ruletheworld

Oct 012018
 

Gods Unchained

We had the opportunity to interview Tyler Perkins of Gods Unchained. For those who are out of the loop, Gods Unchained is a new crypto-game that has been the talk of the NFT town. It is a crypto trading card game where the cards are stored on the Ethereum blockchain, which means players ultimately own their in-game assets. It has already amassed an impressive pre-sale of assets. The top card has already sold for an impressive $60,000 – even before the game launched! The team is an impressive array of gaming and crypto veterans.

Check out the Gods Unchained game to learn more and participate.

Tell us a little bit about the team behind Gods Unchained and Fuelgames

Currently we have 18 people working full time and nearly 100 contracted artists. Every full-time member on our team has a technical background (from various backgrounds) and most of us are TCG fanatics having played them for years.

What are some of the features of Gods Unchained that you’re most excited about?

I think everyone on the team is excited about different things for different reasons, but generally speaking trading is one of the features we’re most excited about given it’s one of the main value propositions of tokenization.

How much of the gameplay is run directly on Ethereum versus things running on your own servers?

Game assets such as cards and cosmetics will be stored on Ethereum, while the game itself runs entirely off-chain to ensure the highest deliverable performance.

We’ve seen some spikes in gas prices on Ethereum that have disrupted user experience. Any thoughts on how you see scaling in light of games like Gods Unchained being released on Ethereum mainnet?

It’s really up to game developers to ensure their games scale and the user experience isn’t broken under these situations. As we’ve witnessed multiple times in the past, you can’t yet rely on Ethereum’s performance, which is why we’ve developed solutions to both mitigate the frustrations these events have on players as well as moved gameplay off-chain.

CryptoKitties got a lot of mainstream media attention late last year. Did that surprise you? How did you view the success of CK and how did it affect any decisions in Gods Unchained?

It wasn’t really a surprise given how novel crypto-collectibles were and how well Axiom Zen executed on it. CK was a major inspiration for us as it provided the ah-ha moment that gaming would be a killer application within the industry.

You’re also the team behind Etherbots correct? What lessons did you learn from your experience of Etherbots? Would you consider Etherbots a success?

It taught us how hard building games on Ethereum is, and provided us with an environment to develop best practices and architectural solutions to overcoming many of the blockchains limitations.

Tell us a bit more about the Gods Unchained World Championship.

We haven’t announced much about the World Championship yet, stay tuned!

How do you enable free playing of the game, while there are cards that are in demand and trading in the marketplace?

The core set is our untradable free to play set. You receive core cards when you create an account and can earn others through gameplay. Unlike cards you find in packs, core cards are not ERC721’s as we want to minimize the friction new players encounter when trying to play the game for the first time.

Tell us a bit more about how new cards are generated, and how players can acquire them.

We will have 4 seasons every year, where each season we release approximately 100 new cards that can be found inside packs. Once a season ends, the cards found that season are no longer minted. Players will have the ability to earn tradable cards for strong gameplay performance.

Sep 232018
 

This is a guest post from Alex Fleming

ICO Pool

What is an ICO Pool?

An ICO Pool is referred to as the collection of several investor funds – that are pooled together with the primary intention of making an investment in some ICO. The ICO pools are usually overseen by some group of individuals which manages the contributions made forward by each investor. Upon participating in any ICO pool, the pool of investors is usually given the access to the research of the pool. This offers them the opportunity to assess the overall quality of any ICO pool by themselves.

While most of the ICO pools would want you to make a good deal of investment as the minimum amount to ensure the private sale, as an individual investor it might turn out feasible to do the same. However, as you might know, that a majority of the benefits come with the private sale. As such, you might start looking out for other investors or friends to make the combined investment –in the hope to receive the given benefits. 

However, soon enough it turns out that finding other investors to come & join your idea of ICO might not only turn out to be time-consuming, but also not so realistic. As such, the best option out there that exists for you is to join a reliable ICO pool or the investment pool – with an already existing group of ICO experts along with several other individual investors. 

Types of ICO Pools

The typical ICO pools are usually categorized into two forms:

  • Trustless ICO Pools
  • Non-Trustless ICO Pools

The Trustless ICO pools are known for making use of the smart contracts for ensuring that no single party exercises direct control over the respective funds of the investors. As a result, this would consequently require no specific trust to be placed in the involved individuals who might be managing the particular ICO pool. The Ether is sent to the particular smart contract address – displaying the ICO address of the recipient along with another important piece of information.

The smart contract turns out to be an open-source medium. As such, the investors can review the overall validity of the available smart contracts before sending over any funds. After the completion of the respective pooling process, the Ether is then directly sent to the Ethereum address of the ICO. The investors then receive the specific ICO tokens in proportion to the respective initial investment.

On the other hand, the non-trustless ICO pools do not make use of the smart contracts. Instead, these pools are known to mandate the fact that the overall collection of the funds from the investors are done by the respective pool managers. The investors are responsible for sending the funds to some Ethereum address as specified by the pool managers. The pool managers then have the responsibility of redistributing the tokens that have been received to the respective correct investors. 

Working of the ICO Pools

The ICO pools are regarded as the proper responses to the increasing trend of the respective ICOs aimed at raising the individual required amount of investment – referred to as private presales. The private presales are usually closed to the general public. These are specifically opened only to the venture capitalist firms or Angel investors including investors or individuals who are able to afford the investment of a large sum of money.

Most of the ICOs in the recent times are selecting the option of suspending the public sale – occurring after the private presale. This is because this helps them in raising the overall required investment during the presale stage. Due to this, most of the retail investors out there find that they are mostly unable to make investment in a particular project that they find interesting. As such, through participation in the ICO pool, a specific retail investor could rapidly increase the overall bargaining power through the aggregation of the funds and investment of the funds along with other individuals in the given pool.

Because ICO pools could be identified as the simple aggregation of the funds from the investors, the ICOs have nowadays started to offer lucrative pre-sale discounts & offers to any given pool that could be interested in making an investment into the particular project. As such, there are higher chances that a retail investor might receive more tokens by investing in an ICO pool, than investing on their own.

How to Join an ICO Pool?

If you are considering joining an ICO pool, it is vital to know & understand which ICO pool should be the best decision to join. This is because there are several numbers of fake ICO pools and investment groups out there that could make you fall into the respective traps. Once you know that you have come across the right, reliable ICO pool – the one that fits your budget and personal requirements, you can simply visit the specific website and become a member of the same. There are some ICO pools out there that tend to offer a premium membership with additional bonuses and offers like the lifetime free membership, unlimited free trading signals, and so on after you have submitted the initial joining fee.

Pros of ICO Pools

  • Access to the Resources of the Pool: On the basis of the specific ICO pool that you join, the investors are mostly granted access to the respective resources of the pool. This allows them to analyze the overall merits of the target ICO pool for themselves. 
  • Potential ICO Offers & Discounts: As discussed above, due to the involvement of large sums of money as raised by the respective ICO pool, some of the ICOs out are incentivizing increased investments in the projects by offering lucrative discounts and offerings to the investors. Such discounts might help the investors to participate in the given ICO pool if the main motive is the maximization of the tokens under their ownership. 

Conclusion 

Participating in the ICO pools out turns to be lucrative, however, they might come with potential risks at the same time. Therefore, you must conduct proper in-depth research before investing in any ICO pool. To get the most of your ICO membership, learn all that you need to know about ICO pools and their work. How has ICO pool investment been useful to you? Leave your valuable comments below!

About the Author

My name is Alex Fleming and I am a full stack and blockchain solution developer. I have 7 years of experience. I can help you with launching ICO, creating own crypto etc. I see the future in blockchain technology and I like it. The last 2 years I have been working in this field. I think blockchain will transform the world in the future not only in the financial sector.

Sep 122018
 

CryptoKitties, the popular gaming and collectible app where players breed cats on the Ethereum blockchain has reached the one million cat milestone – less than a year after launch. The game became hugely popular in December 2017, coinciding with the peak of the crypto bubble. It has subsequently lost over 90% of the players active at the peak. However, a set of core players continue to breed and collect CryptoKitties.

On the back of its December success, the company behind CryptoKitties, Axiom Zen, raised a $12 million round led by the famed venture capital firms Andreessen Horowitz and Union Square Ventures. During the same time, the game’s popularity led to a significant increase in fees on Ethereum.

Beyond the Hype

Although interest in the game has waned since the peak, the game continues to attract new users. Just last week, collectors bid up the prices of #1 fancy cats in the game to as high as 30 ETH per cat. CryptoKitties was one of the first blockchain games to master the correct use for ERC721 non-fungible tokens. Since its launch, many copycats have launched without much success.

Axiom Zen encouraged players to breed more to reach the one million cat milestone. This was done via a giveaway of 20 exclusive cats. Exclusive cats have a custom artwork on the frontend instead of the appearance of the cat being determined by the genes. These are generally valued by collectors due to their rarity. ‘Kitten Mittens’, the most prolific breeder in the game, won the first exclusive during this giveaway.

Vulcant exclusive cryptokitties

Leading the Way

CryptoKitties continues to be one of the most popular applications built on Ethereum. The success of CryptoKitties has encouraged many other entrepreneurs to work on gaming products on the blockchain. The advantage of using the blockchain is that players are in control of their in-game assets. How much of a game changer this is for traditional online games remains to be seen. The trade-off is the cost. For example, in CryptoKitties, it takes 0.008 ETH to breed a single cat.

Other games are exploring ways to minimize the cost of gameplay by handling more of the interactions off-chain. Even though the ‘genetic’ data of the cats in CryptoKitties is stored on the blockchain, the actual image of the cat isn’t and the ‘owners’ don’t actually have the rights to that image.

Gaming vs. Collectables

CryptoKitties has tried to balance the collecting aspects with the gaming aspects from the beginning. Most of the high value transactions on CryptoKitties tend to be from collectors or speculators. Axiom Zen has introduced ‘fancies’ in the game as a way to encourage continued breeding. ‘Fancies’ are cats with a specific pre-determined trait combination, as determined by the company. This information is not decentralized or stored on the blockchain, however. These fancy cats have their special custom artwork.

These fancy cats also tend to be one of the most expensive set of cats to be traded. This is because of their special artwork and also because the number of fancies of each type are limited.

As CryptoKitties continues to gain traction, there are third-party applications being built on top that help players with the game or for the collecting aspect of it.

Aug 292018
 

CryptoKitties, the popular game of breeding and collecting cats on the Ethereum blockchain, has seen a huge surge of sales over the last couple of days, driven by demand for its ‘fancies’. According to the community created website Kitty Explorer, over 693 fancy cats changed hands within the last week, with the maximum price of 20 ETH.

Fancy cats are special cats created in the CryptoKitties app that can be bred using a specific combination of genes until a limit is reached (limit can be time-based or total number of fancy cats based). Fancy cat recipes are created by Axiom Zen, the creator of CryptoKitties, and is not recorded on the blockchain per se. The actual ownership of the cats in CryptoKitties is recorded on the blockchain, and players use third-party extensions like Metamask to buy, sell, and breed the digital cats.

CryptoKitties received a lot of press in December 2017 when a single cat sold for over $100,000. For a while, its popularity caused significant delays on the Ethereum blockchain and increased the gas price. Since those days, however, the activity on the game has dropped precipitously.

Fancy Cat Craze

Over the last two days, even though the number of players measured by unique addresses hasn’t gone up much, the total sales volume has exploded. This has mostly been due to a few CryptoKitties players valuing specific ‘fancies’ – the ones that were the earliest created. Axiom Zen marks the fancies in the order in which they were bred. The first created fancies of each type are suddenly being valued at significant amounts.

Players have sold the #1 fancy cats for over 20 ETH over the last two days – over $5000 per cat. This may seem like a far cry from its heyday. However, many ordinary players have participated in these fancy sales over the last few days. At least when it comes to the fancy market, CryptoKitties may just be bucking the broader crypto bear market.

Value in the Eyes of the Beholder

CryptoKitties has several dimensions of rarity for the cats. Collectors value different things in the cats, from generation to genes. Fancy cats have a unique appearance on the CryptoKitties app and are therefore valued higher by collectors.

Up until now, most of the fancy cats were valued based on generation and condition. A lower generation was usually valued higher, and cats in mint condition, i.e. cats that hadn’t bred, were valued higher. Over the last few days, however, collectors began swooping up lower numbered fancies irrespective of their generation and condition. Part of the reason may be due to a leader-board created at cryptokitties.city website, managed by a community member.

Whether the trend can last remains to be seen. For one, new fancy cats are minted at the discretion of Axiom Zen, and therefore there is no limit per se to the number of #1 fancies. This is unlike the fancy cats themselves that have a limit. For example, the rarest fancy cat in the game is Schrodinger Cat – only 73 of those exist and can ever be created.

There may also be a rebalancing of value within the game. Factors like generation and condition may once again become more important in valuing fancy cats. At the end of the day, however, cats are as valuable as collectors and speculators are willing to pay for them. If collectors value specific attributes more than others, the market will follow. Right now, it seems like that is lower numbered fancies.

Aug 122018
 

This is a guest post by Mike McCormick

Investors venturing into cryptocurrencies are currently facing a significantly volatile market. The crypto trading market, which includes Bitcoin among other coins, almost crumbled on June 22 when most coin prices dropped by up to 10% after two exchanges in Japan were hacked within 11 days.

Losses in billions of dollars are not quite uncommon in the cryptocurrency market cap. In December of 2017, Bitcoin hit a high of $20,000 only to drop to $8,500 by mid-March 2018. Cryptocurrencies have seen significant losses mainly due to hacker activities and other security concerns. Investors seeking to dip their feet in Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies including Ethereum, Ripple, Litecoin, Monero, should have a good understanding of the volatile nature of the crypto market and how to manage this volatility.

If you trade in crypto coins, expect volatility, in fact lots of it. For instance, while a 5% movement in a single day in other traditional equities such as stocks is quite a big deal, a 20% movement in the cryptocurrency market in a day is practically normal. That’s the nature of cryptocurrency trading. You can check the exact price of different coins at different times or days in a good online cryptocurrency converter to understand the volatile nature of this market. Keep in mind that blockchain technology is still at an experimental stage so the possibility of a digital asset rising or dropping value considerably should not come as a surprise.

Understanding Cryptocurrency Volatility

Volatility is one of the most common measures of investment risk. It is basically a dispersion of both upside and downside return of an investment. Without going into more complicated mathematical equations involving daily standard deviations and square roots, let’s just say that the higher the volatility, the higher the potential to make gains or losses in a trade. Most cryptocurrencies including Bitcoin have a volatility of 100%, some as high as 200% or more. The risk of high volatility can be beneficial in determining the success or failure of your cryptocurrency trades.

When you’re analyzing the expected direction of conventional assets such as ETFs and stocks, you can always rely on technical analysis and past behavior to base your decision on. However, technical analysis functions are somehow limited when it comes to cryptocurrencies. Fluctuating prices of Bitcoin this year so far have proven that the cryptocurrency market does not behave in a predictable logical manner. So how does an investor manage market volatility when dealing in Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies?

Here are a few tips and insights to guide help you manage volatility:

Do Your Due Diligence Before Investing

While analyzing cryptocurrencies, you won’t find as much fundamental key selling points in websites, whitepapers, and other publications. The direction and momentum of the market are influenced by FUD and FOMO sentiments. FUD refers to the spread of Fear, Uncertainty, and Doubt (FUD) mostly through the media while FOMO is basically Fear of Missing Out on a lucrative deal. These are fear-based factors that should not be your friend in cryptocurrency trading. Given the significant influence of FOMO and FUD sentiments, market analysis in cryptocurrency trading is only meant to give you a basic idea of the direction and momentum of different coins so you don’t dive into the market blindly like a headless chicken.

It is therefore important to conduct your due diligence beyond the current hype on cryptocurrencies to make sound investment decisions. With due diligence, you’ll know if a coin has viable functionalities, usage, and demand to justify its survival on the market. You’ll also understand the reasons for its current volatility and whether or not it has long-term prospects.

Make Good Use of Stop Loss Orders

A stop-loss order is a setting found in some trading exchanges or platforms such as Coinbase. The setting tells the exchange to sell a pre-set maximum amount of Bitcoin from your account when the price reaches a specific level. You only need to specify the price level and amount of Bitcoin to sell from your account then activate the setting. The downside of stop-loss orders is that you will miss out on profits when the price rises again. However, it protects you from significant losses when prices fluctuate drastically.

Holding For Long-Term Benefits

If you are in the cryptocurrency market for the long haul, the daily price movements should not be a cause for concern or alarm. You’ll be able to easily check the upward or downward movement and make the right decisions along the way. For example, you could see a gradual upward movement in the past three months despite the prices looking shaky every day. You’ll be able to comfortably judge the trend according to a long-term analysis, unlike the trader who is constantly worried by fluctuating daily movements.

Use the Available Tools              

There are many traders who base their decisions on gut feelings and later wonder why things didn’t go their way despite their best efforts to judge the market. You can easily get the guesswork out of your trading activities by taking advantage of the available tools. The tools help you to make data-based decisions and even measure the performance of each decision you make. Use tools to set the limit of orders to minimize losses or even get a notification on your mobile phone when a given cryptocurrency goes higher or lower than your pre-set price threshold.

Conclusion

Volatility is inescapable in cryptocurrency markets. It is the nature of the beast. You can capitalize on volatility to make successful trades if you stay on top of the game. Avoid greed, the number one cause for failed cryptocurrency failures. The market is extremely fast paced where the price of a coin can go as high as 5 to 10 times in a few hours then drop considerably. It’s quite easy to get caught in a high-chase and end up making impulsive decisions in search of a high payout. Don’t forget that a quick reversal trend that could lead to outsized losses is possible as well. The important thing in managing volatility is to understand your risk appetite and manage it by treading the waters with caution.

Mike McCormick is the founder of CoinChiefs. He studies Business and Economic Reporting at New York University. He has a very good experience in crypto mining and loves to analyze anything crypto-related which makes him sit up and pay attention.

Photo Credit: CreditDebitPro

Aug 112018
 

Bitcoin Dominance

In a recurrence of history not repeating but rhyming, as the crypto bear market of 2018 deepens, the Bitcoin dominance index has been on the rise. Today, for the first time in 2018, it has passed the 50% mark. Based on historical trends, during the exuberance of a bull market, ‘altcoins’ rally relative to Bitcoin. During the bear markets, however, Bitcoin takes away what it gives during the bull markets, i.e. the relative ‘altcoin’ prices fall with respect to Bitcoin.

The Bitcoin dominance index, which measures the relative weight of Bitcoin in the full tradable basket of cryptocurrencies, has crossed the 50% mark, an important psychological level but otherwise without fundamental merit. It should also be noted that today there are an order of magnitude more cryptos in the market than even 2 years ago, so Bitcoin retaining 50% of the entire market even as new entrants enter this market is impressive.

Dominance History

Bitcoin dominance peaked around 80% before the bull market of 2017, when it dropped to as low as 35%, before recovering. This has usually been the case with Bitcoin and the crypto markets when the relative weight of Bitcoin falls during a bull market. The altcoins tend to be more volatile than Bitcoin.

This was also the time of the ‘flippening‘ narrative put forth by the Ethereum community that the Ether market capitalization would exceed that of Ethereum very soon. That was not to come in 2017. Even prominent venture capitalists who have invested in the space for a few years, like Fred Wilson, were completely wrong on their prediction of the flippening. It is a common human bias to project a recent trend into the future, and recency bias makes us weigh recent data more than older data. Needless to say, even prominent investors are not immune to these, and seldom correct their world view distorted by these biases.

Different Value Sources

The other thing for crypto investors to keep in mind is that the value of different ‘altcoins’ today come from very different sources, and thus it is not always fair to compare Bitcoin to them. For example, the value of a coin like Golem primarily comes from the usage of its network for compute resources. This is not true for Bitcoin. Bitcoin is more of a true store of value that is converting to a convenient medium of exchange via innovations like the lightning network.

This was different when the best known altcoins were similar to Bitcoin, such as Litecoin. Today, the crypto market is much more diverse in its offerings.

The value of Bitcoin is affected also by the broader economy and market, such as providing shelter to ordinary people in countries like Venezuela, Iran, and Turkey where inflation is rampant. Bitcoin provides a way for these people to store their wealth in a non-depretiating asset or work for foreign entities and capture some of the value they create.

Aug 022018
 

This is a guest post by Anupam Varshney

“Like all great travellers, I have seen more than I remember, and remember more than I have seen” – Benjamin Disraeli

We all love to travel. Some prefer a weekend getaway, others go out for a few weeks and then there are avid travellers who have been travelling for years. One thing all international travellers can agree on is the hassle of currency conversion when you visit another country.

My friend visited Vietnam a few months ago and this is how his $500 in Vietnamese Dong looked like:

Travel Digital Currencies

“I’d have been screwed in Vietnam if it wasn’t for Bitcoin” – Vibhor Jain

As it turns out, 1 USD is equivalent to 23,042 Vietnamese Dong!

The worst part is, you don’t even know where to get the best rates for converting to local currencies. Is it the airport or somewhere in the city? Your guess is as good as mine.

And what happens when you’re left with the local currency after your trip is done? Well, they usually stay with you. I’m sure my friend still has some Dong lying around.

Let’s not even get started on how much ATMs charge when you withdraw cash internationally using your card. It’s anywhere between $5 to $25 for each withdrawal. Swiping your credit card at stores will cost you even more.

Wouldn’t it be great to have a global currency that eliminates the hassle of high fees and carrying a lot of cash?

Digital currencies like Bitcoin, Ethereum and others allow you to do so.

Five years ago it may have been slightly difficult to travel using just cryptocurrencies, but blockchain space has evolved so fast that you can pretty much use cryptocurrencies in all aspects of travelling and replace it with fiat.

Before you travel

Planning phase of travelling is probably the most exciting part for some people, however, entire process can be very tedious. On average, a traveller spends 30 hours and browses 38 websites before finally booking a trip.

If you’re a DIY kind, you can still do everything with Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies one by one.

Flights

Accommodation

  • Expedia is one of the largest travel booking websites. It accepts Bitcoin for hotel bookings.
  • Gyft.com allows you to buy gift cards in Bitcoin that can be used on Hotels.com, which offers 150,000 hotels worldwide

Watch out for Beenest, a platform to book Airbnb like homes using their native BEE tokens.

Car Travel

  • CheapAir and Destinia allow users to rent a car and pay in Bitcoin
  • There are decentralised carpooling apps: Lazooz and ArcadeCity
  • Many local travel agents now accept payments in digital currencies who’d happy to rent you a car

While you travel

When you’re travelling in a different country, use digital mapping tool CoinMap to locate stores and restaurants where Bitcoin is accepted.

A few companies offer their native cards just like Visa and Mastercard, which are filled with digital currencies and can be used at any store where Visa or Mastercard are accepted. So you pay in the local currency but Bitcoin (or some other supported digital currency) equivalent of that amount is deducted from your personal wallet.

The most popular project working on this is Monaco. They support BTC, ETH, MCO, BNB, and fiat, whereas TenX supports BTC, ETH, and LTC. Bitpay is another company that offers this service, but for US residents only. It supports Bitcoin and charges 3% for international transactions.

If carrying another card is not your thing, you can simply use Bitcoin ATM Map to locate a Bitcoin ATM nearest to you and fill your digital wallet with Bitcoins!

Conclusion

The tourism industry is one of the earliest adopters of digital currencies because it perfectly fits a traveller’s needs – a currency that is safe to carry around and accepted internationally. So the next time you decide to go to another country, try leaving your credit and debit cards at home.

This is a guest post by Anupam Varshney of Please.com. With Please.com you can book your travel in minutes. The platform provides a list of pre-designed trips created by the locals of the city you’re visiting. All you need to do is say, “Please, book me a romantic dinner in Paris” – that’s all.

Jun 212018
 

Axie Infinity Game 01

We had the opportunity to interview the Axie Infinity team about their game. For those who aren’t aware, Axie Infinity is a new game built on Ethereum where the game assets are stored on the blockchain. In addition to being a ‘crypto-collectible’, the Axie team has focused more on the gameplay, to make it more interesting for players. Many of the early CryptoKitties players have now found a home with the Axie team. We had a chance to interview the team.

Tell us a bit more about how the team came together and how the idea of Axie was formed. 

In late december Trung came to me with an idea for a blockchain game. He showed me CryptoKitties which was obviously very successful. However, we believed that a game with better graphics, animations, and a battle system that interlocks with the gene system could propel both crypto collectibles and blockchain gaming forward.

My first mission was to lay out a vision for the creatures and gameplay. I grew up surrounded by nature and fascinating animals in Vietnam. As a child I treasured my pet fish and turtles. I wanted our game to bring about an organic sense of awe, something akin to what a pet owner feels when they raise and bond with their animals.

In order to achieve this I designed the game from not only a gamer and collector’s standpoint, but also from a pet owner’s. That’s how I got the ideas for terrariums since every pet owner wants to show off their animals!

The first sketch I did of an Axie was Puff, our Axie #1 in the game. It was a quick sketch, everything flowing from instinct. The name of the project was originally Chimera because Axies are a mixture of all the coolest body parts that I’ve observed in nature. Puff has the gills of an axolotl, antlers, and a fish tail. Axie Infinity isn’t confined by the rules of nature, just the laws of our genetic system which allows for potentially infinite combinations of Axies. Kotaro and Ginger took longer to plan and then sketch out. Once those were done I delivered them to Trung. We changed the name to Axie Infinity and that set off a series of amazing events that we hope will play a role in raising the profile of decentralized games.

Some large VCs like A16Z and USV are betting on cryptoassets and have invested in CryptoKitties. How do you see the market evolve? Do you see a few cryptoasset networks like CryptoKitties dominate the market or do you see a long-tail of issuers succeeding in the market? 

I think we’re at a super interesting time in the decentralized game space. Institutional capital has seen the potential but most of the decentralized games on the market right now are closer to decentralized “casinos” or “pyramid schemes”. This has given institutional investors few options when seeking to deploy their capital into the space.

However, there are a handful of legitimate projects that are gaining traction and pushing the space forward. I don’t think Cryptokitties will dominate the market– they are more analogous to beanie babies which piggy-backed off of Ebay during the internet era. We see ourselves more akin to Pokemon and Neopets. There will be plenty of room for dapps and I expect Cryptokitties and Axiom Zen to help build out the infrastructure for the decentralized app space more so than trying to crush anyone they deem “competitors”. There are so few users now, we need the pie to grow rather than fight over the slices.

What’s your general sense of cryptoassets as a ‘collectible’ or ‘asset’ (i.e. something you just hold on to) vs. use for gaming (i.e. something you use for game play)? Which use would dominate in the community for Axie? 

We see Axies as both collectibles and toys that you can use to play our game with. The problem with other cryptocollectibles so far are that they very little proven utility so collectors and players only have aesthetics and rarity go on to determine value.

However, in Axie Infinity, players can battle their axies and actually watch an animated battle take place. Therefore, we believe the utlity of an axie in battle will be one of the key determinants of value alongside scarcity and aesthetics.

Axie Infinity Game 02

Tell us a little more about the team, where they are from, their background in gaming and blockchain, and any other interesting tidbits about the members. 

My name is Trung Nguyen, I left my role as a software engineer with a US-based startup to work on Axie Infinity full time. I am the lead engineer of Axie Infinity and have had a hand in all aspects of development: from developing and deploying our smart contracts to implementation and design of our product. I’ve been interested in MOBA and FPS games for most of my life but this is my the first game i’m building.

Masume has  been designing and creating games for most of his life. In elementary school, he designed games similar to Dungeons & Dragons and even his own version of the Pokemon card game for his  classmates. So since an early age, he’s also owned rare+ exotic pets which I think has affected the game. For example, the terrarium mode was inspired by his experiences as a pet owner. Everyone wants to show off their pets!

Jihoz, our community manager has a background in evolutionary biology, military strategy, and investing. He’s also one of the top CryptoKitties players in the world so he has a lot of really good insights based on past experiences which is incredible since this space is basically 4 months old.

Give us a quick pitch to CryptoKitties players why they should also check out Axie. 

First, I’d like to point out the four crucial flaws in CryptoKitties.

  1. Due to the high breeding costs, without  a steady stream of new CryptoKitties players, much of the eth will flow into the hands of the auto-birthers in the long run.
  2. It is impossible for your Cryptokitty to be improved by sinking in your time and effort. In fact, if you breed your cryptokitty, the value of it goes down. So rather than being able to improve your token by “playing” with it, you degrade it. Not ideal.
  3. Because the kitties have so little utility now, the only real way to value them is through scarcity + aesthetics. New players have a hard time learning the breeding and gene systems so there is a big barrier to entry and it’s quite hard to answer the question “what should I buy as my first Kitty”.
  4. Axiom set an arbitrary limit of 50,000 gen 0’s. That might be way too many, or way too little depending on the size of their future user-base – they have boxed themselves into a corner. Many community members are worried about what will happen to the game after November.

In comparison, we have done everything we can to avoid the autobirther solution that Cryptokitties used. Our breeding costs are .002 ETH (as opposed to .008 ETH in CryptoKitties), and we are looking at ways to lower this.

Players will be able to improve their Axies by battling them and raising them to gain exp points. Exp points can be used to breed, but they can also be used to upgrade body parts! Thus, our game has a time and effort sink that should allow an actual sense of progression and a potential way for players to earn eth by leveling up their Axies and then selling them to someone who lacks the time or will to do the same. We want our players to actually use their Axies.

Axie Infinity Game 03

How much of the game is run on Ethereum smart contracts, and what parts are centralized? 

We’ve kept all the genes and ownership data on the blockchain. The egg sales for new trait releases are on a smart contract and so was the sales contract for the pre-sale.

Our battle system will be a hybrid system where we will have some elements on a contract but we also want to add fun centralized elements like entrancing battle animations and a cool soundtrack. There is also potential to add a real time- off chain battle system in the future as well. 

Axie battles are a new and interesting feature compared to say CryptoKitties. Tell us a little more about the battle mechanics – how much is determined by the Axies’ characteristics and how much by luck? If you have a certain Axie, would it always (statistically speaking) be able to win? How much of the battle dynamics is on the blockchain? 

We believe that our battle system is unlike any other battle game ever released. Before battle, players will choose their team of 3 Axies, the moves that the axies bring into battle, the order that the moves will be used in, and the “positioning” of their axies on a 3 v 3 special battle terrarium.

An Axie’s genes will determine it’s base stats and also the moves that it can bring into battle. There will definitely be an RNG (Random Number Generator) element to the battles, but in the long run, teams that synergize well together can do quite well in terms of % win rate. 

We believe that the ‘meta’ for the game will be constantly evolving. If a certain strategy is overpowered, we anticipate players breeding axis that can act as “counters” to those strategies. In this way, Axie Infinity might actually be self-balancing— a reflection of the way nature works.

For the battles and mini-games, are the rewards to the winner paid out in ETH? 

Players will be rewarded experience points and other in game points that they can then use to improve their axies to reflect the time and effort they have sunk into their pet. We do plan on having tournaments with interesting prizes including ETH prizes in the future!

Can you explain the mechanics of how raising an Axie in the Terrarium helps them later in say battles? Does this cost money?

Terrariums will help Axie Owners organize their collections and help them power up their axies.  We are currently developing the system and hope to keep as much of it as off-chain as possible to reduce transaction costs and aid in user experience.

Axie seems to have more gameplay elements than other such games in the marketplace. What about the collector-friendly aspects of the game (say something along the lines of fancies in CK)? 

There are, and will be some super rare and unique Axies for collectors to accumulate. For starters, the Pre-Sale Origin Axes have mystic parts which will never be released outside of the origin gene pool. We have retired all origin traits and capped the supply of Origin Axies at 4500 meaning collectors that wish to obtain mystic parts will need to either purchase an Axie with Mystic parts or unlock an origin Axie using AOC tokens— a special in game currency that is exchangeable at a 5-1 rate for our remaining supply of origin Axies. The non-mystic origin traits will also never be released from Axie Infinities egg sales so players will need to buy Axies with those traits from the market, buy eggs from origin axis owners, or use AOC to purchase origin axies in order to access these parts(and their corresponding battle moves). 

We also plan on introducing a cool achievements system which will add a bunch of collectibility to the Axies.

How does the Axie team make money from the game?

We have many different sources of potential revenue. We will be selling Axies with new body parts from our Egg shop starting in early May and will also launch terrariums and terrarium decorations for sale soon after. 

What’s the launch schedule look like for the different elements of the game? 

We released the breeding system on May 4th. We will be starting our battle beta in July!”

Are there any specific game features you’re most excited about?

I think we’re super excited for the battle animations— they look amazing and can’t wait to share them with the community.

Do you have anything else for the community to add?

The best way to learn about the game and get started is to join our discord! Ask for Jihoz— he’s been known to give private tutoring lessons to new players over discord voice.

May 012018
 

Zero Carbon
Zero Carbon is a project that aims to help with the problem of climate change facing our planet, with the help of a crypto token. The token helps incentivize people to be more conscious of their carbon footprint and consumption while promoting greener sources.

In a nutshell though, Zero Carbon is all about Carbon Credits on the blockchain. For those who don’t know, carbon credits are one of the most effective ways to tackle climate change. This is because carbon credits provide a direct financial incentive to pollute less, as opposed to many solutions that depend on changing people’s behavior. At the end of the day, people care about climate change, but would do very little personally to help the cause. Carbon Credits are a clever economic way to make people change their behavior, not because of the goodness of their hearts but because it is financially lucrative for them.

The Clean Energy Ecosystem

The Zero Carbon team sees the utility of carbon credits in choosing their energy source. The energy suppliers have an incentive to try and go for cleaner sources of energy. However, the suppliers are not limited to using clean energy only like solar or wind. This can be too restrictive and render them uncompetitive. Instead, these energy suppliers can use dirty fuels, but they will need to pay a premium when they do, as a ‘tax’ for their pollution. This makes them competitive and still work in a market system.

Each ecosystem is different of course. The success of a system like Zero Carbon depends on how much competition it can attract from energy providers. However, the world is already moving towards solar and clean energies. Mom and pop stores are becoming energy companies. In fact many home owners are becoming their own energy companies, and with some additional investment, can become effectively the grid and supply energy to their neighbors and others. The trend is clear.

Zero Carbon and the Energis Token

We’ve seen a good amount of effort directed towards the clean energy ecosystem, and several blockchain projects like Restart Energy Democracy are working on the energy side. Zero Carbon is taking the economic route with carbon credits instead.

The Energis token powers the Zero Carbon platform and ecosystem. The system has smart contracts built in that take a small transaction fee, and route that into a reward pool. This is then distributed to the holders. The actual collection of money offline happens via the company, since this cannot be automated. However, these smart contracts make sure that there is enough transparency in the system, and that there is no cheating going on behind the scenes. The rewards are accrued according to pre-set logic and cannot be changed arbitrarily by the team, which gives consumers and suppliers the confidence in the system.

If you’re interested to learn more about Zero Carbon, check out their website and whitepaper. The team is planning a token sale for the Energis token. If you’re interested, be absolutely sure you understand the risks – token sales are very risky and you can lose all your money. Don’t invest more than you can afford to lose.

Photo Credit: _gee_

Apr 222018
 

Global REIT Crypto

Global REIT is a blockchain based real estate investment trust that plans to use its own tokens to achieve superior means of raising investor money and other efficiencies in the investment process. However, before we look deeper into this, let’s first understand the REIT market and what it entails. REIT stands for Real Estate Investment Trust.

The REIT Market

Real Estate Investment Trusts or REITs are a popular way for investors to invest and diversify in real estate. Any specific real estate property, whether a single family home or a large hotel, has idiosyncratic risk. This means that single properties suffer from a higher risk of something going wrong that is independent of the broader market. Why is that? Consider several factors, from changes in zoning laws to environmental laws to changes in the neighborhood. If a new airport is being built near your home, or worse, a sewage dump, then naturally the value would decrease.

REITs overcome this problem by means of simple diversification. Say a REIT consists of a hundred single family homes. Even if one of them encounters problems and needs to be torn down, you only lose 1% of your income. This is contrast to 100% if you outright owned it. Thus, REITs help investors diversify their real estate exposure and risk. It reduces the idiosyncratic risk associated with real estate in general.

Another reason why investors like REITs is because they can get global exposure. Real estate, especially in emerging markets with fast growing economies, is more attractive to investors. However, most investors won’t be comfortable owning and managing a house in a country they’ve never been to. REITs simplify that process.

Global REIT and Blockchain

Global REIT is a new project based out of Dubai/UAE. It is similar to a traditional REIT, except it uses crypto-tokens on the blockchain for accounting purposes. It also provides other benefits, from loyalty points to ability to stay in one of their properties for a limited time, all tracked through the blockchain.

Global REIT will raise money through an ICO, and have 2 tokens sold to investors. These are Global REIT Fund Manager Token (GREM) and Global REIT Asset Token (GRET). The company currently plans to accept BTC, ETH, and ERC20 tokens along with fiat to buy these tokens. The dividends however are paid USD and USDT. Given the controversy around USDT, hopefully the team can be smart about paying in BTC or ETH instead.

A nice bonus that the team is throwing in is that for investors who hold more than 5,000 GRET or GREM tokens can avail free stays in their hospitality property each year.

As for the actual numbers, the returns are paid out as dividends for both GRET and GREM token holders. GRET pays out a stable 8% per annum dividend on the first acquired asset. The GREM token pays out a 2% AUM (assets under management) that decreases to 1.25% in 0.25% increments over time.

If you’re interested in this project and its ICO, make sure you really understand what you’re buying. The tokens are asset backed by real estate. Make sure you have thoroughly read the website and also their whitepaper. Remember that any token investment is risky and you should never invest more than you can afford to lose.