Online Gaming Platforms May Be the Next "Killer App" For Blockchain Technology

  • Online gaming such as ESports is becoming increasingly popular.
  • Other than cryptocurrency, gaming platforms could also become a legitimate use case for blockchain technology.

Darryn Pollock, a Forbes contributor who writes mainly about finance and economics, recently pointed out the similarities between the evolving blockchain industry and the “global phenomenon” that online gaming has become.

Pollock noted that the gaming sector is similar to the nascent distributed ledger technology (DLT) industry as they’re both “run by people who are technologically inclined, and predominantly younger.”

Gaming Platforms' Popularity Is Increasing

Pollock, who writes extensively on the regulation and adoption of blockchain and cryptocurrency, mentioned that mainstream consumers do not fully understand many of the concepts related to the world’s gaming economy. This, despite the rising popularity of ESports - which involves organized, multiplayer online video game competitions.

Similarly, many of the important concepts related to blockchain-based networks and cryptographic assets are hard for many less tech savvy people to understand. Given that DLT-powered systems and gaming platforms share many similarities, Pollock argues that online games could be “blockchain’s killer app.”

Gaming Is "Far More Receptive Space" Than Crypto

According to Pollock, the gaming industry has “the right people” and “environment” to handle a “disruptive technological upgrade.” Compared to the crypto space, gamers are “far more receptive ... to technological change”, Pollock wrote.

Commenting on the potential application of DLT to the development of more sophisticated online gaming networks, Andrew Colosimo, the founder at Xaya, a UK-based blockchain platform for gamers, said:

I think gaming definitely has the potential for being a catalyst for bringing more of the masses to blockchain. Gamers, particular PC gamers are normally somewhat technical and typically enthusiasts who like new technology, and blockchain does need that bit of expertise at the moment. From our point of view - we know there is going to be a market for blockchain gaming but it needs to be approached carefully.

Andrew Colosimo

However, Colosimo acknowledged that “it’s still early days” for blockchain, and that even though large investments are being made to develop DLT-powered games, “there [are] actually very little gamers playing.”

Improving "User Experience"

He revealed that the most popular blockchain-based games only have “10s of daily active users” as it’s more of a “niche” at present. Current challenges such as poor “user experience” and overly complex nature of blockchain-based gaming platforms must be addressed before mass adoption can be achieved, Colosimo noted.

He described the current blockchain-powered games as “slow” and criticized them for not having a well-developed theme. Also, games that are actually fast and engaging may not be using DLT for most parts, or features, of their platforms. They might just be using “blockchain as a buzzword only”, Colosimo said.

As CryptoGlobe recently covered, a blockchain-powered virtual reality (VR) game called Chainbreakers is currently being developed on the Ethereum-based Decentraland platform. The role-playing game is centered around events that took place in Ancient Greece.

Ampleforth Seeks to Become the Perfect Digital Asset for Portfolio Managers

A new token is seeking to change up the existing paradigm in the cryptoasset market.

Billing itself as “smart commodity money” - a token that has the benefits of commodity-monies like gold and silver, but can respond efficiently to changes in demand - Ampleforth is keen to emphasize that its token represents a new kind of asset in the space.

The Evolution of Money 

Money has been reinvented many times over: for many centuries mankind did without it, instead simply assigning value to particular goods in exchange for other goods. Then gold and silver formed the basis of money, whether coins were made directly out of these precious materials or "stamped" as a standard into baser metals.

Indeed, gold as a standard for global money transfer lasted for many centuries: the official gold standard was dropped by Britain and the US in the early 1930s and by 1971 the system was abandoned completely to be replaced fully by what we now call the fiat money system where global currencies (to a large degree) freely float against each other on foreign exchange markets.

The Crypto-Evangelists

Niall Ferguson is an expert in this field and, as an Oxford and Harvard lecturer, has written and spoken about money and capital many times. He may be a little late to the crypto party but is none-the-less evangelical about it: in a Bank of England seminar last year he called cryptocurrencies "the financial system of the future".

Ferguson has now thrown his weight behind the Ampleforth Project, which - on June 13 - raised $4.9 million in 11 seconds in its initial exchange offering (IEO) of its "Ample" (AMPL) tokens.

The digital asset explains in its white paper that it’s a "synthetic commodity" that aims to become truly uncorrelated from both traditional assets, stocks and currencies as well as from Bitcoin, other cryptoassets and other synthetic commodities. The problem with existing synthetic commodities, the paper explains, is that they have so far failed to do both. 

Ampleforth Explained

While Ampleforth seeks the price target of $1 for the Ample, instead of pegging directly to the dollar - like Tether - or to a basket of fiat currencies - as Facebook's Libra intends - the Ample will allow the quantity of assets a user holds to fluctuate, in addition to price, as it seeks a price supply equilibrium.

The system's protocol will actively seek this equilibrium by either proportionally increasing the quantity of tokens every user holds when prices climb, or proportionally decreasing the quantity of tokens every user holds when prices fall.

This is called money supply and has been one of the tools used by central banks to control inflation for many years. But Ferguson's criticism of this - in his book The Ascent of Money - is that it reflects human sentiment too much:

Money amplifies our tendency to overreact, to swing from exuberance when things are going well to deep depression when they go wrong. Booms and busts are products, at root, of our emotional volatility.

Ampleforth seeks to overcome these problems algorithmically by applying countercyclical pressures that dampen volatility, encouraging markets to self-correct. Supply updates will be freely visible in the market ahead of any changes, allowing the market to anticipate these changes and respond accordingly.

Ferguson explains his enthusiasm for the project:

The ingenious thing about Amples is that this they are not stablecoins, pegged in some way to existing fiat money. They are a special kind of digital asset, the quantity of which varies in response to the behavior of investors and traders.

Crypto Rivals

Ampleforth is unlikely to challenge Bitcoin any time soon as the number one crypto investment, but offers a compelling three-stage plan for the use of Amples. 

In the near-term, the token’s lack of correlation to both traditional assets and Bitcoin, will make it a useful portfolio diversifier. 

In the more medium-term, Amples may be used as reserve collateral in decentralized banks, such as Maker DAO.

Ultimately, the long-term goal however, is that Amples will serve as an independent alternative to central bank money. The team describes it as a “macroeconomically friendly” Bitcoin that averts the deflationary problems associated with fixed supply commodities when used as reserve collateral by banks.

Ampleforth Moves Forward

Such was the success of its first token sale on Bitfinex, that Ampleforth is conducting a second round of funding on the same exchange on Thursday.

The company aims to raise close to $7 million in this IEO, with a maximum contribution per investor of $7,060 and a minimum of $28, with each Ample token worth $0.98.