🛑 Hurdles holding back crypto games | Crypto GameBites Issue 4

Sep 30, 2021 10:06 pm


created by @themikesteez

Issue #4 | September 30, 2021


GM new frens and old (say it back).

I’m moving fast and breaking things this week.

When I started this newsletter, my initial idea was to help you get through all the crazy information in the crypto gaming space by distilling it into an easy-to-consume email.

But I got some feedback that last week’s issue was a bit long, so I’m gonna try to keep this issue closer to the spirit of a digest (and I may have failed 🤷‍♂️).

I’m also experimenting with a new structure (which will definitely continue to change and evolve), so things might look different from past issues. 

All of this is to better serve you, my dear reader, so feel free to reply and let me know what you think.


🔥This week’s lineup:


💰VC Land & Money Talk

🛑Hurdles holding back crypto games

🖖How to onboard your friends to crypto

🕳Down the Rabbit Hole

🐦Random Tweet

– Michael

ICYMI: A framework for what makes play-to-earn work, from a16z partner and Crypto GameBites subscriber Jon Lai  


MicroBites: Top Stories of the Week

From Tha Streets to Tha Sandbox: Snoop Dogg, who last week revealed he’s the infamous NFT collector known as Cozomo de’ Medici, has partnered with blockchain metaverse The Sandbox to host his NFT collection in his virtual mansion.

Gods Unchained launched their second expansion pack on Immutable X.

Axie Infinity Changes Breeding Tokenomics: In order to balance community growth with play-to-earn rewards, Axie devs have changed the token requirements to breed new Axie characters.

Move to Earn: Solana-based Genopets uses fitness wearables to track movement and reward players for being active in one of the first “move-to-earn” concepts I’ve seen.

NFTs in Meatspace: Upcoming NFT trading card game, SpellFire, aims to allow owners of their NFT cards to also own physical versions of those cards.

Neon District announces major UI/UX redesign in Q3 update. Other updates include Circle payment integration, NFT marketplace makeover, and character equipment binding/unbinding.

Hybrid Monsters: Upcoming MMORPG game Untamed Isles plans to integrate blockchain elements into its game by allowing users to mint all monsters and certain items as NFTs, which can be bought and sold on a marketplace.

New King on the Block: Splinterlands, an NFT trading card game, has earned the top spot as the most popular blockchain game, as measured by daily user count.

Axie Infinity Meets Final Fantasy? A dev team composed of professionals experienced “in all stages of game development as well as TV and film production” announced Wonderman Nation, an Axie-styled game that promises “exciting combat, unlimited creature and ability combos via breeding, and a play-to-earn ecosystem.”


VC Land & Money Talk

⚽️French fantasy futbol NFT game Sorare has raised $680 million in a Series B led by SoftBank, bringing the startup’s valuation to $4.3 billion

🏀Dapper Labs, the company behind NBA Top Shot and the Flow blockchain, closed a $250 million funding round led by Coatue Management and includes GV, a16z, and Version One Ventures. This brings Dapper’s valuation to $7.6 billion (WOW WA WEE WA!)

💰Decentral Games secures funding from Binance Smart Chain’s $100M Accelerator Fund

🤝Blockchain game developer Animoca Brands acquires a majority stake in NFT platform Bondly

🤖Crypto investor and analyst Andrew Steinwold announces metaverse-native investment firm, Sfermion

🎮VYSYN Ventures launches $30 million fund focused on blockchain gaming projects


Hurdles Holding Back Crypto Games


The reason I am so damn bullish on blockchain gaming is because I believe it’s the best vector for mainstream crypto adoption.

But while crypto in general has a lot of barriers, so does the crypto gaming sector.

According to top video game academic Joost Van Dreunen, “talent – not capital or technology – will be the primary bottleneck” of crypto gaming.

“Across all major blockchain game makers,” he writes, “there are roughly 1,000 full-time people. The most visible blockchain game companies have a combined valuation of $9.4 billion and employ only 492 people in aggregate.”

And while I agree with him, I think there’s a much bigger barrier to mainstream crypto gaming adoption…



How to Onboard Your Friends to the Crypto World

Until the Crypto Steve Jobs comes along and makes it easy and intuitive for the average person to navigate the crypto world…

It’s up to you and me and every other crypto enthusiast to do the heavy lifting of spreading the good Word of Crypto to all the nocoiners.

We need to take a page out of Guy Kawasaki’s book and become EVANGELISTS for crypto.

But since crypto is complex, you might wonder where TF to start.

Well, guess what?

Crypto analyst and writer Ben Giove gives us an excellent framework for how to be the bridge to help your friends and family cross the crypto chasm.

Read it here.


Down the Rabbit Hole

🎧 LISTEN: The Crypto Gaming Revolution w/ Arianna Simpson

Do yourself a favor and carve out 1.5 hours to listen to the Bankless team chat with the brilliant Arianna Simpson, an a16z General Partner, about crypto gaming.

She shares my thesis that gaming is “really opening the floodgates to a whole universe of crypto users” because it allows regular, non-technical people to start playing around with crypto “in a way that’s a lot more approachable and fun.”

Listen to it here. If you have Spotify, you can tap here.

📺 WATCH: Mythical CEO explains how blockchain games go mainstream

Jon Jordan talks to Mythical Games CEO John Linden about Mythical’s plans to take blockchain games mainstream, both with internal titles such as Blankos Block Party and its own Mythical platform, which allows traditional PC, console and mobile game devs to get up and running on blockchain in a more accessible way.

Tap here to watch the 30-minute interview.

Dynamic NFTs can expand the utility of the NFT ecosystem

Have you heard of “dynamic NFTs”?

These are “perpetual smart contracts that use oracles to communicate with and react to external data and systems...as a mechanism for minting/buying NFTs.”

In other words, an external event can automatically trigger the creation of a new NFT.

Dave Friedman writes more about this concept here

From play-to-earn to play AND earn...an expert look at game monetization and aligning devs with players

When I grow up, I want to be as smart as Ryan Foo, the Big Brain behind the Metaversus newsletter.

He wrote an expert piece on game monetization and how to shift the model from “play-to-earn” to “play AND earn” (the latter implies that fun is the main driving force behind playing, while profit is merely a pleasant byproduct).

“I’d like to zoom out from the news cycle and write something a little more lasting: a survey of how games have monetized hitherto, how play to earn acts as a new model for monetization, and how this form of monetization can change the relationship between devs and players. I’ll bring in examples from various video game economies along the way.”

It’s a fresh and insightful take on the possibilities of blockchain gaming.

The ability for NFTs to track provenance has major implications for games

Metacast host and crypto game connoisseur Nico Vereecke tweets about provenance and what it means for gaming NFTs.

Whitepaper: CipherShooters

Shoutout to r/EthGamers for this one.

I just came across the whitepaper for an upcoming play and earn cyberpunk RPG battler called CipherShooters.

A demo already launched on a test net, and the core game plans to launch on Polygon Mainnet in Q1 of 2022.

I personally like the cyberpunk theme, so I’m keeping tabs on this one.


Random Tweet:



So fren, tell me something...

Compared to previous issues, whaddaya think about this week’s content and format?


I admit it’s a lot lighter on the meme/gif side, but it feels a little more streamlined (I could be 100% wrong on this, which is why I need your feedback).


As I continue to research, learn, and connect with new crypto gaming frens, I expect this newsletter to keep evolving.


I still want to make it highly curated so that you get the top industry news each week, but here are some other ideas I have:


  • Standalone articles that get sent out another day of the week (I’m thinking Sunday)
  • Interviews with game developers, investors, and industry analysts that I would publish on the blog and link to in the newsletter
  • More curated video and audio content
  • Game “reviews” (i.e. “let me tell you about this new game I played this week…”)


Please, PLEASE, PLEASE reply to this email with your feedback!




– Michael, editor of Crypto GameBites

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Disclosure: From time-to-time I might add links in this newsletter to products I use and I may receive commission if you make a purchase through one of these links. Also, I hold crypto assets (shocking right?). See my investment disclosures here.

Disclaimer to protect my a$$: All investment strategies and investments involve risk of loss. Nothing contained in this magical newsletter should be construed as financial or investment advice. We’re just two brains connecting through cyberspace and shooting the shit about the wild world of blockchain gaming, where buzzwords like “crypto” and “NFTs” roam freely. Any reference to an investment's past or potential performance is not, and should not be construed as, a recommendation or as a guarantee of any specific outcome or profit. Remember to do your own damn research and don’t just ape into things like I did with all those shitcoins from the Spring 2021 bull run.