In-game currency has been a part of the video game ecosystem since the early 80s. From collecting coins in The Mario Brothers, buying new cars in Forza, or selling your weaponry in Skyrim, games have worked side-by-side with digital currency. In 2006, Elder Scrolls introduced the first in-game purchase and in 2009, iPhones introduced in-app purchases. Since then you can buy the latest DLC pack for Minecraft, earn Robux in Roblox and use V-Bucks to unlock the latest superhero skin in Fortnite.
With the advent of cryptocurrency and decentralised finance (Defi), the games industry sees a huge opportunity for partnerships between the two industries. Whilst Bitcoin is the most well know cryptocurrency, it’s Ethereum that offers the most flexible solution for gaming. There are various coins built on the Ethereum network but the volatility of the market can make some gaming companies nervous. If you sell a ‘power sword’ for 10 ‘Xcoins’ one day it might be worth £5, but the following week it might be only £1. This is where DAI comes in and offers the gaming sector a more stable platform from which to build out crypto-based commerce.
What Is Dai?
The Dai is known as a stablecoin because it’s pegged to the US Dollar giving it a real parameter of value. Dai is essentially programmable money that’s not diluted by middlemen. Developers can create financial processes that don’t need financial intermediaries, signatures and reams of documents. Due to being linked to Fiat currency, many companies offer the ability to earn interest on Dai.
Due to its stability and complexity, the Dai is now a widely used currency, which makes it perfect for the ever-growing gaming market.
The Dai is also decentralized, which means that it is a currency created by users and not issued or controlled by any third party (like a central government or bank). If you hold Dai, Apple, Epic or PayPal can’t cream off a slice every time it moves about.
Which Games Use Dai?
There is a growing list of games that use the Dai Cryptocurrency due to its stability and popularity. Three of the biggest are:
Axie Infinity sees players breed and raise digital pets called Axies in order to battle, collect, and exchange them. Similar to trading cards, Axies are NFTs that the player owns. Axie Infinity offers tournaments, as well as a ranked league with a version of Dai that players of PvP games can find randomly. Dai can be used for both Axie and land sales. There is a Dai-branded NFT that is given to any player who completes the task of opening a Maker Vault with an Axie address. The cartoon graphics are good but the game depth is pretty limited.
Forgotten Artifacts is a Dungeon Crawling RPG with plenty of blockchain loot. Players embark on a dangerous quest to find items hidden all over the various labyrinths. DAInerys Vaultborn, are a ‘Dai-branded’ NFT and worthy companion which help gamers as they navigate dangerous mazes in search of treasures. It’s far from the next Diablo game as it’s pretty simplistic in its gameplay. It almost looks like the team has taken the medieval maze asset pack from the Unity asset store to create the majority of the levels.
CryptoWars is a unique strategy game that runs completely on smart contracts. Players create villages, build armies and join alliances in order to go to war with their enemies. Winners of each battle earn gold, crystal, and quantum, as well as give you control of kingdoms. I love the fact that the NFT characters look like little Warhammer figurines complete with base. The game is very much a stats game in which you pitch your stats against the other players or AI and hope for the best.
All three games are very different in both their graphic style and gameplay. This is hugely positive, as it demonstrates that Defi platforms could merge with all kinds of gaming genres allowing gamers to earn as they play. This space is only going to get hotter as the years continue and I look forward to seeing more developed and expansive games in the near future.