Best NFT games

Maciej Zieliński

05 Dec 2021
Best NFT games

The gaming industry may be poised on the edge of its most extraordinary revolution. NFTs disrupt the way we have been thinking about digital assets and shape the new gaming economy. From Axie Infinity to NBA Top shots - we have analyzed the rapidly developing world of NFT games and distinguished six of its most successful representatives.

Table of contents:

  • NFTs - what they are
  • Blockchain game assets
  • Popular NFT gaming platforms
  • Top NFT games

What sounded unbelievable just a few years ago, is slowly becoming a mainstream reality today. Blockchain games have gained significant popularity. They revolutionize popular gaming genres by redefining the way we think about in-game assets and in-game purchases.

While more and more investors become interested in launching their own games, we try to answer what made some NFT games particularly successful. Why are there so many free NFT games among them? 

NFT tokens - what they are

NFT stands for Non Fungible Tokens. But what does it mean? Among various blockchain token types, we differentiate between fungible and non-fungible tokens. (You can read here more about token types

Examples of the first kind are Bitcoin or Ether. Fungible means that a single token is indistinguishable from others in the same ecosystem. Just like in regular currency. Thus, they can be used for payment transactions.

NFT’s non-fungibility means that every token in the system is unique. NFTs don’t have a common value and often do not allow for an equal exchange (NFT for NFT). Each token represents unique information of ownership or identity.  

In the blockchain world, NFTs are digital assets that represent a unique digital or real item. How can we use them in the game ecosystem?

NFT in games
NFT in games

NFT game - why does it make sense?

The gaming industry is a powerful branch fueled by its consumers’ passion. When gamers launch their favorite title, they immerse themselves in a new, alternative world. A quick look at the most popular games of the last decade, like League of Legends, Fortnite, or Counter-Strike, should be enough to see how modern gamers care about their characters, skins, and other in-game items. They treat them as an extension of their creative self. And what’s important, they can pay a lot for them.

The will to build a collection of unique items is nothing new. The games showed us how far beyond the real world this phenomenon could extend. But do the purchased items become their property? Do these items differ somehow from the ones possessed by others? Are they truly rare? Often the answer is not so simple. During the last few months, NFTs showed us that they might change that. 

Beginnings of NFT games 

Currently, the most popular NFT standard is ERC-721. Its first commercial use was an NFT game, CryptoKitties, which allows the players to buy, collect and sell virtual kitties. Since the game’s debut in 2017, Dapper Labbs made over 40 million USD off of it. CryptoKitties were the first game of this kind which started a whole new trend.

It seems like collectible blockchain games are the perfect environment for NFT. They allow the players to buy unique items and to keep full ownership of the purchased assets. That’s why we have seen a rapid growth of projects of such type during the last year.

Where will NFT games take us? 

NFT’s potential reaches far beyond collectible games. Let’s take, for example, multiplayer games like the aforementioned LOL or Fortnite. Possessed skins and champions are of great importance to the players. NFT allows the buyers to claim ownership over unique digital products.

What if it was implemented for rare and difficult-to-obtain game items they purchase? What if also, in these cases, the players had complete control over ownership rights they could trade with other players? The same could be applied to limited editions of character skins.

Best NFT games in the industry

Best NFT games: Axie Infinity
Best NFT games: Axie Infinity

Axie Infinity

The public heard about Axie Infinity for the first time after the spectacular sale of a digital land plot. In February 2021, user Flying Falcon bought eight genesis plots worth approximately $1.5mln. This event may be considered a milestone for the NFT market. But what is so special about Axie Infinity?

Like many titles on this list, Axie allows its players to earn cryptocurrencies just for… playing. Yes, that’s right. The new phenomenon in the gaming industry already got its name: play-to-earn, and it’s constantly gaining popularity. 

Ok, but what do we mean by “playing” in the case of Axie? Axie resembles Pokemon, but on a Blockchain. The core of the game is combat between cartoon characters - Axies. What differentiates Axies from Pokemons is the fact that they are NFTs stored on the game’s Blockchain. Essentially they are NFTs-based digital creatures.

To create new characters, players “breed” them using the game’s native token, which can be earned through the game or bought from an exchange. By selling Axies or winning fights, players earned the currencies. Then they can sell them on the open market, making a profit.

Currently, dedicated players earn as much as thousands of dollars a month playing Axie Infinity. 

Best NFT games: Gods Unchained
Best NFT games: Gods Unchained

Gods Unchained

If you are up to date with the ICOs’ world, without a doubt, you’ve heard about Immutable X. Get to know the blockchain game created by its godfathers.

Gods Unchained is a trading card game that aims to give its players complete ownership over in-game items by using NFTs. Essentially its players collect digital playing card NFTs

Their motto is, “If you can’t sell your items, you don’t own them.” Thus the game allows users to sell their cards and other items for native GODS tokens, which can be exchanged for fiat money. 

It’s worth noting that God’s Unchained remains a free-to-play game. Cards can be unlocked simply by playing the game. Therefore Gods Unchained should be considered one of the truly play-to-earn games, which stands contrary to the standard model of gaming commerce.

Best NFT games: Top Shots
Best NFT games: Top Shots

NBA Top Shots

The outcome of the cooperation between NBA and Dapper Labs company, in the simplest terms, is an internet platform for exchanging virtual trading cards. At NBA Top Shots, basketball fans can buy and sell "moments" video clips from the last seasons of the competition that exist as NFTs on the Blockchain.

This is not the first time when NFTs have been used by a professional sports league; however, it is without a doubt the biggest one. CryptoSlam estimates that up until now, the total value of all transactions between users has already reached $370 million. 

What’s important about NBA TOP Shots is that they started hype around fan engagement through NFT tokens.

 NFT gaming: Neon District
NFT gaming: Neon District

Neon District 

Neon District is a cyberpunk role-playing game that allows players to collect and trade characters and gears that are unique virtual assets. Neon District is one of the coolest NFT games right now, redefining how many players think about them. 

Thanks to NFT, almost everything can be sold there. The price is determined by supply and demand. Furthermore, during tasks, players earn the game’s native tokens - $Neon. Those earnings can be used to buy in-game items. The tokens cannot yet be traded for other digital assets on external exchanges. But knowing other examples of NFT games is just a matter of time. 

Best NFT games: Decentraland
Best NFT games: Decentraland

Decentraland

Metaverses have recently become a hot topic. If you want to know how they may interfere with the crypto world, check Decentraland - a virtual world built on Ethereum blockchain

Decentraland is an NFT game that aims to create a global network of users exploring, creating, and trading in the virtual world owned by them. So far, Decentraland is a dynamically developing project, which earned its place among the best NFT games. 

On Decentraland, users can trade sell digital land plots while interacting with the virtual world by playing games. Over time, creators added such features as digital payments or the ability to create interactive applications that will be used in virtual reality.

 NFT gaming: The Sandbox
NFT gaming: The Sandbox

The Sandbox

The Sandbox is another NFT-based game that created its own metaverse. To date, it is one of the most popular NFT games for creating and trading in-game assets.

Like Minecraft or Roblox, this NFT game is voxel-based and offers an excellent opportunity to free users’ creativity. The Sandbox provides them with tools for creating and animating NFT objects that can be used in-game or sold on designed markets. But that’s not all - on the platform, users can also develop and play their games. Since users are able to make real money on their creations, The Sandbox is another example of play to earn the game.

Top NFT games - conclusion 

Right now, NFTs is probably the fastest developing branch of the Blockchain world. Among different industries, the gaming business seems to be particularly important. Because NFTs can represent unique digital objects, they may completely change the way we think about in-game transactions and in-game objects. 

What's unique about NFT games is how often they combine free-to-play with a play-to-earn model.

Although in the current NFT craze, many solutions that emerge every day will eventually turn out to be unnecessary, the NFT gaming world will most probably stay with us for long. Well-planned and developed projects, like those listed above, are one of its reasons.

Tagi

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Token Engineering Process

Kajetan Olas

13 Apr 2024
Token Engineering Process

Token Engineering is an emerging field that addresses the systematic design and engineering of blockchain-based tokens. It applies rigorous mathematical methods from the Complex Systems Engineering discipline to tokenomics design.

In this article, we will walk through the Token Engineering Process and break it down into three key stages. Discovery Phase, Design Phase, and Deployment Phase.

Discovery Phase of Token Engineering Process

The first stage of the token engineering process is the Discovery Phase. It focuses on constructing high-level business plans, defining objectives, and identifying problems to be solved. That phase is also the time when token engineers first define key stakeholders in the project.

Defining the Problem

This may seem counterintuitive. Why would we start with the problem when designing tokenomics? Shouldn’t we start with more down-to-earth matters like token supply? The answer is No. Tokens are a medium for creating and exchanging value within a project’s ecosystem. Since crypto projects draw their value from solving problems that can’t be solved through TradFi mechanisms, their tokenomics should reflect that. 

The industry standard, developed by McKinsey & Co. and adapted to token engineering purposes by Outlier Ventures, is structuring the problem through a logic tree, following MECE.
MECE stands for Mutually Exclusive, Collectively Exhaustive. Mutually Exclusive means that problems in the tree should not overlap. Collectively Exhaustive means that the tree should cover all issues.

In practice, the “Problem” should be replaced by a whole problem statement worksheet. The same will hold for some of the boxes.
A commonly used tool for designing these kinds of diagrams is the Miro whiteboard.

Identifying Stakeholders and Value Flows in Token Engineering

This part is about identifying all relevant actors in the ecosystem and how value flows between them. To illustrate what we mean let’s consider an example of NFT marketplace. In its case, relevant actors might be sellers, buyers, NFT creators, and a marketplace owner. Possible value flow when conducting a transaction might be: buyer gets rid of his tokens, seller gets some of them, marketplace owner gets some of them as fees, and NFT creators get some of them as royalties.

Incentive Mechanisms Canvas

The last part of what we consider to be in the Discovery Phase is filling the Incentive Mechanisms Canvas. After successfully identifying value flows in the previous stage, token engineers search for frictions to desired behaviors and point out the undesired behaviors. For example, friction to activity on an NFT marketplace might be respecting royalty fees by marketplace owners since it reduces value flowing to the seller.

source: https://www.canva.com/design/DAFDTNKsIJs/8Ky9EoJJI7p98qKLIu2XNw/view#7

Design Phase of Token Engineering Process

The second stage of the Token Engineering Process is the Design Phase in which you make use of high-level descriptions from the previous step to come up with a specific design of the project. This will include everything that can be usually found in crypto whitepapers (e.g. governance mechanisms, incentive mechanisms, token supply, etc). After finishing the design, token engineers should represent the whole value flow and transactional logic on detailed visual diagrams. These diagrams will be a basis for creating mathematical models in the Deployment Phase. 

Token Engineering Artonomous Design Diagram
Artonomous design diagram, source: Artonomous GitHub

Objective Function

Every crypto project has some objective. The objective can consist of many goals, such as decentralization or token price. The objective function is a mathematical function assigning weights to different factors that influence the main objective in the order of their importance. This function will be a reference for machine learning algorithms in the next steps. They will try to find quantitative parameters (e.g. network fees) that maximize the output of this function.
Modified Metcalfe’s Law can serve as an inspiration during that step. It’s a framework for valuing crypto projects, but we believe that after adjustments it can also be used in this context.

Deployment Phase of Token Engineering Process

The Deployment Phase is final, but also the most demanding step in the process. It involves the implementation of machine learning algorithms that test our assumptions and optimize quantitative parameters. Token Engineering draws from Nassim Taleb’s concept of Antifragility and extensively uses feedback loops to make a system that gains from arising shocks.

Agent-based Modelling 

In agent-based modeling, we describe a set of behaviors and goals displayed by each agent participating in the system (this is why previous steps focused so much on describing stakeholders). Each agent is controlled by an autonomous AI and continuously optimizes his strategy. He learns from his experience and can mimic the behavior of other agents if he finds it effective (Reinforced Learning). This approach allows for mimicking real users, who adapt their strategies with time. An example adaptive agent would be a cryptocurrency trader, who changes his trading strategy in response to experiencing a loss of money.

Monte Carlo Simulations

Token Engineers use the Monte Carlo method to simulate the consequences of various possible interactions while taking into account the probability of their occurrence. By running a large number of simulations it’s possible to stress-test the project in multiple scenarios and identify emergent risks.

Testnet Deployment

If possible, it's highly beneficial for projects to extend the testing phase even further by letting real users use the network. Idea is the same as in agent-based testing - continuous optimization based on provided metrics. Furthermore, in case the project considers airdropping its tokens, giving them to early users is a great strategy. Even though part of the activity will be disingenuine and airdrop-oriented, such strategy still works better than most.

Time Duration

Token engineering process may take from as little as 2 weeks to as much as 5 months. It depends on the project category (Layer 1 protocol will require more time, than a simple DApp), and security requirements. For example, a bank issuing its digital token will have a very low risk tolerance.

Required Skills for Token Engineering

Token engineering is a multidisciplinary field and requires a great amount of specialized knowledge. Key knowledge areas are:

  • Systems Engineering
  • Machine Learning
  • Market Research
  • Capital Markets
  • Current trends in Web3
  • Blockchain Engineering
  • Statistics

Summary

The token engineering process consists of 3 steps: Discovery Phase, Design Phase, and Deployment Phase. It’s utilized mostly by established blockchain projects, and financial institutions like the International Monetary Fund. Even though it’s a very resource-consuming process, we believe it’s worth it. Projects that went through scrupulous design and testing before launch are much more likely to receive VC funding and be in the 10% of crypto projects that survive the bear market. Going through that process also has a symbolic meaning - it shows that the project is long-term oriented.

If you're looking to create a robust tokenomics model and go through institutional-grade testing please reach out to contact@nextrope.com. Our team is ready to help you with the token engineering process and ensure your project’s resilience in the long term.

FAQ

What does token engineering process look like?

  • Token engineering process is conducted in a 3-step methodical fashion. This includes Discovery Phase, Design Phase, and Deployment Phase. Each of these stages should be tailored to the specific needs of a project.

Is token engineering meant only for big projects?

  • We recommend that even small projects go through a simplified design and optimization process. This increases community's trust and makes sure that the tokenomics doesn't have any obvious flaws.

How long does the token engineering process take?

  • It depends on the project and may range from 2 weeks to 5 months.

What is Berachain? 🐻 ⛓️ + Proof-of-Liquidity Explained

Karolina

18 Mar 2024
What is Berachain? 🐻 ⛓️ + Proof-of-Liquidity Explained

Enter Berachain: a high-performance, EVM-compatible blockchain that is set to redefine the landscape of decentralized applications (dApps) and blockchain services. Built on the innovative Proof-of-Liquidity consensus and leveraging the robust Polaris framework alongside the CometBFT consensus engine, Berachain is poised to offer an unprecedented blend of efficiency, security, and user-centric benefits. Let's dive into what makes it a groundbreaking development in the blockchain ecosystem.

What is Berachain?

Overview

Berachain is an EVM-compatible Layer 1 (L1) blockchain that stands out through its adoption of the Proof-of-Liquidity (PoL) consensus mechanism. Designed to address the critical challenges faced by decentralized networks. It introduces a cutting-edge approach to blockchain governance and operations.

Key Features

  • High-performance Capabilities. Berachain is engineered for speed and scalability, catering to the growing demand for efficient blockchain solutions.
  • EVM Compatibility. It supports all Ethereum tooling, operations, and smart contract languages, making it a seamless transition for developers and projects from the Ethereum ecosystem.
  • Proof-of-Liquidity.This novel consensus mechanism focuses on building liquidity, decentralizing stake, and aligning the interests of validators and protocol developers.

MUST READ: Docs

EVM-Compatible vs EVM-Equivalent

EVM-Compatible

EVM compatibility means a blockchain can interact with Ethereum's ecosystem to some extent. It can interact supporting its smart contracts and tools but not replicating the entire EVM environment.

EVM-Equivalent

An EVM-equivalent blockchain, on the other hand, aims to fully replicate Ethereum's environment. It ensures complete compatibility and a smooth transition for developers and users alike.

Berachain's Position

Berachain can be considered an "EVM-equivalent-plus" blockchain. It supports all Ethereum operations, tooling, and additional functionalities that optimize for its unique Proof-of-Liquidity and abstracted use cases.

Berachain Modular First Approach

At the heart of Berachain's development philosophy is the Polaris EVM framework. It's a testament to the blockchain's commitment to modularity and flexibility. This approach allows for the easy separation of the EVM runtime layer, ensuring that Berachain can adapt and evolve without compromising on performance or security.

Proof Of Liquidity Overview

High-Level Model Objectives

  • Systemically Build Liquidity. By enhancing trading efficiency, price stability, and network growth, Berachain aims to foster a thriving ecosystem of decentralized applications.
  • Solve Stake Centralization. The PoL consensus works to distribute stake more evenly across the network, preventing monopolization and ensuring a decentralized, secure blockchain.
  • Align Protocols and Validators. Berachain encourages a symbiotic relationship between validators and the broader protocol ecosystem.

Proof-of-Liquidity vs Proof-of-Stake

Unlike traditional Proof of Stake (PoS), which often leads to stake centralization and reduced liquidity, Proof of Liquidity (PoL) introduces mechanisms to incentivize liquidity provision and ensure a fairer, more decentralized network. Berachain separates the governance token (BGT) from the chain's gas token (BERA) and incentives liquidity through BEX pools. Berachain's PoL aims to overcome the limitations of PoS, fostering a more secure and user-centric blockchain.

Berachain EVM and Modular Approach

Polaris EVM

Polaris EVM is the cornerstone of Berachain's EVM compatibility, offering developers an enhanced environment for smart contract execution that includes stateful precompiles and custom modules. This framework ensures that Berachain not only meets but exceeds the capabilities of the traditional Ethereum Virtual Machine.

CometBFT

The CometBFT consensus engine underpins Berachain's network, providing a secure and efficient mechanism for transaction verification and block production. By leveraging the principles of Byzantine fault tolerance (BFT), CometBFT ensures the integrity and resilience of the Berachain blockchain.

Conclusion

Berachain represents a significant leap forward in blockchain technology, combining the best of Ethereum's ecosystem with innovative consensus mechanisms and a modular development approach. As the blockchain landscape continues to evolve, Berachain stands out as a promising platform for developers, users, and validators alike, offering a scalable, efficient, and inclusive environment for decentralized applications and services.

Resources

For those interested in exploring further, a wealth of resources is available, including the Berachain documentation, GitHub repository, and community forums. It offers a compelling vision for the future of blockchain technology, marked by efficiency, security, and community-driven innovation.

FAQ

How is Berachain different?

  • It integrates Proof-of-Liquidity to address stake centralization and enhance liquidity, setting it apart from other blockchains.

Is Berachain EVM-compatible?

  • Yes, it supports Ethereum's tooling and smart contract languages, facilitating easy migration of dApps.

Can it handle high transaction volumes?

  • Yes, thanks to the Polaris framework and CometBFT consensus engine, it's built for scalability and high throughput.