Whenever people go on and talk about cryptocurrency, one of the first things that come to mind is Bitcoin, which is a type of cryptocurrency. But what exactly is cryptocurrency? We will be going through the very details of everything you need to know about cryptocurrency.
What is cryptocurrency?
For the uninitiated, cryptocurrencies are simply virtual or digital currencies that exist through decentralized networks based on what’s called blockchain technology. Obviously, this form of currency can easily be accessed through the web but because of its secure cryptography, this currency can almost never be counterfeited, unlike the ones we have in real life.
You can think of it as a form of digital assets that exists online. They are distributed across a large number of computers, which makes them theoretically out of the government’s control. Simply put, cryptocurrency is money that operates in a decentralized structure, where no government or authority can interfere. They take no physical form whatsoever and they only exist over the internet.
Over the last few months, there has been a steady growth of cryptocurrency transactions that are greater than $100,000. That’s how you’d know that this form of digital money is thriving.
What is blockchain?
Blockchain or blockchain technology is a ledger that’s responsible for keeping all the records of an existing asset or crypto. This technology allows crypto and blockchain data to be secured and safe from being able to be altered and modified. That itself is a defining feature that makes cryptocurrencies far better than the traditional banking methods we’ve used for many years now.
Blockchain can also sometimes be referred to as Distributed Ledger Technology. It ensures the integrity and transparency of all the transactions made and since it exists outside the hands of any authorities such as banks, corporations, or even the government, it can never be disrupted, forged, or tampered with.
If you are still having some difficulty understanding what blockchain or how crypto works, here’s an example. Think of blockchain as a shared Google Doc online. This particular document is not copied or replicated but instead distributed across multiple entities, people, or networks.
Whenever someone tries to make changes, everything is recorded in real-time and the same set of “blocks” are distributed across to all those with access. It’s like creating a consensus across a large number of networks to ensure that a block can never be counterfeited or faked.
Every time a bitcoin or crypto is transferred from one person to the next (perhaps, upon purchase of an item online), all the records such as the previous owner, price, date, etc., are all recorded and updated simultaneously using the blockchain technology. Simply put, it is safe, reliable, and foolproof.
Types of cryptocurrencies
Now that we’ve learned a lot about what cryptocurrency and blockchains are, let’s talk about the different types of cryptos you can find online.
We’ve mentioned how most of you would probably bring Bitcoin to the conversation if we were to talk about cryptocurrencies. And you really can’t be blamed as it is perhaps the biggest cryptocurrency out there. If you didn’t know, Bitcoin was invented by an unknown entity that goes by the name of “Satoshi Nakamoto”.
Bitcoin was launched more than a decade ago in 2009, and since then, there have been over 18 million bitcoins circulating the internet with a whopping $45.2 trillion figure for its overall market cap.
Other popular cryptocurrencies include Ethereum with around $357.5 billion in market capitalization, Tether with $18.7 trillion, Cardano with $4.4 trillion, XRP with $2.7 trillion, and the crypto that skyrocketed due to the immense popularity of the “doge meme”, the Dogecoin with $1.9 trillion.
China’s investment towards cryptocurrency has significantly shown an increase from 2014 to 2019, peaking in 2018 with over 600 blockchain deals.
If we were to look at the Asian market, perhaps the biggest cryptocurrency that found success in the continent was Binance Coin with $64.1 billion of overall market capitalization. In fact, Binance is extremely popular in Singapore, Thailand, Vietnam, and the Philippines. It is widely accepted all over the internet as a payment method when you play at online casino sites.
Advantages and disadvantages of cryptocurrencies
Pretty much everything we have discussed are the promising perks of using cryptocurrencies. In a nutshell, crypto provides a more accessible, efficient, and secured way to transfer funds. Because of blockchain technology, users can be granted anonymity as transactions do not need to go through a central authority like banks or the government.
Your transaction is completely private and cryptocurrency usually doesn’t do extra or additional fees for every transaction you make online unlike how a bank or any financial institution would normally charge a processing fee and the likes.
Using crypto is not without risks, unfortunately. For one, since cryptocurrency transactions are built around the idea of staying off the radar and becoming anonymous, this makes for a perfect ground for people who do illegal activities such as tax evasion or trading within the black market.
Play-to-earn: the rise of crypto games
We’ve gone through the very details of what cryptocurrencies are and how blockchain works. Now it’s time for us to talk about the actual games that further launched the popularity of cryptocurrencies. And yes, if you’ve been living under a rock, online games such as cryptocurrency games or blockchain games exist now.
You can now literally enjoy crypto in its full glory. With blockchain being the best piece of technology there is right now for digital currencies like Bitcoin, Binance, etc., it’s quite inevitable that some game developers would adopt crypto within their games. Whether adding it as a form of payment or a straight-up way to earn actual cryptos, it’s really bound to happen.
How blockchain games work
People may find the concept of play-to-earn games very gimmicky but no one seems to have realized that it has existed longer than many people would expect. In the case of blockchain games, if anything, it is a great way to fully utilize the potential of crypto or blockchain technology.
We’ve already established how blockchain can have complete control of all its data, how secured and transparent each transaction is, even going as far as existing outside the prying eyes of any institution or the government. That said, you can expect that blockchain games do exactly that.
Developing a game requires a tremendous amount of work, not to mention, it would require tons of money and resources. While most of the traditional games like the conventional video games produced by actual gaming companies like Zingplay can take years to develop, blockchain games were developed using machine learning that creates and generates assets on their own.
To understand what this means, learning about some of the few popular crypto games yourself could give you an idea of how these types of games are beyond just gimmicks.
Popular blockchain games
Before we get into the list of popular crypto games, we need to first understand how crypto games were born. The short answer is because of NFT. If you don’t know what NFT is, it stands for non-fungible token. It’s basically a token that is completely unique, which makes its value rather special.
The best examples of NFTs could be found amongst works of art. One thing that would immediately come to mind is the WarNymph, made by an artist along with Elon Musk’s girlfriend, which was sold for a whopping $5.18 million in just a few minutes.
The popular video uploaded on YouTube titled “Charlie Bit My Finger” was sold for £538,000 and was since then taken off of the video streaming platform as it is now an NFT.
When we talk about cryptocurrency games, Non-fungible token or NFT refers to cryptos that are completely one of their kind. Crypto games can now incorporate real stakes into video games. Not only that, characters and items within the games are considered NFTs (thanks to blockchain technology), and that allows players to sell, buy, and trade them using cryptos.
Crypto games are literally the very definition of a “unique” online gaming experience. Over the recent years, there have been a handful of NFT or blockchain games circulating the internet. Here are some of the most popular ones.
Axie Infinity is one of the most popular play-to-earn games that caught the attention of many crypto users. The game borrows gameloop mechanics from turn-based games like Pokémon where players can also build a team and battle other Axie players.
Players can start by purchasing three Axie monsters for a team. Every time you battle, you can earn what’s called Smooth Love Potions or SLPs. These SLPs can then be converted to cash. Like with any NFT, you can also sell or trade Axies to maximize your earnings or simply buy additional monsters to further strengthen your team and earn more SLPs.
Another turn-based crypto game is CryptoBlades. If the adorable aesthetics of Axie Infinity isn’t really your cup of tea, this game might just be for you. To get started, you need to spend real money on your character creation. You can also buy items and weapons that you can equip for your character.
Of course, battling other players can earn you NFT items that can be sold and traded for high value.
The first two games on this list as well as CryptoKitties are all powered by Ethereum crypto. Another adorable blockchain game that allows players to breed NFT pets that you can sell and trade. As the name of the game suggests, it’s a loveable play-to-earn game about cats and kitties.
My DeFi Pet
Just like Axie Infinity, My DeFi Pet is yet another cute play-to-earn crypto game where players can collect and battle pets to make a profit. The game’s main currency is called DPET tokens which can be obtained through battling or purchasing with real money. Unlike the other ones on this list, the cryptocurrency involved here is Binance Coin.
Are crypto games the future of online gaming?
If you think about it, NFT games or cryptocurrency games are strikingly similar to online games that let you gamble. Like a machine for slots, a player must insert a coin or spend money in order to gain something. If anything, crypto games can also be considered as an investment.
However, it sure does come with a bunch of risks and disadvantages. But, just like sitting between two particular sides of an argument, as long as you know what you’re doing and you’ve done your fair share of research, you can most certainly find yourself earning the fruits of your labor.
A lot of crypto games you can find over the internet today provide accessibility. Unlike online casino games, NFT games are perceived as legal. Being openly embraced by the general public is a thing that every gambling game would need in order to achieve the same level of success that NFT games are having.
However, to each their own, they cater to different groups of players. And who’s to say that one is not allowed to simply enjoy both.
Why crypto games could be a double-edged sword
Now let’s talk about the nitty-gritty of the problems that crypto games have. Overall, it is clear that the reason for blockchain games’ success is partly because of the play-to-earn aspect and how ease of access is present. Players get to play games and earn money over time. Nothing could be more straightforward than that.
If you have the means to shell out a buttload of cash for a game that can potentially become a good form of investment in the long run, then do it. However, that’s the thing; you need to ensure that you’ll need to have that commitment of playing the game for a very long time before you can possibly earn something from it.
Unlike traditional online games, you can definitely have the luxury to play whenever you want with no commitment. Players are not bound to stick around regularly just so they can make all the tedious efforts to make a profit. They are not obligated to check their assets from time to time.
And finally, turning all your NFTs into profit is not a guarantee! Even the longevity of Crypto games has no assurance.
The coming-of-age of online gaming
Online games have certainly evolved a lot over the years. It has seen several changes and gained a handful of cool new features and the introduction of cryptocurrencies is definitely one of them. What started as a construct of ones and zeroes, now has become a game on its own that lets you earn digits far beyond what we could all imagine.