Imagine that you are playing Pokémon and, after creating, training and evolving a little monster, you can sell it for an exorbitant amount. In cryptocurrency, which can then be converted into real currency. Generally speaking, this is the premise of Axie Infinity – and also one of the reasons why the game has attracted a lot of people and a lot of money.
Created by Vietnamese developer Sky Mavis and launched in 2018, Axie Infinity recently reached 350,000 daily active users, 40% of whom are in the Philippines. Two other popular markets for the game are Venezuela and the US.
In it, players command groups of creatures called Axies, which are chubby little animals capable of forming trios and, therefore, battling each other. As in Pokémon, each Axie has its own characteristics, ranging from the composition of its body, the class to which they belong and, mainly, their abilities – represented in the game by cards.
You can battle against opponents controlled by the game or against other players. The goal here is to earn the Smooth Love Potion (SLP), which is a kind of in-game currency used to reproduce your Axies.
At the same time, at the end of each season, the best qualified players in the game ranking earn another in-game currency, called AXS. And it is precisely the accumulation of SLP and AXS, in addition to the sale of Axies and items, that makes many people really rich with this game.
A game that uses NFTs
Part of Axie Infinity’s appeal is that it uses NFTs, a tech innovation that has become a rage among investors and entrepreneurs in recent months.
Every Axie created in the game is an NFT (“non-fungible token”, token that does not expire). In other words, each creature is a unique and encrypted piece of information that never disappears.
This feature also ensures that the price of Axies and other items sold in the game market are not tabulated, which explains why prices can reach impressive values.
Also, the game works on blockchain. Simply put, a blockchain would be a kind of unified computer network, but without a central server. In it, all transactions between users are registered and authenticated through encryption, in order to guarantee the traceability of these transactions and the amounts involved. This makes it more difficult to defraud the system.
It is in the blockchain, for example, that transactions involving cryptocurrencies are made. There are other possible uses for this technology, and some of them can be seen here.
Is it really a gold mine?
The very dynamics of the game encourages these transactions. To get started in the game, you need to have at least three little monsters – and the only way to get them is to buy them.
And once you have two Axies, you can cross them to get a third creature, and put it up for sale. As with breeding horses or dogs in the real world, the better the “genetics” of the parents, the better the offspring – and the higher the price.
Even the most basic Axies are already expensive. An adult (basic condition to use them in battle) can go out for the equivalent of US$210 (about R$1,100) in the form of the Ethereum cryptocurrency. In other words: to buy the three initials, you need to invest at least R$3,000.
In addition to selling items, another way to earn money is by accumulating and selling SLP and AXS. As the game runs on blockchain, everything you earn in these cryptocurrencies ends up in your digital wallet. From there, it is possible to trade using cryptocurrency brokers.
At the time of this writing, each SLP was worth around US$ 0.16 (R$ 0.85), while each AXS was close to US$ 70 (R$ 373).
Playing against machine-controlled opponents and completing daily missions, players get a maximum of 75 SLP per day. This gives a daily return of about US$12 (R$64). In a month of full dedication, this is around R$1,920.
But this total can increase considerably if the player wins matches against other players. In the current season (which usually lasts four weeks), the best placed player in the game’s ranking will receive 225 AXS, equivalent to almost $16,000.
It is worth it?
The answer is: it depends. The first point to be considered is that the cost barrier to start playing is quite high. Of course, the idea of making money by playing is attractive. But improving your team and actually making a profit is something that tends to take time.
Then comes the first risk: the temptation to spend uncontrollably on SLPs to advance faster in the game.
Another possibility is “addiction”: overdoing gaming sessions, to try to accumulate Axies and items faster. It is not uncommon for players to spend ten or twelve hours playing non-stop.
Finally, there is the fluctuation of SLP and AXS quotes. Like other cryptocurrencies, they are quite volatile.
Anyway, in case you are interested in Axie Infinity, the game’s website itself contains a very complete tutorial, in English, with the necessary first steps.
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