Sense & Nonsense in Blockchain Gaming: Autarky No More!

No one-handed economists found.

In 1989, political scientist Francis Fukuyama wrote an essay asking if we’ve reached The End of History? Often mischaracterized, the essay argues democracy and free markets represent the last evolution of political-economic systems. Fukuyama writes:

What we may be witnessing is not just the end of the Cold War or the passing of a particular period of post-war history; that is the end point of mankind’s ideological evolution and the universalization of Western liberal democracy as the final form of human government.

Blockchain may well represent game monetization’s End of History.

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Sense & Non-Sense in Blockchain Gaming: Is “True Ownership” Actually True?

Take a stroll through a blockchain game website – they are all lovely; remember that’s their UA funnel! – and a standard set of phrases appear: “ownership,” “true ownership,” “truly owning.”

Is everyone hiring the same marketing brand guy?

But blockchain warps the traditional meaning of ownership into a ship of Theseus problem; each blockchain-based game can define ownership in its context. Suddenly, ownership becomes a design space in itself, making it all that much more crucial to dissect and analyze.

There are three stylized notions worth exploring:

  1. Ownership versus Licensing
  2. Item Possession versus Key Possession
  3. Obligation to Honor
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Sense & Non-Sense in Blockchain Gaming: A Series

KittyCash, a proof of concept for blockchain gaming. | by KittyCash | Medium
Thousand-dollar jpeg files do make sense; trust me, I sell digital hats for a living.

Sorry readers, I caught the blockchain bug. When 30-person firms are getting $4.5B valuations, it’s time to pay attention, regardless of one’s priors. Everyone seems to have a Blockchain hottake, but I’ve found most to fall short of ruthlessly integrating the implications and design space of the technology. Blockchain players (who are also, by definition, investors) insist, at every turn, that it’s so obvious blockchain gaming is the future. Advocates frequently cite specific benefits – true ownership, play-to-earn, “aligning incentives between players and developers,” and decentralization. A smaller crowd expresses skepticism about what blockchain solves for gamers, and if blockchain has the implications advocates think it does. This mounts a normative and positive element to discussions of blockchain. On cue, Benedict Evans offered a measured assessment of the situation:

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