Barely into the second decade of cryptocurrency, it’s yet difficult for most to fathom the breadth of the blockchain future.
For those of us with kids, though, there’s one area we’re almost certainly going to see it: gaming.
A BTC is a fungible token. That means it’s interchangeable with any other BTC. It’s a fundamental property of sound money that it not be tainted or changed simply because of who holds it or what it’s used for.
But now imagine the completely opposite: a non-fungible token. NFTs are a growing area of blockchain tech. The idea is simple enough: create an entity on the blockchain that is unique. Ethereum, Tron, and EOS all have NFT systems in place; the Omni layer on Bitcoin also supports non-fungible tokens.
What’s the big deal? Well, imagine a blockchain-enabled first-person shooter. Instead of “rare” and “epic” items, items can be assigned a real-world value based on their rarity. Instead of selling entire accounts, professional gamers can sell items and characters and whatever else might appear in a game.
The Man With The Digital Golden Gun
People sometimes dedicate their lives to gaming. I myself have an affinity for the Battlefield series. Being a blockchain writer, I can’t play a game round without wondering why I don’t own my nearly-gold-plated EMP. I should be able to trade it in-game, and like real firearms, it should have a lower or higher value than others. For example, the number of kills on the weapon could raise its value, while the number of bullets fired could lower it. The individual pieces could be broken down, need repair, and so forth.
For a long time, we’ve had a good example of a game like this in the form of Ultima Online, which allows players to freely trade items. A blockchain version of this would mean that players could not only trade with each other, but do so on a variety of markets. Marketplaces could specialize in types of items, just like in the real world.
If you’re not picking up on it yet, non-fungible tokens are our first glimpse at the truly 3-dimensional web.
Companies have to see a profit motive in integrating all this technology. Ultimately, it’s still more profitable to use the walled garden approach and force players to pay with in-game currency and control everything. But in the future, there will come a successful alternative option, which uses the Ultima approach and the blockchain at once, and then game studios will have no choice but to consider the possibilities of non-fungible tokens.
We don’t have to live strictly in the future to get excited about NFTs and gaming. There are dozens of games already, and eventually, there will be bigger titles. There are also some serious efforts at building a viable ecosystem for blockchain games.
It’s also worth looking ahead to a future of online mercenary (in-game) and other types of remote work that weren’t even possible before Bitcoin. Personally, I think it’s a future worth waiting for.