Dec 24, 2021
We’re revisiting the best Crypto Conversation podcast episodes of 2021. In this episode, we talk to Jeff Zirlin, co-founder Axie Infinity, a Pokémon-inspired blockchain-based digital pet universe where players can earn tokens through gaming. Players can battle, collect, breed, and build a kingdom for their pets. Like CryptoKitties, Axies are non-fungible tokens (NFTs) represented as cryptographically unique characters that can’t be replicated. And like Pokémon, they are born to battle. While Axie can be just a game, it has built a strong social network, passionate community, and emerging jobs platform due to the play to earn opportunities it is generating.
Jeff grew up playing games like Neopets, Pokémon, and World of Warcraft. “I played so much WOW that my parents sent me to boarding school,” he says. “I’ve always been a collector. As I kid my dad and I would collect fossils and insects. And as a lifelong gamer, I’m a digital collector as well, so I was predisposed to be interested in blockchain gaming.”
The blockchain gaming play to earn revolution started to gain traction after it emerged that a large community of players in the Philippines was earning money playing Axie Infinity.
Jeff says "Most game companies sell in-game resources, items, and upgrades. With Axie there's an in-game resource that you need to create more Axies and it's called the love potion. So most game developers would sell this love potion, and people would pay for it. In Axie we don't sell it ourselves, the only way that love potions can be created is by people playing the game. Players who have big Axie collections need the love potion to breed Axies and have to buy the token from a liquidity pool on UniSwap or from Binance. So players can earn a basic income and we've seen that with the rise in value of ETH, this can appreciate significantly.”
The power of blockchain games is that they're becoming more than games. They're becoming places that we can live, work and play. The eventual vision is to create a Metaverse similar to Ready Player One where people spend the majority of their time.
“We believe in a future where work and play become one,” says Jeff. “And we believe in empowering our players and giving them economic opportunities.”
To do this the Axie team is committed to aligning the incentives of the Axie community. Players can earn the AXS governance token. The token economics were designed by Delphi Digital. Delphi Digital has invested a significant amount of capital in buying several extremely rare Mystic Axies. If Axie Infinity continues to gain traction Mystic Axies will grow in value in the future.
Jeff says “We’re seeing the rise of Mystic Axies and other NFTs as a true asset class. This trend accelerated when Delphi Digital picked up some of the rarest Axies in the game, like quadruple Mystics, triple Mystics. You can think of Mystics as rare and valuable skins. It makes sense that there's a lot of interest around NFTs and it makes sense because we live in a digital world.”
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