambling to satisfy consumers’ increasingly high expectations, forging this niche sector that’s already worth $150 million.
MMORPGs and Other Online Games
If you’ve ever played an MMORPG (massively-multiplayer online role-playing game) or any other kind for that matter, you know that in-game purchases can be expensive. Still, they’re often crucial for advancement.
However, they represent a one-time, non-transferable “investment,” with sales between players often prohibited. Still, $50 billion worth of in-game purchases shows that there’s already a reseller market, albeit a fragmented, sometimes illicit one.
By incorporating blockchain-based solutions into MMORPGs and others, in-game items will become liquid virtual assets with a real-money value. It’ll flip the tables from “pay to play” to “play to earn,” thus unifying the market and allowing users to own, buy, sell, and trade their digital assets for profit. This sector has already received massive million-dollar investments, a trend that seems likely to stay.
Blockchain technology has experienced its fair share of growing pains since the early days. Now, online gambling and MMORPG spheres are rapidly changing for the better.
The blockchain boom is happening, and it’s showing no signs of slowing down. Investors are racing to implement next-gen solutions that promote immutability, transparency, and safety while fundamentally changing how we play games and gamble online.